Researchers are critical of the government's cuts in research aid, and during the past week, Sweden's minister of aid and foreign trade, Johan Forssell (M), responded to the criticism. "The prioritization takes place in the light of a greatly deteriorated external situation," he writes. Photo: Ninni Andersson/Governingskansliet.

Current debate

Week 39: Debate on research money after the outbreak of African swine fever

The Swedish government has recently presented the city budget for 2024. Aid is facing major changes with an increased focus on Ukraine and trade, while including the support for researchsbistand is decreasing – which has provoked reactions from academia.

Representatives from the aid organization We Effect write in a debate article in Omvärlden that they are positive that the government wants the aid to provide a better climate for business and trade. But they also emphasize the importance of involving Swedish civil society organizations and authorities both in developing countries and in Sweden when the government is to reform aid.

- When the government is now to develop aid to even better benefit economic development and trade, it is absolutely central that all these perspectives are included in the formulation of the new reform agenda, they write.

The government's reform of aid has also been met with criticism. In a debate article in Dagens Nyheter, three researchers criticize the government's reduced support for research and studies in the aid budget. They believe that studies and research in low-income countries build skills that can then be transferred and used to deal with similar situations elsewhere. They refer, among other things, to the outbreak of African swine fever in Sweden. 

- But in the face of the diseases and crises of the future, we experts can be left without answers, due to the government's aid policy, they write.

In a reply Sweden's minister for development aid and foreign trade Johan Forssell (M) emphasizes, among other things, that Sweden's development agency, Sida, continues to be given half a billion for development research. He also believes that the re-prioritization in the aid budget is being done in a greatly deteriorated world situation.

- Not least, the government prioritizes strong support for Ukraine, he writes.

Also Inge Gerremo, honorary doctor of veterinary medicine at SLU, and Arvid Uggla, professor emeritus at SLU, believe that the outbreak of swine fever in Sweden has shown the importance of international development cooperation.

- This underlines once again that development cooperation with low-income countries can not infrequently be of decisive importance also for building up one's own knowledge and experience in an increasingly intertwined world, they write in a debate article in Göteborgs-Posten.

The government's aid reform

We applaud the government's ambition to help people out of poverty

Ann Charlott Folkesson, chairman LRF Västerbotten, chairman We Effect and others.

At the next plague, we will have to pay for the aid decisions

Erika Chenais, state veterinarian and docent in veterinary medicine, infection epidemiology, State Veterinary Medical Institute and others.

The state of the world means that we have to reprioritize in several areas - including aid

Johan Forssell (M), minister for aid and foreign trade 

The outbreak of swine fever shows how important development cooperation is

Inge Gerremo, honorary doctor of veterinary medicine at SLU; Arvid Uggla, professor emeritus at SLU, Göteborgs-Posten

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