The NSS 2015 & SDSR 2015: The “Development” parts Part 2


Another also quite obvious development initiative proposed was to continue developing global or international development arena is brought up on page 48, paragraph 5.9 which states that the UK has and will continue to play a leading role in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The UK indeed has been the forefront on the successor(s) to the Millennium Development Goals, as seen in this UN High-level panel news release, this blog post by David Hallam and David Cameron’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly. It of course increases the UK’s political standing by being a leader in forming the SDGs, but it is the quality that counts.

This brings us to the the next paragraph, 5.10 which reads:

Our development programme helps to drive economic development and prosperity overseas, enabling a permanent route out of poverty while creating markets for future British business. Our assistance focuses on improving peace, security and governance; equality of opportunity for girls and women; access to basic services for the poorest; and building resilience to crises and responding to disasters when they occur. We promote the golden thread of conditions (own emphasis added) that drive prosperity all across the world: the rule of law, good governance and the growth of democracy.

The “golden thread” is a term that PM Cameron formed around 2012, whereby you only get real long-term development through aid if there is also a “golden thread of stable government, lack of corruption, human rights, the rule of law, transparent information.” In essence, only if you follow these strict rules, you will be able to improve your overall development. It sounds like a simple formula to follow but it also sounds like theWashington Consensus policies of the 1980s and early 1990s and the post-Washington Consensus policies of the 1990s such as the Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPS). As my old Development Studies lecturer Ha-Joon Chang would say, the UK is a “bad Samaritan” and is “kicking away the ladder” (the route it took in (economic) development) for these developing countries. If the UK wishes to improve the global arena, it must diversify its “golden thread” and allow states with different local institutions to develop in their own time. (You can read more about Cameron’s “golden thread” in this
gGoogle thread, this House of Commons International Development Committee publication and Simon Maxwell’s articles .)

To Be Continued

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Imran Hssain hello


what does your record show in relation to international development or international affairs?

Let me see:

Some questions to the FCO nd MOD on Burma. Ok.

Welcome. Will you be as good as Mike Kane and Abbott?

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The NSS 2015 & SDSR 2015: The “Development” parts Part 1


Author’s note: Devex won’t accept this so here it goes…

So the much awaited National Security Review and Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015 is out. As the title(s) imply, it’s not just a military-centred document, but one that covers defence, foreign affairs and yes international development approaches.

The UK has a strong but not excellent record in the field of development since the formation of the Department for International Development (DFID). Continued by the 2010-2015 Coalition government and now the Conservative-led government, DFID is projected to be a key mechanism for the UK’s development and wider diplomatic efforts. The document gave a substantial amount of focus on development, particularly in Chapter 5. The first main open comes on page 48, paragraph 5.6. It reads:

We administer and fund the Chevening, Marshall and Commonwealth scholarship schemes through DFID and FCO, which create lasting relationships with the global leaders of our current and future partners. We will fund and administer approximately 2,200 awardsa year for young people of high ability to study in the UK through the Chevening, Marshall and Commonwealth scholarship schemes.

That’s an easy way to promote development; after all educating people from developing countries is a common route to development and sort of within Official Development Assistance (ODA) guidelines. Of course, scholarship recipients will still need to pay the Home Office a fee for Tier 4 visas.

Another major and well known point the review made in paragraphs 5.8 to to 5.11. These emphasise on DFID’s “enormous” aid budget, most-notably the 0.7% of GDP/GNI United Nations (UN) ODA target. It is a no-brainer to some that this percentage target is quite outdated. Nevertheless the term “0.7” appears 7 times in the whole document, especially in the foreword by the Prime Minister and it being mentioned in the the second paragraph of Chapter 1. While aid as “0.7 of [UK’s] GDP/GNI” is the phrase sine 2010, the document did give indications how this portion of aid would be utilised. With the title “A Secure and Prosperous United Kingdom” the document indicates that a good portion of aid would be used to address activities in fragile and and conflict states. This is mentioned in the PM’s foreword and the term appears around fifteen times in the document.

Fragile or conflict states have of course been a critical area of interests for donors and organisations. The Fragile State Index index gives a great picture of the range of extreme and possible fragile states. This move by by DFID is not new; they have, since 2010, made it a policy to spend 30% of ODA in conflict and/or fragiel states. DFID might have done that across the Coalition government years, but aid effectiveness from such aid projects is always questionable. The UK plans to increase the percentage of its ODA towards such states, so it is really dubious what impact ODA in those countries will achieve.

To Be Continued due to own schedule.

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My Guest Article on Europe Asia Security Forum


Take a look, read and comment please

My Guest Article .

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Links for thought 11


Haven’t done this series in a while so here we go:

1) Jin Liqun: From the lines of Lord Byron to AIIB’s corridors of power

A Devex article on Jin Liqun,the first leader of the recently created, non-Western dominated, non-neoliberal (hopefully!), Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

2) DFAT’s International Development Minister

Although the old independent AuSAiD was merged with Australia’s Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), there wasn’t a specific minister for international development under Tony Abbott. Now with Malcolm Turnbull in charge, there’s a minister for international development and the Pacific, namely Steve Ciobo.

3) SDG celebration over, now the hard part begins

So instead of examining what went right and wrong with the Millennium Development Goals, the “world community” formed an even more complex set of goals called the Sustainable Development Goals. Everyone from the media-picked Malala to world leaders have welcomed it. Well, the fun is over. Implement them–if you can.

4) Are Mobility and Fragility Here to Stay?

Phil Vernon writes on mobility or rather migration and fragility, that is, unstable regions or countries.

5) Ha-Joon Chang mentioned

Not exactly a development-related article, but my old and great professor, Ha-Joon Chang is featured in this Telegraph article on the 11 types of professors you’ll meet in university.

6) 2030s and development then

The Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) or German Development Institute has a series on note worthy articles on the SDGs and the world out to 2030

7) Does Africa still need the UN?

Nice BBC article on Africa and why the UN matters there.

8) CSSF bidding

Or rather, the constant news on what the UK’s Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) is and nowit isan improvement over the old Conflict (prevention) pool.

9) Come on Senate confirm someone for USAID

With the talk of the SDGS, it is still amazing that up to now (October 2015), the US Senate has not confirmed anyone, or rather, Gayle Smith to be the next head of USAID. This key US aid department has still an acting administrator in charge.

10) Economy, Climate, no longer neoliberal in framework?

You be the judge in this speech by Christine Lagarde.

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My take on Diane Abbott’s speech at the Labour Conference 2015


My comments in brackets and bold.

Conference I am proud to stand before you as Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for International Development. (You are very lucky to get this high position.)

Because there is no issue that better illustrates the internationalism that is at the core of progressive politics than our commitment to international development. And in an era that has seen the rise of toxic xenophobic politics across Europe it is worth reminding ourselves that an outward looking internationalism is not an “add on” to our Socialism, it should be at the heart of our Socialism.

Labour in government should be proud of its leadership on international development. It is a Labour government which in 1964 set up the first Ministry of Overseas Development. The very first Cabinet level Minister of Overseas Development was Barbara Castle. She was followed by illustrious names like Judith Hart and Clare Short. But we should never forget the contribution of Gordon Brown who put development issues at the heart of his government, tripled the aid budget and works tirelessly on these issues to this day.(So no praise to Valerie Amos, Hilary Benn, Douglas Alexander, Harriet Harman or Mary Creagh who held the Development SoS or Shadow SoS roles????)

This summer we have all seen the horrifying images of migrants and refugees trying to reach safety in Europe. For thousands of desperate people the Mediterranean has become a graveyard.

It was the Labour party that forced David Cameron to take action, inadequate though it has been. (And how about the SNP, Greens, Liberal Democrats???)

I would particularly single out my colleague Yvette Cooper for her leadership on the issue and look forward to working with her refugee taskforce. But many of those people attempting to cross the Mediterranean or in the camp at Calais are economic migrants fleeing desperate poverty. It is right to face our responsibilities to refugees. (Funny s I said above, no praise to Creagh?)

But you would expect me, as the child of economic migrants, to say that economic migrants should also be our care and concern. Barbed wire, armed troops and letting people drown is not the solution to waves of economic migration. Still less is it the politics of UKIP. Ultimately the only way to check the flows of economic migration is international development promoting growth and prosperity worldwide.

We need “woman centered” development policies.

Around the world 62 million girls are not in school. Globally one in three women will experience gender-based violence in her lifetime. And this includes female genital mutilation. In the developing world one in seven girls are married before their 15th birthday, with some child brides as young as eight or nine. Each year more than 287,000 women, 99 per cent of them in developing countries, die from pregnancy and childbirth-related complications. (I find this interesting since the history of development showed that girl or men, successful development still occurred–eg East Asian Development.)

Whilst women make up more than 40 per cent of the agricultural labour force only three to 20 per cent are landholders. In Africa women owned enterprises make up as little as 10 per cent of all businesses. In South Asia the number is only three per cent.

We need to reach those women. The test of the next Labour government’s development policies will not just be getting money out of the door or how many highly paid consultants we employ, but how we change the lives of women in some of the world’s poorest countries.
We also have to recognize that war and conflict are a primary impediment to development. (Done long ago in Labour’s 2009 White Paper).

Just last week the United Nations Sustainable Development goals were adopted. They set out 17 goals around which we can develop our aid policies and improve the lives of the poor globally as well as holding agencies and NGO’s to account. Yet the Government has yet to say how, or even whether, they will report on their work on the Millennium Development Goals which are about to expire. (Really? Have you not seen the evidence from DFID’s website, under Labour and the Tories?)

In the coming months I and the team will be holding this government to account on development. They have been paying lip service to the issues, whilst covertly diverting the budget to non-development purposes. This is a government which is as callous to the poor around the world as they are to the poor here in Great Britain.

International Development for David Cameron is mere window dressing. (Right so far, I’ve only see you say stuff and not propose any concrete policy.)

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Hello Mike Kane what do you know


About International Development? What roles will you take? In previous years the Labour Shadow Cabinet for International Development had three MPs. Now its just your and Ms Abbott.

Your Profile. Will you be serious about aid expenditure, having been on the Treasury Committee? Will you tackle environmental concerns (which falls under DECC mainly) or even the Sustainable Development Goals?

Time will tell.

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