Other developed-related points include the UK partnering with China for global economic movements and the development of Africa (paragraphs 5.74 and 5.75), an EU-led trade agreement to improve India’s economy. This again may be welcomed by many, but also reeks of capitalist-centred. neoliberal-type objectives. Dealing such commercial and economic links with China on the surface benefits both sides and draws China closer to the (market-centric) global economic arena (not that China requires it). This according to some Western-centric scholars like Patrick Porter, may be counterproductive to the so-called Anglo-American “Special Relationship” but that’s beyond the scope of international or economic development here. It remains to be seen what happens with China’s political economy, barring any such economic partnerships.Paragraph 5.80 gives a brief mention of helping Bangladesh fight poverty, but no detailed information how. Paragraph 5.83 says the UK will engage with middle-income and G20 member over green technology and education but that’s it.
A more important section comes in Section C, where the document indicates that the UK places importance on the United Nations (UN), especially since it is where the Millennium Development Goals (MDGS) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The NSS and SDSR pledged to increase the number of UK personnel on UN Peacekeeping operations. Peacekeeping does help with development, but do not always drive a country towards the status of a ‘developed country’ (paragraphs 5.9.1 and 5.9.2). The next part states a old promise that has floating around for sometime: that the UK would “to build the inclusitivty of the IFIs’ membership and decision-making”. This has been a promise from not just the UK, but from many OECD states and major shareholders of the International Financial Institution (IFIs). The paragraph (5.9.4) gave the pledge that:
The International Monetary Fund agreed reforms in 2010 to enhance the voice of emerging markets and developing countries. The UK was one of the first members to make the statutory changes to put the deal into effect, and remains committed to its full implementation.
It remains to be seen if the UK follows through with this pledge. Still, it alone cannot elevate middle-income or emerging market economies to the ‘top’. It would require a combined effort of many other shareholders to give such states greater votes and/or voting power as well as a voice in IFI reforms and policy directions. Even if this succeeds, decisions by this new architecture won’t necessary be positive. The next small section looks at pledges for the G7 and G20 groups. Again, section 5.95 pledges global cooperation, but again most definitely to preserve the capitalist/neoclassical economics-centred/neoliberal order…
I’ll skip the rest of the sub-sections until 5.118, which states that “[the UK] will spend at least 50% of DFID’s budget in fragile states and regions in every year of this Parliament.” This focus on fragile states by the Conservatives isn’t new; the the previous Coalition government they pledged and spent 30% of their ODA on fragile states issues. A more comprehensive paper was released at the same time as the SDSR, titled UK Aid tackling global challenges in the national interest. (I’ll review this “White Paper” and topic in another post. For now, see stuff like this Center for Global Development article.)
I’ll stop here. This SDSR/NSS is really long….