Greater Caribbean, like the rest of the developing world, has seen a steep fall
in aid flows since the end of the Cold War. Some countries in the region are
also highly indebted. So the region has a considerable stake in the outcome of
the United Nations Conference on the Financing of Development that concluded in
Monterrey last week. Support for the goals of the Monterrey Conference was
expressed in the Margarita Declaration of the 3rd ACS Summit held
UN has estimated the additional cost of meeting the Millennium Goals at US$50
billion per annum. The goals call for halving world poverty by 2015. Others
provide for universal primary education, promoting gender equality and improving
maternal health, reducing child mortality and combating HIV/AIDS—all of great
significance to the Greater Caribbean region.
US$50 billion per year might seem to be a lot of money, but this should be set
in context. It is about one one-sixteenth of world military spending. The annual
amount is roughly 5 percent of the total assets of the world’s 200
is also about the same as the increase in the US military budget for the next
fiscal year, proposed by the US Administration for the global war on terror. The
cost of the September 11 attacks to the US Federal Budget already amounts to $40
billion and last week the Administration asked for another $27.1 billion. So the
total cost of the terrorist attacks to the US Government alone is already
projected at over twice the extra cost of financing the UN Millennium goals.
showed that the costs of security achieved by military means need to be compared
to the costs of addressing the conditions that produce insecurity in the first
place. At the Summit, leader after leader pointed out that poverty and
inequality provide a fertile breeding ground for terrorism. The President of the
World Bank and the head of the World Trade Organization made much the same
Monterrey, the US announced an increase of $10 billion in its aid program and
the EU $7 billion. The increases are a welcome development. But the total
promised fall far short of what is needed.
is also the question of making good on the promises, as Secretary General Kofi
Annan pointed out. Mr Annan speaks from past experience. At the UN Conference on
Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in Barbados in 1994, for instance, much
was promised, but much less was subsequently delivered.
consensus that emerged at Monterrey is that expanded aid flows will be
conditioned on receiving countries practicing good governance and sound economic
policies and cleaning up corruption; so that aid money is not wasted.
one could contest the need for this. The question is whether there will be a
one-sided interpretation and implementation of these conditions by the aid
givers, or genuine dialogue and partnership that allows for different approaches
and eventual arrival at common ground.
as the principle of “sovereignty” should not be used as a cloak for
corruption and tyranny, the principles of “good governance” should not be
used to justify the imposition of unilaterally determined standards.
has a place in true development partnerships aimed at implementing the
Millennium Goals and the Monterrey Consensus.
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Norman Girvan is Secretary General of the Association of Caribbean States.
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