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Aid resources hijacked to fight terrorism

The Reality of Aid Project: The Reality of Aid 2006. Focus on conflict, security and development cooperation. Zed Books, London and New York 2007, 386 p., _60.00, ISBN 1-84277-845-5

Although official development assistance (ODA) is increasing, some steps backwards in terms of quality are apparent, according to the “Reality of Aid Project”, an independent initiative involving non-governmental organisations from both developed and developing countries. Its report bemoans that aid is increasingly becoming subject to the security interests of donor countries, particularly the fight against terrorism. According to the data, over a third of the global ODA increase since 2000 has been spent on Afghanistan and Iraq alone. Moreover, the debate on fragile statehood is said to have focused on security matters, whereas aid to countries affected should be geared towards promoting human rights as well as improving the political situations locally. In reality, the respective approaches of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) have been largely ignored. Studies of individual donors’ activities as well as of some conflict regions back up the criticism. The book stresses that support for peacekeeping operations or security forces cannot be considered ODA, because development assistance must be used to fight poverty. (bl)