The Ray of Hope
A kind of exhaustion prevails after days of counting of election results in the US, the predominant media topic that managed to suppress even Covid. Although US political leadership doesn't appear to be the most relevant issue in developmental evaluation, it nevertheless has major ramifications to our sector.
Wasn't it Trumpism and Johnsonism which damaged and degraded the once proud and competent USAID and DfID institutions to mere shadows of what they had been before? Wasn't it them who have pocketed the very concepts of solidaric international cooperation and instrumentalised them as cheap foreign or trade policy means? Didn't the powerful call to put national interests first undermine the very foundations of a peaceful global coexistence? Didn't the withdrawal from multilateral agreements and obligations - be it in climate change, global health or security policies - reveal a ridiculisation of hard earned consents, of the fruits of scores of negotiations? The outright rejection to the principles of multilaterilsm, along with it the turn away from the Agenda 2030 have profoundly damaged the international development agenda in the past years.
Development policy, no doubt, requires a great deal of reflection and adaptation in times of destabilised power structures, trade failures and global political uncertainties. The challenges around climate and biodiversity, socioeconomic inequality and lack of opportunity for almost a quarter of humanity are crying issues before us. While both the neoliberal and the state-controlled socialist models of addressing those have largely failed to find adequate solutions. International development cooperation, as one key player among a miriad of other actors, will have to find better ways to "build back better". And looking for evidence of quality, impact and accomplishment in these endeavours will continue to be a major task along the journey.
From this perspective, the change of US government is a ray of hope that dynamics may take a positive turn. The shere complexity of issues ahead however is responsibility of all nations and people to stem, and it does by no means give us relief to do our homework too.
| Martin Sommer
Owner Consultant devolutions Ltd.