The battle lines are starting to be drawn over how development assistance and peacebuilding do or don’t support each other, or can or can’t be made to work together, and about whether bad governance and insecurity are the right targets for international development policy and assistance.
This blog has been covering these issues, especially in reviews of the development policies of the UK government (21 Aug 2009) and Conservative opposition (24 Oct 2009). A defence of the pure poverty-reduction-equals-development position comes from the Guardian’s Madeleine Bunting with a critique of what she and some of the big development NGOs call “the militarisation of aid”; the Letters page carried my own response along with another couple of takes on the topic.
This is a debate about the fundamentals of an important component of international policy. It is not just about development and conflict but about development and politics. The UK Department for International Development is discussing it now and drawing up a new policy paper; Norway’s NORAD is working out how to put last year’s development white paper into practice; there will be a Wilton Park conference on it in March; western donors as a group are discussing it through the OECD ‘s International Network on Conflict and Fragility.
The UK is a surprisingly influential player in this field because the Department for International Development is not only relatively big, but is also very active in international debates. As the debate here warms up, it will be very worthwhile to monitor which way the policy winds are blowing in London.