Post #1: A New Era

In her TED Talk, Jacqueline Novogratz talks about empowering people living in poverty to better their own lives, and steers away from methods of aid that are just hand-outs. She defines poverty as those who typically make between one and three dollars a day. While she may agree with the groups of people that are typically defined as poor, she does not agree with the ways in which aid is being provided to the poor. She uses the example of the giving of thousands of tons of second hand clothing to communities in need. This in itself solves the issue of clothing affordability on a short term scale, but actually destroys important local markets in the long run, further perpetuating the issue. Novogratz explains that those providing aid have a lot to learn on how they provide goods and services to the poor. Focusing on local business growth, methods of distribution, and culture-specific marketing strategies are answers. She stresses the importance of building business models in local communities that have purpose, empower local peoples, and let them solve their own problems. By aiding developing countries with large populations facing poverty in this way, both parties can feel dignified in their actions.

The Sustainable Development Goals are 17 “global goals” that build on the Millennium Development Goals of the past 15 years. The MDGs really focused on ending poverty, hunger, disease, and broader issues. While progress has been made, these issues have certainly not been eradicated. The new SDGs are much more specific and address the root cause of these issues. It focuses on necessary development for communities and their peoples. The main commitment of the SDGs is to end poverty. These goals are marked to be much more transparent and inclusive compared to the previous ones. The popularization of neoliberalism has a negative effect on these goals. The privatization of economies, reduction of government spending and movements of deregulation make the achievement of these goals more complicated. These practices are thought to actually increase poverty and inequality in communities, and are therefore problematic. This in turn increases the exploitation of environmental resources and makes the main goal of ending poverty harder to reach. Many of the budgetary constraints that are tenets of neoliberalism create hurdles for those adopting the SDGs.

 

E SDG Poster_A4

(www.za.undp.org) The Sustainable Development Goals

In his writing “Own the Goals”, John McArthur talks about having “players on the bench” and what that means in the context of the Millennium Development Goals. The “players” that he is referring to are the United States government, specifically lead by the Bush administration, and the World Bank. These entities, in their actions supported some pillars of development outlined by the MDGs, but would not explicitly link the goals to their projects. The Bush administration especially viewed the MDGs as UN-dictated aid quotas and not a world movement of development to support. Many US groups avoided using the term MDGs in fear of losing their influence. Eventually after backlash the administration tried to correct their mistakes and state their support for the goals, but it was too late. By refusing to directly engage with the goals, the US missed many opportunities to move forward with international development and solve more deeply-rooted issues. The biggest fear that held this administration back from giving their endorsement was fear of fix foreign aid, but the goals did not dictate this. Additionally, the World Bank missed out. Early resistance to the MDGs was because of resentment of the UN and the leadership position they were able to take by leading the front on this development. Instead of helping developing countries figure out ways how to achieve the MDGs financially, the bank was self-serving. Eventually these two “players on the bench” saw the success of these goals and decided to “take a swing” and support these efforts.

The article “How to Help Poor Countries” addresses the questions surrounding aid money, and how much of it should be available. In 2005, many leaders of wealthy nations decided to put an emphasis on their own commitments to increased aid programs for developing countries. While this a necessary component of development and growth, the authors of the article stress the importance of financial aid not being the only means of growth in these countries. Wealthy nations should also be focused on helping developing nations create sustainable means of growth that could potentially be even more rewarding. The authors give an example of this in comparisons of eastern developing countries, such as Vietnam, to western developing countries like nicaragua. Vietnam has received little foreign aid but has been able to prosper with the enacting of creative domestic reforms. Nicaragua has had more foreign aid, but has been less successful. “Aid has not been associated with the sustained increases in productivity and wages that ultimately matter,” according to the authors.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s