Thursday, September 23, 2010

The headache of UN aid distribution

The age-old question of how to distribute aid once rich countries give it, continues to dog the UN millennium goal summit in New York.

Side events held by poorer nations aim to find better ways to meet targets, but many complain about red-tape.

President of East Timor Jose Ramos Horta said:
‘‘You know how many layers of bureaucracy there are when the European Union wants to help East Timor? Well, they don’t provide the funds to us, the funds allocated are managed by world bank. And the world bank has its own layers of bureaucracy. And they charge for that. The project is then managed by UNDP. But UNDP is only good at doing studies, they don’t execute projects.’‘

With so many separate bodies taking a slice, the final sum is often much smaller than originally given. But, some argue it is the only way.

The billionaire financier and philanthropist George Soros said: ‘‘They (the donors) have to account for the money, and if they just give it to the government then it’s liable to disappear. Because many of the countries that are poor are poor because they have bad governments.”

A catch 22 situation, which arguably needs to be addressed by world leaders before the UN targets on cutting global poverty and hunger can be met.

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