It's Halloween! Time for scary stories - boooooo! Boooooo!
Booooooo! Scary, eh? It gets scarier - read on!
Now imagine, if you will, that the haunted house is actually a farm in Brazil, the mad scientist is Syngenta AG, a multinational agribusiness corporation based in Switzerland, the teenagers are activists from a peasants' rights organization, and the mutant monsters are, say, a heavily armed private militia who fired on the activists at point-blank range, killing one and wounding five others.
And it's a true story.
Since last March, the unarmed activists from Via Campesina had been periodically occupying the site on Syngenta's farm in Santa Tereza do Oeste, Paraná, to protest the company's illegal cultivation of genetically-modified soybeans and corn, a claim the company denies. The occupation had international and local support, and state governor Roberto Requião had planned last November to expropriate the farm and turn it over to local farmers as an agroecological research center. This move was soon overturned, however, by a well-funded coalition of agribusiness concerns and large landowners, including Syngenta.
The clash between local activists and In July of this year escalated when Syngenta hired NF Security to guard their farm. NF Security is a local firm that reportedly recruits individuals, often with criminal records, to form militias who carry out forced land evictions for corporate clients. It was one of these NF Security militias who, according to the activists, attacked the Via Campesina encampment,. killed 32-year old activist Valmir Motta de Oliveira with two shots to the chest, and seriously injured five others.
This is just one in a series of violent incidents in the clash between landless workers and corporate interests in Brazil, including the 2005 murder of U.S.-born nun Dorothy Stang. And since 3.5 percent of Brazil's landholders own nearly 60 percent of the best farmland, while the poorest 40 percent of farmers have a mere one percent, it is doubtful that this will be the last of this type of incident.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
It's Halloween! Time for scary stories - boooooo! Boooooo!
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Consumers International yesterday announced the winners of the International Bad Products Award, an annual prize given to multinational corporations in recognition of their failings of corporate responsibility and their abuse of consumer trust. There are no surprises among this year's winners:
Coca-Cola – for continuing the international marketing of its bottled water, Dasani, despite admitting it comes from the same sources as local tap water.
Kellogg’s – for the worldwide use of cartoon-type characters and product tie-ins aimed at children, despite high levels of sugar and salt in their food products.
Mattel – for stonewalling US congressional investigations and avoiding overall responsibility for the global recall of 21 million products.
But the overall winner, by a long shot, was:
Takeda Pharmaceuticals – for taking advantage of poor US regulation and advertising sleeping pills to children, despite health warnings about pediatric use.
Congratulations to the winners! You have all truly earned this dubious distinction, and I hope all readers of this blog will keep these awards in mind when making their future purchasing decisions.
UPDATE - The Jihadosphere is adding The Gap, McDonald's, and Speedo to the list for their reported labor practices, including child labor, forced labor, and factory beatings. Congratulations to the late entries!
Monday, October 29, 2007
No, say Stanford researchers Stephen Haber and Victor Menaldo in their study Do Natural Resources Fuel Authoritarianism?. While the economic effects of natural resources have been widely studied, from Jeffrey Sachs' groundbreaking 1995 work to latter-day debates over the existence of Dutch Disease. But the effects on democracy and representation have been less well-studied. Haber and Menaldo take an interesting, Dickesque approach in their research:
In order to determine whether there is a first-order effect of natural resources on regime types we follow Herb (2005) and frame the question as a counter-factual: in the absence of natural resources would countries’ regimes have looked all that different than they did with resources? That is, before they discovered natural resources, were today’s authoritarian, resource dependent countries democracies or autocracies? Did the discovery of natural resources have any effect on subsequent changes in regime type?
Not surprisingly, this alternate-universe approach yielded no significant negative or positive impacts of resource discovery on democratic governance. This could be good news for the extractive indstries, but bad news for wormhole manufacturers.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Talk about a severance package.
Former president of Mozambique Joaquim Chissano has received the Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership for quitting his job.
Well, also for pulling his country out of a brutal civil war, reforming the government, and encouraging a 6% economic growth rate. But mainly he won the award for not following in the footsteps of other African leaders who have achieved modest success and then declared themselves leaders-for-life. From the allAfrica article:
Unfortunately, there seem to not be many leaders who want to copy the Chissano way. For every Mozambique, there is a Uganda. It should be noted that both Mr Chissano and Mr Museveni assumed power in the same year: 1986. For every Zambia there is a Gabon. For every Senegal, there is an Ethiopia. For every Botswana, there is a Zimbabwe. For every Tanzania, there is a Burkina Faso - where Mr Chissano spoke on Wednesday. For every Namibia, there is a Guinea. And the list goes on.
Former President Chissano, now the UN Special Envoy to Uganda, will receive US$5 million over 10 years and US$200,000 annually for life thereafter, as well as up to US$200,000 a year for 10 years towards his public interest activities and good causes.
Congratulations to Mr. Chissano for his non-leadership!
Jean Ziegler, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, has called for a five-year moratorium on biofuel production, to allow scientists to develop non-food, low-input alternatives to biofuel stocks such as corn and sugar. Ziegler warns that current diversion of food crops to fuel production is raising prices for the 854 million hungry people in the world.
"It's a crime against humanity to convert agriculturally productive soil into soil which is producing food stuff which will be burned into biofuel," he told a news conference.
"The scientific world is progressing very quickly, in five years it will be possible to produce biofuel and biodiesel from agricultural waste," he said.
"There is hope in the scientific process. What has to be stopped is the transformation (of food crops) now, to stop the growing catastrophe of the massacre of hunger in the world."
Don't hold back, Jean - tell us what you really feel. But while the idea of a moratorium on food-based biofuels is a good one, somehow I doubt it will fly with the very powerful U.S. corn lobby, which produces 44% of the global supply of the fertilizer-intensive and heavily-subsidized monoculture.
Friday, October 26, 2007
A new report from Conservation International finds that 29% of all primate species are in danger of extinction. Hunting, deforestation, and the illegal wildlife trade are threatening 114 of the world’s 394 species of primate, very few of whom have convenient access to getaway arieses.
Hunters kill primates for food and to sell the meat; traders capture them for live sale; and loggers, farmers, and land developers destroy their habitat. One species, Miss Waldron’s red colobus of Ivory Coast and Ghana, already is feared extinct, while the golden-headed langur of Vietnam and China’s Hainan gibbon number only in the dozens. The Horton Plains slender loris of Sri Lanka has been sighted just four times since 1937.
“You could fit all the surviving primates listed in this report in a single football stadium; that’s how few of them remain on Earth today,” said CI President Russell A. Mittermeier, who also chairs the IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group. “The situation is worst in Asia, where tropical forest destruction and the hunting and trading of monkeys puts many species at terrible risk. Even newly discovered species are severely threatened from loss of habitat and could soon disappear.”
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Jihad - جهاد v - An Arabic word, derived from the ج-ه-د root, meaning "to strive," or "to struggle." This word has been mistranslated and misused for many centuries as "holy war."
12th Century Arab philosopher Ibn-Rushd defined Jihad of the Tongue as "to commend good conduct and forbid the wrong, like the type of Jihad Allah (swt) ordered us to fulfill against the hypocrites in His Words, 'O Prophet! Strive hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites'" [9:73].
The new name of this blog is intended to reflect this idea. This blog is a Jihad of the Tongue. Secular in philosophy and global in perspective, my jihad is a struggle against the many problems that plague our world today, and a striving for a world in which peace, freedom, and equality are valued over profit and narrow-minded ideology.
There are 1.1 billion people in the world today living on less than $1 a day. This is my jihad. More than 115 million children of primary school age, the majority of them girls, are not currently in school. This is my jihad. Over 815 million people suffer from chronic hunger and malnutrition. This is my jihad. Every day, 30,000 children under five die, most from preventable causes. This is my jihad. 1.1 billion people worldwide do not have access to safe drinking water. This is my jihad. Global climate change threatens to increase human suffering through desertification, changing weather patterns, rising sea levels, and migration-driven conflict. This is my jihad.
Let me be absolutely clear, for those who may still be confused. This blog does not condone or support terrorism, or any form of violence. Despite what my critics would like to believe, this blog is not anti-American. It is not anti-capitalist. It is not partisan. It is, however, anti-greed, anti-corruption, and anti-fascism. It is critical where criticism is due, complimentary where praise is due, and light-heartedly snarky throughout.
As always, I welcome your comments and criticism.
This is good for a chuckle.
Such are the fickle ties of Islamofascism, apparently.
Muhammad Tahir, of the perpetually-stuck-in-the-Cold-War Jamestown Foundation, has a head-scratching theory that Iran would prefer to have two unstable quagmires along its two longest borders, rather than stable pro-Western governments, and thus are arming their own enemies just to stick it to The Man.
Makes perfect sense, doesn't it?
For the first time in 25 years, the World Bank has made agriculture the subject of its annual World Development Report. Just in time to respond to an internal audit has found the Bank's commitment to agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa sorely lacking. Go figure!
This Report addresses three main
- What can agriculture do for development? Agriculture has served as a basis for growth and reduced poverty in many countries, but more countries could benefit if governments and donors were to reverse years of policy neglect and remedy their underinvestment and misinvestment in agriculture.
- What are effective instruments in using agriculture for development? Top priorities are to increase the assets of poor households, make smallholders—and agriculture in general—more productive, and create opportunities in the rural nonfarm economy that the rural poor can seize.
- How can agriculture-for-development agendas best be implemented? By designing policies and decision processes most suited to each country’s economic and social conditions, by mobilizing political support, and by improving the governance of agriculture.
Interesting report. Lots to think about and discuss. What I found most interesting was the Bank's admission (sort of) that the structural adjustment policies of the last quarter century weren't all that great for agricultural development:
The agriculture-for-development agenda presents two challenges for implementation. One is managing the political economy of agricultural policies to overcome policy biases, underinvestment, and misinvestment. The other is strengthening governance for the implementation of agricultural policies, particularly in the agriculture- based and transforming countries for which governance gets low scores (figure 12).
Insufficient attention to these political economy and governance challenges was a major reason several key recommendations of the 1982 World Development Report on agriculture were not fully implemented, particularly those for trade liberalization, increased investments in infrastructure and R&D in Africa, and better delivery of health and education services to rural populations.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Green Options has a great piece today on the Green Halloween movement, and a program by Equal Exchange promoting fair trade and equity in the cocoa farming industry:
Reverse trick-or-treating is an educational campaign aimed at informing households about the "social justice issues in the cocoa industry, and how Fair Trade certified chocolate works to end poverty." Families participate by knocking on their neighbors’ doors and giving them Fair Trade chocolate. Instead of only receiving sweet treats, children get to give them out, too. It’s a fair trade. The Fair Trade chocolate is accompanied by flyers explaining how Fair Trade benefits children in cocoa farming communities.
Human Rights Watch has issued an 86-page report documenting atrocities in the Democratic Republic of Congo's eastern North Kivu province. Fighting between Congolese troops, renegade general Laurent Nkunda's troops, and Rwandan opposition forces has taken a drastic toll on civilians.
From the HRW press release:
In addition to killing and abducting scores of civilians, soldiers have engaged in widespread rape and in the looting and destruction of property. All forces used child soldiers and some commanders tried to prevent international child protection agencies from locating and removing children them from their ranks.
Since late 2006 the conflict has displaced some 370,000 persons, adding to the burden on humanitarian agencies already trying to assist hundreds of thousands of others displaced by earlier stages of the fighting.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Terrorism, Land Displacement, Drugs, and Biofuels - The Tale of an Alternative Livelihoods Project in Colombia
A recent story on the North American Congress on Latin America web site has raised a series of questions about a U.S.-supported alternative livelihoods project in northwest Colombia. The story starts with the experiences of one farmer more than ten years ago:
Over 50 years ago, Enrique Petro left his humble home to seek out a new life farming in the northwestern region of Urabá, Colombia. ... But in February 1997, Petro’s life changed radically. He was violently driven from his home of 50 years by a Colombian military and paramilitary incursion named Operation Genesis. The government defended the incursion as an attempt to drive insurgent guerrillas from the region. The real victims, however, were small farmers and Afro-Colombian communities. The military burned their homes and bombed their lands, while paramilitaries brutally massacred innocent civilians.
While Petro and others from his community sought refuge in Turbo, his lands—a few hundred acres—were illegally taken over by African Palm companies. His crops were plowed, the neighboring jungle was destroyed and giant canals were dug to channel excess water. Lands that once sustained the food crops of thousands of families—and a delicate jungle ecosystem—are now lined with giant oil palms. The palm’s fruits are harvested to produce palm oil, which is refined into, among other things, biofuel for national and international markets.
Part of the funding for this oil palm project comes from the U.S. government, which has made alternative livelihood development an important part of the U.S.-Colombia partnership against narcoterror. According to the 3rd Quarter FY05 Report from the Colombia Agribusiness Partnership Program (CAPP), $700,000 was awarded to the Urabá Union of Palm Oil Growers (URAPALMA), to grow African palm on 1,720 hectares of land in Choco and Urabá. Many displaces Afro-Colombian and campesino farmers continue to claim the rights to the land being held by URAPALMA, and a March 2005 report by the Colombian Rural Development Institute (Incoder) indeed found that 93% of land being used for palm growing was ancestral land of displaced Afro-Colombian groups.
This has not stopped URAPALMA from continuing to cultivate this land, at great cost to the enviroment and local population. An environmental assessment of a similar palm-growing project in a different region of Colombia found that the cumulative effects of oil palm development and processing, without mitigation measures, would include:
- Deterioration of the quality of water resources, due to an inadequate disposal of liquid discharges, mainly at the oil palm processing plant.
- Erosion gullies in the lands due to inadequate farming, pasturing and oil production practices.
- Atmospheric contamination, caused by emissions from the boilers of the FFB processing plant.
- Deficient health conditions in user housing, due to insufficient infrastructure for management and disposal of solid wastes and excreta.
- Loss of natural forest due to uncontrolled exploitation of natural and planted forests.
- Fragile social structure, caused above all by delicate security and public order conditions.
But what's more frightening are the rumored connections between URAPALMA and wanted terrorists responsible for much of the violence and displacement in the region in the first place. From the 09/03/06 El Espectador:
An added factor of controversy in the boom of palm oil companies in the Uraba region of Choco is the not-so-secret rumour that some of these businesses are supported by demobilized self-defence leaders. In fact, the very Vicente Castaño Gil who is today remiss in presenting himself for confinement as ordered by President Alvaro Uribe Velez, acknowledged in a June 2005 interview with Semana magazine: "We have palm plantations in the region of Uraba. I myself got the businessmen to invest in those projects, which are long- term and productive."
Now, does this mean that the U.S. government is making payments to the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia, a practice that resulted in a $25 million fine for Chiquita Brands International in March? Not exactly. But it does raise some interesting questions as to who this project is benefitting and who it is harming in Colombia.
Monday, October 22, 2007
We at toasterhead's blogosphere feel that this week's events downplay the threat from other non-existent entities threatening our great nation, and we can no longer let these threats go unrecognized. I urge you to support Bigfoot Awareness Week. For the children.
Photo: Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin
Friday, October 19, 2007
A new study by the International Fund for Agricultural Development amd the Inter-American Development Bank put the total amount of remittances for 2006 at $300 billion, almost three times the $104 billion in official development assistance and twice the $167 billion in foreign direct investment. This money, sent home by more than 150 million migrants from the developing world, comprises as much as 10% of GDP in 45 developing nations covered by the study.
India with $24.5 billion took in more remittance than any other nation. It was followed by Mexico ($24.2 billion), China ($21 billion), the Philippines ($14.6 billion) and Russia ($13.7 billion), according to a new UN study.
"This figure, which is a conservative estimate, shows that the seemingly small sums sent home by migrant workers when added together dwarf official development assistance," said Kevin Cleaver, assistant president of the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
No doubt this report will lead to more calls from the anti-ODA coalition to "reform" (read: privatize) the global foreign aid system and take advantage of this cash flow rather than address the root causes sending migrant labor in the first place.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Yesterday UNESCO announced a partnership with the U.S. Library of Congress to build the The World Digital Library, a centralized digital portal of documents and books from national libraries around the world intended to foster inter-cultural dialogue and promote education and learning.
The World Digital Library initiative will digitize unique and rare materials from libraries and other cultural institutions around the world and make them available free of charge on the Internet. These materials include manuscripts, maps, books, musical scores, sound recordings, films, prints and photographs.
The prototype functions in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish, the six official languages of the United Nations, as well as in Portuguese. It features search and browse by place, time, topic, and contributing institution.
“Libraries are key actors for ensuring universal access to information and building knowledge societies,” said UNESCO Director-General, Koïchiro Matsuura. “We are very pleased to build on the excellent partnership that we have long enjoyed with the Library of Congress to work in innovative ways to preserve and make accessible the memory of the world.”
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
OneWorld reports on a new study by the University of Maryland's Center for Integrative Environmental Research that predicts dire economic consequences that will likely result from ignoring global climate change. The negative impacts will far outweigh any possible positive externalities of climate change, and will impact evenly across all socioeconomic and regional sectors.
From the OneWorld summary:
Estimates suggest that in the U.S. West and Northwest, the cost of fire suppression and property damages will run in the billions due to changes in precipitation patterns and snow pack.
The Great Plains can expect to experience increased frequency and severity of flooding and drought, resulting in additional billions of dollars in damages to crops and property.
The already sinking water levels will go lower in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River system, driving up shipping costs and severely impacting the Midwest manufacturing sector.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
The state government of Kerala, India, has begun the process of filing criminal charges against Coca-Cola in India for environmental damage allegedly caused by the company's controversial bottling plant in Plachimada. The community has accused the plant of causing severe water shortages and polluting the soil and groundwater with cadmium-heavy sludge.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
That's right, folks - the 2007 Commitment to Development Index is out, and the U.S. ranks 14th, far behind medalists The Netherlands, The Denmark, and The Sweden.
Why so low? I'll let the Center for Global Development handle that one:
U.S. barriers against developing country agricultural exports are lower than those of most CDI countries, and some U.S. policies promote healthy investment in poor countries. But the United States finishes near the bottom of the rankings in both the foreign aid and environment components. U.S. foreign aid is small as a share of its income and it “ties” a large share of this aid to the purchase of U.S. goods and services. The United States also has the lowest gas taxes and among the highest greenhouse gas emission rates per person. Along with Australia, it is one of only two CDI countries that have not signed the Kyoto Protocol.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Not at Columbia University, mind you, but at Tehran University. Click for photos and video of some very brave young Iranis.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has cut the ribbon on a new pharmaceutical plant that will produce antiretroviral and antimalaria drugs for Uganda as well as for export to other African neighbors. The project, a joint venture between the Government of Uganda, local company Quality Chemical Industries, and Indian generic manufacturer Cipla, has proceeded despite some resistance from "saboteurs" within the Ugandan government.
Quality Chemical Industries director Fred Mutebi Kitaka said the production of ARVs in Uganda would help lower the cost of sh28,000 per dose per month for a patient.
“Of the 300,000 people in Uganda who need anti-retroviral treatment, about 100,000 have access to the lifeprolonging drugs. With time this plant will help lower the cost for ordinary patients. At some point the cost of the drug was an exorbitant $1,500 per dose per month.”
If the plant is successful, it will be a perverse validation of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) provisions of the WTO, rightly criticized by economists such as Joseph Stiglitz as serving the interests of the pharmaceutical giants while damaging the developing world. The building of the plant was necessitated by a new Indian law that will ban Cipla and other Indian firms from exporting ARV and other drugs in January 2008.
This will come just in time to save Uganda from a new law which will stop India from exporting cheaper versions of antiretroviral drugs, commonly known as generics. India has been Uganda's main source of generic ARVs, which are far cheaper than those manufactured by the companies that invented these drugs in Europe and USA.
Since the late 1990s Indian companies have been able to produce and sell generic drugs without the consent of the patent holders in Europe and USA. However, having ratified the TRIPS agreement of the World Trade Organisation, India will ban the exportation of generic drugs by the end of this year.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Today we have two stories on the promise and perils of genetically-engineered rice. NPR reports this morning about a strain of rice produced by the International Rice Research Institute that can "hold its breath" underwater for up to two weeks, a very useful property in an era when climate change is leading to stronger monsoons, super typhoons, and flooding across South and Southeast Asia:
"Rice is daily food for everyone, from poor to rich. It's one of the essential things, like salt," he says. Ahmed also says that when the rice crops fail, people starve, like after the great floods of 1974. "That year, nearly all the places got submerged and that is why there [was] no rice production, and people had no work, so a lot of people died."
In fact, nearly a million people died. Since then, scientists have been trying to create rice that survives flooding.
A new Greenpeace campaign highlights the risks of GE rice. They estimate that over 30% of the US rice crop has been contaminated by Bayer CropScience's Liberty Link rice, a strain banned in many countries that was supposed to be confined to test sites. And if you didn't think it was possible to make Budweiser any worse than it is, think again:
The corporate braumeisters of Anheuser-Busch have let genetically engineered rice contaminate their Budweiser beer, independent laboratory testing has revealed. Tests show rice used in Anheuser-Busch's east coast US breweries is contaminated with genetically engineered rice varieties outlawed in most of the world.
Budweiser is an international brand exported to 60 countries worldwide. Anheuser-Busch controls 50 percent of the US beer market and is the largest single purchaser of rice in America. They buy between a staggering six and ten percent of the entire annual US rice harvest.
Thursday, October 04, 2007
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
A report released today by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees has little good news for asylum-seekers. Security concerns are driving increased arbitrary detention of refugees -- including children -- and forcing refugees from several countries into an "untouchable" status.
From the UNHCR press release:
"The world of borders is particularly shadowy, with interception, turn-arounds and refoulement taking place outside the frame of any proper scrutiny. Security is driving the operation of asylum systems in an increasing number of countries, contributing to the growth of a culture of thinking where rights are becoming peripheral," [Assistant High Commissioner for Protection Erika] Feller told delegates.
Feller said that in some regions, asylum was a "lottery", with states inconsistent in applying 1951 Refugee Convention standards.
"The widely divergent refugee recognition rate among states is a telling indicator, with research showing, for example, that persons from Iraq, Sri Lanka or Somalia have very different prospects of finding protection depending on where their claim is lodged," Feller told delegates.
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
Larry Beinhart points out four oft-repeated myths about Iran we're continuing to hear in the run-up to our upcoming war of distraction with Iran.
Now we are creating a new fog of mythologies -- about a "dictator" who isn't one, about "appeasement" that is completely inapplicable, about nuclear weapons that don't exist, about a country that is "evil" -- that make it seem like we must do something.
But what will the consequences of military action be? If we've learned but one single thing from the current war in Iraq it's that after we panic ourselves with descriptions of the worst that will happen if we don't act, we had better consider the worst that will happen if we do. And be ready for it.
Monday, October 01, 2007
UN-HABITAT'S Global Report on Human Settlements reports that crime is a growing problem among the world's three billion city dwellers, and that almost 60 percent of urban dwellers in developing countries have been victims of crime in the past five years.
Insecurity and natural disasters are also disproportionately affecting the urban poor. As reported by Inter-Press Service:
"For a city to be safe, people have to be safe at home," said Tibaijuka. But a third of the urban population is constantly threatened by forced evictions or insecurity of tenure. This undermines the safety of almost one billion slum dwellers. As land values within cities continue to rise and as housing solutions are increasingly left to market forces, at least two million slum dwellers are evicted annually, the UN-HABITAT report says.
The report also reveals that 98 percent of the 211 million people affected by natural disasters between 1991 and 2001 were in developing countries. The consequences have been severe, as natural disasters have increased fourfold since 1975, and man-made disasters increased tenfold. Many of these have hit cities, and the poor are often located in the most hazardous areas of the city.
In a long-overdue article in the October issue of Poverty in Focus (page 6-7), Stephen Browne of the International Trade Centre, Geneva proposes that we stop using aid dollars as a measurement of a donor country's generosity. He argues that this archaic measurement, cited by donor country cheerleaders and critics alike, ignores the far more important issues of aid effectiveness and poverty reduction in recipient countries, not to mention the counter-productive effects of donor country agricultural subsidies and import tariffs.
Instead, he proposes that the focus should instead be on achievement of the Millennium Development Goals
Aid has more meaning and legitimacy when it is focused on human development outcomes at country level. Rather belatedly, the development community is recognizing the wisdom of national plans and strategies which help to map paths towards the achievement of MDGs, taking into account the individual circumstances of each country. The proponents of aid volume targeting want to calculate ‘MDG financing gaps’ again using the facile assumption that aid can somehow miraculously purchase development ends. The MDGs are the right focus, but aid—on condition that it is the right kind of aid—will be only one of the many, many conditions that need to be in place if development is to progress.