Promises to aid development are empty

Pledges by “have” countries to help the “have-nots” are almost all talk and no action, new research shows. 

F&O Ecuador
A woman packs a load on her back in the hills above Otovalo, Ecuador. Deborah Jones photo © 2013

Since 2003, when a Washington-based think tank started an index to measure development policies by wealthier countries, “the scores for aid, migration, trade and technology transfer are about the same,” said the Center for Global Development in a report today

“Rich country policies to support global security are distinctly worse,” said the centre, because international peacekeeping has fallen as arms exports to undemocratic regimes have increased.

Only the environmental index showed improvement, because of a reduction in chemical emissions harmful to the protective ozone layer in the atmosphere. The exception was Canada, said the centre, “the only country whose environment policies have deteriorated since the index began … in part because of rising fossil fuel production, increasing per capita emissions and low gasoline (petrol) taxes. Slovakia and Hungary take top place in the environment standings with the highest gasoline taxes of CDI countries and greenhouse gas emissions among the lowest.”

The centre said its Commitment to Development Index (CDI) uses hundreds of indicators to rank member countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development by how their policies affect poorer countries in aid, trade, finance, migration, environment, security, and technology transfer. Denmark, Sweden and Norway ranked first overall. South Korea and Japan ranked last, notably because of high tariffs on imports from developing countries.