One Response

  1. Susan Harris Rimmer
    Susan Harris Rimmer January 7, 2011 at 10:55 am

    Thank you for an insightful piece Peter. ‘Developmental risks’ indeed. More boldness and better analysis of inequality and insecurity for the poorest people in developing countries is required in Australia’s aid program. This report was particularly important as the sector considers the role of ODE in the Aid Effectiveness Review.

    An interesting development that might take some of Peter’s arguments forward is a new report from ODE, still in draft form, about whether AusAID should have a strategic framework for dealing with civil society. The draft report is entitled ‘Working with the State is Not Enough’, and in many respects it is the missing piece in the puzzle – http://www.ode.ausaid.gov.au/publications/index.html#progress.

    Taking civil society seriously in the aid program is overdue. How do weak governments improve? By technical assistance from other governments, or by demands for better governance by empowered citizens? Surely by both, but without pressure from the domestic constituency, reforms will falter. The latest thinking from AusAID on governance recognises this (‘Power to the People’ – http://www.ausaid.gov.au/publications/pubout.cfm?ID=9742_5949_4436_8120_49&Type=PubKAG), but still fails to think of ways to promote bottom-up governance by engaging civil society. Presumably because such a focus is messy and human, but that is the game we are in.

Leave a Reply