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Nik Gill

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Can first world countries spend their overseas aid budgets more effectively?

On March 20th 2013, Great Britain's government firmly backed a legislation that would ensure that 0.7% (~£11 Billion) of Gross National Income will be spent on Overseas Aid.

With many skeptics feeling that this money is often wasted or better spent in more important areas, how would you like to see this money spent to change the perception that International Aid isn't effective?

Myself and Maddy Nash would love to hear your thoughts!

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  • Mar 28 2013: Nik, the whole matter of overseas aid budgets allocation is quite unclear to me. Millions are being spent every year, by the main UN members, and issues like social insertion and birth control seem not to be working or evolving.

    Rather than helping less developed societies and more vulnerable people socially, it seems to me that in developed countries, this matter is more a political stunt to show societies that politicians are generous and they actually have a heart.

    For example, why did the US get involved in helping out countries like Libya and Iraq during conflicts and political crisis? And why aren’t they involved in supporting Syria presently, for instance? The answer for me remains in only one aim, which can be called by the name of petroleum reserve strategy. And of course, Syria is a place where this highly desired asset is not generous in quantity, and this equals to 0% of interest by first world countries to help this country where presently more than 33,000 innocent people have been killed.

    This type of situations makes people feel skeptical I guess.

    I think that society needs to have an overall clear view of how overseas aid budgets are being controlled, and exactly how this money is prioritized in supporting causes.

    I found this interesting link http://www.one.org/c/international/actnow/4409/ where you can calculate according to your annual income, how much it goes to Overseas Aid against other taxes you pay.
    At least it's a start!
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      Mar 29 2013: Hi Dora!

      This is a great insight. Myself and Maddy will take a look at the calculator and let you know our thoughts on it. It links nicely to Adam's point below on making investment more transparent.

      The political agenda's of first world countries is another theme that Simon brought up before and it's difficult to see how we can make a definitive change on what's been happening, e.g. the lower prioritisation of Syria etc.

      Is there anything that you think we can do to improve the current situation? Do we need an independent committee to decide how all overseas budgets (globally) are invested?

      We'll be in touch RE the calculator, it looks very interesting!

      Thank you Dora!
      Nik
    • Mar 30 2013: The US didn't "help" Iraq--it destroyed it. Any "help" is a matter of token reparation for America's previous administration AND THE ONE THAT WAS IN POWER IN 1990's misdeeds therein. Iraq is getting help now from Iran thanks to the US--just what the US doesn't want to see as it's on the hook militarily for Israel if Iran achieves its nuclear ambitions. Why is America "helping" in Libya and not Syria. Firstly, American foreign policy changed with the election of President Obama. One of his objectives was to "repair" the "international community" and America's proportions place within it which Bush-Cheney had made a mockery of. So America play a support role in helping the Libyan rebels topple the long time dictator Kaddafi. It was seen as part of an uprising called the "Arab Spring" in which the people themselves were rising to overthrow tyrants--some of whom were long allies to previous US administrations. Our President, being half African and having an Islamic name, has been maligned by our old guard as being "one of them". That's crap. President Obama's foreign policy has been exemplary in may regards. Syria however is uniquely complicated--the Russians and Chinese have been strong supporters of Assad and the US no longer unilaterally jumps into war. Slowly however things have happened which have justified American support of Syrian rebels--one is the breaking of international law (war crimes) in which Assad has used chemical weapons on citizens. The Russians and Chinese have no leg to stand on to defend something the world has observed as a heinous crime for decades. It's all a bit ironic however in that the war in Iraq was a crime (and America's first Gulf War" was an action which brought the wrath of Al Qaeda down on them in two World Trade Center attacks--one successful which was twisted by the neo-con faction to "justify" a second Dick Cheney led war in Iraq. Take Cheney out of both Sr. and Jr. Bush admins, and I think the WTC would still exist and no wars.
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        Mar 31 2013: Hi James!

        Thanks for a a little more detail behind the US Foreign policy over the past few decades.

        This is moving off topic slightly but given your knowledge, do you feel the US will step in further to help Syria in future?

        Thanks James,
        Nik
        • Mar 31 2013: Yes, more and more there are reports of preparations to help the Syrian rebels with arms, food and medicine. The US will not be entering that civil war as a combatant herself however. Perhaps America may lend air support to some sort of NATO-led effort to intervene, but at least for now while Obama is our President there will be no involvements of US troop forces in the affairs of others. (If only Bush(s)-Cheney hadn't had delusions of American Empire with the one "super-power" thinking she answered to no one. That will take centuries to repair and we can't even be sure we won't elect another cadre of villains. Their money and finger prints are everywhere and it is proving tough for the currently elected President to do what the majority of the people want him to. America is undergoing its own surreptitious coup d' etat where the right wing no longer observes the outcomes of elections and most of it's members in office are pledged to an "anti-tax totality" which places them in a conflict of interest with democracy itself. God help us all if they succeed in regaining control of America's military--they already bankrupted us once and we still haven't recovered. The money for more war can only come from the social systems that make us a developed country if the compromised totalitarians keep to this tolerated but un-American Norquist pledge.) Let's hope Assad wakes up to the fact that his day is not coming back. It's done.
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      Mar 31 2013: Hi Dora!

      The calculator is a great initiative and we wonder why it isn't often used by more charities to encourage further donations?! I guess all charities have to build that trust with the public before these types of initiatives can be trully successsful.

      Thanks Dora,
      Nik

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