The Reality of Aid 2006 Theme Statement
“Security and Development”

Introduction to Reality of Aid:

The Reality of Aid (RoA) Project is the only major north/south international non-government initiative focusing on analysis and lobbying for poverty eradication policies and practices in the international aid regime. It brings together more than 40 civil society networks working in the field of international cooperation in 22 donor countries, in Asia, the Americas and Africa. Established in 1993, the project exists to promote national and international policies that will contribute to a new and effective strategy for poverty eradication, built on solidarity and equality.

Reality of Aid”s work from 2003 to 2006:

The Reality of Aid 2004 focuses on the theme of “Governance and Rights”, shifting the debate beyond the narrow donor definition of “good governance” and aid effectiveness towards a holistic and human rights-based analysis. The actual impact of donor “governance” agendas in developing countries is analysed, particularly for the capabilities and basic rights of the poor and marginalised. International, regional and national level launches for the 2004 publication have been planned. These events promote both the publication and an on-going policy debate between RoA members and partners, as well as advocacy towards policy-makers on these issues.

Challenging issues have arisen during our debates on the Reality of Aid 2004 theme. Cleary the “Global War on Terror” dominates current foreign policy discourse with manifold implications for the aid regime. RoA partners have monitored these trends and mobilised against the shift in policy towards defining development co-operation as a tool in the “War on Terror”. The UN Millennium Development Goals have also come increasingly to the fore of donor and NGO debates, as the deadlines loom and progress on delivery is unclear. Issues of partnership and conditionality addressed in previous editions of the Reality of Aid publication also remain priorities in our individual and joint activities. All of the above issues will continue to feature in our work towards 2006 and beyond.

2006 Theme Statement: “Security and Development”

The Reality of Aid Management Committee proposes that the theme for the Reality of Aid 2006 publication will be security and development.

The publication will aim to explore the ethical, conceptual, historical, policy, financial and practical issues surrounding development debates and action on conflict, security and development. We aim to analyse how these aspects manifest themselves in donor policy and impact in developing countries, as well as their implications for civil society in the North and South. Building on the holistic, rights-based analysis of the 2004 report, the 2006 publication will present a critical civil society perspective on the security-development nexus.

Official development assistance has always reflected a web of geo-political, strategic imperatives. Despite these origins, mainstream work in the respective fields of security and development studies remained largely unaffected by each other’s perspectives and priorities until the 1990s. The sense that each area of study proceeded from a different set of assumptions and embraced a distinctive agenda was mirrored in the worlds of policy-making and civil society debate.

The growing interest in the relationship between conflict, security and development stems, in part, from the fact that the international community has become steadily more involved in efforts to mitigate, contain and resolve violent conflicts, especially those occurring within the boundaries of states and within the context of so-called ’failed’ or ’collapsing’ states. Although such involvement has been selective, the general trend is clear. The number of peace support operations, transitional administrations and ’peace-building’ initiatives of have increased dramatically over the past fifteen years. This heightened degree of involvement has brought into sharp relief the interdependence of security and development concerns and has also raised a series of ethical, conceptual, policy and programmatic challenges which the Reality of Aid dialogue and final publication will aim to explore in greater detail.

The current international focus on hard security and terrorism throws up manifold challenges for civil society organisations concerned with global inequality, rights and justice. The ’war on terror’ has been used to justify practices that undermine the achievement of development goals and run contrary to international commitments on human rights. The impact on aid allocations and the nature of donor co-operation with developing countries is only beginning.

The Reality of Aid network will seek to establish an innovative and broad-ranging dialogue on security and development issues between its members, broader civil society and other non-governmental and governmental stakeholders. The final publication will offer a critical civil society perspective on these themes. We hope to have both our own assumptions challenged, as well as those of our civil society partners and policy-makers alike.

Issues/themes to include:

  • Civil society experiences in conflict prevention, conflict resolution, humanitarian assistance, peace-building, civil-military relations, security sector reform as well as other advocacy, capacity-building and programme activities related to conflict, security and development.
  • Policy debates by donors, global and regional organisations, and recipient governments on conflict, security and development (eg. security sector reform).
  • Critical debates by civil society organisations and other non-governmental stakeholders on conflict, security and development (eg. critical perspectives on the concept of “human security” or the role of the private sector in conflict and conflict resolution).
  • Implications of the “War on Terror” for donor policy, impacts in developing countries and on civil society organisations in donor and developing countries.
    Debates on “the new humanitarianism”, “the responsibility to protect”, rights-based approaches to humanitarian aid and “the relief to development continuum”.
  • The Process of Development, War and Social Violence: including debates within the fields of Sociology, Development Studies and International Relations concerning the process of development and its relationship to violent conflict and change. In particular, competing claims regarding the causal connections between processes of socio-economic change and the incidence and patterns of violent conflict in the developing world.
  • Security and Development Issues During Conflict: the impact of violent conflict on development and, conversely, how different levels or states of development influence the nature and character of contemporary armed conflict. Issues could include state failure and war; the political economy of civil wars; food security, famines and war; and natural resources, scarcity and armed conflict.
  • Security and Development Issues in Transitions from War to Peace: the linkages between issues of security and development in the aftermath of violent conflict. Also relevant in this context is the issue of outside involvement – e.g. the disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of combatants. Attention may also be given to contemporary forms of international administration of war torn societies.
Share this Article