Thursday, 2 December 1999

From "Foreign aid in a changing world"

By Peter Burnell (in The development studies companion, p. 475).

Aid's agenda in the 1990s has included encouraging and assisting progress towards liberal democracy, "good governance" and respect for human rights, in developing and post-communist states. The end of the Cold War and Soviet collapse made it possible for DAC donors to attach explicit political conditionalities to their aid, additional to economic, environmental and other conditionalities. Relatively modest sums of under US$5 billion annually are being spent on "political development", especially by the US government's Agency for International Development and the publicly funded, non-governmental National Endowment for Democracy, and Germany's party foundation (Stiftungen). International bodies include the united Nations Electoral Assistance process, especially for "reconciliation elections" in post-conflict situations, improving governance institutions, and even helping new political parties.

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