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NZAID efforts let down by other govt. agencies

NZAID efforts let down by other government agencies

A new report points to a lack of co-ordination in the New Zealand government's international policies, says Rae Julian, Executive Director of the Council for International Development (CID).

"CID shares the concerns, expressed in Dr Marilyn Waring's report on whether NZAID is following the path set by Cabinet, about the lack of policy coherence and general co-ordination of activities among government departments working internationally.

"Dr. Waring highlights differences between the NZAID prioritisation of basic education, ensuring children can attend and complete primary school, and the Ministry of Education's intention to continue awarding tertiary level scholarships, which tend to favour the elite. Similar contradictions are identified between NZAID's development perspective on international trade policy and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade's trade liberalisation stance.

"Although NZAID is the lead agency in all aspects of Official Development Assistance (ODA), Waring found the aim of poverty elimination, of listening to voices from developing countries and working in partnership with them to reach their own development goals, was not universally supported," Julian says.

CID supports the report's recommendation that "Cabinet direct all agencies incurring expenditure on [ODA] projects to submit their plans to NZAID for review, advice and comment." We would add that these plans should be consistent with NZAID's strategic framework.

Dr. Waring also points out that NZAID's commitment, especially to the Pacific, cannot be realised unless funding is sufficient to achieve not just its own aims, but also those to which the Government has pledged support on a number of occasions - the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). According to the most recent UN Human Development report, the Pacific is second only to sub-Saharan Africa as the region least likely to meet the MDGs.

CID joins Waring in urging regular increases in ODA to reach a target of 0.7% of Gross National Income by 2015.

"We are pleased with the overall thrust of the report. It vindicates our support for the establishment of NZAID as a semi-autonomous agency focused on poverty elimination. If Dr. Waring were in her teacher role, it seems she would have awarded NZAID an A-."

"Dr. Waring praises the appointment of staff from a wide range of development backgrounds; the commitment to wide consultation, the mainstreaming of areas such as gender, human rights and the environment and the steady growth of NZAID personnel in overseas posts. CID supports her comments."


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