Thursday, December 27, 2007

Rich Nations and the Amount of the Foreign Aid Assistance

By Tiina Mustakangas-Laukka

No one knows exactly how much money is needed to halve the poverty. However, there are some estimates on the “price” of the UN Millenium Goals. According to them, the foreign aid assistance of the rich nations should be doubled in order to be able to reach all the eight UN Millennium Goals. This amount of aid would equal 0.5 % of all the aid giving countries’ GDP, being therefore much less than the UN 0.7% target.

In forty years, the economic welfare of the aid giving countries has doubled, but then again their foreign aid assistance has halved. Every cow within the European Union gets a financial support of
more than two dollars a day, and at the same time there are 2.8 billion people who earn less than two dollars a day.

Finland’s foreign aid assistance for the year 2006 was 670 million euros. In reality, only 500 million euros of that aid was used, and it equalled 0.39% of our GDP. Finland’s aim is to reach the UN 0.7% target by the year 2010. It has reached the 0.7% target only once, in 1991. Right after this, during the economic recession of the 1990’s, Finland cut its foreign aid assistance more than any other country in the world. Now that the economic situation has improved, Finland has not raised its aid to the earlier level.

How shameful is that?! And how shameful is it that almost all rich nations have failed this obligation?!

What is the amount of the foreign aid assistance in the US? How well has US reached the UN 0.7% target?

Source: Kivistö, Jari (ed.). 2007. Growing into Global Responsibility. Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Finland.


Development towards global partnership

What should we do to get developing countries in the same level with us, industrialized countries? We always only discuss this problem but that isn’t enough, we have to take action!
We usually help developing countries for example with different kinds of development aids.
Typical aid can be a development project which is related to everyday life, like infrastructure. We also provide help to develop their school system so that every boy and girl gets an opportunity to go to school.

Developing countries and global economy

We must help developing countries as much as we can so that they can survive on their own. The United nations calculate that only African countries alone took a loan worth of 540 billion dollars in 1972-2002. Just from that you can see how poor countries can easily resort to take a loan which can lead to a circle of debt. Economical problems can also present political conflicts, like civil war. The Millenium declaration of the United Nations encourages the industrial countries to carry out debt allowance program for countries that are seriously in debts. Countries that are working to get out of poverty should be aided by reducing the debts. Other economical ways for helping developing countries are for example getting their export products into our market economy, as well as increasing both development aid and technological development. The United Nations recommends that the industrial countries should give 0.7 of their GDP to developing countries. When you are giving money through charity to developing countries, you have to pay attention to that the money finds the right owners i.e. those who need it.

Developing countries and politics

We have to advise developing countries in political things but we also have to accept their political structure. Also enhancing and supporting their mechanism is important because it is a good way to avoid conflicts between poor and rich countries. We should have more public meetings regularly where we could discuss together with developing countries.

What can I do for developing countries?

There are lots of things to do, and you can do a lot. You can have a godchild from a poor country and give him clothes and food, as well as finance the child’s education. Volunteering is a good way to help because then you can literally go and help there. It will also provide you with unforgettable experiences.

You can give different kinds of donations or buy things that are sold for poor countries’ credit. Your attitude towards developing countries is an important thing because if you are not interested, nothing will change. But if you are willing to help those in need and you are ready to take action you can change the world. You can’t do everything all by yourself, but you can encourage the others to participate with your example. A good example of this is U2’s singer Bono who has talked about the subject in public and inspired people to help others. YOU CAN MAKE A CHANGE!

By Pirita Niemelä (student at Haukipudas High School)



Jenni,Janne,Silja said...

It is a shame for Finland that we don't support the Third World's countries well enough. Even though we would have money for it. On the other hand if we always help them financially they won't learn to cope on their own in this unjust world. So what to do? Maybe we should help them some other way than financially. It won't help them, if we just give the money to their governments, which are corrupted. We think that we should export education and healthcare more than just money. Money doesn't solve all the problems, or does it?

medinahaukipudas said...

That 670 million euros is a huge amount of money, if that isn't enough, then I don't know what is.

Aku-Pekka and Sampsa

malla said...

Maybe we should gather some money together? The government should demand some sort of taxes from people above a certain standard of living and after that give the money for the foreign countries? The government should do a "Robin Hood" job: take the money from the rich and give it to the poor!
It is very hard to do anything alone.

Jussi said...

Yes, it's very shameful. Especially, when countries could take sum money from their rearmament budget and just give them. If we didn't spent so much money on weapons, we wouldn't have problems like poverty etc. And I personally think, that US should be good example and raise foreign aid assistance.

jarkko said...

It's difficult to help developing countries at an individual level. Government should act as Robin Hood and take money from the rich and give it to the poor.

Antti said...

Are cows more important than people..?

Chelsea Walton said...

i believe that before we run over to "rescue" another country we should stop and take a look at our own problems. Sure we are definatley not as bad as their situation, however we still need to take care of our country. We have millions of people living in dept, homeless, and hopeless. Maybe they got themselves in this mess, but we can't have this many people living on well fair, its not right. Also when we make our way to another country to help them we end up imposing our capitalistic government on them, never a good thing for the other country. They should learn how to pick themselves back up with just a little bit of our aid.

Ana said...

I agree with antti,I dont think that cows should be more important than people... and I think that Finland should use all of that money they claim to use.

Anonymous said...

By Arto Ojala

The significance of the development aid for developing countries is seen as a generally important matter in Finland, but its amount and quality stay a lot behind the UN objectives, even if the Africans still live at this very moment, and in my opinion, in a similar state as the Europeans in the 18th century. So, it would be primarily important to support them in many ways. There are millions of ways in which this helping could take place, but it is generally confessed that the most important way would be money.

The significance of money in the development aid cannot be denied, because in our present society all matters are calculated in dollars, euros and yens. According to the UN objectives, the development aid should be 0.7% of the budget of the country. However, in Finland it was only half of the objective, even though, for example, last year the country got distinctly richer. The development aid should be bound, in my opinion, for example to the war industry of the country, so that the same amount of money which is used for assault rifles and tanks would be used for the facilitation of the problems of the third world countries. This help would primarily be seen as the United State’s, Russia's and China's hand straightening to its weaker, because the countries in question waste most money for the preparation of a war at the moment.

The second significant means of aid would be social assistance, in other words spreading of information. So I mean that our civilised countries should spread information and skills to the poorer and more unskilful. The spreading of the information would at best lead to the fact that the Africans could, for example, try to solve their dominating HIV problem or food shortage which cause a great mortality rate.