LIFE, April 15 (IPS) – The unprecedented flow of weapons to Ukraine, and the growing military spending of European nations to bolster defenses, are threatening to undermine development aid to Ukraine. poorer countries of the world.
Yoke Ling, Executive Director of Third World Network told IPS that escalating military spending will certainly have a direct impact on a range of spending that North Korea has committed to developing countries. — from official development assistance (ODA) to climate finance, “is a legal obligation under climate treaties”.
She pointed out that even before the Russo-Ukrainian war, North Korea had been cutting off its development financing. “So we expect the downturn to get worse,” she added.
A United Nations report, titled Financing for Sustainable Development Report 2022: Bridging the Financial Divide released on April 12, shows the record growth of Official development supportrose to an all-time high in 2020, to $161.2 billion.
“However, 13 countries have cut ODA, and this amount is still not enough for the broad needs of developing countries.”
The UN also fears that “the fallout from the crisis in Ukraine, coupled with increased spending on refugees in Europe, could mean a reduction in aid to the poorest countries”.
In the context of the global crisis, further action and international support are needed to prevent a debt crisis and address high borrowing costs, the report warned.
“However, the vast majority of developing countries will need active and urgent support to get back on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals” (SDGs).
The report estimates that in the poorest countries, a 20% increase in spending will be required for key sectors.
A New York Times report on March 29, said that across Europe and Britain, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is reshaping spending priorities and forcing governments to prepare for threats. Threats are thought to have long been buried – from a wave of European refugees to the potential use of chemicals, biological weapons and even nuclear weapons by a Russian leader who could feel backed into a corner.
“The result is an abrupt budget shift as military spending, essential needs like agriculture and energy, and humanitarian assistance are pushed to the front lines, with other pressing needs like education. and social services may be downgraded,” the Times said.
Frederic Mousseau, Policy Director at the Oakland Institute, told IPS “while a combination of drought and conflict has resulted in great human suffering and hunger in some countries, the appeals have been humanitarian United Nations for these acute crises are frequently in short supply”.
Last year, he pointed out, only 45 percent of UN calls for Yemen and the Horn of Africa were funded, and only 29 percent for Syria. With such a shortage in the midst of the Ukraine war, it is important for all donor countries to ensure their solidarity and support is focused on all victims.
Increasing military budgets in Europe will automatically bring more revenue to major Western arms exporters, such as the US, France and Germany.
The military-industrial complex brings increased economic benefits to these countries and fuels conflicts around the world. In 2021, the second largest humanitarian aid request is for Yemen, while Saudi Arabia, which is at war with the country, is the first importer of weapons from Western countries.
It is important to see how the actual aid budget will be affected by the war in Ukraine, he said.
“But no matter what happens in Europe, one major problem undermining our ability to promote peace and stability in the world – and reduce the need for international assistance, is the military budget. America’s involvement continues to increase under the Biden administration to achieve it all. — a record $813 billion this year.”
Mousseau points out that this is more spending than the next 11 countries combined.
“The United States is not only the country with the highest military budget in the world, but also the largest arms exporter and coincidentally the largest aid donor. However, US international aid accounts for only 4% of US military spending. Priorities must change drastically to meet the world’s humanitarian and environmental challenges,’ he declared.
Vitalice Meja, Executive Director, Reality of Aid Africa, told IPS: “We support humanitarian efforts directed towards the Ukrainian people and remain in solidarity with them. However, we believe that donors must still meet their other obligations in the face of other global poverty wars and the climate crisis facing humanity. ”
Particularly important for Africa, she said, is that ODA remains focused on promoting development and addressing the raging climate change crisis and growing inequality.
“Donors must allocate additional resources to Ukraine and not simply by militarizing aid or shifting budget items and priorities away from other global development challenges in response to with the War in Ukraine”.
It is important that donors, at the same time, do not shift resources, should focus on building and strengthening Africa’s resilience in times of extreme climate change and mass crop failures like today.
“They must secure sustainable climate finance and development resources to address the growing instances of inequality, hunger and extreme poverty in this part of the work.”
This is our fight and it is still important and relevant. Meja declares that it must be fought actively and won.
Jennifer del Rosario-Malonzo, Executive Director, IBON International, told IPS: “We stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people who are suffering the loss of war. The rights and needs of the people – in Ukraine, in Asia and the rest of the global South – should take precedence over military spending.”
If some developed nations today appear lavish with arms spending and military budgets, while their “humanitarian” responses involve curtailing other aid programmes, will it not? Do they say that security interests come before long-term, public needs? she asked.
Outside of the Ukraine war, the developed world has broken its promise to provide $100 billion in climate finance by 2020.
Sacrificing development aid budgets and climate finance would exacerbate poverty, inequality, adverse climate impacts and exclusion in the Global South. A lack of ambition here risks fueling economic and political grievances at the root of armed conflicts in Asia and elsewhere.
Solidarity and justice today call for ambition. We challenge developed countries to fulfill their existing aid commitments (minimum 0.7% of GNI in the form of ODA), along with providing new funding for the needs of the people in Ukraine. We call for climate funding to rely on new and additional subsidies to compensate those and communities hardest hit by climate change loss and damage.
Meanwhile, the United Nations report on Financing for Sustainable Development also shows that while rich countries can help with the pandemic recovery with record amounts borrowed at extremely low interest rates, the poorest countries spend billions of dollars to repay their debts, preventing them from investing in sustainable development. . “The pandemic shock has pushed an additional 77 million people into extreme poverty by 2021, and by the end of the year many economies are still below pre-2019 levels.”
The report estimates that 1 in 5 developing countries per capita GDP will not return to 2019 levels by the end of 2023, even before the impact of the Ukraine war. “As we are halfway through funding the world’s Sustainable Development Goals, these findings are alarming,” said United Nations Under-Secretary-General Amina Mohammed.
“There is no reason not to act at this time of defining collective responsibility, to ensure hundreds of millions of people are lifted out of hunger and poverty. We must invest in access to good and green jobs, social protection, health care and education leaving no one behind,” she warned.
Report of the United Nations Office IPS
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