Equity in Donor Aid Allocation to Iraq

Loading food aid in Iraq

Two short articles in a recent issue of the Lancet question the overall level of aid given and pledged to post-conflict Iraq1,2. One author (Singh) highlights the uncritical appraisal of the 33 billion dollars allocated and pledged at the US-driven, and UN endorsed, Madrid donor conference in October 2003. He argues that many countries in Africa, south America and Asia are beset by lower levels of human development, deadlier pandemics, higher infant mortality rates and greater social instability than Iraq. Like Iraq, Rwanda and Sierra Leone are wracked with continuing political instability and strife, yet the international community failed to react with the swiftness and urgency it has shown it is capable of in the case of Iraq. Singh asks if the threat of terrorist opportunism in Iraq is being cited as a reason for the urgency in donor aid to that country, then why is the same reasoning not being used to rally massive aid to Somalia, where lawlessness is just as bad and the country offers a likely centre for terrorist activities? Furthermore, life expectancy and child mortality in Somalia paint a grimmer picture than in Iraq. Singh asks whether other countries are being sidelined for strategic reasons, i.e. the mounting casualties incurred in Iraq by troops, and the draw on workers from developed countries. In July 2003, the total amount pledged to the Global fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, since its creation in January 2002, stood at 4.7 billion dollars. Inexplicably, some countries pledged more to Iraq in 2 days, at the behest of the USA, than they have contributed to the fund since its inception.

Distributing food aid in Iraq

Singh suggests that rich donor countries do not have infinite funds and that an inequitable or disproportionate allocation to Iraq now, could beget and exacerbate donor shortfalls to other needy nations in the future. Conversely, if future aid to other countries in need will not be affected by the pledges to Iraq, another disturbing question is raised; why have such swiftly pledged and generous funds not been raised for other needy countries in the past? Is it because the world's most powerful country was not doing the soliciting?

A piece written in response to this article by staff from the World Health Organisation (WHO) broadly agrees with these points. The authors draw attention to the June 2003 Sweden convened meeting, entitled 'Good Humanitarian Donorship'. This meeting endorsed a series of principles of good practice amongst donors. One of these principles was identified as the need to 'allocate humanitarian funding in proportion to needs and on the basis of needs assessments'. The WHO piece argues that donor pledges at the Madrid conference were generous but necessary. However, support for Iraq's recovery and reconstruction should not be provided at the expense of other crises. They further conclude that it would be excellent if the UN system and World Bank were to be in a position to undertake a cross-sectoral, standardised needs assessment, similar to the one done in Iraq, for every post conflict nation, followed by a high level Madrid-style reconstruction conference. Such an approach will make good donorship a reality, hasten the repair of vital systems that bring lifelines to crisis-affected people, and accelerate progress towards fulfilment of the millennium development goals.

Show footnotes

1Singh J (2003). Is donor aid allocation to Iraq fair? The Lancet, vol 362, Nov 15th 2003, pp 1672-1673

2Nabarro D, Loretti A and Colombo A (2003). Increased equity in post-conflict reconstruction. The Lancet, vol 362, Nov 15th 2003, pp 1673

More like this

FEX: The Humanitarian Response Index

Summary of published news1 A recent news piece in the Lancet covered the launch by Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary General, of an index that ranks 23 countries in the...

FEX: Evaluation of international response to the tsunami

Summary of report1 Devastation in Sri Lanka post tsunami The Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami killed over 227,000 people with 1.7 million displaced. A massive...

FEX: Importance of non-DAC donors in humanitarian aid

The bulk of humanitarian financing comes from a set of wealthy industrialised countries, a group best represented by the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the...

FEX: WFP intervention in Bosnia Herzegovina '92 - '97

An internal evaluation In Field Exchange Issue III a field article described the current situation in Bosnia and the reconstruction process, drawing out implications for food...

FEX: US and Canadian responses to global food crisis

In response to the global food crisis, a press release on 1 May 20081 detailed a call by President Bush to the US Congress to provide an additional $770million to support food...

FEX: CRS Conference in South Africa

CRS held a Conference on HIV/AIDS and Food Security in Southern Africa from September 22nd-29th in Johannesburg, South Africa. The aim of the conference was to appreciate the...

FEX: Is food aid effective?

Summary of published research1 A recent article by food aid guru Ed Clay sets out current thinking about the effectiveness of food aid. While some agencies and experts advocate...

FEX: Good Humanitarian Donorship Initiative

Published review1 A recent briefing paper produced by the HPG provides an overview of what has become known as the 'Good Humanitarian Donorship' (GHD) initiative. It is based...

FEX: Donors in humanitarian action: changing roles, trends and issues

changing roles, trends and issues Summary of a published review1 The changing role of donor governments in the management of humanitarian assistance is the subject of a...

FEX: Famine Cry: Iraq

May 5, 2003 Dear Field Exchange As we prepare to mount a colossal humanitarian intervention in Iraq, we should be circumspect and humble about our past foodaid operations in...

FEX: Border Closures and Nutrition in Gaza

By Dr. Adnan Al-Wahaid Dr. Al-Wahaidi is a paediatrician based in the Gaza Strip. Originally working for Terre des hommes since 1987, he is now Medical Director of Programming...

Resource: Conference on government experiences of scaling up the Community-based Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) (2012)

and lessons for the Scaling Up (SUN) movement: Conference report The CMAM/SUN conference was the culmination of over a year of detailed preparation involving numerous highly...

FEX: Viability of an ENN research initiative

Food aid in Afghanistan By Christine Bousquet, Charlotte Dufour, François Grünewald, Hugues Maury, Groupe Urgence Réhabilitation Dévelopement (URD) The Quality Project is an...

FEX: References for Special Supplement 2

Livelihood activities in South Sudan 1. World Health Organisation (WHO), Management of Severe Malnutrition: A manual for physicians and other senior health workers. Geneva:...

FEX: Conference on Government experiences of CMAM scale-up

Participants in the CMAM Conference 2011, Addis Ababa In November 2011, ENN, in collaboration with the Government of Ethiopia (GoE) hosted a 4-day conference in Addis Ababa at...

FEX: Reconstruction in Bosnia: Implications for Food Security and the Future of Food Aid

The authors of this article are Fiona Watson and Aida Filipovitch. Both authors were nutrition Consultants working in B&H for WHO between 1993-6. This article describes the...

Resource: Child Survival II: How many child deaths can we prevent this year?

Child Survival II: How many child deaths can we prevent this year? THE LANCET • Vol 362 • July 5, 2003 • www.thelancet.com

FEX: Conference on government experiences of CMAM scale up, Ethiopia, 2011

The Emergency Nutrition Network (ENN) in collaboration with the Government of Ethiopia led a conference to capture government experiences of scale-up of...

FEX: Issue 04 Editorial

Dear Readers Welcome to another issue of Field Exchange. Before we comment on the articles we have for you in this issue, we would like to share some of the feedback we...

FEX: Humanitarian Response Index (HRI)

Summary of report1 Eight billion dollars was invested in humanitarian relief in 2007. The 2008 Humanitarian Response Index (HRI) Report has been released by DARA (Development...

Close

Reference this page

Equity in Donor Aid Allocation to Iraq. Field Exchange 22, July 2004. p16. www.ennonline.net/fex/22/donor