Polska pomoc

Can we use aid to promote democracy?

Can we use aid to promote democracy?[1]

The panel's special guest - Maria Leissner, Sweden's Ambassador for Democracy - recalled that, several years ago, Sweden made efforts to make democracy part of the EU's development agenda, but to no avail. Poland's success cannot be overestimated. The debate summed up by the 6th edition of the EDD should serve as the basis for concrete action. Up till now, only 2% of ODA has been allocated towards democratic institution building, with only 0.09% going towards support for political parties and parliaments. There is little support for measures promoting access to independent sources of information. According to Ambassador Leissner, development cooperation should put equal emphasis on socio-economic and political-civic matters.

The panellists agreed that democracy should provide support for development, while each and every development aid measure should work towards strengthening democratic institutions at the local and national levels. Development aid should boost the ability of citizens to shape their own fate. The panellists agreed that the conditionality of aid is an instrument that limits the need to cooperate with undemocratic governments and should therefore be put to wider use. However, conditionality is less effective in light of the increasing role played by undemocratic governments - e.g. China - in development cooperation.


[1] Organizer: Polish Presidency Panellists: Martin Dahinden (Director General, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation), Ayo Obe (Trustee of the International Crisis Group), Xiao Qiang (Founder and Editor-in-Chief, China Digital Times), Kristian Schmidt (DG DEVCO KE), Krzysztof Stanowski (MFA Undersecretary of State). Moderator: Nazanine Moshiri from Al. Jazeera English.

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