John Hilary: It’s not just about aid spending targets

The head of a U.K.-based nongovernmental organization has added his voice to calls for a broader debate on aid and development.

“No one in their right mind claims that aid can provide a path to long-term sustainable development,” War on Want Executive Director John Hilary says. Countries that have risen from poverty and addressed inequality achieved their success not through aid but “through the liberation of social, human and economic forces that have transcended the need for external assistance,” Hilary stresses.

These remarks are in response to a recent U.K. House of Lords report urging the U.K. government to abandon its commitment to spend 0.7 percent of gross national income on foreign aid and the polarizing reactions to the proposal.

The report is to be commended for highlighting the pitfalls of providing aid, such as dependency, Hilary notes. But it’s time to push the debate past aid and draft a broader agenda for development beyond 2015, he says.

“The discussion must now move beyond aid and link up with the aspirations of those democratic forces and social movements across the world whose demand is freedom,” Hillary adds.

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About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.