As often the best innovations tend to be developed in times of turbulence, maybe the current one has the potential to lead to new and original reflections on concurrent aid policy approaches of the most visible donor communities. The presently high level of uncertainty, multiple waves of stagnation and increasing global mistrust and exchange barriers mirror to a considerable extent the loss of confidence in present development policy practices, and at the same time reflect an increasing collective unwillingness to enter or seriously continue the global (ongoing?) development process. It is one of those moments in history where the set of rules for the game has to be set anew, and in the past unloved agents and practices have or wanted to have a say about the how. In this scenario Foreign or Development Aid played and plays a crucial role (although not always at its best). Let's have a look at for example Good Governance promoting Aid as applied by the international donor community. Originally, Good Governance aimed to contribute to less corruptive state systems, increased transparency and a ‘healthier' community (development). Bring it together with the acute crisis, which goes along with just the opposite: less healthy communities, a drop in transparency and a newly emerging threat for the defined values of non-corruption. Still or just because of it, Foreign Aid offering institutions (mostly) the westernized Donor Community keep on sticking on the idea of offering Aid by demanding (that what they understand under) Good Governance; at the same time Aid efforts undertaken by the many new emerging market economies tend to be criticized, because they offer Aid on a more ‘just financing' base, among them China.
Now, if we trust the words of World Bank Head Zoellick, who believes that China's stellar growth could help pull the world out of its current economic slump, why criticise so harshly them above mentioned Aid practices (of the new emerging market economies) instead of seeing them as a chance to enter new pathways that might lead to a new, shared understanding of what Good Governance is? However, it is worthwhile considering here, that the current definition of Good Governance is closely interlinked with western concepts and beliefs and built up on western specific values and culture. If a chance for innovation lies in entering a dialogue that encourages a process of mutual understanding in Aid policy, than the current regression or crises (which are much more than just an economic turbulence of course) might have the potential, mainly because these days of a rapidly changing order have replaced the classical view of donors and recipients and encourages the discussion of new, highly diverse regional development approaches (e.g. ‘south-south-partnerships'/ 'public-private-partnerships'/ EU Aid programmes or the brand-new ‘global trade-liquidity program'). Another - but closely interlinked - point here is private sector encouragement or involvement and the consideration of the market driven forces and its interdependent change dynamics. These are currently under attack, blamed (at least its supporters) for the current mess, instead of looking behind the chaos and its origin. Many former ‘free' places experience new limitations, putting obstacles to talented pioneers and trendsetters by chucking down regional competition policies and replacing them for (competitive?) super-regulation policies.
One may say, more than a stagnation it is a serious and the obtained societal, political and economic freedoms threatening event, that one may call regression. Regression not only regarding the achievements of modern development policies and in, of course, real transactions; regression in vista to newly put limitations for a future oriented, progressive development and its competitive character which mobilises, pushes and supports a proactively ongoing development. This new trend towards global over-regulation now may be to a certain extent understandable in so far that it aims to open the door for a more balanced and maybe (who knows?) less destructive overall development dynamic (BUT, in the words of Rob Hopkins: what we really need, is to move from the idea of ‘sustainability' to the idea of ‘resilience' - the ability to withstand shocks), with all its implications for a renewal of the current world order (we are all emerging markets now?) on to maybe a new definition of what a balanced, international development policy might imply. But - it may cost achieved freedoms and promotes new normative regulations that limit former freely interacting global agents extensively, too extensively perhaps for winning them as proactive supporters in development? This would be regression. And - consider that Aid practiced by the international donor community in the past too often as well mutated into Bad Governance, so - considering the relative lack of credibility it has got - new ways of synchronizing Good Governance promoting Aid Development Policies, based on a careful reflection on the regional demand sides might be in the long-run a better investment in peace development and international exchange rather than just discrediting the ‘newly emerging donors'.
Restarting and going on to actively involving and encouraging all institutional members of society and private agents of the international community for overcoming this regression and cheer new productive development trends and dynamics points out the need for engaging a new generation of leading innovators worldwide. To find the best way to do this requires embracing a diversity of perspectives. In this sense, ‘To which agenda (for Aid Policy) may our big turbulence lead?
1. Find a new word for Good Governance; it has been over- and misused in the past too often. And - embrace your (former) enemies by finding a new definition.
2. Do not (mis-) understand it as just public governance; see it more as public-private Governance or better as a continuous consensus process.
3. Give crucial importance to internationally new evolving generational-institutional structures and innovating organizations/firms; having the problem of an aging population in mind.
After this comes the HOW.