The phrase "more and better aid" sums up Diakonia's view. For poverty to be eradicated, all rich countries must make a contribution. But it is not just a matter of increasing aid - we must also work to improve the quality of aid to the point that results are achieved.
Needs of people living in poverty to guide us
Diakonia works to ensure that development aid is based on the needs of the people living in poverty and the justice perspective. The ultimate goal of all aid should be ecologically, socially and economically sustainable development.
Wealthy countries have a responsibility to live up to their promises to fight poverty. Sweden has historically donated 1 percent of its gross national income (GNI) in foreign aid, but the government elected in 2022 has abandoned that principle. Diakonia advocates for a return to the 1 percent of GNI, since that is what really guarantees stability in the sense of long-term commitment, while linking it to the degree of wealth.
Mutual responsibility for quality assurance
Both recipient and donor countries are responsible for assuring the quality of aid and that the money donated is used for the purposes of fighting poverty, protecting human rights, taking the environment into consideration and democratization, for example.
Diakonia is also working in various ways to improve the quality of aid. All around the world, we support local organizations so that they can participate in shaping their individual countries’ strategies for eradicating poverty. In Sweden, we lobby to influence public opinion so that Sweden, the EU, the IMF and the World Bank will improve their support to poor countries.
Right goals in focus means better aid
The quality of aid is at least as important as the quantity. Today, a large proportion of global aid is not focused on the needs of the poor. Instead it is used to finance the foreign policy goals of rich countries and has no direct link with the fight against poverty. For example, in order to receive aid, some countries are forced to purchase products from donor countries. This benefits the corporations in donor countries and disadvantages the people in recipient countries, because the cost of goods and services is thus increased.
Demands with a negative effect
Donor countries, the World Bank and the IMF also require that recipient countries pursue a certain type of economic policy. These demands are not based on the strategies for eradicating poverty that the recipient countries themselves have formulated in order to get access to aid, loans and debt write-offs. As a result, they ride roughshod over the democratic decision-making processes in recipient countries and in many instances have had a negative impact on the fight against poverty.
Diakonia's partner organizations all over the world are involved in fighting poverty. In our advocacy work regarding debt cancellation and Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers, PRSP, we work together with Eurodad, a European network working with debt and development.