From bland aid to brand aid? Distinguishing development assistance and development finance

By James Copestake

(A fuller version of this argument is in the pipeline and will appear here in due course. Meanwhile, comments and suggestions are welcome – please post your responses here or tweet @cds_Bath using #brandaid)

The world of international development aid was never simple, but it seems to become ever more complex as agencies, financing mechanisms and acronyms proliferate. Public understanding struggles to keep up, with debate often pitched at a depressingly bland level. Is aid working? The correct answer, of course, is that aid comes in many different forms and brands. More interesting questions then abound, like which sorts of aid works best, when and why, and is the mix of different forms of aid right in different contexts? My proposition is that distinguishing between different forms of aid more clearly can contribute to raising the quality of public debate about its effectiveness. Continue reading

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Contested reconciliation in Sri Lanka

By Oliver Walton

(This is an updated version of a blog that originally appeared on the Insight on Conflict website)

Last month, the UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution calling on the Sri Lankan government to fulfil its international obligations towards justice and accountability and to address issues of reconciliation. The resolution sent political shockwaves across South Asia, with the DMK (Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam), a political party from Tamil Nadu, pulling out of India’s ruling coalition in protest at India’s failure to push for stronger language. The Sri Lankan government has robustly rejected international pressure for reconciliation and accountability, arguing that intervention of this kind threatens to undermine a nationally-led process. In the aftermath of the resolution, President Mahinda Rajapaksa reasserted his government’s resolute stance against international interference: ‘[t]hese attacks would not subdue us…, nor would they defeat or intimidate us in any way’. Continue reading