New approach to aid advocated for Vanuatu donors
Academic says Vanuatu donors need to embrace smart thinking over future support for the cyclone wrecked country.
An academic says donor countries need to start thinking how they can improve their medium and longer term responses to the Vanuatu cyclone disaster.
The founder of Devpacific Thinknet, Dr Tess Newton Cain, says she is bringing together thinkers around the Pacific to discuss issues pertinent to the region.
She says in Vanuatu what is needed is smart thinking about minimising transaction costs in aid but maximising long term opportunities for the country.
She told Don Wiseman there has been significant collaboration to date but there is an opportunity for greater co-operation.
TESS NEWTON CAIN: I guess what we are faced with now is the expectation of there being more aid in terms of quantum, and also, the likelihood of more donors being involved. So possibly having to include into the overall patchwork donors that maybe have not had much of a presence here before or are going to be new to the relatively small playing field, if you like, of donor activity in Vanuatu.
DON WISEMAN: There are going to be issues aren't there, with this co-ordination, of a lack of capacity?
TNC: Well I think it is a case of recognising, while there is some capacity that that capacity is limited. I think it is a case of identifying opportunities to support the capacity where it does exist and minimising the risks associated with putting additional burdens on that capacity. Yes we know that the capacity is limited, largely because of its size and for other reasons, and what is really important is that as decisions are made, as negotiations are carried between governments and donors, that there is awareness and everybody is really keeping their eye on that ball and not placing too much of a burden on capacity that is already being called upon to respond in more and different ways to how it had to before.
DW: How do you envisage the reaction from countries, and agencies, because they all want to be able to fly their ow flag don't they?
TNC: Yeah and I think [Vanuatu] government is aware of that and I think that that can be accommodated. I think people really need to realise that the government of Vanuatu, and the leadership of Vanuatu, and the people of Vanuatu are in this for the long haul. So what we really need to be thinking about is, yes there are short term term political objectives to be achieved, and yes there are good reasons for flying the flag particularly if it means that more funding can then be allocated, but there also needs to be at least some proportion of the energy and the thinking directed to 'what does this mean for the longer term future of Vanuatu. In terms of building and supporting state capacity to deliver services to the entire population, and also minimising or mitigating the chances of Vanuatu becoming aid dependent for the foreseeable future.'
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