Can aid be improved? / Columns / The Foreigner

Can aid be improved?. A tip of the hat to Norway for continuing to lead the world in helping those less fortunate. Norwegian aid is renowned for its generosity and effectiveness. It is a well-deserved reputation. Yet we should always ask whether or not improvements are possible. Consider an announcement from late last year to double support for climate services in Africa. The World Meteorological Organization defines 'climate services' as providing climate information to users. That is important and needed. Why stop at climate?

climate, aid, norway



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Can aid be improved?

Published on Friday, 2nd May, 2014 at 07:17 under the columns category, by Ilan Kelman.
Last Updated on 2nd May 2014 at 10:12.

A tip of the hat to Norway for continuing to lead the world in helping those less fortunate. Norwegian aid is renowned for its generosity and effectiveness. It is a well-deserved reputation.

Climate services
Do climate services help deal with earthquakes?Climate services
Photo: Ilan Kelman


Yet we should always ask whether or not improvements are possible. Consider an announcement from late last year to double support for climate services in Africa.

The World Meteorological Organization defines 'climate services' as providing climate information to users. That is important and needed. Why stop at climate?

Many other hazards plague the poorest in the world: earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, insect infestations, tsunami, and disease. The real threat is not nature.

Instead, the problem is the lack of resources, choices, and abilities to live with nature. Floods bring fertile soil--and bring disaster when we cannot cope with the water. Earthquakes are a concern when we do not use available knowhow to construct infrastructure that withstands the shaking.

Why are some people left exposed to harm from nature? The answer is all-too-human, incorporating corruption, greed, environmental degradation, discrimination, abuse of power, inequity, and injustice.

The threat is not climate change per se, but is the denial of resources, options, and power which inhibit proper responses to climate change. Providing climate information only, without wider contexts, is a band-aid mask which fails to heal the underlying infection of poverty and vulnerability.

Perhaps 'climate services' and 'earthquake services' should be embedded within 'justice services', 'resilience services', 'global health services', and 'power relations services'. Skills, techniques, and information could be provided which apply to numerous hazards simultaneously, encompassing climate, earthquakes, and all the others.

After all, if you are poor, then you are likely to suffer from multiple exposure to multiple hazards. That must include, but is not exclusive to, climate and climate change.

Norway has long led the world in helping the poor to help themselves escape from poverty so that they can reduce their own multiple exposure. Long may it continue.

Ilan Kelman is a Reader inRisk, ResilienceandGlobal Healthat University College London. This article is based on the paper “Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Versus Disaster Risk Creation (DRC)”.




Published on Friday, 2nd May, 2014 at 07:17 under the columns category, by Ilan Kelman.
Last updated on 2nd May 2014 at 10:12.

This post has the following tags: climate, aid, norway.





  
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