Cognitive dissonance in the development community

A version of this post originally appeared on Devex. Reposted with permission.

Cognitive dissonance in the development community

Photo Credit: Peeter Viisimaa/iStockPhoto

There is an interesting contradiction emerging in the international development community in the run-up to July’s third International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and September’s U.N. General Assembly in New York, where member states are expected to adopt the new sustainable development goals.

On one hand, there is growing recognition of the value of more comprehensive programs that integrate interventions such as combining HIV and AIDS and reproductive health services, or nutrition and basic education, or women’s rights and income-generating activities. The planning for the goals has been accompanied by a growing chorus to adopt the common-sense use of integrated approaches.

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On the other hand, progressive advocates, having been unable to persuade major donors to channel their funds through direct budget support, are pressing for greater use of multilateral funding mechanisms, à la the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Not only are these vertical funds believed to give more control to governments in least-developed countries or reduce the control of the donor governments, but they also garner support from the advocacy groups championing specific interests.

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