Reflecting on the past 30 years of development, I am disappointed by our lack of progress. Below, I have highlighted some of the key areas in dire need of attention back in 2016, and the consequences of inaction.
Following the election of Donald Trump as President in 2016, and his assertions that Climate Change is a hoax invented by the Chinese to inhibit the development of other competing countries, the USA became a non-negotiable party at Climate Control summits. This almost certainly contributed to greenhouse gas emissions exceeding the OECD’s 2011 projection of a 50% increase by 2050; the atmospheric concentration of GHG has already exceeded 700 ppm in CO2 equivalents this year, causing a global temperature rise of 5 degrees since 2016. This has had devastating effect in the world over; melting ice caps have caused catastrophic flooding in areas of low lying land including the Netherlands, Japan, Vietnam, and Bangladesh, with huge loss of life.
The extinction of the polar bear in 2032 triggered worldwide climate protests demanding governmental action, however shortly following this the Kardashians released a new season and the public forgot to care. The only notable progress in the past 30 years has been through a widespread adoption of vegetarian and vegan diets since the tax on meat and dairy was introduced in 2022. Lower consumption of these products reduced climate emissions by 1 billion tonnes a year – the same as the entire aviation business – and has helped save half a million lives per year through a healthier diet.
Global wealth disparity has continued to rise in the past 30 years and the UN and World Bank continue to overlook the fact that the money richer countries are sending in aid to poorer countries is being paid back over 4.5 times each year in debt repayment for loans which have already been paid off. The only fluctuation in this cycle came when, in 2017, Donald Trump used his influence to redirect the World Bank’s aid to Latin America to fund the construction of the “Trump Wall”; although following his unsuccessful run for second term the wall was partially destructed, areas have been left up as a monument to the fast-paced destruction of the American economy during his Presidency.
Official Development Assistance
With the rise of a progressively right-wing government in post-Brexit Britain and other areas of Europe due to fear-mongering surrounding the continued refugee crisis and Middle Eastern conflict, the development sector was hard hit. The Daily Mail finally convinced the majority that the 0.7% of GNI spent on foreign aid each year was an outrageous amount considering all the problems in the UK and in 2024 this amount was reduced to 0.55% of GNI. While campaigns to bring Britain’s spending on ODA back up have become popular in the past 10 years, any move to increase spending has been blocked by right-wing politicians putting shady statistics on the side of buses, suggesting that NHS will burst into a ball of flames and consume all but the dangerous lefty spawns of Satan if ODA increases.
In conclusion, the increase in power of the right-wing in large areas of the Western hemisphere over the past 30 years has been highly detrimental to the development industry. While small-scale NGOs continue to fight back, and get aid to areas that need it the most particularly in these war-torn times, inaction from governmental agencies means any real progress has been, sadly, inhibited.
Bibliography of sources:
Aish, G, Leonhardt, D, Quealy, K (2014), Flooding Risk from Climate Change, Country by Country, The New York Times [Online]. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/24/upshot/flooding-risk-from-climate-change-country-by-country.html?_r=0
Carrington, D (2016), Tax meat and dairy to cut emissions and save lives, study urges, The Guardian [Online]. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/nov/07/tax-meat-and-dairy-to-cut-emissions-and-save-lives-study-urges
Château J, Clapp C, Dellink R, Lanzi E, Magné B, Marchal V, van Vuuren D, Vliet J (2011), “Chapter 3: Climate Change”, The OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050. Available at: https://www.oecd.org/env/cc/49082173.pdf
DFID (2015), UK aid: tackling global challenges in the national interest. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/478834/ODA_strategy_final_web_0905.pdf
Frelick, B (2016), Dispatches: Fearmongering about Refugees, Human Rights Watch [Online]. Available at: https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/03/04/dispatches-fearmongering-about-refugees
Hickel, J (2015), It will take 100 years for the world’s poorest people to earn $1.25 a day, The Guardian [Online]. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2015/mar/30/it-will-take-100-years-for-the-worlds-poorest-people-to-earn-125-a-day
Provost C, Tran M (2013), Aid: how much does the UK spend, why it’s important and how it works, The Guardian [Online]. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2013/mar/20/uk-aid-spend-important-works
TheRulesOrg (2013), Global Wealth Inequality: what you never knew you never knew. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWSxzjyMNpU&feature=youtu.be