Shift of Power and Money from the UN to “New Players”/ “New Colonialists” Rather Than Reforming and Strengthening Existing Institutions
There has been a huge shift of money and power from the United Nations (especially the two primary multilateral institutions –WHO and World Bank) into the hands of the “New Colonialists” / “New Players” i.e. international charities, aid agencies, philanthropists, and foreign advisors 2. The lack of UN support from its member states can be viewed as the core reason for this massive shift. It has resulted in dwindling of financial resources and hence the UN’s limited initiative in undertaking problems that are too ambitious and costly. The new players in comparison have continuously expanding budgets enabling them to address key issues quickly and efficiently thereby gaining the trust of host countries. The UN on the other hand suffers from loss of trust and support of not only the host countries but also donor countries1.
Corruption is a noteworthy factor to be considered in this evident shift. The WHO lends to governments, thereby allowing the state to continue to play the central role in health policy while the new players control the movement of aid directly from donors into the hands of NGO’s at the receiving end thereby bypassing host governments1, 2. The loss of vital donor aid to rampant government corruption in developing countries is mitigated in the case “new players” enabling them to actually achieve set goals more efficiently and effectively1. This movement of aid reflects the lack of donor confidence and their resulting support in the new players instead of in the UN.
Over the last several years these new players have succeeded in increasing the dependency of host countries. Decreased authority and responsibility of host countries is directly proportional to the increased dependency and empowerment of the new players1. Increased dependency is preventing the host countries from becoming more responsible and playing an active as opposed to a submissive role in developing policies and ensuring effective channeling of aid. However, the existence of raging corruption, lack of knowledge, expertise, and manpower makes it hard to not acknowledge the need of the new players.
Should attempts to reform and eventually strengthen the multilaterals (WHO and World Bank) from within with the end goal of limiting its dependency on the new players be considered? Should the UN establish more accountability into its system to resolve the issue of lost confidence given that accountability varies depending on the perspective of the stakeholder?
1.Michael A Cohen; Maria Figueroa Küpçü; Parag Khanna. “The New Colonialists.” (2008)Foreign Policy; Jul/Aug 2008; 167; ABI/INFORM Global .pg. 74
2. Devi Sridhar. “Seven Challenges in International Development Assistance for Health and Ways Forward.” (2010).Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics.