Protection of the Poor and the Millennium Development Goals
Chapter 10: NGO Advocacy for Debt Reduction Cum Debtor Protection
Reacting to the plight of debtor SCs under ‘structural adjustment’, NGOs soon took up advocacy in favour of debtors. In the meantime NGO advocacy on debts and other issues such as the WTO has taken off, and their influence on politics has become perceptible. Over years of campaigning for better policies vis-à-vis debtors NGOs have acquired expert knowledge that enabled them to influence policies. They have become accepted players as, for instance, a publication of the IBRD’s Operations Evaluation Department (Gautham, 2003, p. 11) shows: Many of the ideas inherent in HIPC were proposed by southern states during the New International Economic Order (NIEO) . . . but nothing came of this intense and polarized state-to-state bargaining. One of the striking things about the rise of HIPC is precisely that the debtor states were not a major driving force behind the innovation. Rather, it was made possible by NGOs that shifted the battle from the corridors of power into the domestic political arenas of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) industrial democracies. The weak power position of the debtor states and the concomitant strong influence of the NGOs help to explain how the HIPC Initiative eventually became focused almost exclusively on a particular approach to poverty reduction. This OED publication also speaks of ‘the key role played by the international NGO community’ (ibid., p. 15) in enhancing the HIPC framework in 1999, and that NGOs’ ‘suggestions and inputs have helped to formulate new ideas – from process issues, to the introduction...
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