If development cooperation means that we all work together – each of us with our means at hand – to develop this planet into a planet worth living on for every child, wherever on its surface she or he is born, then I’m fully up for it.
If it means that those who are rich and full of expertise generously help those who are poor, uneducated, and generally helpless, then I’m very skeptical of the concept.
If it becomes a strategic instrument for promoting somebody’s political or economic interests, then I’m clearly opposed to it.
The currently dominating paradigm seems to embrace all three aspects. Great people are doing great things in the name of development cooperation. Donor agencies send expensive experts and dangerous amounts of money around the world in its name. And strategic foreign policy makers use it as another tool to manipulate politics and economies in other countries.
In my view it should be the other way around. All foreign policy should be oriented towards the global goal to allow all national citizens to become self-respecting world citizens. Donor agencies should use their resources to establish mechanisms for holding policy makers accountable to that goal, as well as to put pressure on economic and political elites who undermine the sincere work of great people. And the great people should be all of us, passionately cooperating for the development of a self-respecting planet.