विदेश दर्शन - १९९

Just Social Order

The themes of development and international co-operation form the core of this Special Session. International assistance and co-operation are imperative to bolster the efforts of each developing country to build for its people a more just social order. Mere awareness of and acceptance by the developed countries of the need for a new economic order will not raise the incomes of the poor countries’ or feed the hungry or improve the developing countries’ terms of trade. In 1970, at the beginning of this Development Decade, all member-states agreed that “ The primary responsibility for the development of developing countries rests upon themselves, but, however great their own efforts, these will not be sufficient to enable them to achieve the desired development goals as expeditiously as they must, unless they are assisted through increased financial resources and more favourable economic and commercial policies on the part of developed countries. “

The international development strategy is to be subjected to a detailed appraisal in a few weeks and if that is to result in a positive, forward-looking, progressive outcome, this special session should give it the necessary political impetus. International co-operation for development has been built on two main pillars : aid and trade. In the past there has been varying emphasis on the importance of one or the other. Lately, there has been considerable disappointment with the voluntary transfer of resources from the rich to the poor nations through aid. We find that in the case of most donors., the volume of assistance, instead of increasing, is beginning to shrink. Not only have the targets for aid set in the international development strategy not been reached, but there has been a gradual contraction in real terms. It has been said that there is a kind of malaise affecting development assistance and that further exhortation to provide more aid is unlikely to assist the developing countries in any significant way.

It is, however, our firm conviction that only through voluntary transfers can developing countries acquire a sort of buffer between their rising import bills and falling export earnings. It is true that these transfers depend on the uncertain factor of the political will of donor nations. For this very reason, exhortations should not cease. While it is true that the taxpayers in develope countries contribute to foreign aid, it is equally true that the purchasers in developing countries pay for the goods produced in the developed world. Furthermore, if international actions generally reflect our values it is a matter of grave concern that while official development assistance has barely exceeded U. S. $7,000 million, the world’s expenditure on the means of destruction has reached staggering proportions.