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Date: 2022-05-25 Page is: DBtxt001.php bk005D0000
Burgess Manuscript
Hundreds of Issues
From the book 'Hundreds of Issues that Impact Relief and Development'
Section DDD

Issue
DCAS
Basic observation
Development Cooperation Analysis System (DCAS) was an initiative of UNDP that aimed to create a database of all projects being implemented by a country.
Prevailing response
The DCAS data was of very mixed quality, and generally the relief and development sector assigned low level staff with inadequate knowledge of management information to do work on it. In addition, it appears that many donor organizations did not like the transparency DCAS provided.
A better response
A system like DCAS has a tremendous value as a transparent way to see factually what is being done at the country level by the donor community and all the actors in the relief and development sector. A modernized DCAS would be a very good component of a universal system of accounting and accountability for the relief and development sector.

Issue
DCR
Basic observation
The Development Cooperation Report (DCR) is a report that was prepared by UNDP (starting in 1978) as a mandate of the UN General Assembly.
Prevailing response
UNDP discontinued the DCR, and the related DCAS sometime around 2000 almost certainly because of pressure from donors who did not like to be subject to the publication of information that they did not control.
A better response
The experience of the DCR and DCAS confirms that the country level reporting of relief and development assistance is a very valuable effort and should be part of a RDS management information system. The fact that donors do not like it suggests that it has informational value that should not be suppressed.

Issue
Data
Basic observation
Data is a critical foundation for having information and building knowledge and understanding
Prevailing response
The ORDA community and others have compiled a huge amount of data. In the ORDA world it is mainly economic data, and underlying survey and statistical data. In the medical world there is data, and in the corporate world there is data, but in each case different.
A better response
The world is buried in data, and there needs to be a better organization of key data that are used for management and better data mining so that there is a better basis for improved decision making and allocation of resources. Modern technology makes this possible.

Issue
Debt
Basic observation
Debt has become a huge problem, but it is not clear how this problem became so serious. In part it is bad, including corrupt, use of borrowed funds, and in part it is because of a sloppy lending regime.
Prevailing response
The cancellation of “south” debt is a popular idea, even though it voids responsibility for past failures. The ORDA world has never come to grips with the failed process for handling the public finance of “south” countries. Starting off with a new clean slate without fixing the underlying problems is ridiculous.
A better response
The debt crisis should be addressed by looking at each loan one at a time, and making the findings public. Base analysis on facts about the the lending process and the way funds were used. Especially look at the original underlying assumptions and how much they were wrong and how they impacted project performance. Make people accountable for what they did years ago.

Issue
Debt cancellation
Basic observation
Debt cancellation has been discussed in various forms, formats and forums for many years ... at least 30
Prevailing response
Debt cancellation is almost a sub-sector of the relief and development sector. It has been the subject of enormous public advocacy, much expenditure on studies and workshops and conferences, and is now a complex, slow and expensive process.
A better response
The real challenge is to get a handle on why so many debts cannot be repaid, to find out exactly what went wrong and to hold people accountable. In this context, accountability should be done with a management and accounting mindset and not a legal one. We need to know what happened and take urgent steps to ensure new debts do not go bad as well.

Issue
Deficit spending
Basic observation
Deficit spending helps to maintain the stability of an economy, but it also can be a symptom of structural failure in the economy.
Prevailing response
Politicians use deficit spending when it is convenient, not matter what the consequences. And in developing countries, deficit spending is resorted to as long as there is hard currency to pay for the printing of local currency.
A better response
There is far too little information about government finances used routinely for the analysis of relief and development performance. Some countries have no money, no cash flow and are in practice absolutely bankrupt. Government finances is a key information dimension for understanding relief and development performance.

Issue
Demobilization
Basic observation
Soldiers being demobilized is traumatic for the soldier and a challenge for the economy.
Prevailing response
The ORDA community recognizes the nature of the problems, but has not been able to mount significant programs to limit the negative impact. This is not a high priority for donors though often identified as an issue by local planners.
A better response
The problem of demobilization can be minimized when there is successful development including job opportunities and the essential training needed to move soldiers from soldiering to other work.

Issue
Democracy
Basic observation
Democracy is a way of governing society. It is often preferable to other forms of governance, but democracy is not sufficient to achieve success in all aspects of society.
Prevailing response
Democracy is being promoted. There is a lot of rhetoric and programs contingent on progress to democracy. Development of a constitution is as high profile activity, as also is the election process. But these are not the “guts” of democracy, merely pieces of it.
A better response
Progress to democracy is only sustainable when there is also substantive change in the way in which the society functions and most important, the performance of the economy.

Issue
Derivatives
Basic observation
Derivatives are financial instruments that are used to give substance to the idea that different entities have different views of value.
Prevailing response
The relief and development sector from time to time embraces quite sophisticated financial ideas. These ideas are of concern because they are rarely linked to the underlying economic realities of the countries involved.
A better response
There is a tremendous need for mainstream financial thinking to be applied to the needs of the global relief and development sector. Almost anything that has a future can be financed in sophisticated financial markets except anything that has the potential to help a poor developing community. Some out of the box thinking needs to get done, and soon.

Issue
Desertification
Basic observation
Desertification seems to be accelerating. The deserts are getting bigger, and areas that were once productive are now desert.
Prevailing response
The ORDA world is addressing the problem on the conference circuit. The understanding of why is being looked at by researchers. But not much is being done to change anything.
A better response
Desertification that is clearly caused by human activities can easily be controlled if leadership wants it done. But leadership sits on top of poverty, and in many cases poverty produces desertification. It can be addressed in good measure community by community.

Issue
Development
Basic observation
In this context development is socio-economic development, the process that makes it possible for a society to progress.
Prevailing response
Development has been driven largely by priorities defined in the “north”, and the results have been such that the performance is best described as “failed development”
A better response
Development is very important, and is needed if the crisis of poverty and hunger is to be alleviated. New systems, new organizations, new processes and new priorities are needed to make success possible. It can be done, but it is a new mindset.

Issue
Development education
Basic observation
Education is a key for success in development, but development education is, arguably, one reason why relief and development fails.
Prevailing response
There is a substantial sub-sector of education that does development education. Much of this is high cost and prestigious, and happily funded by donors. Some is less costly, available to more people, and arguably, not very useful.
A better response
Like so much else associated with relief and development, development education needs a strong does of hard nosed performance analysis. Almost all the development education interventions seem to be costly with an incremental value that is quite negligible.

Issue
Dialog
Basic observation
There is a large amount of dialog about relief and development, and the international arena. The dialog is not effective because more are writing (talking) than are reading (listening).
Prevailing response
The ORDA response to the need for dialog is more workshops, conferences, and increasingly Internet based discussions.
A better response
Dialog can be a source of solutions, but will not be until there are easy effective metrics that help to link progress and dialog, and the actions that stem from dialog. Dialog is powerful when it is linked to meaningful data.

Issue
Digital divide
Basic observation
Access to the modern digital economy is limited to people with resources. The digital divide reflects the poverty / wealth divide.
Prevailing response
There have been innumerable projects to provide digital access to the poor, but on a pilot basis and in a test mode only. Most pilot projects were not sustainable and were not replicated. The resources to make digital access universal have not been deployed, and there are questions about whether digital progress is the best way to address development issues in poor communities..
A better response
Solve the poverty divide and the digital divide will solve itself. Information and communications technology (ICT) is an opportunity to improve information flows and with better information it is possible to have better decisions and better development progress. Progress in using digital information tools can be a powerful component in better ORDA management of resources and give a base for better development performance

Issue
Disarmament (of nations)
Basic observation
Disarmament has enormous economic value because it can release economic resources for better use. Security through mutually assured destruction is a bad outcome of a failed global society.
Prevailing response
Governments seem to have difficulty making friends and trusting them. They have tended towards creating security against enemies with huge military establishments. The advantage of disarmament is being missed because of so much global enmity.
A better response
More effort needs to go into ensuring that the world is a friendly place. It should be clear that actions that make enemies that in turn justifies arms procurement and the transfer of wealth into the military industrial complex from the global economy and from relief and development success is immoral.

Issue
Disarmament (of militias)
Basic observation
Civil wars can officially end, but the security is not established until the militias are disarmed.
Prevailing response
There have been many programs to disarm militias, with varying degrees of success. The follow up economic and reintegration programs are generally underfunded, and success therefore not assured.
A better response
The disarmament process is a good start, but success is only assured when the former militiamen no long want to bear arms because there is a better life in a productive civil society.

Issue
Disbursement
Basic observation
Disbursement is an important step in the funding of relief and development activities. But disbursement is not a good measure of development progress, and its use as a performance metric by the World Bank for years has caused huge damage to development performance.
Prevailing response
Disbursement is still a key measure of performance by people who talk about relief and development. This metric has nothing to do with the effectiveness of relief and development.
A better response
Disbursement is the START of good accounting. It should be possible to track funds from the original disbursement to the eventual use and relate the use of these funds to the benefits being achieved.

Issue
Disincentives
Basic observation
The global economy is failing in large part because of disincentives that far too many must face.
Prevailing response
The relief and development sector has accepted the fact of disincentives, and does not think about them very much. If something does not work, more grant funding will keep it going ... just to fail later.
A better response
Good management information and understanding of disincentives would make it possible for a lot more effort to get converted into useful value. Removing a disincentive can be low cost and the results can be really valuable ... but nobody can do it without information and understanding.

Issue
Donors
Basic observation
Donors are the source of funds in the official relief and development assistance (ORDA) world. This includes entities like the World Bank that loan funds rather than make grants.
Prevailing response
Donor priorities have come to dominate ORDA at the expense of the priorities that would be best for the development. But donors are critical and donors have control of the agenda. “North” political issues are more important than development success in the “south”
A better response
The essential change that needs to be made is for results to be the measure that drives the donor agenda rather than mere PR, spin and platitudes. Feedback about performance should dominate in the media and attract donor attention so that it become good politics to support good performance in the “south”

Issue
Drug addiction
Basic observation
Drug addiction is a tremendous driver of human behavior. It has many faces and is a terrible consumer of potential.
Prevailing response
The global illegal drug economy is perhaps as large as the global oil sector, with the power to distort society and economy in all sorts of ways. By being illegal, the drug sector makes its own rules and applies its own remedies, usually violent. Because it has money, almost anything goes and little is ever done about it.
A better response
The problem of addiction needs to be taken very seriously, and adequate resources allocated to address the root cause of addiction. Because of criminalization, it is often difficult for well meaning individuals and society to address the problems openly.

Issue
Drug consumption
Basic observation
The addiction to drugs leads to consumption of drugs, which also leads to addiction. It is a vicious circle.
Prevailing response
Too much of prevailing thought seems to be of the sort that thinks that limiting supply will limit demand ... when, because of addiction, in fact it merely puts up the price. In turn this can lead to an escalation of anti-society behavior.
A better response
Drug consumption is usually bad for the consumer, who is under the influence of an addiction. Treat the addiction with the best of science and become engaged with public education about drugs, addiction and the cycle of disaster associated with drug use.

Issue
Drug production
Basic observation
Agricultural production is very low income almost everywhere in the world, except for drug production, that yields many many times more income.
Prevailing response
It is difficult to make a good case of rural farmers to produce cotton and starve when they can grow poppy and be quite prosperous. The economics of drug production ensure explosive growth that is difficult to stop. Destroying the crops makes people poor without getting at the underlying economics incentives of the drug sector.
A better response
Every piece of the drug supply and consumption chain needs to be controlled. Control of production without addressing rural economics and the wealth of the drug distribution business cannot succeed.

Issue
Drug trafficking
Basic observation
Drug trafficking is illegal, but it goes on because it is extremely profitable.
Prevailing response
Drug trafficking is made more difficult by law enforcement initiatives, but it is nothing compared to the drug sector as a whole. There are huge profits, and simply put, money talks and enough money can buy anything.
A better response
Drug trafficking may be illegal, but it is going on at a huge economic and social cost, and huge profits are being made from it. But if the consumers disappeared, so also would the trafficking ... and if the huge obscene profits of trafficking disappeared, there would be significantly less trafficking, Basic economics.

Issue
Durable value
Basic observation
Durable value is the key metric for the measurement of successful development.
Prevailing response
Hardly any of the decision makers in the relief and development sector understand the concept of durable value ... more they have a focus on mere expenditure.
A better response
In good value analysis of the relief and development sector (RDS), success can be measured by the durable value achieved relative to the resources used. It is a powerful concept that has been made the central theme of Tr-Ac-Net management information for the RDS.

Issue
Duties
Basic observation
Duties are one of the larger revenue sources for many government in developing countries, often to the detriment of the country's economy.
Prevailing response
Duties have been left out of the economic analysis of relief and development far more than they should been. This is partly because official relief and development (World Bank, UN, bilateral assistance) is usually done in a duty free arrangement.
A better response
Duties are often anti-developmental, but they hit with full force in the private sector, which has the potential for success, and not much in the government sector which often fails anyway. Duties not only constrain trade from South to North, but also between neighboring countries.
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From 'HUNDREDS OF ISSUES THAT IMPACT RELIEF AND DEVELOPMENT'
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