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Date: 2022-05-20 Page is: DBtxt001.php bk005I0000
Burgess Manuscript
Hundreds of Issues
From the book 'Hundreds of Issues that Impact Relief and Development'
Section III

Issue
ICT
Basic observation
Information and communications technology (ICT) is now a major driver of modern economies.
Prevailing response
ICT has been embraced by the relief and development sector as a new silver bullet for RDS work. Almost every RDS organization, governmental and NGO seems to have an ICT initiative. The money is being spent. But results are difficult to see.
A better response
ICT needs to be considered as part of an enabling environment, and work done to remove ICT as a constraint on relief and development. There are legitimate activities to be supported by the RDS and government ... including getting the laws and regulatory framework right ... and perhaps getting a working public infrastructure in place, or making sure that such infrastructure is available.

Issue
IDPs
Basic observation
Internally Displace Persons (IDPs) have been outside UN jurisdiction for years, even though they are extremely vulnerable.
Prevailing response
The global IDP crisis has been a disgrace for a very long time. A lot of good individuals have tried to do what they could within organizational constraints, but global leadership has walked away from the problem and done little. Who has cared?
A better response
If the management information dimension of the relief and development sector was strong at the community level, there would be good information about people and community and therefore about the IDP situation. Clearly, corrupt leadership does not want to see this sort of information ... even though this information would be very informative.

Issue
Incentives
Basic observation
Incentives are the key driver of a successful economy. Incentives have the most power when they motivate individual people.
Prevailing response
At the moment the incentives for relief and development sector performance do not work ... great returns are possible for leadership in rich countries, and also for corrupt behavior in the relief and development sector, but few incentives are available for hard working good people.
A better response
The value of incentives is well known, but getting incentives to deliver the best possible results is not a simple matter. It can be argued that very high multi-million (even billion) corporate and capital market remuneration is a cause of good performance, or you can argue that it is an aberration. Good management information in the RDS arena would help make incentives drive RDS success.

Issue
Information
Basic observation
There is a lot of Information, but most of it is macro-information that is of little use in the “management” of scarce resources and the measurement of results. Much of the information that is available is replicated several times in different reports.
Prevailing response
A question about information is usually answered by a new study and new report. This usually adds to the cost and volume of the available information but may not add much to the understanding possible from the information.
A better response
Information can be powerful. It is better to have a little of the right information than a lot of information that has little practical use. Good information can be simple and valuable because it is linked with identifiable activity and places and valuable to manage effective allocation of resources.

Issue
Infrastructure
Basic observation
Infrastructure has deteriorated in most parts of the “south” and is mostly dysfunctional, making any industrial productivity low.
Prevailing response
A few big infrastructure projects are in process and on the drawing board. Some are going to add value, but the maximizing of value from these projects rarely happens because of the value export of the typical business model. Meanwhile little is done to upgrade a deteriorated infrastructure.
A better response
Rehabilitation of deteriorated infrastructure is a priority, and best done by using local contractors and a maximum of local content. The process of infrastructure building should maximize value adding, and this means local labor, local capacity and local capital to the extent it is available.

Issue
Insecurity
Basic observation
Insecurity is a major issue in quality of life ... and unless one has lived in fear, it is difficult to appreciated how bad it is.
Prevailing response
The prevailing global view seems to be that insecurity for others is not important ... in fact not until there is death and mayhem should there be any action.
A better response
Insecurity should be a component of a management information system about global communities, and government that allows insecurity should be help to account. The challenge of insecurity cannot be taken lightly, because insecurity is also a facet of terrorism.

Issue
Insurance
Basic observation
Insurance is a key way to reduce risk. It should be part of a comprehensive finance sector.
Prevailing response
The finance sector is very much compromised in many parts of the world, so initiatives to encourage insurance should be a low priority.
A better response
The best way to reduce risk is to actually reduce risk by the way one is organized and the way activities are conducted. It is then possible to add insurance as an added dimension of protection. Adequate recognition should also be given to informal protection that is done by groups without a formal legal structure.

Issue
Intellectual property
Basic observation
Intellectual property has emerged as a key asset in a modern economy.
Prevailing response
But intellectual property is also a challenge for the relief and development sector because of its potential to constrain indigenous activities.
A better response
And worse, the laws of IP are also capable of constraining important activities. The idea that maintaining the IP legal regime is more important than making it possible for lives to be saved is an issue that makes the pharmaceutical industry appear more interested in corporate value than human health.

Issue
Internal audit
Basic observation
Internal audit is an important small part of a good management and control system.
Prevailing response
In the relief and development sector, accounting is often unacceptably weak, and internal audit seems to be used instead of improving the accounting basics.
A better response
Accounting and the use of accounting information as the basis for good management information should be a high priority in the relief and development sector, and internal audit should be implemented in bigger organizations so that a good basic accounting system is operated and maintained well.

Issue
Internal check
Basic observation
Internal check is part of a good internal control system. It is the idea of there are adequate double checks on basic transactions so that they are always right.
Prevailing response
Good accounting systems are rare in the relief and development sector. In many cases accounting basics are ignored using the argument that this is an emergency and we do not have time for any accounting. The essence of internal check is not even a consideration most of the time in the RDS.
A better response
Good accounting should be the norm throughout the relief and development sector. A good system should include the concept of internal check so that all transactions are correct, and all reports are right.

Issue
Internal control
Basic observation
Internal control is a broader idea of checks and balances, so that the accounting is right and cannot be distorted into bad reporting and misrepresentation by any single one person.
Prevailing response
The accounting dimension of the relief and development sector is weak, and there are few checks and balances to control the way in which the system operates.
A better response
Good accounting should be the norm throughout the relief and development sector. A good system should include strong internal control so that the transactions are recorded correctly and the reporting is right and not producing a misrepresentation of the facts.

Issue
Interest rates
Basic observation
Interest rates are a way of charging for the use of financial resources.
Prevailing response
The relief and development sector has not much addressed the financial dimensions of development, and certainly not the role of interest in making resources more readily available for critical purposes.
A better response
The broadening of the global financial sector so that it is able to get financial resources allocated to the poor segments of global society is important, and the role of interest in this is going to be critical so that investors can be suitably rewarded.

Issue
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)
Basic observation
Famine and war have created a huge population of internally displaced people especially in Africa. This is a problem that has been serious for 30years and remains critical.
Prevailing response
The international community is making only modest progress in eliminating the root causes for creation of displacement. The potential for economic improvement to reduce IDP crises has a low priority.
A better response
A community centric relief and development strategy that ensures that all communities have a ways to make progress can help mitigate the root causes of the IDP situation. The program has added power when IDPs are made an integral part of a solution.

Issue
International Law
Basic observation
Law is an important part of a strong enabling environment, and international law a part of this.
Prevailing response
The application of international law has been distorted in many ways to suit the prevailing powers. This has been detrimental in many ways for progress in relief and development.
A better response
International law should be a strong and just framework that is fair to all. Many aspects of international law need to be reviewed in order to ensure that international law is compatible with fairness and the human rights of all.

Issue
Internet
Basic observation
The Internet is a powerful and valuable modern infrastructure for communications
Prevailing response
The Internet has been embraced as a key technology, and is being used to a limited extent in the relief and development sector.
A better response
The Internet is an immensely powerful technology that has almost unlimited potential to change the limits of possibilities. A lot more needs to be done to link the rural and remote and disenfranchised communities with the rest of the world.

Issue
Internet access
Basic observation
Access to the Internet is a critical characteristic of modern infrastructure.
Prevailing response
The relief and development sector has recognized that the Internet is important, but in spite of this has not been able to facilitate the action needed to get poor countries to have much access to it.
A better response
Poor access to the Internet is one of the constraints for development, and there should be strong intervention to ensure that good Internet access is universally available. Technology is not the problem, it is leadership, and the structures of socio-economic power.

Issue
Internet governance
Basic observation
The Internet has become commonplace in part because its governance has been driven by technical considerations more than by the demands of political control.
Prevailing response
There is a growing demand among governments for political control to replace technical control, for the public sector to be in control rather than private organizations. The driver of this demand seems to be a combination of political desire to control information and a corporate desire to control progress and eliminate competition from potential new generations of technology.
A better response
The total potential value of the Internet has hardly started to be realized yet, and people as a whole need to ensure that its potential value is not constrained by narrow and limited political control and corporate control. The value to poor communities has not yet been developed, and this should not be ignored.

Issue
Internet infrastructure
Basic observation
Internet infrastructure started as a private system for communications and sharing of important results among researchers. It is now a global network owned by a diverse set of organizations.
Prevailing response
The Internet infrastructure is growing where there is wealth, but is not growing much in areas in poverty. Poor countries are falling further and further behind. The work being done to address the lack of infrastructure is small relative to the deficit.
A better response
A strong funding for Internet infrastructure is needed, as well as a way of ensuring that access to the infrastructure is not held to ransom by a power elite with investment in the status quo. While the total cost of infrastructure can be quite high, the cost per capita is low, and the value potential of this investment is very positive.

Issue
Investment
Basic observation
Investment has been small, except where foreign investors have been able to find high return opportunities, as in oil and mining and some low wage manufacturing industries (textiles)
Prevailing response
Most of the international investment focus is on FDI type investments and larger scale initiatives. International funds do not want to invest in small scale initiatives, but big programs are often unsuited to the prevailing economic situation and stage of development.
A better response
Investment needs to be suited to the situation, and the best investment is that which serves the community and adds value for the community people. An investment mechanism that delivers financial resources to community level investment initiatives has high value.
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From 'HUNDREDS OF ISSUES THAT IMPACT RELIEF AND DEVELOPMENT'
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