The Vital Role of International Development Organizations

International development groups and organizations are an important enforcer of diplomacy throughout the world. In some cases, these groups serve as mediums, visiting areas in which crises and disasters are prevalent. In others, these groups regulate policies to prevent famine, turmoil, and war from occurring. Despite the relative sense of balance that these groups and organizations provide, there are threats to their progress. The extent of their future influence, at least in the United States of America, is currently in a state of uncertainty. Devex notes that international development groups are facing potential reductions in funding, by some $10 billion, or over 30% according to The Huffington Post. This comes after the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill limiting the funding amount for the 2018 fiscal year, which begins on October 1st. Though the bill has yet to become law as the Senate has yet to approve their version of a similar bill, this does reflect a growing distaste for international development groups in the United States of America. Similarly, The Hill reports that the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is undergoing changes noting that incoming nominee Ambassador Mark Green will soon lead the company despite a potential reduction in its funding.

 

The role of international development agencies has remained similar for decades. Themes such as basic health needs, improved access to food and water, and poverty reduction are among the top priorities to address within the industry. These themes have affected billions of citizens living in dozens of nations. Fortunately, efforts to establish a sense of normalcy within developing nations have appeared to be worthwhile. America Magazine reports that, according to the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, almost 770 million people lived below the international poverty line (of $2 a day) in the year 2013. That number, by all accounts, is drastically lower than the almost 2 billion people that lived under the same conditions in 1999. America Magazine also notes that the number of undernourished people has decreased, from 930 million in the early 2000s to near 800 million today, according to the United Nations. Although some of the missions that groups and organizations successfully attempt are obvious to many, some remain unacknowledged by most citizens. An intriguing example of this can be found above Earth, in an initiative between USAID (United States Agency for International Development) and NASA. According to New Security Beat, SERVIR is a project in which almost 50 nations have participated in, collecting information through some 30 satellites. This information has documented potential issues that may affect a region, ranging from food and water usage to weather phenomena, ensuring that regions do not lose limited resources. Interestingly, this data has also been used to save lives, as seen in the case of Bangladesh.

 

An example of two international development organizations working in unison has occurred this year in the United Kingdom. The Third Sector highlights two international development charities, Find Your Feet (which operates throughout Africa and Asia) and Health Poverty Action (which provides access to education and health needs). These groups have formally partnered in hopes of expanding each other’s influence throughout the world and to ensure their future efforts. Though not a full merger of both companies, Find Your Feet’s and Health Poverty Action’s leaders have combined the best qualities of their company to further their goals together. Examples of this type of infusion may become more common, as these groups’ missions and objectives of achieving them are becoming virtually indistinguishable.

 

International development’s relevance in the world has never been more apparent. The results of investing in developing nations have produced a decrease in poverty and undernourishment. Partnerships within the industry have also abridged the time needed to achieve such goals, creating more opportunities for those who will benefit most. To ensure that the international development industry thrives and that projects within the industry do not fail, adequate funding should be allocated for current and ongoing efforts. By doing so, the lives of citizens will continue to improve, and possible funding needed in the future for the same projects may decrease.

Christopher Pratts