Author-card of document number 12952

Thursday April 7, 1994
TV mustn't hide need for long term aid, aid official says
Identifier (cote)
Dépêche d'agence
BRUSSELS, April 7 (Reuter) - Emergency aid operations highlighted on
television risked overshadowing the long term development work of
non-governmental organisations (NGOs), a senior independent aid agency
official said on Thursday.

The need for a long-term development strategy is relegated to second
place by TV news cameras,
Guido Dumon, president of the NGO-EU Liaison
Committee, said at the opening of a three-day assembly of 700 European

NGOs were in danger of becoming sub-contractors of governments and
international organisations, such as the European Union, he said.

We note a growing pressure on NGOs to support official development
policies. NGOs are in danger of becoming government tools and losing
their independence.

European Development Commissioner Manuel Marin said NGOs were
increasingly important in implementing EU aid programmes.

Aid channelled through the organisations had risen five-fold over the
past decade to nearly $800 million in 1993 and would soon top $1.0
billion, he said. NGOs distributed nearly half of EU humanitarian aid
last year.

NGOs deal efficiently with emergencies and rebuilding, and provide a
basis which will in the medium and long terms help the peoples to fend
for themselves,
he said.

But the huge sums now involved meant stricter financial controls were
needed, he added.

In response to NGO criticism about short-sighted aid policies, Marin
said the EU began last year to bridge the gap between emergency and
long-term development aid.

The EU is starting to help countries like Somalia and Cambodia, which
are emerging from war or natural disasters, to repair water supplies,
hospitals and other basic infrastructure.

But rehabilitation aid is high risk both politically and financially,
Marin warned. Look at Rwanda and such a situation nothing
is assured...our programmes can be wiped out overnight.

Another concern among NGOs is a growing dependence on the military in
countries such as ex-Yugoslavia and Somalia and questions it raised
about the right of interference.

NGOs want to be autonomous and see military intervention as the worst
of all evils. But in some cases it would otherwise be impossible to
deliver aid, he said.

The former UNPROFOR Commander in Bosnia General Francis Briquemont will
be among speakers at a debate on the role of NGOs in Conflict,
Development and Military Intervention
on Friday and Saturday.

(c) Reuters Limited 1994

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