Mozambique - Development Assistance: Bridging the gap

In most developing countries experiencing violent conflict or highly destructive natural disasters, there comes a time when the immediate emergency draws to a close and the people affected must pick up the pieces and continue with their lives as best they can. For the United Nations and the international community that is when humanitarian assistance winds down and development agencies begin to take over.

The World Today Updated 27 October 2020 Published 1 June 2000 3 minute READ

Development assistance is very different from humanitarian relief. It is low-key, long-term and aims to promote local capacity and self-sufficiency. It is not about foreign doctors, convoys of white jeeps or masses of hungry, displaced people dependent on external sources of basic goods and services.

Unfortunately, this phase is far less telegenic than the emergency stage and so, with the departure of the helicopters go the cameras and, too often, the money to help the victims back to their feet.

There are also considerable institutional challenges in the handover from humanitarian to development actors. Unfortunately, donor resources often stall as medium term needs fall between humanitarian and development budgets. We have seen this happen time and again, most recently in Kosovo and East Timor.

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