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1.2.2: Development and COVID-19: Seeking Pathways to Move from Neoliberalism toward Inclusive Development
Tuesday, 17/May/2022:
1:00pm - 2:30pm

Session Chair: Adrian Murray

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Child Rights Under Attack: The Development Challenges and Responses to COVID-19

Niloufar Pourzand

York U, Canada

I will be presenting some of the key consequences of the pandemic on safeguarding the rights of children as outlined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. This will include the impact of COVID-19 on children's right to education, health care, protection and participation and the setbacks/additional risks which have ensued. I will bring examples from various regions and different organizations including UNICEF with regards to assessing/analyzing the situation as well as some of the key actions taken to provide holistic, multi-sectoral and coordinated responses. Some of the best practices/lessons learned and ways forward will be summarized as well as some of the new modalities of engagement emanating from more remote work, localization and digitalization. I will provide a perspective as to the longer-term impact of this experience at the international, regional, national and sub-national level and what this entails for donors, IDS Departments, Governments, the UN, CSOs and other stakeholders. I will be referring to my own in-depth experiences with child rights work in many different countries as well as my experience as a Professor of IDS at York University and the University of Toronto over the past five years.

Covid-19 pandemic in “Least Developed Countries”: Culmination of the five decades of neoliberal developmentalism

Kapil Dev Regmi

University of Melbourne, Australia

Least Developed Countries, a group of 46 economically poor countries, were identified by the UN in 1971 to consolidate international support measures (ISMs) to address development challenges related to poverty, health, and education. However, even after half a century of their identification they remain poor.

This paper aims to investigate the support measures taken by international organizations mainly the UN for solving developmental challenges faced by these countries. It uses neoliberal developmentalism – that combines the scholarship on the critique of neoliberal orientation in development with the theory of modernism – as a theoretical framework. It uses key policy documents produced by the UN and its sister organisations (Committee for Development Policy, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, General Assembly, United Nations Development Program, and United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisations) from 1971 to 2021 as the main sources of data.

The paper uses document analysis as an analytical approach for analysing the data. Following Bowen (2009), I skimmed through all the policy documents, highlighted excerpts, and made notes for developing categories. After having a good understanding of existing policies, I read them carefully multiple times ‘to elicit meaning, gain understanding, and develop empirical knowledge’ (p. 27) about what support measures were taken, what implications those measures have on the sustainable development of LDCs, and what strategies are taken for really implementing them.

A major finding of the paper is that while some attempts were made for integrating LDCs into global trade and economy, international community could not translate their policy rhetoric into reality hence LDCs were left out in several developmental sectors such as economy, education, and health. As the Covid-19 pandemic ravaged the world the historical problems and challenges faced by these countries worsened. The findings are significant for devising more effective post-pandemic social policies for LDCs.

Impact de la pandémie de COVID-19 sur l’efficacité de l’aide : le cas du Vanuatu

Morgane Rosier

University of Ottawa, Canada

Ce papier a pour but d’explorer l’impact de la pandémie de COVID-19 sur la mise en œuvre d’engagements internationaux en matière d’aide. En particulier, la Déclaration de Paris sur l’efficacité de l’aide au développement de 2005 vise le respect de trois principes fondamentaux interreliés : appropriation (les pays récipiendaires définissent eux-mêmes leurs politiques de développement), alignement (les bailleurs de fonds soutiennent ces stratégies) et harmonisation (les bailleurs coordonnent leurs actions entre eux). Quinze ans plus tard, la mise en œuvre de ces principes s’avère décevante malgré leur potentiel pour créer un cadre global basé sur des relations plus égalitaires entre les pays. Cependant, le contexte « favorable » créé par la pandémie de COVID-19, notamment la restriction des déplacements internationaux et l’élan de solidarité affichée par la communauté internationale, peut soit renverser la tendance soit favoriser le statu quo. Je pose alors les questions suivantes : Comment la pandémie de COVID-19 a-t-elle freiné ou accéléré l’application des principes ? Que cela révèle-t-il sur leur pertinence et quels cadres concevoir pour le futur ? Pour y répondre, j’étudie le cas du Vanuatu, un État insulaire du Pacifique Sud récipiendaire d’aide au développement. En me basant sur une analyse de sources primaires et secondaires, ainsi que sur des entrevues avec des acteurs clefs au Vanuatu, je trouve que la pandémie a créé des incitatifs puissants au respect des principes, contrairement à une déclaration non-contraignante. Cela a renforcé des tendances déjà en cours comme la localisation, mais aussi des dérives autoritaires. Cependant et malgré les contraintes, les principes d’appropriation, d’alignement et d’harmonisation ne sont toujours qu’imparfaitement et partiellement mis en œuvre. Cela pose les questions de la pertinence de cadres comme la Déclaration de Paris et l’agenda de localisation ainsi que des approches alternatives plus pertinentes dans le futur.

Inclusive Development During and After the COVID-19 Pandemic: Lessons from the Second-Generation Tamil Diaspora in Canada

Akalya Kandiah

University of Ottawa, Canada

The COVID-19 pandemic brought with it numerous restrictions which impacted development initiatives, such as border closures. Localization helps to mitigate some of the challenges that have been exacerbated due to the pandemic, such as limited and/or slower access to communities, and at the same time is a decolonial process that contributes to more inclusive development.

Using in-depth interviews with second-generation members of the Tamil diaspora in Canada, this study finds that the diaspora uses their cultural and social capital to regularly engage in localization. Specifically, the diaspora's various forms of capital help it to implement localization practices such as direct lines of communication for communities to determine their own needs, the identification of and collaboration with grassroots and community organizations, and direct funding of those organizations. These findings highlight the ways in which the diaspora challenge colonial narratives to approach localization and overcome some of the barriers to localization, as well as some of the benefits of making international development an inclusive space for diverse groups such as diasporas and local actors to make contributions.

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