Policymakers diverting funds earmarked for long-term investments to pay for immediate political fire-fighting, then using accounting technicalities to conceal their budgetary sleight of hand. NGOs calling attention to the high-stakes shell game, only to see the government practices worsen the next year. This all sounds depressingly familiar, doesn’t it?
What’s surprising is where it’s happening: in the very countries that have been the standard-bearers of good governance, transparency, and adherence to a long-term vision of fairness in social and economic development around the world.
In Denmark, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, and other European countries, government funding for international aid—known as official development assistance—is increasingly being reassigned to cover the expenses of receiving and resettling refugees within the donor countries’ borders. But thanks to a specific set of international reporting rules, the totals for aid spending remain high—so high, in fact, that those countries are likely to retain their ranking atop the Center for Global Development’s Commitment to Development index.
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