Commenting on the Millennium Development Goals Summit, Paul Collier and Jamie Drummond argue that, in the face of OECD austerity and faster growth in poorer, resource-rich countries, further progress towards the MDGs requires a global process to bring common standards of integrity to the extractive sector.
‘Previous meetings have been focused on drumming up more aid. Times are doubly inauspicious for such a purpose: in the OECD fiscal deficits are squeezing aid budgets, while in the poorest countries faster growth is enabling governments to finance more from their own revenues…The historical record of resource extraction in these societies is abysmal: money that could have delivered the millennium development goals instead corroded governance’
Cautioning that ‘concern about governance is not a derisory substitute for [aid] but a necessary complement to it’, they argue that whilst ‘such summits should no longer be confined to discussions of aid’, fulfilling aid commitments can also provide a ‘springboard’ to the global spread of best practice. They hail the first steps beyond voluntarism in transparency initiatives and suggest what must follow to secure and build upon such progress.