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Stalled Governments: A Cause for Concern
By admin February 20, 2019

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The U.S. government’s partial shutdown shares some similarities with the collapse of a Brexit deal. The President of the United States, Donald Trump, has not been able to agree on southern border security with Democrats. Across the Atlantic, Prime Minister Theresa May is not having much luck with the members of parliament on the terms of a Brexit deal. Uncertainty looms for both countries’ political stability, economies, and NGOs and agencies that deliver aid to recipient countries.

The shutdown for a month from December 2018 to January 2019, caused low-income wage earners to seek some form of aid, through visiting food banks or receiving small sums of money through crowdfunding and business donations. Friday, Jan. 25, 2019 President Trump announced that the government would re-open for three weeks. Federal workers and contractors may experience some initial relief, but the first shutdown caused financial setbacks for workers. Congress and the President agreed to keep the government open, avoiding a second shutdown. Trump was able to secure $1.375 billion for new fencing along the border out of the requested $5.7 billion.

Jan. 15, 2019, the Brexit deal was widely rejected by 230 votes in British Parliament. The embattled May, a leader that parliament has tried to vote out, more than once, has until the end of March to reach a deal with the EU. Since the referendum to leave the EU two years ago, the impact on the economy has been felt by U.K. citizens.

Meanwhile, humanitarian and development aid funding flows hang in the balance after 2020. The U.K. will honor its commitment to provide funding to the EU aid budget until 2020 when the contract ends. EU funding to the U.K.’s Department for International Development (DfID) is a concern for U.K. NGOs who access EU funding sources through DfID. As U.K development officials monitor the current state of affairs, they are making a priority to find partners through other means.

According to Devex, a media platform for the global development community, British NGOs have registered or are considering registering in the Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland, or Germany to maintain funding from the EU. However, development cooperation between the EU and U.K. does not end at the deal or no deal exit of the U.K. because of membership in the OECD.

It is no secret to the U.S. or the rest of the world that Donald Trump wants to cut budgets and contributions for international cooperation and humanitarian crises. Trump’s words do have influence, but the U.S. Congress decides the funding for USAID. Similarly, in the U.K., MP Boris Johnson called for DfID to be closed, citing “inevitable waste” of money leaving the U.K. Leaders in the U.K. that oppose the independence of DfID as a global leading aid organization have to rethink the political, social and economic implications of their words. Negotiations for reconciliation in the U.S. and a deal for divorce in the U.K. demonstrate the need for rapid reforms.

The U.S. and U.K. are global leaders and constricting development aid budgets are counter to the promotion of development and anti-poverty goals. Countries relying on aid are increasingly held hostage to budget cuts and need more, not less, investment to sustain progress already made for development. Aid funding gaps are debilitating to recipients who need necessary lifesaving supplies, protection, education, and socio-economic programs. Disruptions in aid budgeting are compounded by delays and inefficiencies, which creates distrust among nations about the credibility of the U.S. and U.K. to be reliable partners.

 

For More Information:

UK NGOs head for Europe as Brexit looms

Aid NGOs warn of disruption as Brexit deal collapses

How is the US government shutdown impacting development?

What’s at stake for aid in the Brexit deal?

Trump Agrees to Reopen Government for 3 Weeks in Surprise Retreat From Wall

Three takeaways from Congress’s ability to avoid a shut down- this time around at least

 


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