International non-state actors and social development policy




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INTERNATIONAL NON-STATE ACTORS AND

SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT POLICY


Paul Stubbs


Associate Senior Researcher
Globalism and Social Policy Programme (GASPP)
University of Sheffield, UK


Address: S. Draganica 1, 10090 Zagreb, Croatia

Tel and Fax: +385 1 3701 301

EMail: pstubbs@zamir.net

INTERNATIONAL NON-STATE ACTORS AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT POLICY

Abstract


This article focuses on two broad groups of actors, international NGOs (INGOs) and international consultancy companies (ICCs), and situates them within wider trends in aid and development policies. In the context of a neo-liberal policy agenda, many leading INGOs reorganised so that they became closer to emerging ICCs, as consulting, outsourcing, and sub-contracting became key features of aid and development policy. Throughout the 1990s, in the context of declining ODA, and increasing spending on emergencies, trends towards concentration and oligopolisation amongst private development actors grew apace, fuelling short-termism, projectisation, and intense competition within the aid market. The article discusses a new aid and development regime which is focused on co-ordinated poverty reduction. It suggests that, notwithstanding its progressive elements, the regime will provide added impetus to existing tendencies towards concentration, oligopolisation, mergers and consortia amongst non-state actors, given that it is being implemented within the core principles of the new public management.


Key Words

Non-state actors, povery reduction, new public management

Biographical Note

PAUL STUBBS is a sociologist and an Associate Senior Researcher in the Globalism and Social Policy programme (GASPP) at the University of Sheffield, UK. He is currently based in Zagreb, Croatia where he combines research on international organisations with activism work with civil initiatives and social development consultancy work. His interests include: children’s rights; forced migration and work with refugees and displaced persons; diasporas and computer-mediated communication; civil society and social movements; and welfare governance in post-Yugoslav countries. His recent academic work has focused on the making of social policy in South-Eastern Europe and, in particular, on the relationship between global advice regimes and local memories.

Introduction

This article discusses the role of international non-state actors in the complex multi-lateralism of social and development policy marked as it is by a high, and sometimes seemingly unfathomable, degree of institutional fragmentation and competition. It focuses on two broad groups of actors, international Non-Governmental Organisations (INGOs) and international consultancy companies (ICCs), who are key players in the global politics of aid and development but whose activities are rarely scrutinised with analytical precision and, indeed, rarely studied together.


The text is informed by ongoing research and policy advice work by colleagues (Deacon, 2000; de la Porte and Deacon, 2002), as well as the author’s own work in South-Eastern Europe, which utlises an ethnographic perspective (Stubbs, 2002), studying aid relationships, or “how aid happens” (Wedel, 2001: 6) within particular societies at particular times. Here, the intention is to ‘scale up’ the analysis from the micro- to the macro- level, tying specific causes for concern to more general issues raised by a number of commentators in the wider development literature. In the process, I seek to illuminate a series of important policy issues in social development. The policy conclusions at the end of this paper build on existing work and seek to complement other recommendations in striving to work towards “a rules-based and equitable world order” (Deacon, 2002: 11) that ensures the social welfare of all the world’s citizens.

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