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Development as Security: Using Aid Policy to Govern Instability

Thursday November 3, 2011, from 14:30 to 16:30
Room Fred Halliday - IBEI (1st floor)
Research seminar
Nancy Thede (Université du Québec à Montréal)

International security preoccupations in the field of development cooperation have undergone several transformations since the end of the Cold War, from national security to human security and more recently security against international terrorism. During the same period, globalization has intensified and become a key aspect of international development policy. Framing development as a security concern has become a common phenomenon amongst donor countries in the post 9-11 international context. The redefinition of the mission of international cooperation for development by many donor countries, the growing implementation of whole-of-government and, in particular, 3D (defence-diplomacy-development) approaches, and the increase in amounts of ODA to countries on the basis of security concerns are some of the manifestations of this trend.

Starting from the premise that these processes are informed by the aim of policy coherence for development (PCD) promoted by the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) and the entire Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) since the early 1990s, this paper analyses the evolution of this policy discourse from a critical constructivist perspective. By focusing principally on the issues of policy coherence and harmonization promoted in the DAC, it reveals how the development policies of the various members of the DAC have coalesced around these concepts. Many have shown that security concerns have come to play an increasingly determining role in the bilateral development policies of the member countries of the DAC; this paper reads PCD as the common vector of both the aid effectiveness agenda and the whole-of-government approach and it extends as well into the arena of the security-development nexus. The coherence approach represents a new phase in the restructuring of the international hierarchy of power relations, one that is consistent – rather than constituting a rupture, as most authors assume – with earlier phases of stabilisation under the guidance of multilateral donor institutions.


Seminar IBEI Thede