BBC | CTSD | Divide sprouts between undeveloped and developed countries in CSTD over Foreign Aid, Self-Sufficiency

Undeveloped countries expressed distrust towards their developed counterparts during the Commission on Science and Technology for Development’s discussions today. On determining the impact of technological change on water security, they cited the ineffectiveness of social media campaigns and the debt undertaken by countries who receive aid from developed countries. The divide created two distinct perspectives: one that supported social media in addition to aid and one that debated undeveloped nations’ ability to be self-sufficient. The foreign aid and social media plan was strongly supported by Russia and the United Kingdom, along with other developed nations who both encouraged public awareness of water security in developing countries. “Social media awareness will not solve the issue, but it is a key factor in bringing awareness to any solution,” the delegate from Russia said. In addition to social media, delegates from the bloc that was primarily composed of developed nations wanted to create education initiatives within underdeveloped countries and a study abroad program that would allow students to provide aid while continuing their education. “Social media is a short term solution, we need something that’s long-term,” the delegate from the United Kingdom said. 

In the second bloc, China and Iran initially offered solutions where aid supplied would eventually lead to self-sufficiency. China heralded a standard plan that it has previously used in other developing nations, where it provides the top hundred agricultural technologies to developing countries. “China has worked alongside developing countries before with intentions of a grassroots approach. We personally have maintained self-sufficiency with rice and wheat,” the delegate from China said. “It’s such a tailored approach.”However, the underdeveloped nations present in the discussion were wary of accepting aid from developed countries and sought to find self-sufficient solutions. 

In the end, countries like Nigeria, Kenya, and Botswana only agreed to accept aid if it came from privatized corporations rather than solely from developed countries. “Corporate intermediaries would be the best option, as it would allow developing countries to promote self-sufficiency and promote their own economies,” the delegate from Nigeria said. Nigeria, along with other undeveloped countries like Botswana and Ethiopia, believed that taking aid from developed countries would lead them into debt and prevent them from reaching self-sufficiency. Also, they promoted interconnectedness within their bloc, effectively freezing out China’s plan. “We should create an economic union between developing countries to increase their economic power,” the delegate from Botswana said. While an official union has not been created, Botswana’s plan to create a group composed primarily of developing countries has led to a divide between the countries not only  geographically but also socioeconomically. “[We should] first consider the lack of support for technology in developing countries [by our citizens],” the delegate from Kenya said. “It’s a privilege only for the wealthy.”