4. Pro and Contra Speed
What is the right speed? Put on the pressure or let
loose? As regards this question there were two groups: one of them called
for deceleration, the second pointed out the danger of a slower speed for
development and modernization processes.
On the one side it was argued, that planning under pressure
would lead to superficial solutions. These complained Prelate Valentin Doering of the Hanns-Seidel-Stift ung would
take no account of complexity and had merely an alibi function. The
correction of faulty developments because of rash decisions can be more
expensive later than an investment in thoroughly thought through planning.
More time was also asked for implementation. Especially the most important
capital of cooperation, trust, was not growing over night. Ownership needs
Reinhard Hermle (VENRO, Misereor)
summarized the practical experience of development cooperation: development
always takes longer than one planned for.
At the same time – this was pointed out by a large number of
the interviewees – deadlines are important levers for change. Only under
pressure are resources made available in partner countries. This is also
recognized by the partners. Hans-Peter Schipulle (BMZ) recounts a
conversation he had with the South African Minister for Water, who told him
that only deadlines had led to a successful dynamic: “Without this pressure
we would have lacked the drive that let us reach the goals we had set
Open processes without time pressure often entail danger –
for no action does not mean that nothing happens. To not force processes
can mean that undesirable structures ossify and options for action get
lost. Speed is good against sclerosis. The announced goal, to increase the
aid budget of UN countries to 0,7% of GDP, had been repeated for years
without any impact; only in May of this year the countries of the EU signed
a declaration of intent, to reach this aim until 2015. The millennium goals
also have a deadline until 2015. In the wake of exaggerated hopes as to its
feasibility in the donor countries, such deadlines carry the danger of
creating excessive expectations, and thus reduce the freedom of action that
could become necessary should unforeseen circumstances demand it.
Barbara Unmüßig of the
Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung brings together the necessity for stamina and
pressure: It takes long-termness and continuity in order to build up
reliable networks. When suddenly a short window of opportunity opens, as
for example in the Ukraine in autumn 2004, it can be utilized.