• Gordon Crawford
Part of the International Political Economy Series book series (IPES)


A striking departure in the early 1990s in the foreign aid policies of Northern ‘donor’ governments was the linkage of development assistance to the promotion of human rights, democracy and good governance in Southern ‘recipient’ countries. Similar policies were declared in rapid succession by almost all major bilateral aid donors from 1990 onwards, with a remarkable consensus in both the ends and means pronounced in the policy statements. The stated aid policy objectives were the promotion of civil and political rights, democratic government and an accountable and efficient public administration. It is asserted here that this amounts to an overall goal of democratisation (see Figure 1.2 on page 29). The policy instruments were two-fold: on the one hand, positive support through aid projects aimed at strengthening respect for human rights and democratic practices; on the other hand, negative action in the form of aid restrictions in situations of perceived violations of human rights or reversals in the democratisation process. The whole policy area is sometimes described as ‘political conditionality’, though this term more accurately refers to negative measures only. The positive measures are often described as ‘democracy assistance’, although the term ‘political aid’ is generally preferred here.


Good Governance Development Assistance Political Reform Development Assistance Committee Bilateral Donor 
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Copyright information

© Gordon Crawford 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gordon Crawford
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LeedsUK

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