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Linking relief and development: an introduction and overview

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M. Buchanan-Smith
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There are currently key deficiencies in international emergency relief and development fields. These discrepancies are associated with issues of emergencies considerably disrupting development processes, and development policies often remaining insensitive to disaster risk. The author seeks to demonstrate that if relief and development can be linked, such discrepancies can be overcome.Trends towards an increase in occurrence and intensity of emergencies have put considerable pressure on government and donor budgets; in Ethiopia the cost of relief in 1984/1985 was equivalent to 94% of capital expenditure. The World Food Programme now devotes over half of resources to emergency and relief operations.In order to routinely integrate the objective of linking relief and development into government and aid agency policy the authors propose that underlying obstacles and issues must be addressed. These issues include cost-effectiveness, economic policy, and politics and institutional change. It is recognised that progress can be made in solving such problems by focusing on situation-specific examples and allowing freedom for donors, NGOs and governments to build stronger links between relief and development.The authors identify 5 main reasons why relief and development linkage should receive increased attention:concern surrounding increased spending of donor budgets on emergenciesemergencies have adverse effects on subsequent developmentrehabilitation has become an increasingly important issuerelief and development are both continuous concerns in poor countrieslinking relief and development will provide secure livelihoods and mitigate the impact of shock therefore easing rehabilitation.