Basic social services

Five years ago, at the World Summit for Social Development in Copenhagen, world leaders agreed that international assistance should be targeted towards the basic social services - primary health care, basic education, clean water and proper sanitation - so essential for child well-being. Today it is clear that there has been little or no shift in the prioritization of public spending or donor funding in developing countries. The Centre has published Basic Services for All?, summarizing a forthcoming book that highlights the shortfall of around $80 billion per year between what is being spent on basic social services and what should be spent to ensure basic services for all. It examines donor and government spending on basic services in over 30 developing countries, revealing the lack of budgetary information on the provision of essential services. Calling for greater resources for these services, the report sets out a Ten Point Agenda for Action, including measures to prioritize resources, to ease the burden of debt, and to move towards the 20/20 initiative, with the governments of developing countries allocating 20 per cent of their budgets, and donors allocating 20 per cent of their official development assistance, to basic social services. While the 20/20 initiative was endorsed by the World Summit for Social Development in 1995, developing countries currently spend only 12-14 per cent of their budgets on basic services, with only 10 per cent of aid budgets targeted to these needs. The publication is available in English, French and Spanish. Development with a Human Face Parts of the well-known book Development with a Human Face (DWHF) will shortly to be published in French by Economica. Nine country case studies in French prepared as background materials for DWHF are also available.

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