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UNICEF Controversial Funding Proposals: Countries Heading Towards The Wrong Direction?

by CLARK KENT | 15 August 2021, 09:50 WIB | THE DAILY PLANET | UNICEF


The United Nations Children’s Fund has convened on 13-15th of August 2021, currently having a rigorous discussion on the development and accessibility of online learning. However, critics of the ongoing proposal have begun to raise some concerns. Some of these critics are prominent characters who are experts in their respective backgrounds


Currently, the council is divided into two major groups of nations. The first bloc consisted of Colombia, United States, and allies, while the second bloc consisted of People’s Republic of China, Qatar, Turkey, and allies.


A New Form of Colonialism?

The working paper proposed by the United States and allies (WP1.1) coins a program called Covenant of Funding Education in Nations (COVEN) that schemes cooperation between developed and developing countries in many scenarios of educational facilities.


While this may sound ideal at first, experts fear that this may lead to digital colonialism “Digital colonialism is the use of digital technology for political, economic and social domination of another nation or territory” one expert explained to us during an exclusive interview. This might be the worst case scenario, as it might internalize dependency from developing to developed countries. “Surely this practice will not be sustainable in the long term, and will cause more harm than good,” the expert added.


Dr. Frans Gabriel, an expert in educational technology governance, stated that the concern becomes more apparent with no forms of incentives for developed countries that contribute to the funding, as it may sound realistically suspicious for a nation to voluntarily contribute without any written incentives. “We must throw caution to the wind when it comes to these plans. All countries work realistically, and they only want to do something if it suits their interests. Without written incentives, there might be some fishy harmful negotiation happening in the background.” Dr. Gabriel said.


Businesses Cast Doubt Over Plan to Assist Remote Learning

Controversial clauses not only exist in the first working paper. The second working paper from China and allies (WP1.2), also sparks criticism from private sectors in various countries, especially in the People’s Republic of China itself. Businesses are still recovering from a ravaged pandemic situation, and some might never be able to recover at all.


WP1.2 highlights a collaboration with private sectors for financial assistance for various remote learning facilities. This proposal is understandably met with criticism by industry leaders, as it is considered to be unjust during a pandemic where many companies receive unsatisfying profit.


Billionaire philanthropist Wong Kar-Wai opined that “Sure, we want to help with education. But in a time where we can barely survive because of the pandemic, these practices are not really our priorities at the moment.” This statement was echoed by many prominent industry leaders and businesspeople in China and Hong Kong.


Diversity Triggers


As the UNICEF countries realize their similarities, it is heard some plans for merging solutions to make unanimous support. However, the idea of a single funding proposal without questioning could lead to a corrupt decision making, as there might be no opposition or alternatives to the current proposal.


Political consultant Joe K. Wee Doe-Doe from Wakanda argues that “UNICEF should promote diversity and competition of ideas, instead of narrowing decision making by merging proposals. This scenario gives alternatives for states to choose which funding mechanism could generate less risk of inefficiency and misconduct, especially for basic educational needs during the pandemic situation.”


Stay tuned to the Daily Planet as we provide further coverage on this matter.

Jakarta International MUN 2021