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Bilateral versus Multilateral Aid

  • By: David E. Alexander
  • In: Encyclopedia of Disaster Relief
  • Edited by: K. Bradley Penuel & Matt Statler
  • Subject:Public Health (general), Public Policy (general)

Regardless of the extent of a major disaster, relief work is the responsibility of the government of the country in which it occurs. International organizations generally do not have the right to infringe upon national sovereignty, but international mechanisms do exist to channel foreign aid to an affected nation. Assistance—in the form of personnel, materials, equipment or funds—may be donated bilaterally, or through multilateral arrangements. The former depend on pre-existing diplomatic and economic relationships between countries, while the latter are run by organizations that have been set up to foster global or regional cooperation, such as the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU), or the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Once aid arrives (including the granting of visas for personnel and import ...

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