Context and background introduction
Overseas aid (to the Developing World) has always been the subject of intense debate and disagreement. Why do we give aid and does it achieve its objectives. Aid does not get to those it is intended for or gets eaten up in administrative costs. We cannot afford aid in times of austerity. Aid just creates dependency and lets local governments ‘off the hook’.
Each year the Development Assistance Committee of the OECD publishes a review of aid  and every second year, a consortium of international non-governmental organisations published a critical assessment of aid  and each year the debates are renewed and continued. There are few topics in international development that spark as much public opinion than that of ‘aid’.
Agree 1: In a world as unequal and unjust as ours is, providing life giving aid is the least we can do given our relative wealth and well-being
There is very considerable evidence that overseas aid does work in terms of basic human needs but on its own it cannot and will not eliminate poverty and inequality. Much of the evidence for this can be found in two summary reports – the UNDP’s Human Development Report for 2005  and the Does Aid Work briefing paper .
These, and many other reports highlight the positive impact of effective aid in areas such as health, education (especially for girls), life expectancy, access to safe water etc.; the value of its impact in human development terms and its limited cost to donor countries. Given this evidence and given our relative wealth in world terms, providing aid is the very least we can do.
There is very considerable evidence that, even on its own terms, aid has failed; instead of it being targeted on the needs of the poor, it is used by donor governments for their own strategic interests, not for the elimination of poverty.
Official aid has been severely criticised for its lack of effective targeting of key issues such as poverty, women’s rights, the poorest countries, basic needs etc. and for its use by donor governments for their own economic and political strategic interests. It has also been attacked for its unreliability and for its constant failures to live up to the promises made year after year. Although now ended, many of the serious critiques of aid can be found on www.aidwatchers.com and also in the bi-annual reports of www.realityofaid.org. Two very different critical views include those of Dambisa Moyo who argues for an end to the dependency that aid creates  and the World Development movement’s Nick Deardon who argues against the use of aid to support private enterprise .
Disagree 1: To criticise overseas aid for its very many failings is anything but selfish; it reveals a deep-seated seriousness about our role in the world
Aid needs to be critically assessed if it is to live up to its aims and achieve what people want and expect. Aid needs to be kept ‘honest’, focused and effective. Some of the most serious criticisms of aid come from its very supporters, such as the Reality of Aid international network of aid and development agencies (aid does not target poverty and basic needs sufficiently and it frequently bypasses the poorest people)  and Oxfam (aid priorities need to be urgently refocused especially on areas such as small scale agriculture and basic needs .
Agree 2: Given the proven impact of overseas aid on the well-being of some of the world’s poorest people, attacking it and arguing for its abolition is an act of reckless selfishness.
Regardless of the weakness and failings of aid, there is a very strong moral and self-interest case to be made for it. One of the most outspoken and challenging writers on the issue is philosopher Peter Singer (see www.thelifeyoucansave.org. Along with many others such as Thomas Pogge and Gareth Cullity, he argues that not fulfilling our duties to others in need amounts to living an ‘unethical life’ especially so when the costs of providing help are so small . An equally strong statement of this perspective is advanced by philosopher Thomas Pogge .
Disagree 2: Official overseas aid deserves to be heavily criticised as it all too often does not deliver what it promises while creating the impression that it does
Official aid has been severely criticised for its lack of effective targeting of key issues such as poverty, women’s rights, the poorest countries, basic needs etc. and for its use by donor governments for their own economic and political strategic interests. It has also been attacked for its unreliability and for its constant failures to live up to the promises made year after year. Although now ended, many of the serious critiques of aid can be found on www.aidwatchers.com and also in the bi-annual reports of www.realityofaid.org. Two very different critical views include those of Dambiso Moyo (end aid because of the dependency it creates)  and the World Development Movement’s Nick Deardon (aid is used to promote private interests and this should be challenged) .
Agree 3: For every €1 given in aid to Africa, €6 is taken back. Arguing against aid in such a context illustrates well the greed of the West
The debate on aid is often conducted without reference to other financial links and transfers. A 2014 report by a group of NGOs highlighted how the net transfer of financial resources is NOT from rich to poor but the other way around. The report details how the operations of the international economic and financial system systematically ‘loot’ Africa. In such a context, to continue to argue against aid is morally bankrupt.
Disagree 3: Overseas aid continues to let local governments ‘off the hook’ in terms of their responsibilities to their own people; it fuels corruption and builds up dependency.
This argument is made very strongly by Zambian economist Dambiso Moyo in her book Dead Aid . She argues thataid creates dependency  and that those developing countries that have done well in terms of development arenot major recipients of aid .
Admittedly, from a different perspective, aid is also commonly criticised by NGO personnel, for much of its current targeting (e.g. the focus of UK Aid on promoting private enterprise as ‘the’ solution to poverty and hunger etc. see the arguments of the World Development Movement’s Nick Deardon .
Agree 4: Given that we agree that ‘rich’ countries in the EU support ‘poorer’ EU countries, to argue against overseas aid smacks of double-standards and hypocrisy
Many countries, regions, communities and groups are in receipt of considerable aid from the European Union in agriculture, fisheries, infrastructure, community development, education, culture, sport etc. To argue in favour of such aid while simultaneously arguing against aid for other (non-EU) states is hypocrisy – see, for example the cases of Ireland  and Malta 
Disagree 4: Aid is not an effective means through which to tackle poverty, injustice and inequality; it represents a ‘soft option’ for the rich of the world.
Poverty, hunger and inequality don’t just happen by accident or as the simple result of geography; they are actively created by policies and practices, many of them local but also many of them international in origin and scope (some analysts used the term ‘planned misery’ in this context. Aid simply addresses the consequences of these policies and practices rather than their causes and as such aid cannot eliminate them. Aid can only do what aid is capable of doing; eliminating injustice and inequality is not feasible through the mechanism of aid. For an overview of key aspects of the debate, see http://www.realityofaid.org and Debating Aid. 
1] Development Co-operation Report 2014: Mobilising resources for sustainable development by Development Co-operation Directorate, OECD (2014).
 Aid and the Private Sector: Catalysing Poverty Reduction and Development? by Reality of Aid report (2012)
 Does Aid Work? – for the MDGs by International Poverty Centre (2007) | briefing paper
 The aid debate special report: can we afford foreign aid? debate by Dambisa Moyo and Paddy Ashdown (26 June 2012) The New Statesman
 British aid and the return of the trickle-down myth by Nick Dearden (7 May 2014) in The New Internationalist
 Summary of the argument see: The Drowning Child… by Peter Singer (5 April 1997) in The New Internationalist | article
 Poverty and Human Rights by Thomas Pogge (30 May 2007) United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights | position paper
 Poverty in Europe by Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (25 August 2009) | position paper
 Poverty in Europe: the current situation by Inequality Watch (26 January 2012) | article
 Honest Accounts? The true story of Africa’s billion dollar losses by consortium of NGOs in the Health Poverty Action (July 2014) | report
 World Bank World Development Report 2006 Overview: Equity and Development by The World Bank (2005)| summary of report
 Human Development Report 2013: The Rise of the South by UNDP (2013) | report
 Ireland’s 40-year bonanza of foreign aid from the European Union will amount to €41 billion by the time we become a net contributor in 2013 by Finfacts (22 February 2008)| article
 EU: all of Malta eligible for regional aid (7 May 2014) by The Times of Malta | news article
 Regional Policy summary (2014) by official website of the European Union
 General website of The Reality of Aid North/South international non-governmental initiative that focuses exclusively on analysis and lobbying for poverty eradication policies and practices in the international aid regime: http://www.realityofaid.org
 On Aid Effectiveness (2014) by Oxfam International
 After the deluge, can we have a serious debate on aid? (12 February 2014) by Kevin Watkins in Overseas Development Institute’s online Comment section | blog
 Giving aid to poor countries is hardly a great act of generosity (14 June 2011) by Jonathan Glennie in Poverty Matters Blog on The Guardian | blog
 As the cuts bite, why bother with the global South? (17 October 2013) by Jonathan Glennie in New Internationalist blog | blog
 If ‘charity begins at home’ why are we committing to overseas aid? (10 November 2011) by Hans Zomer in the Dóchas blog | blog
 The aid debate special report: can we afford foreign aid? (26 June 2012) debate by Dambisa Moyo and Paddy Ashdown in The New Statesman
 British aid and the return of the trickle-down myth (7 May 2014) by Nick Dearden in The New Internationalist
 Dead Aid by Dambisa Moyo (2010) | book
 The aid debate special report: can we afford foreign aid? debate by Dambisa Moyo and Paddy Ashdown (26 June 2012) The New Statesman | article
 Why foreign aid is hurting Africa by Dambisa Moyo in The Wall Street Journal (21 March 2009) | article
 British aid and the return of the trickle-down myth by Nick Dearden (7 May 2014) The New Internationalist | blog
 Corruption, Anti-corruption Efforts and Aid: Do Donors Have the Right Approach? by Ivar Kolstad, Verena Fritz and Tam O’Neil (January 2008) working paper 3 in the Advisory Board for Irish Aid
 Debating Aid by Bertrand Borg, Mary Rose Costello and Colm Regan (2010) 80:20 Educating and Acting for a Better World
 Common Objections: ten reasons not to give money to charity (2014) by The Life You Can Save campaign