Just a day after completing the country’s Comprehensive Development Strategy, the expert in charge of Development admitted that he does not actually exist. The expert had done a superb job prioritizing the needs of the poor across 9 major sectors and hundreds of development interventions, not to mention mainstreaming gender and the environment. He had calculated the country’s financing requirements to attain the Millennium Development Goals, as well as the country’s needs for neutral, humanitarian peacekeeping forces to end the civil war, along with a post-conflict strategy to re-integrate combatants, and a timetable for fair, competitive elections.
The regrettably fictional expert had drawn upon a large body of country and sector work to identify best practices to successfully treat a range of development challenges facing the country, such as AIDS, malnutrition, malaria, lack of infrastructure, illiteracy, war, rule of law, governance, the fragility of the state, and the absence of economic growth. The expert had coordinated the actions of the 37 Development partners operating in the 9 major sectors and 147 sub-sectors within a Public Sector Medium-Term Expenditure Framework.
The knowledgeable and powerful but nonexistent expert had also integrated into the country’s Comprehensive Development Strategy the Human Resources Strategy, the Empowerment of the Poor Strategy, the Gender Framework, the Post-Conflict Strategy, the Climate Change Response Program, the Governance Framework, the Capacity-Building Initiative, the Country Ownership and Participation Strategy, and the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. The expert had inclusive participation by all stakeholders, including Development Partners, government officials, and civil society, in designing the Comprehensive Development Strategy.
Leading aid agencies expressed doubts that the expert’s claims to be nonexistent were valid, and promised to address the issue of expert fictionality in the next donor meetings in Geneva.
Postscript: the Onion recently reported a similar problem with US Homeland Security.