The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) announced that over the course of 2021 members of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) allocated 178.9 billion USD to official development assistance (ODA), more commonly known as ‘development aid’, representing an increase of 4.4% in real terms, compared to the previous year. Unsurprisingly , despite the long-standing commitment to contribute 0.7% of gross national income (GNI) towards ODA, the 2021 figures show that only 33 cents for every $100 of national income was allocated to addressing global development, reducing poverty and inequalities and meeting expanding humanitarian challenges.
In 2021, only a handful of high-income countries met their international commitment to the 0.7% of GNI target for international aid. An average of 0.33% of GNI devoted to ODA is not even halfway to the international commitment that the community of aid providers made more than 50 years ago. Even more deplorable is the fact that the 2021 ODA preliminary figures have been inflated, not only with in-donor refugee- and student costs, but also because of the reporting of in-excess vaccine donations, which were never purchased in the interest of development partners and should not be counted as such. In 2021 a total of US$ 2.3 billion have been reported against excess vaccines donations, representing 1.3% of total ODA. CSOs recently called on DAC members to completely drop any reporting of excess vaccine donations in 2022 and beyond.
The consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, geopolitical, conflict and climate crises, requires the DAC community to considerably increase its ODA levels – the challenges ahead, and their implications for our common future, are too great to continue failing their international commitment. ODA is a vital resource, which plays a unique role in supporting those most in need, to help counter the continuing impacts of the pandemic, and persistent conflicts and fragility.
Yet again, 40 civil society organisations across the world (including Slovak platform Ambrela) are calling on DAC members to fulfil the 0.7% target for ODA and the 0.15% to 0.2% target for Least Developed Countries (LDCs). And we are calling for donors to uphold the integrity of aid, human rights and development effectiveness principles, following decades of lessons learnt. Going forward, donors should avoid any temptation to inflate their ODA budgets with costs such in-donor refugee costs and excess vaccine donations and should instead mobilise fresh and much needed aid, and prioritise unconditional grants. This is a time to step up solidarity, to prevent another lost decade for development for the poorest countries. Read the full statement here.
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