Tuesday, April 27, 2010

OECD says that international aid is "off-track"

From IRIN, the OECD weighs in on international aid and the gap between aid pledges and commitments.

Members of the Organisation for Economic Coooperation and Development’s (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC) gave US$121.5 billion in bilateral aid in 2009, reaching a historic high, but the gap between commitments and promises made in 2005 is widening, says the UK’s Overseas Development Institute (ODI).

In 2005 DAC donors collectively promised to commit 0.56 percent of gross national income to aid by 2010, but reached just 0.31 percent in 2009, according to OECD’s 2010 aid report issued on 23 April.

“Though aid commitments have continued to increase, the rate of increase has dropped off in the past few years…making donors increasingly off-track,” ODI research fellow Alison Evans told IRIN.

DAC donors gave $27 billion to Africa in 2009, an increase of 3 percent on 2008, but this is still less than half of the extra aid they promised at Gleneagles in 2005, said Evans.

Norway, France, the UK, Korea, Finland, Belgium and Switzerland all increased their aid commitments, while Japan, Greece, Ireland, Spain and Portugal, among others, reduced theirs.

“For EU [European Union] members these DAC figures are particularly sobering,” Evans told IRIN. Recognizing many donors have had difficult years amid financial recession, she continued, “were these commitments made just for good times? That isn’t the case. They were made because of a commitment to reduce poverty globally and boost international development… for those receiving this aid; they are clearly going to be worried.”

The largest donors by volume were the USA, France, Germany, the UK and Japan, according to the OECD, but just five countries met or exceeded the UN overseas development aid target of 0.7 percent of national income: Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.

Donors pledged to increase aid to US$130 billion by 2010; but the OECD predicts they will fall short by $78 billion (both figures in 2004 US dollars).

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