Aid figures released by the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) today show that the European Union and its 27 Member States remained the world’s largest donor in 2012, providing more than half of the Official Development Assistance reported by Development Assistance Committee (DAC).


Africa_by sidelife_flickr_B5The economic crisis and severe budgetary constraints facing most developed countries have impacted global Official Development Assistance (ODA) levels negatively, resulting in a nominal decrease of more than EUR 8 billion compared to 2011. The EU collective ODA decreased to EUR 55.1 bn from EUR 56.2 bn in 2011; or from 0.45% to 0.43% of EU gross national income (GNI). The total ODA of the 27 EU Member States alone decreased from 52.8 bn to 50.5 bn, or from 0.42 to 0.39% of GNI. Only four Member States increased1 and seven maintained their ODA levels2, while 16 Member States reduced their effort.

Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said: “It is with regret that I see some Member States carrying out reductions of their ODA budgets. The EU is still the leading donor, but we are not moving in the direction of reaching our collective target of providing 0.7% of the EU Gross National Income (GNI) for development purposes.”

Respect EU’s formal undertaking

The European Council confirmed in February 2013 that a key priority for Member States is to respect the EU’s formal undertaking to collectively spend 0.7% of GNI to official development assistance by 2015, thus making a decisive step towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. However, the level of funding that Heads of States and Governments agreed for the 2014-2020 period foresees €58.7 billion for external aid from the EU budget which falls short of the €70 billion proposed by the European Commission. In addition, the European Council also agreed on €26.98 billion for the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) for 2014-2020, against €30.3 billion suggested by the European Commission.

“I realise some EU countries are in a dramatic situation due to the on-going crisis but we need to deliver on our commitments.- continues Mr. Piebalgs – Let me recall that even in times of crisis Europeans show their deeply rooted solidarity with partner countries: according to the Eurobarometer survey of October 2012, 85% of EU citizens believe that Europe should continue helping developing countries. I call on all Member States to redouble their efforts towards increasing ODA to 0.7%”.

Level of funding

This level of funding agreed by the European Council will not allow the EU budget and the EDF to maintain their share of the 0.7% ODA commitment. Therefore “EU Member States will need to increase substantially their national development budgets in order to respect their individual and the EU collective commitments. As the current situation in the Sahel region or in the Horn of Africa reminds us, it is more efficient to invest in development and eliminate the root causes of poverty than deal with its symptoms further down the line.”, added the Commissioner.

From 2002, when the EU first formally adopted individual and collective ODA targets, to 2010, EU ODA had been on an overall upward trend, though with some fluctuations. Unfortunately the decreases in 2011 and 2012 break the trend and return the EU ODA to the levels below 2008.

Reaching the target of 0.7% of EU collective GNI by 2015 would require almost doubling ODA, which requires very substantial effort by most Member States. The additional EU ODA from the EIB own resources supports progress towards the collective target.

For more details check the site of EuropeAid Development and Cooperation DG:


Henry Borzi

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