Ahead of the DAC high-level meeting, CONCORD encourages the OECD to ensure aid maintains a laser focus on eradicating poverty and sustainable development for all. The outcomes of the meeting could reinforce current worrying trends for EU aid: decrease of aid to least developed countries, increase of conditionality and securitisation of aid as well as an increase of in-donor country costs reported.

Aside from providing a political moment, the meeting will seek to agree some changes to how in-donor country refugee costs are reported, new principles to govern the use of blended finance as well as new rules on the use of private sector instruments. These decisions could see some quite significant changes in aid and development cooperation that will have implications far into the future.

As the recent CONCORD AidWatch Report showed, these are all issues that have real importance across the EU. While 2016 saw a substantial increase of 27% in EU’s ODA spending, there has also been a substantial increase in reporting of inflated aid largely due to in-donor country costs [1]. At the same time, the amount of aid that reaches Least Developed Countries continues to decrease [2] and the costs for refugees in donor countries reported as aid keeps on rising [3].

This diversion of aid to arguably less developmental purposes – alongside the continued shift to making aid conditional on things like migration policy [4] and a somewhat uncritical approach to partnership with the private sector – means that any changes to the rules agreed in Paris today will have a real impact on the quality of EU aid.  And that matters because that quality question is about impact, real change and real progress for people.

Amy Dodd

CONCORD expert and Director of the UK Aid Network

The DAC’s efforts to clarify existing rules for reporting in-donor country refugee costs are welcome but we remain concerned that allowing these to be reported as ODA, for money spent in the donor country, undermines the developmental and poverty focus of aid.

Amy Dodd

CONCORD expert and Director of the UK Aid Network

In addition to these new rules and principles, a potentially quite new and different mandate for the Development Assistance Committee itself will be under discussion.

Our confederation welcomes the work the committee has done to improve relationships with civil society, here in the EU and globally. We are pleased to see that reflected in their new mandate for more inclusive ways of working. At a time when civil society space is shrinking and under attack in too many places, formalising this into a structured process is an important step and one that needs to happen now. Johannes Trimmel

CONCORD President

NOTES TO EDITORS

[1] At this pace, with only genuine aid being counted, it would take the EU and its Member States another 30 years to reach their commitment to 0.7% GNI, reveals CONCORD AidWatch report.

[2] In 2015, it represented just 14.6% of total European aid.

[3] In 2016, the spending costs for migrants, refugees and securitisation, all reported as aid, increased by 43 % compared to 2015.

[4] The recent example of the EU Trust Fund for Africa saw €46 million of ODA  allocated to support the Libyan coastguard and border guards, with the aim to prevent migrants from leaving Libya and entering into the EU. This reflects the political context reinforcing aid conditionality and instrumentalisation in security and migration terms.

  • CONCORD EUROPE: CONCORD is the European confederation of Relief and Development NGOs, made up of 28 national associations, 21 international networks and 3 associate members that represent over 2.600 NGOs, supported by millions of citizens across Europe. www.concordeurope.org
  • AIDWATCH: Since 2005, CONCORD AidWatch monitors aid spendings and formulates recommendations on the quality and quantity of aid provided by EU Member States and the European Commission. www.concordeurope.org/aidwatch-reports CONCORD actively campaigns to hold EU leaders accountable for their commitments to dedicate 0,7% of their Gross National Income to development assistance and to use this aid in genuine, poverty-focused and effective ways. Resource: “CONCORD AidWatch 2017 – EU Aid uncovered – how to reach the target on time
  • ODA COMMITMENT & DEFINITION: In 2015, at the Third Financing for Development conference in Addis Ababa, the European Commission re-committed to achieve the UN 0.7% target within the timeframe of the post-2015 agenda, including a specific effort for countries most in need (0.15-0.20% to Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in the short-term, 0.20% within the timeframe of the post-2015 agenda).
    The rules defining what can be included within the Official Development Assistance (ODA) definition have been broadened in the field of peace and security to include measures such as preventing violent extremism, and engagement with the police beyond training in routine civil policing functions. Resources: “ODA redefined: What do you need to know?” and DAC HIGH LEVEL MEETING COMMUNIQUÉ from 19 February 2016.
  • BLENDING: CONCORD is concerned by lack of evidence that blending is a modality that effectively contributes to sustainable development. Blending has increased foreign investments in the Global South, but investment does not always equal poverty eradication or sustainable development.