2020 marks the first year since 1998 that the global rate of poverty has increased. The COVID-19 pandemic has much to do with that, but it doesn’t help that the EU and its Member States are further off-track than ever in meeting their aid targets. In fact, at the current rate of growth, the EU will not meet the (genuine) aid target before 2070, as revealed by CONCORD’s 2020 AidWatch report.
Since 2005, CONCORD’s annual AidWatch report monitors the quantity and quality of EU Official Development Assistance, or ODA. It holds the EU accountable for their commitment to allocate 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI) to ODA by 2030. In 2019, despite an absolute rise of €3 billion, ODA fell for the third consecutive year in proportion to the EU’s GNI. So, the EU was off-track in its support to partner countries even before the global pandemic.
Despite the EU’s repeated reaffirmation of its commitment to meeting the 0.7% target by 2030, very few EU Member States are actually keeping it, making the chances of meeting the Sustainable Development Goals even more remote. “Although there is progress in some areas, for example some increase in the support to Least Developed Countries, the EU is just not mobilising enough development assistance to really support countries to achieve the SDGs by 2030,” says Antoinette van Haute, Research and Advocacy Officer at CNCD-11.11.11, the Belgian platform of French-speaking NGOs.
Although there is progress in some areas, for example some increase in the support to Least Developed Countries, the EU is just not mobilising enough development assistance to really support countries to achieve the SDGs by 2030.
This year’s report also provides a preliminary assessment of the ‘EU Global Response to COVID-19’ in partner countries. The EU efficiency in adopting the package was welcome, but it did not introduce extra funding. It only diverted it from other programmes. Moreover, the lack of data availability makes it difficult to account for how the EU is spending this money.
COVID-19 brutally exposes how investments in social sectors are key to enabling sustainable development in partner countries. As we enter into the Decade of Action to accomplish the SDGs, EU ODA should be regarded as an essential expression of global solidarity. As Tomás Nogueira, Advocacy Officer at Portuguese NGDO Platform says, “… EU donors must drastically scale-up their efforts to achieve their international commitments. Otherwise, it won’t be possible to address the economic and social consequences of the pandemic on people around the world, especially the most marginalised.” In the recovery from COVID-19, EU donors must collectively work against the trend of national priorities overshadowing international commitments.
EU donors must drastically scale-up their efforts to achieve their international commitments. Otherwise, it won’t be possible to address the economic and social consequences of the pandemic on people around the world, especially the most marginalised.
While the knock-on effects of failing to provide enough aid are becoming painfully clear, the report provides recommendations for EU donors to scale-up funding for ODA. Only in that way will we ensure that no one is left behind in the COVID-19 recovery.
 Mahler D. et al, Updated estimates of the impact of COVID-19 on global poverty, World Bank Blogs, 8 June 2020.
Notes to editors:
CONCORD is the European Confederation of relief and development NGOs, made up of 28 national associations , 23 international networks and 4 associate members that represent over 2.600 NGOs, supported by millions of citizens across Europe.
AidWatch: Since 2005, CONCORD’s AidWatch report monitors aid spendings and formulates recommendations on the quality and quantity of aid provided by EU Member States and the European Commission. 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.
Report on Inequalities: This report looks into this multidimensional concept and offers concrete proposals for EU decision-makers to respond to this soaring worldwide, man-made problem.
How EU aid is crucial for Least Developed Countries to Leave No One Behind: This paper monitors how the EU and its Member States are doing to achieve the ODA to LDCs target.
ODA commitment and definition: The EU commitment on spending 0.7% of its GNI on ODA has been recently renewed in the European Consensus on Development. (article 103)
OECD DAC: OECD DAC global aid figures