Brussels, 12 April 2022 – Today, the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released its early figures for Official Development Assistance (ODA) spending across donor countries in 2021. In an increasingly unpredictable world that is still countering the shockwaves of the global pandemic and compounding crises, EU ODA donors are still falling short on their collective and decades-old commitments to leave no one behind.
The EU continues to fall short on its commitment to deliver 0.7% of gross national income (GNI) towards ODA.
In absolute terms, the figures show that, for the nineteen EU DAC Member States’, ODA has increased by 4.2% (81.3 billion USD) compared to 2020. However, this represented only 0.49% of their ODA/GNI ratio. This is still far below the 0.7% ODA/GNI target – and is especially alarming in a year where the effects of the global pandemic are continuing to reverse decades of progress on most human development indicators.
The EU and Member States’ responses to rising inequalities have been disjointed.
The full impact of global crises are yet to be felt, but already 2021 witnessed 140 million more people being pushed into extreme poverty. Yet, donors’ responses to reversing this trend have been disjointed. Only 4 EU countries fulfilled or exceeded their commitments on development assistance: Denmark, Germany, Luxembourg and Sweden. On the other hand, with a full year of Team Europe having come to pass, the EU institutions’ ODA actually fell by 8.1% in real terms. Being well into the ‘Decade of Action’, donor countries must urgently scale-up efforts to get back on track towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
Beyond the targets, it also matters how the EU delivers its ODA.
While the quantity of ODA is critical, CONCORD also underscores the importance of ensuring that money actually reaches where it is needed most. As in previous years, this year’s figures show that some Member States, such as France and Germany, are increasingly favouring loans versus grants to bankroll development assistance. Instead of contributing to sustainable development in partner countries, this only fuels an already spiralling debt crisis.
Counting vaccine donations is deteriorating the credibility of ODA. CONCORD has already joined civil society organisations in Europe and beyond in calling on OECD DAC members to abandon all plans to report vaccine donations as ODA. Despite this, EU donors have slashed millions from ODA budgets – to the tune of 1.8 billion USD as a whole. From this, only 3 million USD were specifically purchased for partner countries. Rather than building fair and equal partnerships, this practice only increases aid-inflation and undermines ODA credibility by rewarding donor countries for hoarding life-saving vaccines and donating the leftovers.
These figures come at a time of particular uncertainty, in which ODA must be seen as an essential expression of global solidarity. It is one of the most powerful tools to tackle inequalities and reach those furthest left behind. Together, with civil society organisations across Europe, we are calling on the EU and its Member States – as the world’s largest donor bloc – to put commitments into action.
Notes to editors
 CONCORD Europe 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.
 Our experts on ODA across Europe are available for interviews.
 2021 preliminary figures are available on the OECD website.