Brussels, 11 April 2017 – For two consecutive years, global development aid has increased, according to the latest figures released today by the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC). The 2016 statistics report an increase of 8.9% (USD 142.6 billion). However, 1.8% of this increase actually stayed in the donor country, including EU Member States, with relatively little effect on poverty eradication and sustainable development since it is used to cover in-donor costs to address the refugee crises. At the same time, net global bilateral ODA to least developed countries fell by 3.9% in 2016 (USD 24 billion).
While 10.7% of the world’s population still live in extreme poverty  and world’s inequality is rising , EU Member States again failed collectively to meet the 0.7% ODA/GNI target with EU aid reaching 0.51% of their collective GNI which remains off track to meet the 0.7% target by 2020. Indeed, only 5 EU countries respected their commitment: Denmark, Luxembourg, Sweden and the United Kingdom welcoming Germany to this short list. Unfortunately, the Netherlands dropped out of that select group for the first time since 1974.
EU aid did increase by 13.1% (USD 81.3 billion) but much of this reflects growing in-donor refugee costs. DAC rule allows donor countries to count certain refugee expenses as ODA; Germany spent over 20% of ODA for refugee costs in 2016.
The achievement of the 0.7 percent target in the election year is a swindle. A large amount of the total expenditure is spent on domestic refugee costs. Germany thus inflates the spending on development cooperation and remains the largest recipient of its own resources for development cooperation. We strongly discourage other EU countries to follow this path.
In spite of this inflated global increase, CONCORD, the European Confederation of Relief and Development NGOs, regrets that aid is being diverted from the countries most in need. Development aid is being instrumentalised as an incentive for governments to cooperate with the EU on its migration and security measures.
Supporting refugees arriving in Europe is absolutely the right thing to do, and something we as Europeans should be proud of. But counting in donor refugee costs as aid – money spent in the donor country which never reaches a developing country – is of questionable development impact at best and certainly an attempt to artificially inflate countries’ aid figures. Aid should be used to support people out of poverty and help to promote sustainable, long-term change in developing countries – including tackling the root causes of forced migration.
CONCORD worries that this trend could be the basis of the renewed EU Consensus on Development. Such an approach is not acceptable in a document that will guide the implementation of the 2030 Agenda at EU level.
Notes to editors:
- CONCORD is the European confederation of Relief and Development NGOs, made up of 28 national associations, 20 international networks and 3 associate members that represent over 2.600 NGOs, supported by millions of citizens across Europe. www.concordeurope.org
-  Stats on poverty from the World Bank: http://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/poverty/overview#1
-  2017 Report from Oxfam on world’s inequality: https://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/pressreleases/2017-01-16/just-8-men-own-same-wealth-half-world
- OECD DAC global aid figures 2017 are available via http://www.oecd.org/development/development-aid-rises-again-in-2016-but-flows-to-poorest-countries-dip.htm
- On a yearly basis, CONCORD monitors European aid levels and compares official EU aid figures with the genuine amount of aid going to developing countries in its report AidWatch. For more information visit: https://concordeurope.org/aidwatch-reports/ In 2015, the European Union has again failed to meet its commitment to spend 0.7% of Gross National Income on Development Aid. The CONCORD Aidwatch report 2016, entitled ‘This is not enough’, reveals that only five countries met their 2015 targets: Denmark, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Sweden and United Kingdom. The EU has missed its targets by €36.9 billion in genuine aid. In 2015, 17% of its aid did not reflect a real transfer of resources to developing countries, because it went to “in-donor” refugee spending, debt relief, student costs, tied aid and interest payments. Key EU donor countries have reduced effective aid modalities that support ownership and the alignment of different country systems, while supporting those that fit in with donors’ own external and internal priorities. From 2013 to 2014, the volume of bilateral climate-related ODA increased by more than the overall ODA volume (24% as opposed to 1%), which means that donors are prioritising climate ODA over other forms.
- In 1970, The 0.7% ODA/GNI target was first agreed and has been repeatedly re-endorsed at the highest level at international aid and development conferences: in 2005, the 15 countries that were members of the European Union by 2004 agreed to reach the target by 2015: the 0.7% target served as a reference for 2005 political commitments to increase ODA from the EU, the G8 Gleneagles Summit and the UN World Summit: http://www.oecd.org/development/stats/45539274.pdf. 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). http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-15-5353_en.htm