Brussels, 9 April 2018 – For the first time since 2012, total aid has globally decreased (by 0.6%), show the latest statistics of the OECD Development Assistance Committee. This drop can be explained by the decline of in-donor refugee costs reported as aid (-13.6% on 2016). Reflecting this global trend, European DAC members are the main reason for the shift in the statistics with drops in refugee costs in many Member States such as Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece and Slovenia.
The data released today reveal that aid provided by DAC-EU countries has dropped by 1.2% and that aid from the EU institutions decreased by 6.7% due to reduced lending. This means that the twenty EU DAC members collectively failed to meet their 0.7% target with their aid reaching 0.49% of their collective GNI. With this step back from 0.51%/GNI last year for EU DAC countries, Europe is even further away from reaching the target on time.
Unlike Germany, the UK, Denmark, Luxembourg and Sweden, kept their commitment to the 0.7% ODA/GNI. France, Italy and Sweden saw the biggest increase of ODA. In the meantime, Austria, Greece, Hungary, Slovenia, Spain reduced ODA spendings the most. This decrease is mostly explained by a drop of spending on refugee costs compared to previous years, especially in Europe where Germany, Greece and Italy spent more than one fifth of its ODA budget in in-donor refugee costs.
The example of Germany is symptomatic of the inflation of aid by in-donor refugee costs. By reporting 25% of inflated aid on hosting migrants and refugees in 2016, Germany reached 0.7% of its GNI for the first time. In 2017, Germany dropped its commitment as its spending on in-donor refugee costs decreased.
EU Member States do have the capacity to address this challenge with other resources than aid. It is a moral duty to offer support to migrants and refugees, but using aid budget means less resources are dedicated to genuine, sustainable development and the EU is drifted away from its commitment to leave no one behind.
While the increase of global ODA to Least Developed Countries is welcome by CONCORD, the European confederation of Development NGOs, two recent reports outline the general trends of EU aid being progressively used in favour of Europe’s interests for security, border control and migration management.
The principle of solidarity on which aid is based, is questioned at EU and national levels. The primary objectives of poverty eradication and sustainable development will never be reached if Europe keeps on subordinating ODA to Europe’s interests.
Today, in-donor refugee costs represent still 9.7% of total ODA and aid spending on conflict, peace and security over the last years has outpaced the growth of all aid over the last decade.
It is clear that the EU is still facing the challenge of increasing its aid levels to meet the 0.7% target, while continuing to deflate aid figures. Total aid levels should not decrease as refugee costs are decreasing. For the current design of the EU budget’s architecture (MFF), development NGOs call on EU leaders to safeguard ODA to help with the transformative changes and sustainable development needed to deliver on the ambition of Agenda 2030.
- Helene Debaisieux, CONCORD Communications Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel +32 (0)2 743 87 93
- Luca de Fraia, ActionAid Italy, Co-Chair of the CONCORD structure working on Financing for Development, email@example.com
Notes to editors:
CONCORD Europe: We are 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. https://concordeurope.org
OECD DAC global aid figures 2018 are available via on the OECD website.
SECURITY AID: AidWatch paper 2018 “Fostering development, or serving European donors’ national interests?”: Analysing the current trends around the aid agenda with the help of figures, examples to build on recommendations, this publication from CONCORD focuses on how is Aid progressively “instrumentalised” and spent in favour conflict, peace and security (CPS) management, to the detriment of poverty eradication and sustainable development.
AID & MIGRATION: AidWatch paper 2018 “The externalisation of Europe’s responsibilities”: Aiming at clarifying how EU’s development cooperation and migration agendas are interlinked in today’s EU policies, CONCORD’s new report provides a commentary on the impact of these links. The report draws a couple of key recommendations, and more specifically, identifies 3 trends outlining how EU aid is in fact used to curb migration, done on-purpose by EU policy-makers to serve domestic priorities: inflation, diversion and conditionality (link to animated infographics of the 3 trends).
AIDWATCH REPORTS: Since 2005, on a yearly basis, CONCORD AidWatch monitors aid spendings and formulates recommendations on the quality and quantity of aid provided by EU Member States and the European Commission. https://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.
ODA COMMITMENT & DEFINITION: The EU commitment on spending 0.7% of its GNI on ODA has been recently renewed in the European Consensus on Development. (Resource: article 103)
The rules defining what can be included within the Official Development Assistance (ODA) definition have been recently 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. Resource: https://www.oecd.org/dac/DAC-HLM-Communique-2016.pdf (Feb. 2016)