The European Commission today reacted to the aid figures of OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) members for 2009, released by the OECD. The financial crisis has slowed aid flows. Worldwide development aid by DAC Members has increased by less than 1% in real terms by comparison with 2008. The EU donors in the DAC showed a slight decrease in their aid to developing countries. But they clearly retain the EU position as most generous global donor. The EU donors who are members of DAC account for 56% of worldwide aid.
"The EU remains by far the world's largest donor to developing countries. However, the slight decrease in 2009 should be quickly reversed if we are to respect the commitments we took to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. The crisis can't be an excuse" stated Andris Piebalgs, European Commissioner for Development. He added: "I will present next week an EU action plan to accelerate progress on our fight against poverty and to ensure that the EU sticks to its commitments. But the EU alone won't suffice: all donors should contribute their fair share to this collective effort. This is about credibility and trust."
The Commission commends the countries that have continued to increase their aid. It also notes that three out of the 5 largest donors worldwide in absolute terms are EU members - France, Germany and the United Kingdom. The Commission also welcomes the fact that four of the five countries exceeding the UN target of 0.7% of GNI being devoted to development aid -Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden- are EU members, and that Belgium is set to join this group in 2010.
OECD figures show that many donors, including several EU members, have decreased their aid in 2009, and the Commission is concerned that EU will not reach its 2010 target of 0.56% of ODA/GNI.
The Commission acknowledges that the Gleneagles commitments to increase development aid from 2004 levels and in particular to double aid to Africa remain out of reach according to current trends. These targets for 2010 are based primarily on the EU aid commitments, which account for about 80% of the increases expected from the G8. The Commission expresses particular concern over the expected shortfall for Africa and calls on donors to focus their aid efforts on the poorest.
On the 21st of April, the Commission will propose a 12 points EU action plan to Member States for making reaching the 0.7% target by 2015 a realistic goal. Other donors should also step up their efforts towards this target.
Official Development Aid needs to be addressed as an integral part of a comprehensive approach for speeding up progress towards the Millennium Development Goals. The Commission proposal for a set of actions will cover measures on many fields which have an impact on development, including supporting domestic revenues of developing countries, making aid more effective and non-aid policies more development friendly, mobilizing resources through innovative mechanisms.