OECD members agree to broaden overseas aid definition

LONDON, 19 FEBRUARY 2016.  OECD development ministers gathered this week at a meeting of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) in Paris. OECD members agreed to broaden existing reporting rules so that overseas aid can be used to cover more peace and security costs. Leaders also discussed the current rules allowing them to use development aid to fund the costs of the refugee crisis at home. Donors fell short of agreeing to exclude such costs from their aid reporting and have instead tasked the OECD secretariat to clarify the current rules governing the reporting of in-donor refugee costs as ODA.

Adrian Lovett, Europe Executive Director, The ONE Campaign, said:

“The members of the OECD today failed to ensure that vital resources for refugees arriving in Europe are not taken from existing commitments to the world’s poorest people. And by extending aid rules to include more peace and security costs, the OECD risks further eroding what is available for the poorest countries. 

“Recent OECD data already shows support to the least developed countries as a declining trend. We cannot allow this to continue. We urge European leaders to come together to meet the needs of all vulnerable people and not at the expense of the poorest.”


Notes to editors:

Contact, information & interviews – Andrea Ghianda // [email protected] // +32 (0)2 300 89 42 // +32 (0)471 89 64 22


ONE is a campaigning and advocacy organisation of over 7 million people taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. Not politically partisan, we raise public awareness and press political leaders to combat AIDS and preventable diseases, increase investments in agriculture and nutrition, and demand greater transparency in poverty-fighting programmes. Read more at www.one.org.

Changes to the DAC rules decided today:

The rules defining what can be included within the Official Development Assistance (ODA) definition have been broadened in the field of peace and security. ODA now includes measures such as preventing violent extremism, and engagement with the police beyond training in routine civil policing functions.

Communique from the February 2016 DAC High Level Meeting available here.

The OECD and Official Development Assistance:

The Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) defines development aid and monitors its flows to developing countries. The committee has measured resource aid flows since 1961.

Special attention has been given to the official and concessional part of these flows, defined as “official development assistance” (ODA). The DAC first defined ODA in 1969, and tightened the definition in 1972. ODA is the key measure used in practically all aid targets and assessments of aid performance. The definition is of great importance for the global goal that donor countries commit 0.7% of their GNI to development assistance.


ONE, Oxfam, Global Citizen and others have launched a joint petition to ask European leaders to meet the needs of refugees arriving at our borders without doing so at the expense of the world’s poorest. The organizations are calling on governments to make sure aid is focused on fighting extreme poverty and prioritizes the countries and people that have the least. So far nearly 80,000 people have signed the petition.