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ONE Campaign: Aid reaches new high but world’s poorest lose out

Global aid levels reached a record high last year – but less of it is going to fight poverty in the poorest countries.

Latest figures released today from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee (OECD DAC) show that global aid spend increased by 8.9% in real terms in 2016.

However, nearly 2% of this increase came from rising spending on refugees in donor countries. The ONE Campaign warned that these costs have skyrocketed in the past two years.

The total amount of in-donor refugee costs rose steeply by 27.5% in 2016. This represents almost 11% of total aid, up from 9% in 2014-2015.

In addition, based on bilateral ODA spend from the DAC data, donors gave nearly 4% less to least developed countries in 2016.

Valentina Barbagallo, Brussels Policy & Advocacy Manager for ONE, said:  “We are delighted that the EU and its Member States remain the largest provider of aid globally.  The EU Institutions alone reported a net increase of 14.3% compared to 2015 aid levels. International aid has never been higher, but the need for it has never been greater.  With four devastating famines looming and 130 million girls denied an education, we need life-changing aid now more than ever. 

However, too much aid is being spent in Europe rather than the world’s poorest countries, and it is deeply concerning that, overall, aid to Africa fell by 0.5%.  With the African population set to double by 2050, the EU must take steps to frontload investments for African youth now. In order to harnessed this “demographic dividend” the EU must ensure its aid focuses on eradicating extreme poverty – particularly through investments in education, employment and empowerment  – and reaches the most vulnerable people, particularly in the poorest and fragile countries.  The European Commission is due to release the EU’s draft 2018 budget at the end of May, representing a major opportunity for the EU to continue to scale investment in development aid.” 

Six countries met the historic commitment to provide 0.7% of National Income in aid including the UK, Germany, Denmark, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden.

However other countries, including the Netherlands, dropped below this figure.


Notes to Editors:

The official OECD figures can be downloaded from here. These are provisional figures that will be confirmed later this year.

ABOUT ONE: ONE is a campaigning and advocacy organisation of nearly 8 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.

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.

For media queries please contact: Emily Wigens (interim Brussels Director), [email protected], +44 7557 265 483