New figures show the poorest countries could miss out due to weak aid rules.

Added 11 Apr 2017
New figures show the poorest countries could miss out due to weak aid rules.

Brussels, April 11 2017. New global aid figures released today [April 11] have been criticised by campaigners as evidence that rules governing aid aren’t working. According to the European Network on Debt and Development (Eurodad), proposed changes to the rules could actually make things worse.

The Official Development Assistance (ODA) figures, compiled by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) show net aid from member countries was USD 142.6 billion in 2016, a real-terms increase of 8.9 per cent over the previous year. However, this increase has been partly driven by the costs of hosting refugees in donor countries - according to the OECD, in-donor refugee costs rose by 27.5 per cent in real terms, and in 11 donor countries, refugee costs account for more than 10 per cent of all ODA.

“These figures show how easily aid rules can have perverse effects - in this case, disguising the amount of aid that’s actually going to poor countries,” said Polly Meeks, Eurodad’s Senior Policy and Advocacy Officer on Aid. “Aid rules can have a profound effect on the lives of people in poverty - as with so much in development, what gets done often depends on what gets measured. That's why it's so important that on-going discussions on reforming the aid rules don't create even more room for confusion.”

Under proposals currently being considered by the OECD, donors would be allowed to count more of their support for the private sector – so-called Private Sector Instruments - as aid. Campaigners from Europe, North America and Africa have warned that the proposals, in their current form, risk doing more harm than good.

“These proposals risk not only inflating aid, but also creating new opportunities for donor countries to ‘tie’ aid to their own private sector – a practice that increases costs, and misses long-term development opportunities. It’s essential for these rules to be tightened up, or else the world’s poorest people could lose out,” said Meeks.

Eurodad, along with other Civil Society Organisations, is calling for the timeline for reform of the rules on Private Sector Instruments to be extended, to allow for proper consultation on the potential risks.


Media contact: Martin Atkin, Senior Communications Consultant +44 (0)779 544 3607

Notes to editors:

The aid figures can be found on the OECD DAC website at here.

Full civil society recommendations on Private Sector Instruments can be found here.

Why is aid important

International aid plays a vital role in financing essential public services and other preconditions for effective development. Eurodad’s analysis showed that, in Low Income Countries, aid accounted for over 7 per cent of GDP in 2012.

About Eurodad:

Eurodad (the European Network on Debt and Development) is a network of 47 civil society organisations (CSOs) from 20 European countries, which works for transformative yet specific changes to global and European policies, institutions, rules and structures to ensure a democratically controlled, environmentally sustainable financial and economic system that works to eradicate poverty and ensure human rights for all.