In 2008, total net official development assistance (ODA) from members of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) rose by 10.2% in real terms to USD 119.8 billion. This is the highest dollar figure ever recorded. It represents 0.30% of members’ combined gross national income. Bilateral development projects and programmes have been on a rising trend in recent years; however, they rose significantly by 12.5% in real terms in 2008 compared to 2007, indicating that donors are substantially scaling up their core aid programmes.
Fears remain however that the unfolding economic crisis will have a negative impact on the 2009 aid levels putting agreed 2010 targets in jeopardy. The current global financial crisis is having a serious impact on low income countries. World trade is experiencing its largest decline since 1929 and commodity prices, particularly for the exports of low income countries, are falling.
Only a special crisis-related effort can ensure that the 2010 targets for aid are met, which is even more important now that the economic crisis is reducing developing countries’ growth prospects and their ability to make progress towards the Millennium Development Goals. The European Commission urges Member States to stick to their aid commitments as aid plays a vital countercyclical role in poor countries severely hit by the economic crisis.