Donors’ mixed aid performance for 2010 sparks concern

Aid to developing countries in 2010 will reach record levels in dollar terms after increasing by 35 per cent since 2004. But it will still be less than the world’s major aid donors promised five years ago at the Gleneagles and Millennium + 5 summits. Though a majority of countries will meet their commitments, the underperformance of several large donors means there will be a significant shortfall, according to a new OECD review.

Africa, in particular, is likely to get only about USD 12 billion of the USD 25 billion increase envisaged at Gleneagles, due in large part to the underperformance of some European donors who give large shares of official development assistance (ODA) to Africa. Eckhard Deutscher, Chair of the DAC, noted that: ”Aid has increased strongly as 16 donors have honoured their commitments. But underperformance by the others, notably Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, and Portugal, means overall aid will still fall considerably short of what was promised. These commitments were made and confirmed repeatedly by heads of governments and it is essential that they be met to the full extent.”

Commenting on the figures, OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría said: ”It is reassuring that most donors are recognising their international responsibilities. As we head into new rounds of discussions about funding climate change and food security concerns, I encourage all donors to carry through on their development promises.” Source: OECD, http://tinyurl.com/ye8zrej

The EU falls short $19bn on development pledges. Some of the overall shortfall will come from the EU15 – the old, wealthier member states that made the original pledges. EU countries are skipping out to the tune of $19 billion (€14bn) on the aid pledges they made to developing countries five years ago at a landmark G8 meeting, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Aid to poor countries in 2010 will be lower than donors promised five years ago at the 2005 Group of Eight meeting in Scotland – largely as a result of the economic crisis, says a report published on Tuesday by the OECD, the international club of wealthy countries. With national budgets squeezed in the wake of the crash, many governments believe that charity begins at home.

Max Lawson, senior policy adviser at Oxfam, said: ”These broken promises are nothing short of a scandal. A woman dies every minute in childbirth somewhere in the world because of inadequate medical care and 72 million children remain out of school. The missing $21bn could pay for every child to go to school, and could save the lives of 2 million of the poorest mothers and children.” Source: EU Observer, http://euobserver.com/19/29496

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