G8 overseas aid down by $2.9 billion between 2011 and 2012
Overseas Development Institute warn of ‘fading commitment’ but other observers optimistic that aid levels will rebound
Members from the IF campaign wear masks representing world leaders dressed as chefs, outside the City Hall, Belfast on Saturday. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire
The amount of money the world’s richest countries give to developing nations fell by $2.9 billion between 2011 and 2012.
The G8 countries reduced their collective official development aid, with only Canada increasing the amount of money it provided in overseas aid.
Preliminary figures published earlier this year by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) show that six G8 countries - namely France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States - reduced their collective spending on official development assistance (ODA) in 2012 by $3.1 billion.
G8 & Ireland Development assistance figures 2012
Canada was the only country to have bucked the trend, increasing its development assistance by $223 million or 4.1 per cent between 2011 and 2012.
Russia is not a member of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC)therefore it is excluded from the statistics.
The UK-based Overseas Development Institute warned earlier this month in its analysis of the G8 Accountability Report that there “are clear warning signs of fading commitment” around development assistance.
It noted that overall G8 development assistance had fallen for two consecutive years, adding that the projections indicate that aid will increase by 9 per cent in 2013 before stagnating between 2014 and 2016.
Gideon Rabinowitz, research officer with the institute’s centre for aid and public expenditure noted that, some countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Japan cut aid last year for the second year running.
He warned that the effect of G8 donors “tightening their belts” could have serious consequences for aid recipients. “The question is how these countries, in a relatively short time period, can subsidise the aid they are losing,” he said.
Although 16 of the 25 Development Assistance Committee countries have met or have set out a timetable to meet the UN-set benchmark that 0.7 per cent of countries’ national income to development assistance Mr Rabinowitz said it was now unlikely that countries which had committed to doing so by 2015 would make that target.
However, he said it was important that countries “do not abandon their commitments altogether but to take a pragmatic and concrete approach to raise the required resources to meet that commitment” as close to that date as possible.
Frank Barry, professor of international business and economic development in the School of Business in Trinity College Dublin says the drop in development assistance among the relevant G8 countries is worrying but said he believes it is short term.
“I don’t read the retreat of the G8 as anything other than a response to the global economic crisis,” he said.