Education International
Education International

We must do better

published 5 June 2008 updated 5 June 2008

In order to fulfill the international commitments they have made, donors will have to increase funding for aid programmes faster that any other public expenditure, according to the latest Development Co-operation Report from the OECD.

The report notes that at the 2005 G8 summit in Gleneagles, donors made a series of pledges to increase aid to $130 billion and double aid to Africa by 2010. In fact, their actions have fallen far short of their promises. Aid funding, recently rising by 5% per year, would have to rise by 11% every year from 2008 to 2010 to meet the pledges, the OECD says. The report, which was launched in Tokyo on 4 April, also reviews aid volumes, noting which donors give most and which states receive most. (Iraq at $12.9 billion annually in 2004-05 and Nigeria at $3.2 billion are the largest recipients, both boosted by exceptional debt relief.) The United States gives most by volume but, along with Greece, trails for giving least as a percentage of its gross national income (GNI). Only Sweden, Norway, Luxembourg, Denmark and the Netherlands actually exceed the UN target of 0.7 percent of GNI to official development aid. In a speech entitled “We must do better,” OECD Director General Angel Gurria said that “in the current global context, we must keep our attention actively focussed on development assistance to the poorest; we cannot let domestic economic concerns, important as they are, deter us from meeting our development commitments.” Gurria said he was “sorry to report that donors’ plans do not currently show the rapid upturn needed” to deliver the promised aid. In fact, he said, “to meet the commitments made in 2005 to substantially increase aid by 2010, we still see a shortfall of nearly USD 40 billion in 2007 dollars in planned spending, compared with donors’ own targets. If we are to come close to achieving these targets, we must act now.”

This article was published in Worlds of Education, Issue 26, June 2008.