Preliminary OECD figures show that Official Development Assistance (ODA) provided by the EU and its Member States has reached €75.5 billion in 2016. This constitutes an 11% increase compared to 2015 levels. The EU's assistance has increased for the fourth year in a row and reached its highest level to date. In 2016, EU collective ODA represented 0.51% of EU Gross National Income (GNI), having increased from 0.47% in 2015. This is significantly above the 0.21% average of non-EU countries that are members of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC).
The European Union and its Member States have hence again consolidated their place as the world's leading aid donor in 2016.
Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, said: “I am proud that the EU remains the world's leading provider of Official Development Assistance – a clear proof of our commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We call on all development actors to re-double their efforts to do likewise. And we do not stop there. Leveraging private sector investments, helping mobilise domestic resources and intensifying joint efforts with EU Member States, we seek to make the most of all financing sources for development."
In 2016, five EU Member States provided 0.7% or more of their Gross National Income (GNI) in Official Development Assistance: Luxembourg (1.00%), Sweden (0.94%), Denmark (0.75%), Germany (0.70%), who has reached the target for the first time, and the United Kingdom (0.70%). Sixteen EU Member States increased their ODA compared to their GNI, while 5 Member States reduced their ODA and 7 remained at the same level as last year. In total, 20 Member States increased their ODA nominally by €10.9 billion, while the decreases in 6 others amounted to €3.4 billion.
In 2016, faced with an unprecedented migration crisis, the EU and its Member States were able to increase both their support to refugees as well as their 'development aid' to developing countries. The overall increase in European Union Official Development Assistance, with €7.6 billion, was greater than the surge in in-donor refugee costs €1.9 billion. Only 25% of the growth of EU Collective ODA between 2015 and 2016 was due to in-country refugee costs, hence, there was growth in ODA, even if these costs are excluded. EU collective ODA excluding in-country refugee costs grew from €59.1 billion in 2015 to €64.8 billion in 2016, constituting a 10% increase.
Official Development Assistance remains a vital source of financing for many developing countries, but it is clear that efforts have to go much further. This vision, of how development financing should evolve to support the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, is agreed in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA).
In support of this agenda, the European Union (EU) seeks to increaseresources for sustainable development, including through:
- Domestic resource mobilisation
- Leveraging private sector resources at domestic and international level to mobilise finance for the development of the private sector
- Stepping up joint programming efforts between the EU and its Member States as a way to improve efficiency, ownership and efficacy of development cooperation.
In 2005, the EU and its Member States pledged to increase their collective ODA to 0.7% of EU Gross National Income (GNI) by 2015. Even though the economic crisis and severe budgetary pressures in most EU Member States meant that the EU did not meet this ambitious target in 2015, there has been continuous real growth in European ODA of almost 40% since 2002. In May 2015, the European Council reaffirmed its commitment to reaching this target before 2030. The EU also undertook efforts to collectively meet the ODA target of 0.15-0.20% of GNI to Least developed Countries in the short term, and to reach 0.20% of ODA/GNI to LDCs by 2030.
The ODA pledge is based on individual targets. Member States which joined the EU before 2002 reaffirmed their commitment to achieve the 0.7% ODA/GNI target, taking into consideration budgetary circumstances, whilst those which have achieved that target committed themselves to remain at or above that target. Member States which joined the EU after 2002 committed to strive to increase their ODA/GNI to 0.33%.
The data published today is based on preliminary information reported by the EU Member States to the OECD and to the EU Commission. EU collective ODA consists of the total ODA spending of the 28 EU Member States and the ODA of EU institutions not attributed to individual Member States (i.e. own resources of the European Investment Bank).
In-donor refugee costs reported by EU Member States rose from €8.8 billion (or 12.9% of collective EU ODA in 2015) to €10.7 billion (or 14.2% of collective EU ODA in 2016). The increase of EU ODA dedicated to finance in-donor refugee costs reflects the fact that in 2015 and 2016, many EU countries, faced with an unprecedented increase in refugees, provided vital emergency assistance and support to large numbers of refugees within their borders. Most of the related costs can be recorded as ODA only for the first year of a refugee's stay.
There are 30 members of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC), including the European Union, which acts as a full member of the committee.
For further information:
 The Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA) was agreed at the third United Nations International Conference on Financing for Development in July 2015