Today 14 May 2009, the European NGO Confederation for Relief and Development Concord has presented in Brussels the fourth consecutive AidWatch report 2009 on the quantity and quality of European development aid. In twenty-seven countries national NGO platforms analyzed data on their governments’ development cooperation expenditures and assessed policy practices using the same methodology and criteria for each country.
The main conclusion of this unique report is that in terms of quantity of development aid, Europe is not going to achieve the target it has set itself. In 2002 the European Union member states promised that by 2015 they would spend – on average – 0.7% of their Gross National Income on development aid. Now in 2009 we are nearly half way but spending is lagging. By 2010 spending should be at 0.56% of GNI to achieve the 2015 target. According to the Concord study spending amounted only to 0.34% of GNI in 2008. The country per country analysis shows that only seven (7) countries are likely to reach their 2010 target and ten (10) will almost certainly not reach it. Among the latter Bulgaria and the Slovak Republic, but also Italy, France and Germany.
The AidWatch study critically analyzes government data on development spending. Many governments inflate the volume. They include debt relief – important as it is, it is accounting not a financial transfer for development cooperation, according to Concord. Many governments also included spending on refugees and money transfers to national academia in connection with foreign students. In 2008 of the official aid recorded by EU governments, almost 10% related to debt cancellation, 4% to foreign students and 2% was spend on costs related to refugees.
But it is not all about quantity. EU governments are committed to reforms to improve quality and transparency of aid, commitments that were re-affirmed last year during the Accra-summit. According to the AidWatch criteria six (6) countries score ‘poor’ to ‘very poor’ with little access to information on policies and conditions, and no data on activities and finances and lacking mechanisms for disclosure of information.
Listen to Javier Pereira, one of the authors of the report, talk about the findings regarding the quantity and quality of aid.
The Concord report also concludes that nearly 30 years after the UN adopted the Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, only very few European countries have well-developed gender strategies and gender assessment practices in development cooperation, and even fewer actually back-up such policies with financial resources.
Download the AidWatch report 2009.
The launch of the report is part of a series of activities that Concord and Concord members undertake during the 10days4development campaign in relation to the EU elections in June. On this blog you will find more information about activities all over Europe.