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OECD aid grossly insufficient to deal with 'lasting impact' of Covid crisis: 76 CSOs

By Our Representative 

As many as 76 civil society organisations across the world, including two from India, have have objected to the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the powerful Paris-based intergovernmental economic organisation with 37 member countries, for allocating a mere 161.2 billion USD of official development assistance (ODA), more commonly known as ‘development aid’.
In a joint statement, they have said, “Despite the long-standing commitment to contribute 0.7% of gross national income (GNI) towards ODA, the 2020 figures show that only 32 cents for every $100 in national income was allocated to addressing global development and humanitarian challenges”, insisting, “Such low ODA levels are both economically unwise and morally flawed, given the current pandemic and interconnected crises, including climate change, conflict, fragility, and rising poverty and inequalities.”
Insisting that there is a need to “exceed the 0.7% target for ODA”, and the 0.15% to 0.2% target for Least Developed Countries (LDCs), even as “prioritising unconditional grants and technical support”, the statement says, “Such low ODA levels are both economically unwise and morally flawed, given the current pandemic and interconnected crises, including climate change, conflict, fragility, and rising poverty and inequalities.”
The statement says, Covid-19 is not a fleeting crisis – it has already left a lasting impact on all aspects of our societies, disrupting 25 years of global progress against poverty and inequalities in a matter of months. The world’s most marginalised are disproportionately affected. COVID-19 is pushing an estimated 150 million people into extreme poverty, and 137 million to the brink of starvation, representing an increase of over 80% in acute hunger since before the pandemic began.”
It continues, “Before the pandemic, donors were already off-track to achieve their international aid commitments. The consequences of Covid-19 requires the DAC community to considerably increase its ODA levels.”
Calling ODA “a vital resource for supporting those most in need to help counter the negative trends coming from the pandemic, compounded by the climate emergency and persisting conflicts and fragility”, the statement says, “In 2020, DAC donors prioritised their national responses towards Covid at the expense of international aid. This 2021, a substantial and immediate increase in ODA levels must be the top priority to ensure the achievement of the 2030 Agenda on time.”
Insisting that “now is the time to move beyond mainly protecting existing aid budgets as the released figures show”, the statement says, “We urge the DAC to work with the experience of partner countries, DAC members and other stakeholders to ramp up the role of aid in support of health, education, social protection, peacebuilding, and conflict prevention in the midst of this unfinished crisis.”
“Furthermore”, it adds, “We call on donors to uphold the integrity of ODA, building on decades of lessons for effective development cooperation, and to uphold human rights and development effectiveness principles.”

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