The 2012 AidWatch reports focuses on the efforts being made to meet aid targets as the deadline for meeting the MDGs draws near. Unfortunately, it does not make for very inspiring reading. Although the EU can still be considered the world's aid champion, it delivered significantly less in 2011 than it did in 2010 and it lowered the amount of aid that was spent on development activities.
In 2011 aid from EU member states fell for first time in 4 years: Among individual member states, 11 cut aid budgets from the previous year, and five of those cut it by more than 10% including one EU-12 country, Cyprus.
Only six EU countries are on track to meet their 2015 targets (including Malta) but predictions based on current levels suggest that EU member states’ ODA will only reach 0.44% in 2015, which is far from the aid levels that were promised.
There seems to have been a continuation of the trend to focus ODA programmes on own security and economic interest, and countries are still spending aid that should be invested in developing countries, in their own countries, on refugee and student costs or debt relief.
The report puts forward some examples that demonstrate how some EU member states are showing that the economic crisis need not be an excuse for broken aid promises, including highlighting Malta, Lithuania, Romania and Estonia as the EU-12 countries that increased their aid significantly in 2011. Sadly they remain some way from meeting their targets, and other EU-12 countries performed considerably worse.
There are also examples of tied aid in the EU-12. The ODA funds of only Romania and Lithuania seem to be open to foreign entities. In other countries including Slovakia, Czech Republic and Hungary funding is only available to nationals and the situation is unclear regarding small grants programmes run by the Bulgarian, Polish, Estonian, Slovakian and Latvian embassies in developing countries.
The AidWatch report can be downloaded from the website: http://aidwatch.concordeurope.org/
Information provided by Rebecca Steel-Jasińska, TRIALOG