OECD “Development Matters” is offering a platform for open and informed discussions on pressing development opportunities and challenges. It builds a robust conversation not only between countries and a diverse range of stakeholders, but also across policy areas.
OECD countries’ combined Official Development Assistance (ODA) remains strong. While some criticise ODA figures for stagnating, steady commitment has been undeniable. ODA has remained politically resilient, steadily increasing and doubling since 2000.
In 2017, net ODA stood at USD 146.6 billion or 0.31% of gross national income (GNI). While this aggregate figure reflects a slight drop of 0.6% compared to 2016, previous figures were artificially high due to the refugee crisis that increased donor spending within their own borders. That spending subsided this year, and when in-country refugee costs are excluded, ODA increased by 1.1% from 2016 in real terms.
Total contributions to multilateral organisations represented around 30% of ODA in recent years, and OECD members account for around 80% of the funding for the multilateral system. This is a significant, steady investment in multilateral organisations.
To support the effective gains from these positive trends and to further strengthen multilateral action on development, we need a fuller picture of development finance – from ODA and beyond. While the OECD already collects aid flows from many important development co-operation providers beyond the DAC who choose to report their data – including Türkiye and the United Arab Emirates that both exceeded 0.7% ODA/GNI in 2017 – we need a better mapping of untracked development assistance.
The OECD is working with an international taskforce that includes developing countries to design a new international measure of total official support for sustainable development (TOSSD). This measure would provide the first-ever global picture of finance for development from all donors. Initial estimates show that this could be upwards of USD 500-600 billion annually. This new standard will allow for transparency, accountability and comparability that will strengthen collective multilateral development finance and decision-making.
When we have a complete picture of what is beyond ODA, we will know not only the full force of our collective impact, but also the conditions for success. Building-up multilateral co-operation on development finance requires more than ever greater accountability of the multilateral system towards its shareholders, with the capacity to transform as a key condition for effectiveness moving ahead.