BRUSSELS — Aid to the world’s poorest countries rose marginally in 2009 but EU aid fell because some European donors gave less than promised, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development said.
The OECD, a club of the world’s largest economies, said aid from 23 leading donor countries increased by 0.7 per cent in real terms to $119.6 billion in 2009, representing 0.31 per cent of their combined gross national income (GNI).
Total worldwide aid increased by less than 1 per cent in real terms, dented by the financial crisis, the figures showed. Africa and Asia are the regions receiving the most aid and development assistance, including debt relief.
While most donors are meeting their commitments, the OECD said the overall figure fell short of a promise made at a G8 summit in Scotland in 2005, when major donors said they would double their aid to $130 billion by 2010.
Aid from the European Union — the world’s largest aid donor bloc — actually declined in 2009, the OECD said. The European Commission, the executive arm of the 27-nation European Union, expressed disappointment at that shortfall and said the financial crisis should not be used as an excuse.
“The slight decrease in 2009 should be quickly reversed if we are to respect the commitments we took to achieve the Millennium Development Goals,” said Andris Piebalgs, European Commissioner for Development.
At current levels the EU will not meet its Millennium Development Goal of providing aid worth 0.7 per cent of GNI by 2015, aid organisations say.
The OECD said most countries had maintained their aid commitments for 2010, but others, including some large donors, had reduced or postponed pledges they had made for 2010. — Reuters