Spain urged to increase aid spending following years of decline

4 Mar 16

The OECD has called on Spain to fulfil its commitment to reverse the sharp decline in its overseas aid funding, which fell by 68% between 2010 and 2014.


Headquarters of the Spanish international development agency, AECID, Madrid

Headquarters of the Spanish international development agency, AECID, Madrid


Spain’s overseas aid, or Official Development Assistance (ODA), increased threefold between 2000 and 2009. But economic woes meant that by 2014 ODA contributions had fallen to their lowest level since 1988.

Similarly, once a leading humanitarian donor, today just 4% of Spain’s ODA budget goes toward humanitarian aid. The OECD said that, as Spain’s economy recovers, the country should aim to get this up to 10%.

“The economic downturn has been very challenging for Spain, but the country has made clear its commitment to restoring its aid budget to former levels,” said the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee chair Erik Solheim.

“The next government must continue this commitment, as Spain is a valued partner in the regions where it focuses its aid work.”

Spanish aid is known for its strong focus on reducing poverty and inequality and an emphasis on fairness and solidarity. The OECD-DAC said it had forged close working relationships with partner governments, especially in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa.

However, the committee said Spain needs to start moving towards the United Nations target of spending 0.7% of gross national income on ODA, agreed by members of the general assembly in 1970 and reaffirmed repeatedly since.

There are only a very small number of countries in the world upholding the pledge, and on average donors provide 0.3% of GNI.

Spain’s ODA was just under $1.88bn in 2014, down 20% from 2013 levels in real terms, and equating to 0.13% of GNI.

In addtion, Spain’s support to the least-developed countries is declining more than others, falling to 18% in 2014 compared to 25% in 2012.

The committee also said Spain could improve the way it coordinates and monitors its development assistance and staff management. 

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