Total aid in 2011: €28m
About Cyprus' aid commitments:
Main changes in
Cyprus’s performance in 2011is primarily characterized by the substantial decrease in ODA contribution from 0.23% to 0.16% GNI. In absolute terms this change amounted to € 6.5 million which represents a 19% decrease in Cyprus’ ODA. There has been no change in the poverty focus. Rather, the large decrease has occurred in inflated aid figures. Relationships with NGOs have not improved remaining few and far between. Establishing communication channels with NGOs in recipient countries has not progressed either. Furthermore, Cyprus’ approach to the distribution of its bilateral ODA remains that of ‘delegated responsibility’, therefore this is mostly mediated through the bodies/NGOs that are implementing projects supported by other member states.
The significant decrease of Cyprus’ ODA was partly predictable as a substantial percentage of ODA consisted of expenditure on asylum seekers. This was close to 50% of total ODA, which gave Cyprus the highest level of inflated aid amongst the member states. In the past 18 months the benefits approach of the state came under scrutiny and the response of the government was to rationalize the benefits and to speed up the examination of asylum seeker’s applications. Consequently the amount spent on asylum seekers was reduced, representing an 8.6 decrease or a 45% decrease in inflated aid.
System of development cooperation
The highest decision making body is the Coordination Body headed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs (MFA). In addition to the Minister of Finance and the Permanent Secretary of the Planning Bureau. The Planning Bureau has policy preparation, administrative and implementation functions for the decisions. A Consultative Body tasked with discussing and submitting suggestions to the Coordination Body is said to consist of the Permanent Secretary of the MFA and Representatives of the Ministries of Finance, Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Agriculture Natural Resources and Environment, Labour and Social Insurance, Education and Culture, the Planning Bureau and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs). The Platform of NGDOs has never been called to participate in these meetings.
Recipient countries and sectors of bilateral aid
ODA is distributed to projects already initiated through the ODA of other member states. The projects are selected by the Coordinating Body according to location and sectoral priorities.
Main challenges in 2012 and beyond
The main challenge is to challenge more ODA to overseas poverty eradication. Cyprus needs to generate funds to increase ODA, yet legitimizing this to taxpayers may be difficult since it is not a well-known budget item.
• Cyprus must establish a democratic dialogue with local NGOs to address the poverty focus of aid distribution.
• Having substantially reduced the magnitude of inflated aid it must address how it gets back on course to meeting its commitments on ODA contributions.
• Cyprus must promote public dialogue on development priorities in order to raise awareness on development needs.
• Cyprus must ensure greater transparency on the way in which decisions in relation to its ODA are made and must regularly publish easy to access updated information on its ODA expenditure.