Brussels, 12 April 2023 – Today, the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) published its preliminary figures for Official Development Assistance (ODA) spending in 2022. This year’s figures show that the EU and Member States aren’t just falling short on their commitment to support sustainable development in partner countries but are turning a blind eye to it.

Since 2005, CONCORD has held the EU and Member States accountable to their commitment to allocate at least 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI) to ODA by 2030. In absolute terms, the figures – for the twenty EU DAC Member States – show a total reported ODA of 87 billion EUR; an increase of almost 19% compared to 2021. This represents 0.57% of their ODA/GNI ratio. However, the reported numbers are hardly true to size when it comes to measuring the actual funds going to sustainable development in partner countries.

“Redirecting funds to the reception of Ukrainian refugees in Europe has massively inflated the figures for 2022. Clearly, it is fundamental to ensure the essential funds to protect the needs and rights of refugees – but such support should not weaken our solidarity towards others in need all over the world,”

Daniel Kaba

Executive Secretary, Ambrela

Despite clear warning signals from civil society, the EU and Member States reported a total of 15 billion (EUR) – allocated to domestic activities to respond to the influx of refugees following Russia’s war on Ukraine – as ODA. This puts the EU in the bizarre position of being the main recipient of its own ODA.

“Russia’s war on Ukraine has stoked the flames of multiple crises that cannot be left unattended. But many other countries face severe conflicts around the world. At a time when worldwide instability calls for more international solidarity, EU Member States cannot abandon them by diverting or inflating ODA,”

Antoinette van Haute

Policy Officer, CNCD-11.11.11

This isn’t the first time the EU and Member States are casting a wide net to define ODA. In April 2022, CONCORD already sounded the alarm when EU ODA donors slashed billions from ODA budgets – to the tune of 1.5 billion EUR – by reporting in-excess vaccine donations as ODA.

“The decision to keep reporting domestic costs as ODA undermines its purpose and is diminishing the credibility of the EU as a reliable partner. It’s still not too late to change gear and exclude refugee costs from the final numbers,”

Celia Cranfield

Head of Advocacy, CONCORD

Promising practices can already be seen. A handful of Member States, such as Slovakia and Belgium, partially excluded refugee costs from their reporting to account for spending on the reception of Ukrainian refugees.

“While any and all refugee costs should come from new and additional funding – as in Luxembourg, for example – some Member States are showing that things can be done differently,”

Salvatore Nocerino

Policy and Advocacy Adviser , CONCORD

For over two decades now, the EU and Member States have committed – and failed – to deliver more and better ODA to reach those left furthest behind. Decision-makers have a short window of opportunity to urgently and deeply reform the current ODA system and make it a meaningful tool.

For media inquiries, please contact:
Katarzyna Krok | Communication and Media Officer
Salvatore Nocerino Telleria | Policy and Advocacy Adviser

Notes to editors
[1] CONCORD is the European Confederation of NGOs working on sustainable development and international cooperation. ​With the support of our 59 members, our Confederation, representing over 2,600 NGOs, is the main interlocutor with the EU institutions. 

[2] Since 2005, CONCORD’s AidWatch reports have monitored the quantity and quality of EU Official Development Assistance (ODA). Each year, we hold the EU accountable to their commitment to allocate 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI) to ODA by 2030.

[3] The preliminary figures for 2022 are available on the OECD website.