Financial Crisis hits EU development aid
500 Million Euro cuts in 2011 total EU aid spending
The financial crisis hits development aid. This is what emerges from the AidWatch Report 2012, written and released this week by CONCORD, the European confederation for Relief and Development NGOs.
Eleven countries cut their aid levels last year and nine countries are planning further cuts in 2012. Luxembourg, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Malta, Belgium, Finland and Ireland all reached their targets in 2011. But Germany and France gave less than 0.5% of their GNI to development aid,(all EU countries are committed to give 0.7% of their GNI to development aid). Spain and Italy are facing the biggest cuts; 53% and 38% respectively. With a 500 million Euros cut in last year’s total EU aid spending, the report highlights the worrying trend which has taken over Europe.
The report encourages EU countries to reach their development targets as it claims that in 2011 “aid was critical to responding to the devastating food crisis in the Horn of Africa which is estimated to have left 13 million people facing food insecurity and 4 million people facing famine is Somalia alone”. Total EU aid amounted to €53billion in 2011 but 7.35 billion could not be considered “Genuine aid” as it failed to provide a real transfer of resources to development countries to spend on development activities. As a matter of fact in 2011, EU governments wrongly accounted as aid: €2.43 billion as debt relief, € 1.82 billion as refugee costs, €1.61 billion as student costs account, €0.98 billion of tied aid €0.51 billion as interest repayments on loans.
In a time of crisis such as this we are facing, “People need to be able to trust that aid is making a difference, it should be transparent and truly reach the poorest in developing countries. If not, how can we guarantee sustainable results? Some European countries are an example like Sweden and Luxembourg. But it’s a shame that other EU governments play numbers games that affect the lives of the poor.” says Caroline Kroeker from World Vision International.
Since 2005 the report has been published by the AidWatch initiative, gathering together development NGOs form 27 EU countries, under the umbrella organization, CONCORD which represents 26 national associations, 18 international and development networks .