Spain needs to fulfil its commitment to reverse decline in development aid


04/03/2016 - Spain’s gradual economic recovery should enable it to start reversing the sharp decline in its development assistance since 2010 and focus more of its aid budget on the neediest countries, according to an OECD Review.


The latest DAC Peer Review of Spain says Spain’s official development assistance (ODA) dropped by 68% between 2010 and 2014, after an almost threefold rise from 2000 to 2009. Spain has promised increases in its 2015 and 2016 aid budgets to begin reversing the trend.


The Development Assistance Committee (DAC) commended Spain for its strong focus on reducing poverty and inequality and its emphasis on fairness and solidarity. It said Spain had forged close working relationships with partner country governments, especially in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa. It sees room for improvement, however, in the way Spain co-ordinates and monitors its development assistance and in staff management.


Spain’s ODA was USD 1.879 billion in 2014, down 20% from 2013 in real terms. While 2013 ODA was boosted by a rise in debt relief, the 2014 figure equates to 0.13% of gross national income, below an average of 0.3% of GNI for OECD DAC members and a UN donors’ target of 0.7%, and its lowest level since 1988. Spain’s ODA/GNI ratio peaked in 2009 at 0.46%.


“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 and moving towards meeting the 0.7% target,” said DAC 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.”


The Review notes that Spain’s support to least-developed countries is declining relative to other countries despite a pledge by donors to focus more aid on the poorest countries. The share of Spain’s bilateral ODA going to least-developed countries fell to 18% in 2014, according to latest data, from 25% in 2012, below a DAC average of 26%. Spain’s total aid to least-developed countries equates to 0.03% of its GNI, versus a UN target of 0.15-0.20%.


In addition, whereas Spain used to be a leading humanitarian aid donor, its humanitarian budget has slid of late, standing at just 4% of ODA in 2014. As its economy recovers Spain could aim to allocate up to a tenth of its ODA to humanitarian programmes, the Review said.


The top 10 recipients of Spanish development aid are Côte d’Ivoire, Peru, Colombia, Morocco, El Salvador, Bolivia, Nicaragua, West Bank and Gaza Strip, Ecuador and Mali.


Spain has fully implemented five and partially implemented 12 of 22 recommendations made in its last Peer Review in 2011. Five of the recommendations were not implemented,


Each DAC member is reviewed every five years in order to monitor its performance, hold it accountable for past commitments and recommend improvements. Reviews use input from officials in the country concerned and a partner country – El Salvador for this Review – as well as civil society and the private sector. Read more on DAC Peer Reviews.


Read the report here:


An interactive data visualisation of Spain’s aid versus other donors is also available. 


For further information, or to speak to the report’s author, journalists are invited to contact Catherine Bremer in the OECD Media Office (+33 1 45 24 80 97.)



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