OECD – Germany is one of the world's major aid donors
Germany is one of the world's major donors of development assistance, ranking second only to the USA. This marks excellent progress according to Federal Development Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, but there is still a lot to be done if Germany is to meet the ambitious goals it has set itself.
According to statistics of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Germany's Official Development Assistance (ODA) totalled some 12.3 billion US dollars (8.96 billion euros) in 2007, up from 10.4 billion US dollars (8.31 billion euros) in 2006. Adjusted for foreign exchange fluctuations and inflation, this amounts to an increase of 5.9%.
ODA (Official Development Assistance) is the term used to describe the funds provided by members of the OECD's Development Assistance Committee (commonly known as DAC) to developing countries – either directly or through international organizations – for the purpose of implementing development projects and programmes. In June 2005 the European Council had decided to increase the European Union's ODA to 0.7% of the Union's gross national income by 2015.
In absolute terms, Germany is the world's second largest donor of ODA, behind the USA and ahead of France, the United Kingdom and Japan. In 2006 Germany ranked fifth. In 2007 its ODA amounted to 0.37% of gross national income.
Still much to do
Federal Development Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul commented that she was "very pleased with the excellent figures from the OECD on Germany's development aid. But we still have a long way to go".
There is much to do, she added, if we are to honour our pledge to raise ODA to 0.51% of gross national income by 2010. International development inputs, moreover, are stagnating. Additional funding and innovative financing instruments are needed if the international community is to meet the goals it has set itself.
"In spite of major efforts, the industrialized countries are still not doing enough to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015," the Minister noted. Revenue from emissions trading, for instance, could be systematically used to tackle worldwide poverty and help mitigate the consequences of climate change.
Hence it was important, she added, to put the issue of innovative financing instruments right at the top of the agenda of the 2008 Financing for Development Conference to be held in Doha, Qatar.
Development policy is security policy
Worldwide military spending is still about ten times greater than what is spent on reducing poverty. "The international community has a standing duty to redress this imbalance," the Minister urged. "Averting conflicts is always cheaper than resorting to military solutions."
Some 30 countries are members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Its mandate is to promote economic cooperation and development as well as to coordinate and intensify development cooperation designed to help developing countries achieve appropriate economic growth.
On 5 and 6 April Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul was in Tokyo to meet her G8 colleagues, the development ministers of the world's major industrialized nations. The purpose of the gathering was to prepare the development-policy agenda for this year's G8 summit, which will be held in Toyako from 7 to 9 July.