The United Nations envoy for the world's poorest nations today welcomed data showing that donors spent 31 per cent more last year on aid to the least developed countries than they did in 2002 - the highest recorded one-year increase.
Anwarul K. Chowdhury, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, called the figures an encouraging sign of progress in the global fight to alleviate poverty.
Preliminary data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), released earlier this month, shows $23.5 billion of official donor assistance (ODA) flowed to the poorest countries last year, a 31 per cent rise in nominal terms on the previous 12 months.
Mr. Chowdhury said the jump indicated donor countries have taken a major step towards honouring pledges they made at a UN conference in Brussels in 2001 to "expeditiously" meet the target of giving equivalent to 0.2 per cent of their gross national product (GDP) as aid to the world's 50 or so least developed nations.
Norway, Denmark, Luxembourg, Sweden, the Netherlands and Ireland met the target last year, while in absolute terms the United States, France, Germany and the United Kingdom contributed 70 per cent of the total ODA.