Development aid totalled USD 131.6 billion in 2015, representing a rise of 6.9% from 2014 in real terms as aid spent on refugees in host countries more than doubled in real terms to USD 12 billion. Stripping out funds spent on refugees, aid was still up 1.7% in real terms, according to official data collected by the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC).
Official development assistance (ODA) from the 28 countries in the DAC averaged 0.30% of gross national income, the same level as in 2014. Measured in real terms – correcting for inflation and for a sharp depreciation in many DAC country currencies against the dollar last year – ODA is up 83% since 2000, when the Millennium Development Goals were agreed.
The 2015 data show that bilateral aid to the poorest countries rose by 4% in real terms, in line with commitments by DAC donors to reverse recent declines. Bilateral aid, making up around two-thirds of ODA, is aid provided by one country to another country. A survey of donor spending plans through 2019 suggests flows to the poorest countries will keep rising.
Funds spent on hosting or processing refugees in donor countries accounted for 9.1% of ODA in 2015, up from 4.8% in 2014, when in-donor refugee costs totalled USD 6.6 billion. The rise in refugee costs did not significantly eat into development programmes, with around half of donor countries using money from outside their aid budgets to cover refugee costs.
“Countries have had to find large sums to cover the costs of an historic refugee crisis in Europe, and most have so far avoided diverting money from development programmes. These efforts must continue. We also welcome that more aid is being provided to the poorest countries,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría. “Governments must ensure that development aid keeps rising. They also need to develop long-term options for meeting future refugee costs and the integration of refugees in our societies, while ensuring at the same time that ODA reaches those countries and people that need it the most.”
Share of ODA spent on refugees in donor countries