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International development sector concerned about drop in Australia’s OECD DAC ranking 

Apr 13, 2023 | ACFID News, Government News, Media Releases

The Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) is concerned that Australia has fallen further down the global development assistance ladder, sitting at 27th out of 30 member states in new data released by the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) today. www.oecd.org/dac/foreign-aid-surges-due-to-spending-on-refugees-and-aid-for-ukraine.htm 

This is a drop from our previous position of 21st out of 29 member states. According to the OECD data, Australia’s development spend is now 0.19% of gross national income (GNI), down from 0.22% in 2021.  There are some adjustments for calendar years and currency fluctuations that can be taken into account but the overall direction of Australia’s ranking amongst peers is concerning. 

The 2022 overall ODA total is equivalent to 0.36% of DAC donors combined GNI. While this ratio is still below the UN target of 0.7% ODA to GNI, it is the highest ratio recorded by the DAC in 40 years, increasing from 0.33% in 2021.  Other donors are increasing their ODA spend, raising the average. 

Australia now also ranks lowest among its AUKUS, “Five Eyes” and Quad donor peers on aid generosity. And with Biden Administration’s big increases in aid, including to Ukraine, the US has overtaken Australia on ODA-GNI for the first time since 1965 with an ODA spend of 0.22% of GNI.   

This fall in ranking risks compromising Australia’s commitment to “an effective, targeted and generous development program.” In light of the most uncertain geopolitical environment since 1945 and rising humanitarian and development need globally, ACFID iscalling for increased funding for international development assistance in the upcoming budget, with a particular focus on addressing rising humanitarian need, gender equality, climate adaptation and resilience, and strengthening civil society.  

A recent YouGov poll conducted for the Help Fight Famine campaign found a growing majority of Australians — 60 per cent — support the federal government funding overseas aid to developing countries, despite the rising cost of living at home. This support has risen from 57 per cent in 2021 and 52 per cent in 2019. 

International development must be leveraged as a key part of a whole-of-government approach to international engagement – coordinating across defence, diplomacy, and development. This requires balanced investments, and a clear pathway to achieving 0.5% ODA/GNI as a matter of urgency.  A long-term budget framework for development assistance is critical to Australia’s pursuit of deep, meaningful partnerships in our region and beyond.   

Quote attributable to ACFID Acting CEO Jessica Mackenzie 
“ACFID is concerned about the drop in Australia’s OECD development assistance ranking. We call on the government to ensure the upcoming budget makes adequate investments to meet urgent humanitarian and development needs across the Indo-Pacific and globally. We’re calling for a clear plan for Australia to reach 0.5% ODA/GNI and bipartisan commitment to this target.”   

 

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact [email protected] or call 0401 721 064.

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