Lighten the Load

In a time of crisis, European aid has never been more important

Published: 13 May 2009

Last year poor people around the world endured the consequences of the food and energy price crisis. Today, the global economic crisis is inflicting serious damage on some of the most vulnerable economies in the world, and on the poorest people. In this time of crisis European countries should, more than ever, lighten the load borne by developing countries.

In the face of global economic meltdown, however, Europe is abandoning its aid promises to poor countries, who are being hit hard by a crisis they have not caused. Oxfam International, as member of CONCORD, the European confederation of development NGOs, is taking part in the launch of a pan-European report aimed at raising awareness of the importance of keeping governments to account on promises for more and better aid.

The key recommendations from this report are:

  1. Meeting 2010 and 2015 European aid quantity targets with genuine aid resources and ensuring there are no further cuts to aid budgets in the face of the financial crisis
  2. Agreeing binding year on year timetables which show how European governments will reach aid commitments and demonstrate with regular financial reports how they are being implemented
  3. Ending inflation of aid budgets with debt cancellation, refugee and student costs and stopping discussions on widening the definition of ODA to include other items such as climate change financing, security or migration
  4. Demonstrating progress on European and international aid effectiveness targets by implementing the Accra Agenda for Action and Paris Declaration at the national level in consultation with developing countries.
  5. Ensuring progress on aid commitments goes hand in hand with systemic reform to the international financial and economic system by addressing flaws therein which impact so heavily on poor countries
  6. Demonstrating how all European policies are coherent with development objectives, including in the crucial areas of trade, climate change, migration and food security.