The COVID-19 pandemic and related crises call for higher levels of ODA


Today, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) announced that over the course of 2020 DAC donors allocated 161.2 billion USD of official development assistance (ODA), more commonly known as ‘development aid’. Despite the long-standing commitment to contribute 0.7% of gross national income (GNI) towards ODA, the 2020 figures show that only 32 cents for every $100 in national income was allocated to addressing global development and humanitarian challenges. Such low ODA levels are both economically unwise and morally flawed, given the current pandemic and interconnected crises, including climate change, conflict, fragility, and rising poverty and inequalities.

COVID-19 is not a fleeting crisis – it has already left a lasting impact on all aspects of our societies, disrupting 25 years of global progress against poverty and inequalities in a matter of months. The world’s most marginalised are disproportionately affected. COVID-19 is pushing an estimated 150 million people into extreme poverty, and 137 million to the brink of starvation, representing an increase of over 80% in acute hunger since before the pandemic began.

Before the pandemic, donors were already off-track to achieve their international aid commitments. The consequences of COVID-19 requires the DAC community to considerably increase its ODA levels. ODA is a vital resource for supporting those most in need to help counter the negative trends coming from the pandemic, compounded by the climate emergency and persisting conflicts and fragility. In 2020, DAC donors prioritised their national responses towards COVID at the expense of international aid. This 2021, a substantial and immediate increase in ODA levels must be the top priority to ensure the achievement of the 2030 Agenda on time. Now is the time to move beyond mainly protecting existing aid budgets as the released figures show.

76 civil society organisations across the world are calling on DAC members to fulfill and exceed the 0.7% target for ODA and the 0.15% to 0.2% target for Least Developed Countries (LDCs), prioritising unconditional grants and technical support. We urge the DAC to work with the experience of partner countries, DAC members and other stakeholders to ramp up the role of aid in support of health, education, social protection, peacebuilding, and conflict prevention in the midst of this unfinished crisis. Furthermore, we call on donors to uphold the integrity of ODA, building on decades of lessons for effective development cooperation, and to uphold human rights and development effectiveness principles.


Media contact :
Matthew Simonds, Global Coordinator DAC-CSO Reference Group:
Mark Pascual, Media Coordinator DAC-CSO Reference Group:


Signed by:

  1. ACEP – Associação para a Cooperação Entre os Povos, Portugal
  2. Act Church of Sweden, Sweden
  3. Act Alliance, Global
  4. ActionAid International, Global
  5. Action Santé Mondiale, France
  6. Aid Watch Canada, Canada
  7. AKÜ – Estonian Roundtable for Development Cooperation, Estonia
  8. Alliance Sud, Switzerland
  9. Ambrela, Slovakia
  10. AQOCI – Association québécoise des organismes de coopération internationale, Canada
  11. Bond – the International Development Network, United Kingdom
  12. Canadian Foodgrains Bank, Canada
  13. Canadian Lutheran World Relief, Canada
  14. Care International, Global
  15. Caritas Europa, Regional
  16. CBM – Global Disability Inclusion, Global
  17. CCEDNet – Canadian Community Economic Development Network, Canada
  18. Centre for Research and Advocacy Manipur, India
  19. CNCD-11.11.11 – Centre National de Coopération au Développement, Belgium
  20. Commonwealth Medical Trust, United Kingdom
  21. CONCORD – European NGO confederation for Relief and Development, Regional
  22. CONCORD Sweden, Sweden
  23. Cooperation Canada, Canada
  24. Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada, Canada
  25. Coordinadora de ONGDs – Spain
  26. Coordination Sud, France
  27. Council for People’s Development and Governance, Philippines
  28. Cordaid, the Netherlands
  29. CPDE – CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness, Global
  30. Crosol, Croatia
  31. CSPPS – Civil Society Platform for Peacebuilding and Statebuilding, Global
  32. DemNet, Hungary
  33. Development and Peace — Caritas Canada, Canada
  34. Diakonia, Sweden
  35. EILER – The Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research, Philippines
  36. Eurodad – the European Network on Debt and Development, Regional
  37. Global Citizen, Global
  38. Global Policy Forum, Global
  39. Global Responsibility, Austria
  40. Grandmothers Advocacy Network, Canada
  41. Fingo – Finnish Development NGOs, Finland
  42. ForumCiv, Sweden
  43. FORS – Czech Forum for Development Cooperation, Czech Republic
  44. Ibon Foundation, Philippines
  45. Ibon International, Global
  46. Inter Pares, Canada
  47. Islamic Relief Canada, Canada
  48. JANIC – Japan NGO Center for International Cooperation, Japan
  49. KAIROS – Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives, Canada
  50. KOO – Co-ordination Office of the Austrian Bishops’ Conference for International Development and Mission, Austria
  51. McLeod Group, Canada
  52. Nash Vek Public Foundation, Kyrgyzstan
  53. NEADS – North-East Affected Area Development Society, India
  54. ONE, Global
  55. Oxfam International, Global
  56. PIANGO, Pacific Islands Association of Non-Governmental Organisations, Regional
  57. Plataforma ONGD Portuguesa, Portugal
  58. Reality of Aid, Global
  59. Reality of Aid – Africa, Regional
  60. Reality of Aid – Asia and the Pacific, Regional
  61. Rihrdo – Rural Infrastructure and Human Resources Development organisation, Pakistan
  62. RIPESS – Intercontinental Network for the Promotion of Social Solidarity Economy, Global
  63. SOCODEVI, Canada
  64. Swedish Development Partner, Sweden
  65. Taiwan Aid, Taiwan
  66. Tanzania Coalition on Debt and Development, Tanzania
  67. Tearfund, Canada
  68. United Church of Canada, Canada
  69. UPADI – UPA Développement International, Canada
  70. Veterinarians without Borders, Canada
  71. Wemos, the Netherlands
  72. WILPF – Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom – Sweden, Sweden
  73. Women for Water Partnership, the Netherlands
  74. World Accord, Canada
  75. World Vision – EU Representation
  76. 11.11.11, Belgium


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