OECD development assistance committee changes aid rules following hurricanes

2 Nov 17

Crisis-hit states will no longer be denied overseas development aid because they are too wealthy following a change to international rules approved by the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC).

Following the hurricanes that hit the Caribbean this year, many governments were not able to release aid funds to affected countries because they were deemed too rich.

Thirty donor countries met in Paris at the start of this week and agreed on a process to previous aid recipients to receive temporary overseas development assistance (ODA) in the event of humanitarian crisis.

UK international development secretary Priti Patel, who has been pushing for this change, said it was a “real step forward”.

“UK leadership has secured significant and important progress in changing the international aid rules, as we committed to in our manifesto,” she said.       

“As a result of our influence, we’ve made huge progress on ensuring official development assistance can be used when vulnerable nations are struck by crises or natural disasters.”

The DAC said it would create a new mechanism to reclassify countries as ODA-eligible if their income falls low enough, including as a result of a natural disaster.

The UK Department for International Development (DfID) also said its contributions to UN peacekeeping missions, which count as aid, had more than doubled, rising from 7% to 15% following a set of wider reforms to the international aid rules.

It also said 85% of core funding to the Asian Infrastructure Development Bank will count as aid.

As a result of these changes, more than £100m of  UK aid spending this year can be counted as aid and contribute to promise to provide 0.7% of national income on aid.  

The OECD committee also agreed on the adoption of the blended finance principle, which is “the strategic use of development finance for the mobilisation of additional finance towards sustainable development in developing countries”.

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