Improving ODA allocation for a post-2015 world


Development Initiatives’ new report Improving ODA allocation for a post-2015 world provides one of the most comprehensive analyses to date on the impact of official development assistance (ODA); mapping allocations in detail against poverty, wider resources such as domestic public finance and private flows, and political fragility and environmental vulnerability.

The report uses these analyses to answer key questions on how we should approach ODA in a post-2015 world, including: how can ODA best contribute to all aspects of a broader and more ambitious post-2015 development agenda? And, for which aspects of the post-2015 development agenda does ODA have a comparative advantage over other resources?

View our presentation below for a summary of the key findings of the report.

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The study proposes refining the official objective of ODA to “benefit the poorest 20% of people in developing countries” from its current broader mandate of “promoting economic development and welfare”. This would establish a clear purpose for ODA over the post-2015 timeframe and beyond, ensuring that allocations underpin the goal of ending $1.25-a-day poverty by 2030 and leaving no-one behind, as well as the longer term objective to end poverty in all its forms everywhere.

Key findings and recommendations include:

  • ODA is the main international public resource that can be explicitly dedicated to poverty reduction.
  • ODA allocations currently do not sufficiently mobilise wider resources, public or private, for impact on the poorest. Per-poor-person ODA is lower in countries with fewer domestic resources.
  • There is need to move beyond income-group-based ODA allocation that only considers narrow economic averages and ignores wider aspects of sustainable development. ODA allocation should move beyond country eligibility criteria to focus on people.
  • The purpose of ODA should be refined to explicitly focus on poverty reduction and leaving no-one behind.
    • The study shows that development agencies with a clear mandate for poverty reduction target poorer countries most effectively.
    • Within a post-2015 framework, ending poverty and leaving no-one behind requires investments across the three dimensions of sustainable development (social, environmental and economic) that benefit the poorest people
  • The refined objective of ODA to “benefit the poorest 20% of people in developing countries” should be formalized at the global level and institutionalised across international development cooperation by the agencies and institutions that provide and implement ODA
  • There is need to improve the timeliness, consistency and accuracy of existing data. Decision making can only be as good as the information it is based on, and better disaggregated data will inform better targeting of ODA.

This independent study was commissioned by UNDESA for the 2016 Development Cooperation Forum, as part of a UNDESA research project funded by UKaid on development cooperation in a post-2015 setting. The views presented do not necessarily represent those of the United Nations or the Government of the United Kingdom.

Read the full report: Improving ODA allocation for a post-2015 world

Read the executive summary here

Learn more about the Development Cooperation Forum

Read the policy brief here