The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Office for the Coordination of Foreign Aid (OCFA) was established by cabinet decree in 2008 with a mission to “coordinate and support UAE-based donor organizations, by providing information, expert advice and training, and documenting aid flows, to ensure that the UAE’s humanitarian and development assistance is as effective as possible.”
OFCA are retrospectively collecting, analysing and reporting all aid flows from the UAE since 1971. The data will be made available on OCFA’s Donations Tracking Systems (DTS) which will track UAE funding for international development and humanitarian programmes.
On 30 June 2010 OCFA launched its first report detailing UAE’s foreign aid contributions in 2009. The findings show that the UAE (which included the government and other donor organisations) gave AED8.93 billion, the equivalent of US$2.4 billion, in foreign assistance that year. Asia received 87% of total UAE funds and was the largest regional recipient. Yemen received contributions worth AED2.84 billion (approximately US$773 million) and was the largest recipient of UAE’s aid followed by Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Palestinian Territories.
Humanitarian assistance made up 18% of total contributions, AED1.59 billion or US$432 million. Interestingly, analysis for this years’ GHA report, which relied on humanitarian data from UNOCHA’s Financial Tracking Service (FTS), shows that UAE humanitarian contributions were just US$35.3 million. US$31.3 million was channelled through UN agencies and US$30 million or 85% went to Pakistan. These discrepancies in figures demonstrate the need for better reporting.
Here at GHA we promote the aid transparency agenda – that better access to aid information, which is both detailed and timely, will help contribute to poverty reduction through both improved better decisions made leading to more effective and efficient aid, and where the public knowledge of intervention helps ensure accountability. OCFA’s 2009 report on UAE’s foreign assistance will enable the GHA team to build on current aid information for non-DAC donors which could help provide a more accurate picture of humanitarian aid flows.