European Commission: EU remains the world’s leading donor of development assistance

The European Union and its Member States continue to be the world’s leading provider of Official Development Assistance (ODA) with an overall amount of €75.7 billion in 2017, confirm the newly released figures by the OECD-DAC.

This amount represents 0.50% of EU Gross National Income (GNI). This is significantly above the 0.21% average of the non-EU members of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC), despite a small decrease compared to the previous year.

Global ODA, reported to the OECD-DAC by all donors, decreased from €131 billion in 2016 to €130 billion in 2017. EU collective ODA constituted 57% of global ODA in 2017.

Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, said: “The EU and its Member States continue to provide over half of the total Official Development Assistance globally, investing in people, stronger institutions and societies. However, I am strongly concerned about the decrease of EU collective ODA and of development assistance worldwide. Achieving sustainable development requires a persistent collective effort. We know we need to do more. As the world’s leading ODA provider the EU must show leadership and responsibility.”

The EU and its Members States have been consistently in the lead of global efforts on development financing. Since 2015, year of the adoption of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, EU collective aid has grown by €7.8 billion that is 12%, while the ODA/GNI ratio grew by 6%, underpinning the EU’s and Member States’ sustained efforts to promote prosperity, peace, and sustainable development worldwide.

In 2016, EU ODA reached its highest level ever. The figures presented today show a 2.4% decrease of EU collective ODA for 2017 compared to the previous year, corresponding to €1.9 billion. The EU ODA/GNI ratio for 2017 stood at 0.50%, down from 0.53% in 2016.

The decline of EU collective ODA in 2017 is linked to a reduction of 80% in the amounts ofdebt relief operations by EU Member States and a decrease of 8% in in-donor refugee costs. In-donor refugee costs declined from €11.2 billion in 2016 to €10.3 billion in 2017.

The decrease is also linked to the reflows of European Investment Bank’s (EIB) loans, which reduced the ODA reported by the EIB in 2017 by 28%. As the EIB’s portfolio progressively matures, reflows increase and their amounts are subtracted from ODA.

In 2017, four EU Member States provided 0.7% or more of their Gross National Income (GNI) in Official Development Assistance: Denmark, Luxembourg, Sweden and the United Kingdom. In 2017, in 5 EU Member States the ODA to GNI ratio increased, it decreased in 14 Member States and remained stable in 9. Considering ODA amounts, 12 Member States increased their ODA by €2.4 billion, while the decrease in 15 others amounted to €3.4 billion.


Official Development Assistance remains a vital source of financing for many developing countries, but it is clear that efforts to mobilise financial resources for sustainable development have to go much further. The international community spelt out in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda how development financing should evolve to support the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

At the upcoming United Nations Forum on Financing for Development Forum (23-25 April 2018), Commissioner Neven Mimica will present the Commission’s report on “Investing in Sustainable Development”, taking stock of the efforts by the EU and its Member States to implement the Financing for Development Agenda agreed in Addis in 2015.

In May 2015, the European Council reaffirmed its commitment to increase collective ODA to 0.7% of EU Gross National Income (GNI) before 2030. Since 2015, European ODA has grown by 12%.

The ODA pledge is based on individual targets. Member States that joined the EU before 2002 reaffirmed their commitment to achieve the 0.7% ODA/GNI target, taking into consideration budgetary circumstances, whilst those that have achieved that target committed themselves to remain at or above that target. Member States that joined the EU after 2002 committed to strive to increase their ODA/GNI to 0.33%. Since 2002, EU collective ODA, as a percentage of GNI, has grown by 42%.

The data published today is based on preliminary information reported by the EU Member States to the OECD and to the European Commission. EU collective ODA consists of the total ODA spending of the 28 EU Member States and the ODA of EU institutions not attributed to individual Member States (i.e. own resources of the European Investment Bank).

According to preliminary data, in-donor refugee costs reported by EU Member States decreased from €11.2 billion (or 14.4% of collective EU ODA in 2016) to €10.3 billion (or 14.2% of collective EU ODA in 2017). This decrease of in-donor refugee costs reflects the fact that in 2017, some EU countries experienced a lower number of arrivals of refugees for which the costs can be recorded as ODA; e.g. only costs for the first year of a refugee’s stay.

There are 30 members of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC), including the European Union which acts as a full member of the committee, and 20 EU Member States.

For More Information

Factsheet: Publication of new figures on 2017 Official Development Assistance

OECD Press release

Source: Press release European Commission, 10.04.2018