Why the G7 Must Increase Development Financing NOW
Ethiopian refugees cross the border into Hamdayet, Sudan. Since the violence began in early-November 2020, more than 14,500 children, women and men have fled into Sudan in search of safety, overwhelming the current capacity to provide aid. | Ethiopian refugees cross the border into Hamdayet, Sudan. Since the violence began in early-November 2020, more than 14,500 children, women and men have fled into Sudan in search of safety, overwhelming the current capacity to provide aid.
After the pandemic pushed nearly 100 million more people into extreme poverty (meaning living on less than $1.90 a day) a new report from Eurasia Group and DevryBV Sustainable Strategies has found that spiking food insecurity could push another 200 million people into extreme poverty.
With the effects of COVID-19, climate change, and conflict contributing to rising hunger, humanitarian needs, inflation, and economic instability, international aid (a.k.a. official development assistance, or ODA) has never been more crucial.
In 2015, on the back of the Syrian refugee crisis, many donor countries cut their ODA going to low-income countries to finance the expenses arising from the refugee crisis domestically. We need to avoid this. The UK, however, has already heavily cut its aid and more countries risk doing the same.
On June 6, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres tweeted: “There are recent indications that some countries are considering deep cuts to Official Development Assistance [ODA] — a reversal of prior commitments. This is alarming. I urge them to reconsider given the dire consequences these cuts will have on the lives of the most vulnerable.”
What’s the Solution?
To address these compounding challenges affecting the poorest and most vulnerable countries, wealthy governments must increase their ODA budgets — committing new and additional resources on a predictable pathway to the UN aid target of 0.7% of gross national income (GNI) so that we are not “robbing Peter to pay Paul”. In 2021, the G7 gave just over USD $135 billion in ODA. Had they committed 0.7% of GNI, that figure would have been over USD $315 billion.
We also need the G7 to deliver on its share and use its political will to push the G20 and other donor countries to do their significant part towards meeting the global ambition to rechannel at least $100 billion in International Monetary Fund Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) to spur recovery efforts. Leaders from countries in Africa continue to reiterate calls to meet this promise and express a real frustration at the slow progress.
What Can the G7 Do?
- Commit to ensure that all of the vital aid provided to Ukrainian refugees and internally displaced people — both abroad and domestically — does not come at the expense of other global development and humanitarian needs.
- Commit to collectively achieve or exceed the 0.7% ODA target, excluding in-donor refugee costs and equivalent costs for COVID-19 vaccine donations, and ensure ODA will benefit the most marginalized people in low- and middle-income countries worldwide.
- Commit to ensuring that the G20 and other donor countries rechannel at least 20% of their SDRs by October 2022 and ensure they can be accessed by countries in need as soon as possible. Some $40 billion of the $100 billion target is outstanding, with the US a major outlier having yet to secure authorization due to congressional politics.
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