This week, several donors announced plans to slash their foreign aid budgets.
As part of their austerity measures, Japan, Ireland and the Netherlands expect to decrease their overseas aid funding. Japan may cut its official development assistance to several partner countries to respond to its domestic financial crisis, while Ireland will see its official development assistance shrink next year as the Irish government decided to secure a bailout package from the European Union and International Monetary Fund. The Dutch government has also said its ODA for 2011 will suffer cuts.
The Austrian government, meanwhile, has assured that budget cuts will not affect ongoing development projects it supports.
In Afghanistan, the expected withdrawal of foreign troops in the next four years will come with a decrease in development aid, experts warn.
South Korea has suspended the shipment of its pledged flood aid worth 10 billion won (USD8.72 million) for North Korea following the latter’s deadly shelling of a South Korean island on Nov. 23. Aid organizations operating in North Korea said they are closely monitoring the situation.
In the Philippines, the United Nations appealed to the government to ensure the security of its staff working in the Asian country after an aid worker contracted by the World Food Program was killed in the conflict-torn Mindanao region. Some aid organizations in Afghanistan are seeking safe-passage pacts with the Taliban to help protect their staff.
Meanwhile, Germany has unveiled its 2011 aid budget, with euro6.2 billion (USD8.3 billion) earmarked for official development assistance. Denmark, in turn, says it will use a “whole of government” approach in its engagement with fragile states.
Jonathan Charles – director of communications department, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development