Is it time to rethink the ODA concept?

    Members of the Development Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development are looking at the possibility of redefining official development assistance. Photo by: Geoff Crawford Photography / OECD

    Members of the Development Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development are looking at the possibility of redefining official development assistance.

    At the end of their Dec. 4-5 meeting in the United Kingdom, DAC members recognized that the committee is “well-placed” to contribute to the modernization of how external development finance is measured and monitored. In line with this, members agreed to investigate whether any new ways of providing and measuring development finance “suggest the need to modernize the ODA concept.”

    DAC members said they will undertake this study in collaboration with the United Nations, World Bank and other interested international institutions. The committee aims to release an initial report in 2013.

    The idea of modernizing the definition of ODA is backed by Germany. Gudrun Kopp, the German parliamentary state secretary to the federal minister for economic cooperation and development, noted at the meeting that there is a need for “a new system for the time after 2015 [for what ODA is and what it captures].”

    A closer look at the overall development financing landscape was also proposed. This is necessary to better understand how different types of finance relate to each other and how each can be maximized for development, the communique adopted at the end of the DAC meeting notes.

    Sustainability in the post-2015 agenda

    The DAC communique also outlines the committee’s proposed objectives for a post-2015 development agenda. The committee, in particular, expressed support for the “full integration” of sustainability in any new set of goals.

    New goals, the communique notes, should expand and amplify the impact of the existing Millennium Development Goals. Among objectives endorsed by the committee are poverty reduction, inclusive growth, human rights, democracy and human security. DAC members also expressed the need to draft goals that are “clearly-defined, realistic, politically salient and measurable.”

    DAC and other members of the OECD are ready to contribute to ongoing consultations toward a post-2015 development agenda and to efforts to shape the new Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation introduced at the 2011 aid effectiveness forum in South Korea.

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    About the author

    • Ivy Mungcal

      As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.