Slight increase in development aid not sufficient to lift people out of poverty

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Oxfam Canada comments on OECD figures on development aid
Slight increase in development aid not sufficient  to lift people out of poverty 

Development aid has reached an all-time high, according to figures released today by the OECD. However, with 900 million people still living in extreme poverty much more needs to be done: only a handful of countries have respected their budget commitments to international development, and increasing amounts of aid are being spent on receiving refugees in rich countries, leaving those in extreme poverty at risk.

Oxfam’s Canada’s Senior Policy Advisor Brittany Lambert, said:

“While it’s good to see some rich countries increasing aid contributions, we still live in a world where almost 900 million people suffer from extreme poverty. This shows the increases are not enough."

“Governments have been promising for decades to spend 0.7% of their national income to end poverty and fight inequality, but there is a clear lack of political will to meet this. Millions of people will remain in extreme poverty if this continues.

“The overall increase is down to the fact that some governments declare costs for receiving refugees in their own countries as development aid. This is aid which never leaves rich countries. While these countries must meet the needs of the refugees and migrants arriving at our borders, it is important this does not come at the cost of aid spending for the world’s poorest people.” 

 Canada reported a 17.1% increase in its ODA relative to 2014. But the 2015 numbers were inflated by two one-off increases to Canadian aid – a concessional loan to Ukraine and a double payment to the World Bank.

Speaking to the Canada context, Lambert said: 

“It is encouraging to see Canada’s aid on the rise again, but our recovery is overstated. If you remove these one-off payments, there is no noticeable increase compared to 2014”.

“Looking ahead, we are happy to see Canada’s International Assistance Envelope increased in Budget 2016. But for Canada to really be back, we need to see a timetable of annual and predictable increases towards the 0.7% target." 

"If Canada is serious about tackling poverty and inequalities in the poorest countries, we also need to ensure that at least 20% of our aid budget goes to programs that advance gender equality and women’s empowerment. Decades of experience shows that women's rights are central to the fight against poverty."  


Notes to editors

Interview requests: 
Melanie Gallant
Media Relations



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