Rich nations failing to honour aid pledges - OECD

Wed Feb 17, 2010 10:26am EST

Related Topics

* Italy, Germany, France, Japan, others fall short - OECD

* $21-billion deficit for this year, Africans suffer

* Broken promises a scandal - Oxfam

By Vicky Buffery

PARIS, Feb 17 (Reuters) - Rich nations, including Italy, Germany and Japan, will fail to honour aid pledges made five years ago, the OECD said on Wednesday, and Africa in particular looked certain to suffer from the shortfall.

An Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report said there would be a $21-billion deficit between the aid promised by most of the world's wealthiest countries for this year and actual donations.

Africa will bear the brunt of these arrears, receiving just $12 billion of the $25 billion envisaged at a G8 summit in Scotland in 2005, when many countries promised to double aid.

"There is a world out there today that is running very, very short in terms of alternatives," OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria told reporters.

International charity Oxfam denounced the failure of some of the world's biggest economies to meet their commitments.

"These broken promises are nothing short of a scandal," Oxfam senior policy adviser Max Lawson said in a statement.

"A woman dies every minute in childbirth somewhere in the world because of inadequate medical care and 72 million children remain out of school," he said.

In 2005, a group of 15 European Union states promised to donate a minimum of 0.51 percent of gross national income to development aid for the world's poorest countries by 2010.

The OECD predicted Italy would reach only the 0.20 percent mark, Greece 0.21 percent, Austria 0.37 percent, Germany 0.40 percent and France 0.46 percent.

It said some countries would surpass the goal, despite the financial crisis, with Sweden set to provide 1.03 percent and Luxembourg 1.0 percent.

Even countries that have been particularly hard hit by the financial crisis have managed to deliver on their pledges, notably Britain (0.56 percent), Ireland (0.52 percent) and Spain (0.51 percent). Belgium is also set to exceed its promise by donating an estimated 0.7 percent of GNI.

"Countries such as the UK, Spain and Belgium are demonstrating it is possible to show development leadership, and we still hope to see others like France, Germany and Italy stepping up in 2010," said Lawson.

The OECD said Japan was also likely to fall $4 billion short of its G8 undertaking to donate $10 billion more between 2005 and 2009. (Table of projected donations here. All figures are in 2004 dollars and relate to net ODA). (Reporting by Vicky Buffery; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

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