Rich Countries' Aid to Developing Countries Falls $23 Billion Short of Pledges

Commitments made by industrialized nations five years ago to send $130 billion to developing countries by 2010 will come up about $23 billion short, despite record levels of aid being reached in dollar terms, a report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said.

According to the OECD, countries including Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan and Portugal will significantly miss donation pledges made at 2005's G8 and Millenium 5 conferences, which, for European countries, include reaching official development assistance (ODA) goals of 0.51% the country's Gross National Income (GNI).

The OECD's numbers for countries falling short of this goal include France at 0.46%, Germany at 0.40%, Austria at 0.37%, Portugal at 0.34%, Greece at 0.21%, and Italy at 0.20%.

For Japan, the OECD says the country will fall about $4 billion short of the $10 billion promise it made at the G8 Gleneagles conference in Scotland, a mark it has remained at since 2008.

Most affected in the donation fallout will be Africa, who is expected to receive only $12 billion out of the $25 billion it was promised at the G8 summit.

Emma Seery of UK-based humanitarian agency Oxfam International called the failed pledges a "scandal," and noted that the missing funds could save the lives of about 2 million mothers and children, as well as meet wide-ranging educational and medical needs.

"Rich countries have no excuse for failing to deliver the aid increases they promised – they have pledged to do more to save mothers' lives but are falling short, making 2010 the year for them to put their money where their mouth is."

CCFD, a French Catholic international charity, told the Times: "For us, the OECD figures are very bad news which confirms the weak performance and the paucity of efforts by France in this field."

Meanwhile, several European countries surpassed their ODA commitments including Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

Sweden, in particular, was listed as having the world's highest ODA at 1.03% percent of its GNI followed by Luxembourg at 1%.

Countries that "appear to be on track" to meet their 2005 pledges include the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

The United States pledge is to double its aid to sub-Saharan Africa between 2004 and 2010 while Canada aims to double its 2001 International Assistance Envelope level by 2010 in nominal terms.

Australia has aimed to reach $A 4 billion while New Zealand's plans are to achieve an ODA level of $NZ 600 million by 2012-13.

In commenting on the OECD report ,British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said yesterday: "I do not believe there can be any excuse for denying money promised to the poorest people on our planet."

"The world came together in 2005 to make poverty history. In 2010 I call on the international community and campaigners to reinvigorate this mission; to renew their commitment - not to turn away from it."

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