New international network promotes UN ODA target

A new network countries, which have reached the UN target providing 0.7 per cent GNI to official development assistance (ODA) or are on track to meeting it, was established week in Rio. Minister for Development Cooperation, Christian Friis Bach, took the initiative to establish the network to encourage others to make efforts to achieve the 0.7 per cent target.

The network consists five countries either fulfilling the 0.7 per cent target, which was established 42 years ago, or on track to meeting it. The network, which goes under the name g07, launched a campaign and opened a website week during the Rio+20 conference.

The g07 network was established by Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Luxembourg, and the UK with the aim raising awareness about the 0.7 per cent target and the major gap that currently exists between international commitments to achieve the 0.7 target and the number countries actually fulfilling commitment to the world’s poor.

In spite of the fact that the target of providing 0.7 per cent of GNI to official development assistance has been reiterated and confirmed at several international events, conferences and summits, still a handful of countries fulfill the target. And while world leaders are gathered in Rio to discuss sustainable development, global ODA is unfortunately declining.

In connection with the launch of the campaign Christian Friis Bach stated:
“In spite of the fact that the world’s rich nations have had four decades to reach the target of providing 0.7 per cent of GNI to development assistance, the network currently consists of five countries. We certainly do not hope that the g07 network will continue to such an exclusive club and I would certainly celebrate any new country able to join the g07.
Danish development assistance reached the 0.7 per cent target in 1978 and Denmark’s ODA has for the past 34 years continuously remained above the target. The current Danish government even has a goal of increasing ODA to 1 per cent of GNI over the coming years.

“It is a political choice we have made, because development assistance is a good long-term investment. It is first and foremost an investment in assisting poor in claiming their right to a better and more dignified life. But it is also an investment in a more safe and peaceful world, something that also benefits developed countries like Danmark through a reduction in refugee flows, a decline in the number of violent conflicts, increased export opportunities and more jobs,” says Christian Friis Bach.

The g07 has been clearly visible this week during the Rio+20 conference, where many delegates have been wearing wristbands and badges with the g07 logo, a big red heart, and have accessed the network’s website,
Who is the g07 and what does it do?

The g07 is a group of countries, which have reached the 0.7 per cent target or are on a firm path towards reaching it: Norway, Sweden, Luxembourg, and Denmark, which have all met and exceeded the 0.7 per cent target, and the UK, which has committed to spend 0.7 per cent of GNI on international development from 2013 and will be the first country in the G20 to do so. The aim of the network is to raise awareness of the 0.7 per cent target and encourage others to undertake stronger efforts towards achieving the target.

Why 0.7 per cent?
In 1970, the 0.7 per cent ODA/GNI target was first agreed by the UN General Assembly. The target has repeatedly been re-endorsed at the highest levels at international aid and development conferences and served as a reference for political commitments to increase ODA, not least from the EU.

In March 2002, the Monterrey Consensus on Financing for Development urged “developed countries that have not done so to make concrete efforts towards the target of 0.7 per cent of gross national product (GNP) as ODA to developing countries”.

In May 2005, EU Member States were the first to pledge to meet the 0.7 per cent ODA/GNI target by 2015. Newly-acceded Member States agreed to a lower target of 0.33 per cent by 2015. On 14 May 2012, the EU and its Member States reaffirmed that they remain committed to increase their collective aid spending to 0.7 per cent of GNI by 2015 and reaffirmed all their individual and collective ODA commitment

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