This year’s Report, in particular, looks at development flows in the context of the refugee crisis and expanding humanitarian needs. It highlights how some European governments have been responding to the domestic impact of the refugee crisis by using investments intended for overseas to cover ‘in- donor costs’ at home. For instance, last year the Netherlands spent more aid within its own borders than in the entire African continent.
The EU remains the world’s largest provider of ODA. However, in 2015 a large portion of it focused on addressing the refugee crisis within European borders, while the share of aid going to the world’s poorest countries has declined to only a quarter.
OECD agreements allow the use of development aid to meet in-donor costs for asylum seekers. However, this trend is eroding much needed resources for developing countries which host 86% of the world’s refugees and are struggling to provide basic services like quality education.
The Leaders’ Summit on Refugees taking place in New York on 20 September could be an opportunity to reverse this negative trend.
For example, the European Commission has shown strong leadership in financing education in emergencies, like Syria. However, vast gaps remain in the rest of the world when it comes to providing education to refugee children.
The European Commission should step up its support to refugee education in the poorest countries and help ensure that the 3.57 million out-of-school refugee children worldwide are guaranteed access to education. With a €260 million pledge, the Commission could play a major role in satisfying the Summit’s objectives of increasing funding to humanitarian appeals by 30%, and of getting 1 million more refugee children in quality education this year. Ultimately, world leaders should deliver a fully-costed roadmap to get all refugee children in education as soon as possible, and commit to a more uniform approach in reporting data on refugee flows, resource flows, and results.
International development is a forward-looking foreign policy tool– lifting people out of extreme poverty helps create the human security and economic prosperity needed to stop countries sliding into crisis. Ending extreme poverty by 2030 and achieving the 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development will require substantial new resources along with extensive policy reforms. Preventing humanitarian crises from recurring in future will require a whole new level of financing, both for long-term development and for humanitarian needs in developing countries.
Unfortunately, more and more, we see new crises compete for funding with long-term development needs, generating dangerous trade-offs at the expense of those most in need.
As EU leaders decide on the EU’s budget for 2017, they must recognise that the current refugee crisis poses challenges which cannot be addressed within the budget foreseen for development in the EU Multi-annual Financial Framework back in 2013. Additional funding is urgently needed to respond to the needs of refugees while continuing to invest in poverty eradication programmes. ONE’s Data Report shows there is a real risk that European countries continue to use money originally set aside for overseas development programmes to deal with the domestic impact of the crisis. Forcing a deadly trade-off between refugees and people living in extreme poverty is not a just or long-term solution. In today’s changed world, the EU can and must step up funding for both important issues.
Data from the 2016 Data Report
Nearly 900 million people still live in extreme poverty, on less than $1.90 a day—and it is estimated that by 2018 more than half of those living in extreme poverty will be in fragile states.
Global ODA totalled $131 billion in 2015 (current prices), an increase of 7% from 2014 but by just 1.8% in real term when in-donor refugee costs are removed.
The total amount that the OECD countries spent on refugee costs within their own borders in 2015 is $12 billion (in current prices - 9.1% of total ODA). This sum would almost cover the next three year replenishment ask ($13 billion) for the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
The dramatic increase in such in-donor refugee costs is changing the map of aid. In-donor refugee costs accounted for:
- 50% or more of bilateral ODA in Italy, Greece and Sweden
- more than 20% of total ODA in Austria, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Germany,Denmark, Belgium and the Czech Republic
- The Netherlands gave more aid to itself ($1.58 billion) for in-donor refugee costs in 2015 than it gave to the whole of Africa ($1.48 billion) in 2014.
By the end of 2015:
- More people had been driven from their homes that year than ever previously recorded. The total number is an increase of more than 50% from five years ago.
- Some 65.3 million people had been forced to flee, of which 21.3 million were refugees, 40.8 million were internally displaced within their home countries and 3.2 million were asylum seekers.
All internally displaced people (IDPs) assisted by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), a total of 37.5 million people, are in developing countries.
In 2015 86% of the world’s refugees representing 13.9 million people—lived in developing countries. This was the highest figure in more than two decades and a stark contrast with the 2.2 million hosted by developed nations.
The 10 nations hosting the most refugees are all developing countries, and five of them are in sub- Saharan Africa: Turkey, Pakistan, Lebanon, Iran, Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Chad. These 10 countries combined accounted for 58% (9.3 million) of the global refugee population under UNHCR’s mandate in 2015.
More than half of the world’s out-of-school refugee children are located in just seven countries: Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lebanon, Pakistan and Turkey.
If current trends continue, humanitarian costs are projected to more than double to $50 billion by 2030, just when the world should be achieving the Sustainable Development Goals
Seven DAC countries cut aid: Portugal, Australia, Belgium, the United States (US), Spain, Finland and Luxembourg.
The EU Institutions also slightly decreased ODA by 0.5% and cut ODA to LDCs by 6.4%.
The 28 EU Member States collectively contributed only 0.46% of GNI in 2015 and most were far from meeting their commitments.
Cover Photo: Oli Scarff/Getty Images