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UNFPA Global Population Policy Update
October 2003 Report by the EuroNGOs entitled, "The EuroMapping Project", Illustrating ODA Data
ISSUE 14 - 18 December 2003
At the first International Parliamentarians' Conference on the Implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action (November 2002, Ottawa, Canada), parliamentarians from around the world pledged to "strive to fulfil the agreed target of 0.7 per cent of GNP for official development assistance (ODA) and make every effort to mobilize the agreed estimated financial resources needed to implement the ICPD Programme of Action." As a follow-up to this commitment, this issue of UNFPA's Global Population Policy Update reports on recent developments regarding ODA by donor countries.
In the past two years, several critical efforts have been made by the international community to monitor the status of ODA and to promote its increase. One important example is the International Conference on Financing for Development. The conference, held in March 2002 in Monterrey, Mexico, produced the so-called Monterrey Consensus, which provided a policy framework that would guide future efforts in development financing at the national, regional and international levels.
On 29 and 30 October 2003, the UN General Assembly (GA) held the first biennial High-Level Dialogue on Financing for Development to follow up on the implementation of the Monterrey Consensus. The dialogue included roundtable discussions, an informal interactive session and a plenary session. Speakers included General Assembly President Julian Hunte, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, World Bank President James Wolfensohn, IMF Managing Director Horst Köhler and World Trade Organization (WTO) Deputy Director-General Francisco Thompson-Flores. Attendees acknowledged the strides that had been made in ODA following the Monterey Conference. The total ODA provided by donor countries had increased by almost five per cent in 2002, reaching approximately $57 billion. But many attendees stressed that more changes needed to be made, as current levels were still $50 billion below the amount needed annually to achieve the financing objectives agreed upon in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Secretary-General Kofi Annan called attention to the alarming trend of negative resource transfer, which continued for the sixth consecutive year. Negative resource transfer means that developing countries made a net transfer of financial resources to other countries, as payments of foreign investment income and net financial outflows, including increases in holdings of foreign reserves, and these transfers exceeded receipts of foreign investment income and net financial inflows from abroad. "Even taking all subtlety and nuance into account, the overall result defies common sense," Secretary-General Annan said. He noted that funds should be moving from developed countries to developing countries, but that the opposite is occurring. In 2002, negative resource transfer amounted to $200 billion--measured in dollars, this was the largest negative resource transfer ever by the developing countries.
James Wolfensohn of the World Bank praised the progress made on the parts of developing and developed countries, including the steps that developing countries have taken to strengthen governance and build the infrastructure of legal and financial systems. Wolfensohn noted, however, that there is still much to be done. He called attention to the World Bank's concern with "the imbalances that exist in terms of the allocation of resources and the allocation of interest in the development process: an allocation which sees spending $800 billion on defense and $56 billion spent on development assistance."
In view of the steps that still need to be taken, it is useful to examine recent ODA figures. The following maps are from a 1 October 2003 report by the European NGOs for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, Population and Development (EuroNGOs) entitled, "The EuroMapping Project" (http://www.eurongos.org/resources/euromapping/). The maps illustrate the most recent ODA data, which relate to the first two points of the Ottawa Commitment.
Parliamentarians from 72 countries and territories who endorsed the Ottawa Commitment agreed to "Strive to attain 5 to 10 per cent of national development budgets for population and reproductive health programmes."
As can be seen in the map below, most of the developed countries still have a long way to go in meeting this target.
Parliamentarians in Ottawa also agreed to "Strive to fulfil the agreed target of 0.7 per cent of GNP for official development assistance (ODA) and make every effort to mobilize the agreed estimated financial resources needed to implement the ICPD Programme of Action."
The only countries that have met the 0.7 per cent goal are Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg, Sweden and The Netherlands.
At the European Union Council Meeting in Barcelona, just before the Monterrey Conference, the EU pledged to achieve an average 0.39 per cent ODA target by 2006 towards the 0.7 per cent target. Member states that cannot reach this level individually would strive to reach at least 0.33 per cent ODA by 2006. While five member states have already reached 0.7 per cent, several other governments, including Belgium, France, Ireland and the U.K., have taken concrete steps towards achieving this goal.
There is much the parliamentarians can do to encourage their governments to meet the above two goals in the Ottawa Commitment.
This newsletter is issued by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in its capacity as secretariat for the biannual International Parliamentarians’ Conference on the Implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action (the first conference was held in November 2002, in Ottawa, Canada). These dispatches are intended to highlight important developments taking place around the world so that parliamentarians can be kept informed of and learn from the successes, setbacks and challenges encountered by their fellow parliamentarians in other countries and regions in their efforts to promote the implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (September 1994, Cairo, Egypt). It should be noted that UNFPA does not necessarily endorse all of the policies described in this newsletter.
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