In this year's Aidwatch report, the European umbrella organisation for development organisations CONCORD comes to a sobering conclusion: EU funds for development cooperation are shrinking and are reaching only a small proportion of those countries most in need of support. According to the Aidwatch report, European Union funds for development cooperation fell by 5.8 percent in 2018 compared to the previous year. Member states' spending fell from 0.51 per cent in 2016 and 0.49 per cent in 2017 to 0.47 per cent of the EU's gross national income.
"With this downward trend, the European Union is sending a devastating signal to its partner countries in the global South," explains Heike Spielmans, Managing Director of the German Association for Development Policy and Humanitarian Aid (VENRO). "In an increasingly nationalist world, it is more important than ever for the EU to strengthen its commitment to fighting extreme poverty and not to withdraw from its international responsibilities". CONCORD identified 16 countries particularly affected by poverty and inequality, including Afghanistan, Benin and Burundi. However, these 16 countries receive only eight percent of EU funds. Only two of this group are among the ten countries that receive the most funds.
"The increasing focus of development cooperation on states that are on the upswing is in blatant contradiction to the guiding principle of Agenda 2030 of leaving no one behind," criticises Spielmans. "Under no circumstances should we lose sight of the poorest of the poor, who often live in countries where the private sector is afraid to invest. It is precisely these countries that need political and financial support if we are to achieve the goal of Agenda 2030 of ending poverty in every form and everywhere".