In June 201, the Heads of State and Governments of the European Union renewed their commitments to Official Development Assistance (ODA), with the Spanish representative committing to 0.7%. A month later they returned to ratify this commitment by taking the final declaration of the Summit in Addis Ababa on Financing for Development. The 0.7% goal was again incorporated here as part of the necessary funding to realise the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
In 2016, Spanish ODA amounted to 2,396.30 million euros, representing 0.21% of Gross National Income. This figure represents 582.95 million euros more than the budgeted amount in 2015; an increase of 32%. Despite this positive news, the current budget allocations represent a missed opportunity to show that political commitment expressed by the Government in international forums is not mere rhetoric.
The reasons for this assessment are based on the following: 1) the increase is largely due to mandatory contributions to the EU and contributions to international financial institutions; 2) the increase does not offset the huge budget cuts since 2010 resulting in a reduced budget for the Spanish Agency for International and Development Cooperation (AECID); and 3) if viewed as a percentage of national wealth, Spanish ODA still lags behind other European donors. This means that despite the apparent increase in ODA, the worrying trends of previous years continue and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MfA) has diminished political power.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MfA) has lost control over much of the Spanish ODA decisions. In 2016, only 34% of Spanish aid will be managed directly by the ministry which has the legal mandate to conduct the cooperation policy, and the only one with staff specialized in the area. Overall, the Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Finance will manage 65% of the aid provided by the General State Administration. In 2011, the ratio was reversed (56% MAE, 44% other ministries).
Almost half of the budget for 2016 comprise mandatory contributions Spain must make to multilateral organizations, including prominently the contribution to the EU that in 2016 amounted to 947 million euros. Humanitarian aid continues on a shoestring budget although Spain demonstrates willingness in this area. In 2016, Spain intends to allocate EUR 16.8 million to respond to humanitarian crises.
Policies & funding
Multilateral funding: the amount of core funding provided by Spain to multilateral organizations decreased over the past few years. In relation to UNFPA, the two-year Strategic Partnership agreement signed in 2015 aims to strengthen and deepen the existing relationship between the Spanish Cooperation and UNFPA, through earmarked and core funding to support the execution of the UNFPA strategic plan 2014-2017. The thematic priorities included are SRH services and policies and promotion of gender equality. WHO and UN Women received the same amounts of funds to last year from Spain.
In 2016 the Spanish Government earmarked 1.5 million Euros for SRHR: 200,000 Euros to the UNFPA RH Supplies program; 300,000 Euros for SRHR for those with disabilities; 1 million Euros to the Joint Global Program on Essential Services for Women and Girls subject to Violence. At a regional level, it is important to highlight that the Basque Country Region contributes 18,000 Euros to the same Joint Program on Essential Services and the Catalan Region contributes 30,000 Euros for reintegration of young Nigerian girls.
The most important commitments that civil society are asking the Spanish government to make to support efforts to achieve the SDGs are:
- Recognise the central role that ODA represents to achieve the SDGs.
- Establish a credible route to implement the Agenda for Action Addis Ababa, including increasing ODA to 0.4% of GNI by 2019.
- Implement institutional reforms and policies necessary for the development of the Agenda 2030 through a comprehensive and meaningful dialogue.
- Make concrete steps to advance policy coherence for sustainable development.
Updated October 2016
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- European Institutions
- United Kingdom