Global Inequalities


To what extent does the government demonstrate an active and coherent commitment to promoting equal socioeconomic opportunities in low- and middle-income countries?

The government actively and coherently engages in international efforts to promote equal socioeconomic opportunities in low- and middle-income countries. It frequently demonstrates initiative and responsibility, and acts as an agenda-setter.
Promoting global social justice is an overarching policy goal for Swedish governments regardless of their ideological orientation. Sweden combines bilateral strategies with an active involvement in multilateral efforts toward those objectives. Additionally, public spending for development issues is comparable high. There has been a gradual shift from conventional aid to developing countries, mainly sub-Saharan countries, toward aid directed at countries that are closer to Sweden. This involves, for instance, promoting democratization and civil society in Eastern Europe. There are growing concerns about the effectiveness and efficiency of some foreign aid programs and the risk of aid being used for unintended purposes by actors in the receiving country. That said, the commitment to international solidarity and aid to developing countries remains very strong.

The red-green governments (2014 onwards) launched a campaign of “feminist foreign policy” which has gained international attention: international solidarity has a gender dimension which has long been ignored. This foreign policy approach has been introduced in various international venues such as the United Nations and European Union. The new government has also become known for showing less tolerance than its predecessors with what it describes as “medieval” punishment techniques employed in Middle East countries, which has caused some diplomatic friction. More broadly, the return of the Social Democrats to government reenergized Swedish foreign policy. It has become more visible, but also more controversial. Whether the complex outcomes of the 2018 elections will impact Sweden’s foreign policy direction remains to be seen.
Aggestam, K. and A. Towns (2018), “The gender turn in diplomacy: A new research agenda,” International Feminist Journal of Politics.

Pierre, J. (ed) (2015), The Oxford Handbook of Swedish Politics (Oxford: Oxford University Press), esp. Section 7.
Assisting developing countries has broad support. Denmark is one of only five countries in the world to contribute more than the U.N. target of 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI) to development assistance. Denmark’s development aid has been on a downward trend, but amounts to 0.72% of GNI. Some of the funds have been redirected to address the increasing inflow asylum-seekers. There will be increased focus on the regions in the Middle East and Africa from where many refugees come. Denmark’s humanitarian aid will not be reduced.

In May 2016, 40% of the Danes felt that it was very important to help people in developing countries and 49% felt that it was fairly important. At the time of the great influx of refugees in September 2015, 30% of the Danes supported giving more development aid, 35% the same amount, 28% less. Overall, there is still relatively strong support for development aid in Denmark.

The government’s current development strategy for 2018 prioritizes: increased efforts in areas close to war and conflict; increased focus on migration, including the return of illegal migrants to their home countries; increased development financing by mobilizing private capital; and increased support for multilateral efforts for women and girls’ sexual and reproductive health and rights. About 70% of Denmark’s official development aid (ODA) is bilateral, the remaining 30% is multilateral.

Development policy was not an important issue in connection with the 2019 parliamentary election.
OECD, Development Assistance Committee (DAC), Peer Review Denmark 2011. (Accessed 18 October 2014).

Foreign Ministry, “Øget fokus på nærområderne og den humanitære bistand.”

Regeringens udviklingspolitiske prioriteter 2018, (accessed 21 October 2017).

DIIS, Yearbook 2016. (Accessed 22 October 2016)

OECD, Development Co-operation Report 2018, (Accessed 10 October 2018).
Estonia actively participates in international humanitarian interventions through the European Union and United Nations. A 2016 – 2020 strategy concerning Estonia’s development cooperation and humanitarian aid takes the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as a starting point. The strategy details Estonia’s development objectives, main fields of activity and identifies major partner countries. The priority partners are the former Soviet Republics – Georgia, Moldova, Belarus and Ukraine, as well as Afghanistan. Estonia is active across various fields, although special efforts have focused on transferring knowledge in education, healthcare and e-government. Estonia is a world leader in the dissemination of domestic expertise in implementing ICT in public administration and education.

The total amount of Estonian development cooperation and humanitarian aid, which also take into account the development cooperation activities of other ministries, amounted to €37.9 million in 2017. The largest part (€18.4 million) involves bilateral developmental cooperation, while Estonia’s contribution to the European Union’s budget for the European Commission’s Development Cooperation Program is €16.8 million. Estonia also contributed €4.7 million to the African Peace Facility, an Africa-EU Partnership initiative, in 2017.

In parallel to government efforts, NGOs and private enterprises work in the field of international development. Awareness-raising campaigns in the fair-trade movement offer one example of NGO activity. Due to the country’s open economic policy and the absence of protectionist measures, fair-trade products can be found in most Estonian supermarkets.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2018). Overview of Estonian Development Cooperation. (accessed 23.10.2019)
With total development-aid expenditures of about 1% of GDP, the country’s development agency, Luxembourg Development Cooperation (Lux-Development), along with accredited domestic NGOs, have far surpassed the UN’s industrialized-nation contribution target of 0.7% of GDP for development assistance. After Norway (1.11% of GNI), Luxembourg is the second-largest official development assistance (ODA) contributor. The country has focused its development-aid policy on poverty eradication and energy-saving programs, as well as on programs to reduce carbon emissions. The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs manages almost 81% of the total ODA budget, while a remaining 16% is managed by 91 accredited NGOs.

Le Cercle de Coopération, the umbrella organization of accredited NGOs, has stated that budgetary rigor will apply to NGO development-aid policies in the coming years. National cofinancing costs and NGO administrative costs will be reduced. Luxembourg’s development assistance targets local initiatives, providing education and training in the fields of healthcare, water treatment, sewage, local economic development and infrastructure construction. About 14% of the cooperation budget aims to provide humanitarian support, including emergency assistance and reconstruction aid, following EU and OECD guidelines. Luxembourg is also an important actor in the microfinance sector, hosting firms that offer a full range of microfinance products, and supporting more than 50% of the global funds in this area.
Citations: Accessed 5th Dec. 2019.
New Zealand
New Zealand has been neglecting its responsibilities to promote equal socioeconomic opportunities in developing countries. Despite a longtime global commitment to lift its aid spending to 0.7% of gross national income (GNI), New Zealand’s spending as a proportion of GNI dropped from 0.3% in 2008 to 0.25% in 2016. In 2018, the government announced an NZD 714.2 million allocation to the Official Development Assistance (ODA) fund, which will bring New Zealand’s ODA to 0.28% of GNI by 2021. The allocation is heavily prioritized toward the South Pacific: around 60% of New Zealand’s total aid spending goes to its small-island neighbors. This increase in ODA comes amid concerns about China’s growing influence in the region.

New Zealand is a signatory to a number of multilateral free-trade agreements that include developing countries, such as the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand free trade agreement (AANZFTA) and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). In addition, New Zealand has ratified the South Pacific Regional Trade and Economic Co-operation Agreement (SPARTECA) – a non-reciprocal trade agreement in which New Zealand (together with Australia) offers preferential tariff treatment for specified products that are produced or manufactured by the Pacific Islands Forum countries. Partly due to New Zealand’s commitment to free trade, the Heritage Foundation – a conservative U.S. think tank – ranks it third in the 2019 Index of Economic Freedom, behind only Hong Kong and Singapore.
Kirk, Budget 2018: “Pacific reset” will increase foreign affairs funding to $1b over four years, Stuff (
New Zealand Customs Service, Free Trade Agreements (
The Heritage Foundation, 2019 Index of Economic Freedom (
The government actively engages in international efforts to promote equal socioeconomic opportunities in low- and middle-income countries. However, some of its measures or policies lack coherence.
Development policy constitutes an integral part of Finland’s security and foreign policy. It focuses on four priorities: protecting the rights of women and girls; reinforcing developing countries’ economies as a means of generating more jobs while also improving livelihoods and well-being; supporting democratic and well-functioning societies, which includes ensuring taxation capacity; and supporting food security, access to water and energy, and sustainability in the use of natural resources. Due to severe strains on the Finnish economy, the Sipilä government was compelled to reduce the amount of humanitarian aid provided by the country. Whereas Finland spent €961.4 million on development cooperation in 2017, it spent only €886 million on this area in 2018. Nonetheless, €989 million was appropriated in 2019 for development cooperation, an increase of €103 million compared to the 2018 budget, and the Rinne government announced that this figure would subsequently be raised substantially. Finland emphasizes the primary role of the United Nations in coordinating the provision of aid, and in general channels its funds for humanitarian aid through U.N. organizations. Finland is committed to the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Sustainable Development Goals.

In terms of development coordination, such as work to improve the economic and social position of developing countries, Finland’s contributions are implemented through various methods. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs, in conjunction with external consultants, monitor the attainment of goals and the use of funds, and in June 2014 the ministry introduced an online service enabling anybody to report suspected misuse of development-cooperation funds. On the whole, the country is not counted among the world’s top aid initiators or agenda-setters, and in terms of advancing global social inclusion, Finland is a committed partner rather than a leader.
“Finland’s Development Policy,”
Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland,
In absolute terms, Germany ranks third among donor countries with respect to the provision of official development assistance. Over recent years, it has increased its ratio of official development assistance (ODA) to GNI substantially, and has reached a level almost at the ODA target of 0.7% of GNI, and is thus among the top 20% of OECD donors.

The country’s trading system is necessarily aligned with that of its European partners. In trade negotiations within the European Union, Germany tends to defend open-market principals and liberalization. This position is in line with the country’s economic self-interest as a successful global exporter. For agricultural products in particular, the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) still partially shields European farmers from international competition, thus limiting the ability of developing countries to export their agricultural products to Europe. However, Germany has been more willing than peers such as France to consider a more liberal and open CAP that would provide greater benefits to developing countries and emerging markets.

In October 2018, the Merkel government started an initiative to strengthen economic developments in Africa. It invited 12 African governments to Berlin and announced the creation of an investment fund comprising about €1 billion. It is intended to foster economic development and encourage private investment in the participating countries. The dramatic increase in the number of refugees arriving in Germany since 2015 seems to have increased the German government’s awareness of the importance of stable social, economic and political conditions in developing countries. This understanding has had a lasting budgetary impact; for example, the 2018 federal budget provides for an increase in the resources allocated to the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development by €0.8 billion. In 2019, for the first time, the ministry’s budget will exceed €10 billion, with a particular focus on fighting the causes of flight in North Africa and helping Syria and neighboring countries (BMZ 2018).
BMZ (Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Hilfe und Entwicklung) (2018):
Despite the austerity measures that have been taken to correct the imbalances in public finances, Ireland has maintained its spending on overseas development assistance in the region of 0.5% of GDP since 2008. There is a special focus on countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and on poverty eradication, ending hunger and encouraging gender equality, good governance and human rights.

Ireland has consistently supported an international agenda that advances social inclusion. Its support for a fair global trading system is constrained by the overriding role of the European Union in framing trading policy and to some extent by concerns about domestic self-interest with regard to certain sectors, including farming.
Norway is a leading contributor to bilateral and multilateral development cooperation activities, as well as to international agencies focusing on development issues. Norway allocates nearly 1% to the OECD DAC-approved development aid mechanism. In addition, many Norwegian NGOs play a prominent role in international aid. Norway has further strengthened such policies by increasing its spending and promoting specific initiatives (e.g., education for women, global health, the fight against deforestation and the sustainable development of oceans).

Norway’s activities in these areas actively seek to combat poverty, exclusion and discrimination. On the other hand, it maintains a high level of protectionism with respect to the import of agricultural products.

As a response to the increased number of migrants arriving in Europe, the link between development in fragile societies and developments in domestic politics has become firmer. There is a growing awareness of the need for social support measures as part of creating a safe and secure society.
During the period under review, Turkey used development assistance to advance social inclusion and development beyond its borders. The government expanded its annual official development assistance disbursements considerably from $967 million in 2010 to $8.1 billion in 2017. Thus, Turkey has become a strong and committed humanitarian assistance partner.

Turkey’s development cooperation is provided in line with the Statutory Decree on the Organization and Duties of the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA). Established in 1992, TIKA designs and coordinates Turkey’s bilateral development cooperation activities and implements projects in collaboration with other ministries, NGOs and private sector partners. Since its establishment, TIKA has implemented thousands of projects in more than 150 countries with 61 Program Coordination Offices in 59 countries.

Over the last decade, Turkey’s humanitarian assistance efforts have gained a remarkable impetus and been expanded to many regions across the world. In response to the ongoing Syrian crisis, Turkey has pursued an open-door policy for Syrians fleeing from violence in their country. However, the policy is likely to be changed due to increasing public resentment of Syrian refugees. According to the Interior Ministry, 3,667,000 Syrians were registered as individuals under temporary protection as of September 2019, while some 360,000 refugees had returned to Syria, including to areas controlled by Turkey’s armed forces or proxy forces, and in which Turkey also “invests” into refugee protection.
Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (2018) Turkish Development Assistance Report 2017, Ankara: TIKA. (2019) Mystery surrounds Turkey’s $40 billion refugee bill, 2 November 2 2019,
Despite regular objections from politicians, the United Kingdom has been one of the few OECD countries, which has maintained a commitment to devote 0.7% of GNI to foreign aid. In 2017, only Sweden, Norway, Luxembourg, Denmark and Turkey met this target. Under the coalition government, this spending was ring-fenced against cuts and the recent spending review has reaffirmed the commitment, despite frequent criticism from some populist politicians.

Development assistance spending is coordinated by the Department for International Development, whose work is scrutinized by the newly created Independent Commission for Aid Impact.

In general, the United Kingdom is a proponent of open markets and fair access for developing countries, although an attempt in the late 1990s to espouse an ethical trade policy was subsequently quietly dropped.

While accepting its formal duty of care to asylum-seekers, the United Kingdom has been reluctant to join efforts by certain other EU member states to accommodate refugees and maintains tough border controls, including in the English Channel which emerged as an entry point for displaced persons and economic migrants over the last two years.
Canada’s government has a long history of supporting international efforts to promote socioeconomic opportunities in developing countries, and has shown leadership on critical issues such as nutrition and child health. Canada’s share of official development assistance has declined in relative terms and was only 0.26% of gross national income (GNI) in 2016, ranking 18th in the world. In 2016, the federal government began a review of its existing aid policies, and has now reoriented the majority of international assistance to creating equal opportunities for women and girls in the world’s poorest countries, in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

A North-South Institute study makes the case that Canada’s focus on improving aid effectiveness and accountability is insufficient as an overarching guide to promoting development. This is because the focus on aid effectiveness captures only a small part of Canada’s engagement with the developing world. A broader vision that includes aid and non-aid policies is needed in order for Canada to improve the coherence of its development policy and be an effective actor in the international development sphere. In principle, Canada promotes a fair global trading system. In practice, domestic interests are often paramount. For example, the government vigorously defends Canada’s agricultural marketing boards in trade negotiations, even though the removal of the trade barriers related to these boards would give developing countries better access to the Canadian market.
OECD Data, ODA as a percentage of GNI, data obtainable at

OECD, “Gender equality and women’s rights in the post-2015 agenda: A foundation for sustainable development,” posted at

Anni-Claudine Bulles and Sghannon Kindornay (2013) “Beyond Aid: A Plan for Canadian International Cooperation” North-South Institute, May. loads/2013/05/BuellesKindornay.2013.CNDPolicyCoherenceEN.pdf
The Agencia Chilena de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo (AGCID) under the Ministry for External Relations has been the national agency responsible for international cooperation, South-South and triangular cooperation since 1990. Its current Strategy for the International Development was defined for the period 2015-2018.

While Chile is a member of the OECD, it has only an observer status in the Development Assistance Committee (DAC).

Chile formally follows and promotes the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Agenda (Agenda 2030) and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals in its foreign policies. In practice, those criteria do not necessarily constitute the main emphasis when it comes to decision-making regarding international cooperation with developing countries in the region (Chile cooperates nearly exclusively with Latin American developing and emerging countries). Chile offers virtually no subsidies to domestic producers, and does not maintain protectionist trade barriers to imports.
Agencia Chilena de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo (AGCID):ÓN_26nov15.pdf
Czechia is not a significant player in the international development and devotes a relatively low share of GDP to development aid. However, it has pursued a relatively coherent strategy of development cooperation with a clear focus on countries where its own experience of transition can be helpful. While the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the primary coordinator of bilateral and multilateral development cooperation, a large number of private, public and non-governmental actors are also extensively involved in the selection of program countries and the identification of priority sectors, as well as in on-the-ground activities in partner countries. Bilateral development cooperation focuses primarily on priority partner countries selected by Czechia based on internationally recognized principles. For the 2018 – 2023 period, cooperation programs focus on six top-priority countries (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ethiopia, Georgia, Cambodia, Moldova, and Zambia). In addition to geographic priorities, Czechia also sets thematic priorities for its foreign development cooperation, namely agriculture and rural development, sustainable management of natural resources, economic transformation and growth, inclusive social development, and sound democratic governance.

In 2019, Czechia launched a new development aid program aimed at promoting investment by Czech companies in developing countries. Moreover, the budget for humanitarian aid, which complements the long-term programs, was increased by 20% compared to 2018.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2018): Development Cooperation Strategy of the Czech Republic 2018-2030. Prague (
France has a long tradition of offering support to poor countries both in terms of financial support and promotion of policies in their favor. However, this should be qualified. First, France is reluctant to consider that free trade is one of the most effective instruments of support. As a consequence, France is often an obstacle to the lowering of tariffs and trade barriers, for instance in agriculture. Second, French aid is concentrated on African countries, where its economic interests have been traditionally strong. The temptation to link aid to imports from the donor country is quite common.
Within the framework of international organizations, France is active but for the above mentioned reasons, its policy preferences are deeply influenced by path dependency, such as colonization and the global network of French-speaking countries.
On a different front, France has tried to impose a tax on air travel in order to finance the fight against AIDS in poor countries, but has convinced only a few counties to follow suit.
The total amount of official development assistance (ODA) provided by Japan in fiscal year 2018 – 2019 increased to JPY 1.49 trillion (about €12.6 billion, based on September 2019 exchange rates), a smaller growth rate than had been seen in previous years. The country was the fourth-largest such donor (in U.S. dollar terms) among OECD countries in 2017. The quality of ODA has improved in recent years, but assistance has been increasingly aligned with Japan’s broader external-security concerns, a trend which can be criticized from the perspective of potential recipients or indeed the development community at large. The country’s 2015 Development Cooperation Charter stresses the principle of cooperation for nonmilitary purposes; the important role of partnerships with the private sector, local governments, NGOs and other local organizations and stakeholders; an emphasis on self-help and inclusiveness; and a focus on gender issues. These ODA guidelines also enable Japan to support aid recipients in security matters, for instance by providing coast-guard equipment.

Another Japanese ODA priority, with strong geostrategic roots, is infrastructure development. The concept of a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” has gained further traction, with the Trump administration also showing interest, although with a less pronounced economic focus than is the case in Japan. Japan has shown active interest in development cooperation with Africa, underlined by the 2019 meeting of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD).

The government used the 2019 G-20 Summit in Japan to support major initiatives aimed at achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Tariffs for agricultural products remain high, as are those for light-industry products such as footwear or headgear in which developing economies might otherwise enjoy competitive advantages. On the non-tariff side, questions about the appropriateness of many food-safety and animal- and plant-health measures (sanitary and phytosanitary measures) remain.
Ken Okaniwa, Changes to ODA Charter reflect new realities, The Japan Times, 29 May 2015,

Government of Japan, Towards Free and Open Indo-Pacific, June 2019

SEEK Development, Japan Donor Profile, Donor Tracker, Berlin, March 2019
Lithuania’s government participates in international efforts to promote socioeconomic opportunities in developing countries through its development-aid policy. Lithuania provides development aid to Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, as well as Afghanistan (where it is involved in the civilian-military mission) through its own development-aid and democracy-support program, as well as through the European Development Fund, to which it provides a financial contribution (representing 65% of the country’s total development aid). Moreover, in 2011 Lithuania joined the World Bank’s International Development Association, which provides loans and grants for anti-poverty programs. Although Lithuania committed to allocating 0.33% of its gross national product to development aid by 2015 as part of its contribution to the U.N. Millennium Development Goals, actual levels of government expenditure remain under the target, reaching 0.12% of GNI in 2018 – a decrease from 0.13% in 2017 and 0.14% in 2016. In absolute terms, development aid increased slightly from €51.6 million in 2016 to €52.55 million in 2017 and €55.5 million in 2018, of which about 18% was bilateral and around 82% multilateral assistance. It is hard to judge the real impact of Lithuania’s development aid given the absence of independent evaluations. Over the last several years, Lithuania’s aid has focused on Ukraine and other Eastern Partnership countries. It should be noted that according to the Eurobarometer survey released in September 2018, the share of respondents who report that helping people in developing countries is very important was among the lowest in the EU-28: 21% compared to the EU-28 average of 42%. Only 29% of Lithuanian respondents agreed that tackling poverty in developing countries should be one of the main national priorities (compared to an EU-28 average of 54%) and 54% agreed that it should be one of the main priorities of the EU (compared to a EU-28 average of 71%).

As a member of the EU, Lithuania is bound by the provisions of the EU’s common policy toward external trade. Although the EU generally maintains a position of openness with regard to trade and investments, it has retained some barriers to market access and other measures that distort international competition. In rare cases, Lithuania has adopted measures within the EU’s external trade regime that restrict trade (e.g., along with other countries, Lithuania prohibited import of a specific genetically modified maize, a measure related to consumer- and environmental-protection concerns, rather than being based on new or additional scientific information about the impact of GMOs). Despite being a small and open economy and officially advocating open global trade policies, Lithuania has often aligned itself in trade discussions with the EU’s most protectionist countries, especially on the application of such instruments as antidumping duties. It has also supported trade protection in the farming sector, backing EU import duties on key agricultural products that hurt developing countries specializing in agricultural exports.
The Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Lithuanian development aid, 2013.;;
OECD, Lithuania’s Official Development Assistance (ODA), 2016:
European Commission, Special Eurobarometer 476 Report EU citizens and development cooperation, September 2018,
Elsig, M., “European Union trade policy after enlargement: larger crowds, shifting priorities and informal decision-making,” Journal of European Public Policy, 17:6, September 2010, p. 781-798.
Budget cuts severely restricted the funding available for policies and instruments designed to enhance Spain’s influence abroad. In 2019, Spain will give just 0.21% of its GDP to official development assistance. The conservative Rajoy government approved the 5th multiannual plan for cooperation policy 2018 – 2021 in 2018, but the plan failed to receive the support of the agents involved, mainly due to the lack of budgetary resources and its lack of specific deadlines. The draft budget for 2019, prepared by the Sánchez government, proposed increasing funding. Though due to political deadlock in 2019, Spain remains a modest donor.

Nonetheless, the PSOE government has made the issue a much greater political priority. A cross-cutting, coordinating structure covering the entire public administration (the High Commissioner for the 2030 Agenda) was created within the Prime Minister’s Office. The new commissioner will promote coherent and proactive international action on behalf of the U.N. Sustainable Developments Goals. Pedro Sánchez also defended the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. During the 74th session of the U.N. General Assembly, Spain’s caretaker minister of foreign affairs, Josep Borrell, underlined that the Agenda 2030 is an indispensable roadmap for Spain that will address global challenges and increase Spanish cooperation in the frame of this new strategic vision.
Donor Tracker: Spain ountry/spain

Government of Spain(2019), Action Plan for 2030 Agenda Implementation.
Australia plays a significant role in the South Pacific with regard to promoting economic development and poverty alleviation in less developed countries. Australia is also a strong advocate of trade liberalization, especially in relation to agricultural products, which is critically important to economic development in most developing countries.

The 2014 government budget included cuts to foreign aid of AUD 7.6 billion over five years, which arguably represents a backward step in promoting economic opportunities in developing countries. However, since 2017, the increasingly aggressive foreign policy of China has resulted in some expansion of Australia’s regional aid programs.

Due to its status as a middle-sized power, Australia lacks leverage on some issues. For example, it has been unable to provide a major impetus to further development of the multilateral trading system. Australian governments have supported the multilateral trading system rhetorically, but at the same time have contributed to the weakening of the WTO by implementing a number of preferential trade agreements. Australia has concluded free trade agreements with all major economies in Asia (ASEAN, South Korea, China and Japan).

Rod McGuirck: Australia details investment in Pacific as China clout grows. AP News. 8 November 2018. Available at
Regarding free trade, Mexico is supportive of open trade agreements and actively seeks good relations with any country that might counterbalance its heavy economic dependence on the United States. Mexico has also been active in financing international development, providing modest levels of foreign aid and investing in triangular cooperation. Moreover, foreign policy continues to embrace the topic of south-south-cooperation and supports regional development projects. The Mexican government has also been a supporter of the U.N. Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) and Agenda 2030, launched in 2015.

However, Mexico could do more to promote and advance social inclusion beyond its borders. The treatment of Central American immigrants needs to be greatly improved. Diplomatic relations between Mexico and its southern neighbors are very good, but there is room for improvement in trade treaties in the region and Mexico could lead efforts to increase the economic integration and global competitiveness of Latin America. An excessive dependence on trade with the United States has prevented Mexico from looking south.

However, apart from free trade and good relations with the southern neighbors, international relations and Mexico’s actions in multilateral organizations do not play a major role in Mexican politics. For that the internal problems of the country are too urgent. So far, it does not seem that there will be any substantial changes in this regard under the new government.
Slovakia ceased to receive World Bank development aid in 2008, and has been a donor of development assistance ever since. In September 2013, the country became the 27th member of the OECD Development Assistance Committee. However, official development assistance (ODA) has remained substantially below the EU target of 0.33% of GNI. In 2018, Slovakia took part in the 2018 voluntary national review of the UN’s High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development and started to draw up a medium-term strategy for development cooperation for 2019 – 2030. The six identified national priorities for the implementation of the Agenda 2030 resulted from a broad stakeholder participation process, which involved civil society, private sector, and regional and municipal administration representatives, as well as other relevant players. Moreover, the Government Council for Agenda 2030 was established to bring together key line ministers, as well as representatives of NGOs, academia, the private sector, and associations of cities and regions of the Slovak Republic.
OECD (2019): Development Co-Operation Peer Review Slovakia 2019. Paris.

Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, Slovak Aid (2019): Medium-Term Strategy for Development Cooperation of the Slovak Republic for 2019-2023. Bratislava (
South Korea
The Moon administration has as yet failed to revitalize Korean development cooperation. In 2018, the country provided $2.35 billion in net official development assistance (ODA). This marked a slight increase from the previous year’s $2.2 billion, but still represented just 0.15% of gross national income (GNI). ODA spending had stagnated under the Park administration, and Korea failed to achieve its goal of increasing spending to 0.25% of GNI in 2015. A new ODA target was set at 0.30% of GNI for 2030. Korea’s aid also fails to meet the recommendations of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC), for example with respect to the share of grants, and regarding both untied and multilateral aid. South Korea has also shown little initiative with respect to activity supporting a fair global trading system. Instead, it has largely focused on negotiating bilateral preferential trade agreements with a growing number of countries, including countries in the developing world. Due to product-market regulations and the oligopolistic structure of many market segments, market access for products from developing countries remains limited.
OECD, Development Co-operation Report. 2018.
OECD, KOREA Development Assistance Committee (DAC), PEER REVIEW 2012, s/Korea%20CRC%20-%20FINAL%2021%20JA N.pdf.
OECD iLibrary. 2019. “Development Co-Operation Profiles 2019.” Retrieved from
The Swiss government has increased its development-aid contributions since 2000. Currently, Switzerland’s contributions are 0.44 of GNI in 2018. This remains far below the UN target of 0.7 of GNI as well as below the spending levels of the Scandinavian countries, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Germany. The Swiss government has set the goal of spending 0.5% of its GDP on development aid in the long run. Sustainable agriculture, decentralized governance, poverty reduction and vocational training are core issues driving Swiss development cooperation (SDC). In the countries where it supports projects or aid distribution, SDC has a good reputation for maintaining independence from home industrial interests and for making long-term commitments. Nevertheless, it is a small donor with limited impact. SDC is well embedded within international development agencies and coordinates its activities with their agendas on issues such as poverty reduction, climate change and sustainable economic development. To a certain degree, SDC’s activities differ from general patterns of Swiss foreign policy, which is more conventional. Foreign policy is mainly trade oriented, supporting policies of market liberalization through international agencies like the WTO. In this context, development cooperation policies have become controversial. Whereas the SVP criticizes development cooperation as ineffective and calls for SDC budget cuts, the policy network of Swiss private development-aid agencies advocate a shift in policy that involves the mitigation of north-south inequalities by revising trade arrangements that disadvantage developing countries.
The Netherlands’ ranking in the Center for Global Development’s Commitment to Development Index has risen two places since 2017, from seventh to fifth. In 2017, the Netherlands committed 0.60% of its GNI to development assistance, close to the international commitment of 0.7% GNI and above average for CDI countries. In addition, costs for climate policy will be allocated to development-aid budgets. Expenditure for international conflict management has been added to the diminishing state development-aid budget.

Aid is no longer focused solely on poverty reduction, but also on global sustainable and inclusive growth, and on supporting the business of Dutch firms in foreign countries. The driving idea is that “economic and knowledge diplomacy” can forge a coalition between Dutch business-sector experts (in reproductive health, water management and food security/agriculture), and business and civil society associations in developing countries. Climate has been included as a key focus area, alongside poverty, migration and terrorism. Cutbacks in the areas of women’s rights or emergency aid have been made. Good-governance aid will be focused on helping developing countries to improve taxation systems. Following OECD guidelines, there will be a reassessment of the negative side effects of Dutch corporate policies in developing countries.

The Dutch policy response to the recent refugee crisis has mimicked Denmark’s efforts, seeking to discourage refugees from coming to the Netherlands. As the general public has shown a lower degree of acceptance of immigration than many other countries, the country did not win internal support for the Franco-German refugee deal, and ultimately did not support it. However, the government did provide an additional €290 million for refugee relief in local regions. All of this shows a pattern of declining commitment by the Dutch government to global policy frameworks and the fair global-trading system. Instead, the aspiration has been to link development aid to Dutch national economic- and international-security interests. In 2018, these policies were partially reversed with additional funding for the education of youth and women in focus countries, along with some additional funds for nearby unstable regions.

In spite of ample evidence of human trafficking and exploitation of workers, in some cases from poor regions within Europe, Dutch authorities have taken insufficient legal action against such crimes.
Rijksoverheid, Beleidsnota Investeren in Perspectief, 2018

WRR (2010), Minder pretentie, meer ambitie. Ontwikkelingshulp die verschil maakt, Amsterdam University Press

Center for Global Development, Commitment to Development Index, 2018 (, consulted 8 November 2019)

Ontwikkelingsresultaten in beeld 2019, (consulted 7 november 2019)

Amper veroordelingen voor arbeids – en criminele uitbuiting, NOS, 2 May, 2019
Although the United States’ efforts have lagged behind those of other OECD countries, relative to the size of their economies, it provides a large share of the world’s development assistance. For most of the postwar era, U.S. foreign aid has had four features that have reduced its impact on economic development and welfare in poor countries: It has been modest in amount relative to national income; it has been heavily skewed toward military assistance; it has not always been coordinated with assistance from international organizations; and – at least with regard to food assistance – it has often been designed to benefit U.S. agricultural, shipping and commercial interests along with aid recipients.

Reversing this direction with his “America first” agenda, Trump has cut foreign aid budgets with plans to seek reductions of up to 37% and even abolish the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). To support Israel, he has barred aid to Palestine. In deference to anti-abortion demands, he has barred international organizations that either promote or perform abortions from involvement in distributing economic aid. At the end of 2018, the Trump administration changed its course again. With the Build Act and other activities, the administration looked again to foreign aid policy as an instrument of soft power in competing with Russia and China. As of this writing (December 2019), however, no major investment in expanding foreign aid has been made and earlier in the year, President Trump proposed freezing more than $4 billion in development aid.
The government shows limited engagement in international efforts to promote equal socioeconomic opportunities in low- and middle-income countries. Many of its measures or policies lack coherence.
Austria often gives rhetorical support to agendas seeking to improve the global social balance. However, when it comes to actions such as spending public money to improve development in poor countries, Austria is often slow to fulfill its promises.

Austria’s role in the European attempt to control mass migration is overshadowed by the multifaceted phenomenon of migration. To distinguish between political asylum-seekers, war refugees and economic migrants (as would be, according to the legal norms, necessary), the general political tendency is to put all migrants in one basket. Austria’s role in closing the land route to the European Union (“Balkan Route”) in 2015 and 2016 has been seen (and promoted) only from the viewpoint of Austria’s immediate national interest – not as a European or global matter. Austria continues to block any attempts (e.g., by the European Commission) to develop a binding Common European Refugee Policy. To justify the policy of non-solidarity vis-á-vis countries like Italy and Greece, the mainstream Austrian argument is that Europe has to confront the reasons behind mass migration. However, the argument that global inequalities is the main reason for mass migration is usually mentioned only as a rhetorical device. Austria is still one of the least active countries when it comes to supporting systematic policies to improve the living conditions of people in other parts of the world, such as in Africa.

As an EU member state, Austria’s position concerning tariffs and imports is defined by the European Union’s position. This body also represents Austria in the World Trade Organization. To prevent certain agricultural products from entering the Austrian market, the Austrian media and political parties (including agricultural interest groups) use environmental rather than specifically trade-focused arguments.

The gap between political rhetoric and political activity with respect to socioeconomic opportunities in developing countries has grown wider during the period under review. Austrian politics and public discourse have reacted to the ongoing volatile economic and fiscal situation by concentrating even more on internal demands. The debate regarding the EU-U.S. negotiations concerning a transatlantic free trade agreement has been dominated by a parochial outlook with little room for global arguments. According to critics, Austria’s standards are among the highest in the world and any free trade agreement would result in a decline in quality for Austrian consumers. Nonetheless, after some heated debates, the government has at last agreed to the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Europe and Canada (CETA). In addition, the argument for a trade agreement between the Europe Union and Latin America still faces significant opposition in Austria.

Regarding Austrian debates about migration and refugees, most comments declare that the best way of dealing with “mass migration” to Europe (including Austria) is to improve the conditions of migrants in their home countries. But with the exception of smaller parties (like the liberal NEOS and the Greens) no political actors have dared to promote costly Austrian activities to improve living conditions, for example, in Africa. Current global inequality is widely recognized – including its decisive influence on migration – but the consequences are not seriously discussed within the Austrian political system.
Until the onset of the economic crisis, Greece was active in assisting less developed countries. Since the crisis began, the country has focused on managing its own domestic social policy problems. Cuts in public sector expenditure significantly impacted Greece’s official development assistance (ODA). In 2017, Greece’s ODA as a share of GNI stood at 0.16%, far below the OECD average (0.32%). This continued to fall in 2018 (0.13%). While Greece continued to meet its multilateral commitments, including to European institutions, bilateral ODA was limited to expenditure on scholarships and in-country refugee costs. The 2018 Development Assistance Committee (DAC) Peer Review suggested that as the economy recovers and Greece considers increasing its expenditures on aid, the government should take steps to build a new vision for development cooperation, and establish structures and systems to deliver it. The report also noted that 82% of the 2011 Peer Review recommendations for Greece were not implemented, and the rest were only partially implemented. In general, the Greek government has shown very little interest in engaging in international efforts to help developing countries, and has not demonstrated any initiative, assumed responsibility or acted as an agenda-setter within the international framework. However, it supported all relevant EU and UN initiatives.
Data on Official Development Assistance is provided by Tables available on this SGI platform and from DAC / OECD

OECD Development Cooperation Peer Reviews: Greece 2019 (
Iceland joined the United Nations in 1946.

The Icelandic International Development Agency (Þróunarsamvinnustofnun Íslands, IIDA) is a public institution associated with the Foreign Ministry, established in 1981. Its mandate is to cooperate with and assist developing countries. Recently, IIDA reduced the number of countries in which it ran projects (bilateral cooperation) from six to three: Malawi, Mozambique, and Uganda. Additionally, the IIDA is involved in a regional project on geothermal power in East-Africa. In late 2015, the Gunnlaugsson cabinet decided to merge the IIDA with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Among the earlier six recipient countries was Namibia, where Icelandic experts provided valuable help with the development of the Namibian fishing sector until 2010. In 2019, Wikileaks revelations indicates that Samherji, Iceland’s largest fishing firm, paid huge bribes to Namibian ministers, among others, to secure fishing quotas. The scandal led to the immediate arrest of two Namibian ministers and four other Namibian individuals, and has left Iceland’s reputation among ordinary Namibians in tatters. The case is still under investigation.

In 2009, Iceland’s contribution to development aid amounted to 0.3% of GDP, well below the U.N. target of 0.7%, and remained virtually unchanged at 0.28% in 2018. The government has set a goal of 0.35% of GDP for 2022. In 2013, parliament resolved to meet the U.N. target, but has so far failed to implement this resolution. In 2013, Iceland joined the OECD’s Development Cooperation Directorate.

Apart from its rather limited development assistance, Iceland has not undertaken any specific initiatives to promote social inclusion in the context of global frameworks or international trade.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Development Cooperation (Þróunarsamvinna). Accessed 22 December 2018.
The Maltese government has very limited opportunities to help shape or advance social inclusion beyond its borders. What little influence of this kind it has acquired is related to its participation in international organizations (such as the UN and WHO) and EU Ministerial Councils. A 2018 Implementation Plan delineates several main areas of implementation (co-funding of official development assistance projects, capacity-building, the creation of the Arvid Pardo scholarship fund, and contributions to trust funds for the purposes of humanitarian aid funding). Moreover, a European Commission press release stated that in 2018, Malta was one of four member states that increased its ratio of official development assistance to GNI by more than 0.01 percentage points.

Malta supports EU efforts to address the refugee crisis, and was the only EU member state to have fulfilled its asylum relocation commitments in 2017. The country had Europe’s seventh-highest asylum-application approval rate. Malta will also provide its support for the UN Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. Moreover, through the European Union, Malta contributes to the EU Emergency Trust Fund supported by the Joint Valletta Action Plan and the Malta Declaration during Malta’s EU presidency in 2017. Projects implemented by Maltese non-governmental development organizations (NGDOs) also contribute significantly to development projects in other countries. The state also provides an increasing number of scholarships to young people from less developed states, and responds to requests to assist countries, notably in the Balkans, with capacity-building programs.

Malta’s development policy attaches special importance to countries in the Horn of Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa, the main source of asylum-seekers and clandestine immigrants to Malta. To this end, a Maltese High Commission was opened in Ghana, making it the country’s first mission to sub-Saharan Africa. Malta’s development policy also seeks to assist with development in Mediterranean states, notably North Africa and the Palestinian territories, providing scholarships and other forms of aid. Malta is one of 26 states serving as a permanent member of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. Malta also actively assists other small states throughout the Commonwealth by making available its acquired experience and expertise as a developed small island country. For example, a new Commonwealth center of excellence for small states will be set up in Malta. In general, Malta follows the lead of the European Union, with its policies on tariffs in line with those agreed to in Brussels.

Between 2015 and 2018, Malta used its role as chair of the Commonwealth Heads of Governments Meeting to press for development in a number of areas, including polio eradication, financial support for poorer Commonwealth states, combating climate change and women’s rights. In June 2019, Malta additionally hosted the Summit of the Southern EU Countries with the aim of exploring issues of common interest in the Mediterranean region. In 2015, Malta became a signatory to Agenda 2030, which seeks to transform the world through sustainable development.
2019, Malta hosted the Summit of the Southern EU Countries with the aim of exploring issues of common interest in the Mediterranean region.
Official Development Assistance Policy and a Framework for Humanitarian Assistance- Implementation Plan 2018
European Commission Press Release Europe remains the world’s biggest development donor – €74.4 billion in 2018
Malta Today 25/04/2019 Malta with seventh highest number of approved asylum applications in EU compared to population in 2018
European Council 03/02/17 Malta Declaration by members of the European Council on the external aspects of migration rica_en
Newsbook 16/10/2018 Malta to be one of largest donors to Africa’s Emergency Trust Fund
Malta Today 18/10/2019 Malta appoints its first ambassador to Ghana

Times of Malta 26/11/2015 Commonwealth trade facility to be set up
Times of Malta 28/11/2015 Commonwealth can bridge divide on climate change
Times of Malta 25/11/2015 Malta to host Commonwealth Center to help small states, contribute €100,000
Times of Malta 27/11/2015 Financial services: ‘some of best growth opportunities in Commonwealth’ om-114-aa1de6ec6d75469b9be8f952bfedd9a6.aspx
Malta Independent 12/06/2019 Summit of the Southern EU Countries being held in Malta on Friday
Development cooperation has become a more relevant issue in Poland since EU accession, even though it is still not a priority of the Polish government. Poland became the 28th member of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) in October 2013 and remains one of the group’s least-active donors. However, its contribution has increased over the years, and has now reached 0.13% of GDP. The Multiannual Development Program 2016 – 2020 adopted in October 2015 by the Kopacz government, was updated in September 2018 to include Lebanon and Uganda. The majority of financial contributions has gone to Ukraine, Belarus and Turkey (in order to host Syrian refugees). In public debates about migration and its causes, the PiS government frequently argues that it prefers to provide help in the regions where refugees or migrants come from. At the EU-Africa summit in Malta in November 2015, Poland promised to contribute €1 million to address root causes of migration from Africa. Prime Minister Morawiecki later proposed a new Marshall-Plan-like effort for Africa.
OECD (2019): Poland. Development Cooperation Profiles.
There has been virtually no change in this area vis-à-vis previous review periods. Foreign aid remains very much a secondary consideration in foreign policy, with the main interest being in economic diplomacy promoting the Portuguese economy and its exports. That does not mean that Portugal is disengaged – it still participates through the provision of foreign aid, especially in the Portuguese-speaking countries of Africa and East Timor. However, while there is some funding for foreign-aid projects, there is little concern with overarching aid policy, which means that coherence has not been as strong as it might be. This lack of interest has also percolated through to the design of international policies and the lack of international leadership in that regard. It must also be kept in mind that Portugal is a follower, not an international leader, and has very few resources. Therefore, while Portugal is supportive of good intentions, it is in fact marginal with regard to the implementation and design of foreign assistance.

However, if the question were to be shifted to include foreign involvement beyond the financial and economic sphere, then Portugal is a “supplier of security” through its fairly limited participation in U.N., NATO, and EU security- and humanitarian-support missions. Furthermore, in specific instances such as Guinea-Bissau, Portugal is relatively very active in attempting to stabilize national governments, promote security and ultimately promote development.
With EU accession in 2004, Slovenia’s status changed from donor to recipient of official development assistance. However, Slovenia has not been very active in international efforts to promote equal socioeconomic opportunities in developing countries. The few initiatives that exist are mostly focused on the former Yugoslavia. The prevailing attitude is that Slovenia has its own measure of socioeconomic problems to tackle and that potential Slovenian international influence is negligible. Still, Slovenia’s official development assistance comes close to the EU target and has risen substantially in recent years.
The economic crisis has placed continued pressure on the government’s development-aid efforts. International-development policies, which are now split between the federal and federated entities, are increasingly being seen as an instrument to help Belgian firms export to developing countries. Unrelated aid is being cut, and Belgium has repeatedly missed its own spending targets despite recognized Belgian expertise in the field, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. At the international level, Belgium has been part of efforts to push for more fair-trade arrangements, but has not been an agenda-setter.
Cyprus participates in and contributes to development-cooperation programs to a limited extent, mainly within the context of its membership in major international organizations. Its policies are tied to that of the EU and materialized in the context of international-cooperation and bilateral agreements. A contributor to Unitaid, Cyprus participates in financing mechanisms for climate change; it also provides assistance for infrastructure development, social services, including health and human development, and environmental protection. Its official development assistance (ODA) amounted to 0.09% of GDP in 2015 with an ODA target set at 0.33% by 2015. No new data have been made available on the CyprusAid website since 2013.

Actions and policies do not appear to form part of a specific national strategy; rather, they take place primarily within existing international frameworks. An agenda-setting ambition in terms of pursuing specific initiatives of Cyprus’ own design is missing.
1. Data on ODA, Cyprus,
Israeli policy regarding global inequalities mainly consists of offering assistance in humanitarian, medical and financial aid to developing countries during emergencies. In recent decades, this aid has been expanded to technological and agricultural knowledge-sharing. The government’s Center for International Cooperation (MASHAV) oversees cooperation with other developed countries and is responsible for launching emergency-assistance missions.

Although Israel has signed a number of international cooperation agreements with parties such as the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, it is not considered to be a leader or an agenda-setter with regard to global fair-trade policies. However, it is improving its regulatory structure to reflect international trade agreements and WTO standards.

In January 2019, Israel established a fund that aims to support environmental projects in developing countries. The fund is the responsibility of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Economy, with the help of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
“Environmental, Finance, and Economy Ministries set up a fund to support environmental projects in developing countries” Ministry of Environment, 16.1.2019 (Hebrew)

Hayut, Ilanit, “Israeli gov’t expands meat imports to spur competition” Globes, 24.03.2016,

“Israel and World Bank Group sign agreement to share innovative best practices in water,” The World Bank website 17.6.2015:

“Israel shares cybersecurity expertise with World Bank client countries,” The World Bank Website, 22.6.2016:
The Italian government’s engagement in promoting socioeconomic opportunities internationally has generally been rather limited. Over the years, Italy has provided less in international aid than most other developed countries.
Past governments had used the Italian navy to provide help at sea for illegal immigrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea on unsecure boats belonging to traffickers. The first Conte government significantly reduced this effort. Seeking to address the rapid increase in immigration across the Mediterranean, along with the humanitarian catastrophes produced by this increase, the Italian government has proposed an EU “immigration compact,” which would expand long-term EU help to African countries and develop bilateral agreements for the regulation of migration.

On a more qualitative and organizational level Italy has stressed the importance of fighting hunger and developing food production and distribution. Probably because of this activism it hosts three major U.N. food agencies, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Program (WFP).
The first Conte government showed little interest in international cooperation. Indeed, the frequent interference by Interior Minister Salvini in international matters made cooperation with African countries more difficult. The amount of help provided to developing countries rose in 2019 compared to 2018, but at 0.29% of GNI, remains behind the 2017 level.
Romania remains a minor player on the global stage when dealing with issues of global inequality. In 2016, the Cioloș government put development assistance on a new footing when Law 213/2016 created a new Agency for International Development Cooperation, “RoAid,” which is responsible for implementing development cooperation and humanitarian aid-related activities. In 2018, Romania joined the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee. Romanian bilateral development cooperation has focused mostly on Moldova, Turkey, Serbia, Ukraine and Syria. Moldova’s ailing political and economic systems, as well as its proximity to Romania and geopolitical importance to Europe vis-a-vis Russia make it an important area of political and economic engagement.
The promotion of equal socioeconomic opportunities in developing countries is not on the agenda of Bulgarian society and its government. Bulgarian officials take positions on this issue only when they are required to do so by the agendas of international bodies such as the European Union and the United Nations. On such occasions, the behavior of Bulgarian officials is reactive and not proactive. However, Bulgaria does not resort to protectionist trade barriers beyond those imposed by the European Union, and does not impede or attempt to undermine efforts by the international community to promote equal opportunities in developing countries.
The Croatian government takes part in the activities of international organizations to which the country belongs. For trade issues related to international development, the government follows the policy of the European Union and other international organizations. The government does not have a well-developed international-development policy. However, since joining the European Union, Croatia’s international assistance policy has improved. The National Strategy for Development Cooperation 2015 – 2020 has been adopted, and the country aims to increase its development aid to 0.33% of GDP by 2030. This includes funds for the European Development Fund, which distributes aid at the EU level. More than 80% of the official development aid is generally directed to Southeast European (SEE) countries. Of Croatia’s ODA, 72% is multilateral aid and 23% is bilateral aid. In 2019, this aid amounted to HRK 250 million, HRK 200 million less than what had been budgeted for 2018. This figure puts Croatia far below the officially endorsed goal of 0.33% of GNI for the new EU member states.
Hungary pays relatively little policy attention to developing countries. Hungary’s net ODA has fallen short of the official EU and OECD targets, and has further declined relative to GDP in recent years. The development cooperation of the Orbán government has focused on countries which have a large Hungarian minority and strong trade links with Hungary. As a result, about 80% of all funds have gone to Serbia and Ukraine. The government’s strong public commitment to supporting deprived and oppressed Christian communities in developing countries has remained largely rhetorical.
As a result of government austerity programs, funding for bilateral development cooperation was reduced to a minimum between 2009 and 2011. This reduction has meant that Latvia’s ability to directly contribute to efforts to tackle global social inequalities has been negligible. In 2016, Latvia’s official development assistance (ODA) expenditure was €19 million or 0.08% of GNI, down from €21 million or 0.21% GNI in 2015. Latvia has adopted a multi-year ODA strategy, which foresees increasing contributions to 0.33% of GNI by 2020.

Bilateral development cooperation focuses on the three top-priority countries of Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. In 2018, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia supported 21 projects with €448,343 invested in the sustainable development of partner countries, civil society capacity-building and development of education systems.
1. Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2019), Latvia’s Bilateral Development Cooperation in 2018, Available at:, Last assessed 02.11.2019.

2. State Development Cooperation Policy Plan (2016 – 2020), Available at (in Latvian):ības-politikas-pamatnostadnem-2016-2020-gadam. Last assessed: 02.11.2019.
The government does not contribute (and often undermines) efforts to promote equal socioeconomic opportunities in low- and middle-income countries.
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