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 ideological orientation. Sweden combines bilateral strategies with active involvement in multilateral efforts toward global social justice. Additionally, public spending on development issues is comparably very high. There has been a gradual shift from conventional aid to developing countries, mainly sub-Saharan countries, toward aid directed at countries 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 (Pierre, 2015).

The foreign policy field is a particularly gendered sector (Aggestam and Townes, 2018). The red-green governments (since 2014) launched a campaign of feminist foreign policy, which has gained international attention, as international solidarity has a gender dimension that 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 for what it describes as medieval punishment techniques employed in some 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.

Despite the complex outcome of the 2018 elections, gender mainstreaming has continued to characterize Sweden’s foreign policy (Regeringskansliet, 2021a;2021b). The explicit goals of this policy are: 1) to promote full respect for human rights; 2) to promote freedom from physical, psychological, and sexual violence; 3) to contribute to the prevention of conflict and reconstruction after conflict; 4) to promote political participation and influence across all parts of society; 5) to promote economic rights and independence, and sexual and reproductive health and rights (Regeringskansliet, 2021a).

Sweden plans to use its rotating presidencies in international organizations as well as its considerable diplomatic clout to push through a gender equality agenda culminating in the Swedish EU presidency in 2023; however, parliamentary elections will have taken place prior to that, in September 2022, and it remains to be seen what effect that will have on the country’s feminist foreign policy. The current government’s commitment to gender mainstreaming in foreign policy is further evidenced in its Agenda 2030 proposition, which was adopted by the parliament in December 2021, and contains specific instruments designed to work toward social justice (Regeringskansliet, 2021c). Sweden remains a leader in the field of international social justice and specifically gender equality.
Aggestam, Karin, and Ann Towns. 2018. “The Gender Turn in Diplomacy: A new Research Agenda.” International Feminist Journal of Politics. 21(1), 9-28.

Pierre, Jon. (ed.) 2015. “The Oxford Handbook of Swedish Politics.” Oxford University Press. Section 7.

Regeringskansliet [Government Offices of Sweden]. 2021a. “Feministisk Utrikespolitik och Arbetet för Jämställdhet och alla Kvinnors och Flickors Rättigheter, Representation och Resurser åren 2014-2021.”

Regeringskansliet [Government Offices of Sweden]. 2021b. “Utrikesförvaltningens Handlingsplan för Feministisk Utrikespolitik 2019-2022 med Inriktning och Åtgärder för År 2021.”

Regeringskansliet [Government Offices of Sweden]. 2021c. “Sveriges Genomförande av Agenda 2030.” Proposition 2019/20:188.
Assisting developing countries has broad support. Denmark is one of only five countries in the world to contribute more than the UN target of 0.7% of gross national income (GNI) to development assistance. Some of the funds have been redirected to address the increasing inflow asylum-seekers.

Denmark is increasing its focus on those regions in the Middle East and Africa where many refugees originate. Denmark will not reduce its humanitarian aid. In May 2016, 40% of Danes felt that it was very important to help people in developing countries and 49% felt that it was fairly important. During the great influx of refugees in September 2015, 30% of the Danish population 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 development strategy for 2021 prioritizes the following items: an increased focus on environmental issues and migration, which includes returning illegal migrants to their home countries; mobilizing private capital to increase development aid; increasing support for multilateral efforts targeting 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 is not a high priority in policy debates.
Ministry of Development. Regeringens Udviklingspolitiske Prioriteter. (file:///Users/rkl/Downloads/Regeringens%20udviklingspolitiske%20prioriteter%202021.pdf)
Estonia actively participates in international humanitarian interventions through the European Union and United Nations. Estonia’s development cooperation policy is regulated by the Estonian Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid Program 2020–2023, which 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. In 2020, Estonia helped alleviate the impact of the coronavirus in Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Syria and the region, Venezuela, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, and Bangladesh.

The total amount of funds available for development assistance in 2019 amounted to €43.3 million, which is 0.16% of the gross national income. Two-thirds of it is devoted to multilateral cooperation and one-third to bilateral cooperation. The budget for humanitarian aid in 2020 amounts to around €3.5 million.

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 (2019). Overview of Estonian Development Cooperation. (accessed 03.01.2022)
In recent years, Germany has increased its ratio of official development assistance (ODA) to GNI substantially, and has reached the ODA target of 0.7% of GNI with an actual spending of 0.73% in 2020, putting it into a top position only surpassed by Turkey (due to the country’s expenses for hosting refugees), Sweden, Norway, Luxembourg and Denmark (OECD 2021). In the first year of the pandemic, Germany increased its development assistance, for example, to support vaccination campaigns, by more than $3 billion. This is the largest absolute increase in 2020 among OECD states (OECD 2021).

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.

Germany played a leading role in organizing and financing international efforts to mitigate the pandemic burden for developing countries, in particular by strengthening health systems, support for refugees, food security and crisis management, and by being an active player in and major donor to the international vaccination initiative COVAX (Rüb et al. 2021, Auswärtiges Amt 2022).

In 2021, Germany has enacted a supply chain law which defines clear and operational obligations based on the principle of due diligence. This implies that companies have to set up risk management systems that detect human rights violations. The requirements relate to the full supply chain but are more intense with respect to direct suppliers than for indirect suppliers. Beginning in 2024, the law will be gradually phased in and affect all companies with more than 1,000 employees.
Auswärtiges Amt (2022): Deutschlands Einsatz gegen Covid-19, (accessed: 12 January 2022).

OECD (2021): Development Co-operation Report 2021, Shaping a Just Digital Transformation.

Rüb, Friedbert, Friedrich Heinemann and Reimut Zohlnhöfer (2021): Germany Report, Sustainable Governance in the Context of the COVID-19 Crisis, Sustainable Governance Indicators, BertelsmannStiftung.
Luxembourg’s development cooperation strategy is titled The Road to 2030, and has four areas of focus: 1) access to quality social services; 2) socioeconomic integration of women and youth; 3) inclusive and sustainable growth; and 4) inclusive governance. The strategy also aims to leverage Luxembourg’s comparative advantage as a leading international financial center and in the information and communication technology sector. The development cooperation program is focused on seven partner countries, five of which are in sub-Saharan Africa.

According to the 2021 OECD Cooperation Report, the Grand Duchy’s contribution to official international development assistance amounted to $450 million in 2020, or 1.02% of its gross national income (GNI), and ranked third among the member countries of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee. Despite a decrease of 9.2% in real terms in volume in 2020 (due to the drop in the gross national income due to the coronavirus pandemic), the development assistance provided by the Grand Duchy has far surpassed the UN’s industrialized-nation contribution target of 0.7% of GNI. In line with the EU and OECD priorities, Luxembourg’s major areas of involvement are social sectors (including education and training in the fields of healthcare), water treatment, sewage, local economic development and infrastructure construction, and humanitarian support (including emergency assistance and reconstruction aid).

In 2019, Luxembourg provided $216.5 million in development aid to the multilateral system (a drop of 1.1% from 2018), $109.6 million of which was allocated to core multilateral activities (through pooled funds and specific-purpose programs and funds). Furthermore, Luxembourg’s total contribution to multilateral organizations in 2019 was mainly allocated to the U.N., the World Bank Group and the European Union institutions, which accounted together for 83% of the country’s total support to the multilateral system. The U.N. system received 49.3%, mainly through earmarked contributions devoted to the U.N. Development Program ($16.4 million), the U.N. Children’s Fund ($12.1 million) and the World Food Program ($11.3 million).
“Shaping a Just Digital Transformation. OECD Development Cooperation Report 2021.” OECD (21 December 2021). Accessed 3 January 2022.

“The Road to 2030. Luxembourg’s General Development Cooperation Strategy.” The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs (2021). Accessed 3 January 2022.

“De Budget 2021. Coopération au développement et à l’action humanitaire.” Le Gouvernement du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg. Ministère des Affaires étrangères et européennes.§=17. Accessed 3 January 2022.
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.
Despite the austerity measures introduced to correct the imbalances in public finances in the wake of the country’s bailout by the Troika of the European Union, ECB and IMF in 2010, Ireland has maintained its spending on overseas development assistance (ODA). In 2021, ODA will reach €1,044 billion, with an increase of €140 million in 2022 over 2021. This represents 0.43% of Ireland’s GNI, still way short of the U.N. target of 0.7%, but an increase from the 2020 allocation of €867.5 million in 2020 (0.31% of GNI). This allocation is substantially up on the 2017 allocation of €743 million (Irish Aid, 2020; Social Justice Ireland, 2021). There is a special focus on countries in sub-Saharan Africa, poverty eradication, ending hunger, and encouraging gender equality, good governance and human rights.

Ireland was elected as a member of the U.N. Security Council for 2021 – 2022. Ireland’s priorities on the council focus on peacekeeping, climate and security, and marking the 25th anniversary of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. Ireland is also focusing on thematic issues, including the promotion of the voices of women peacebuilders, eradicating hunger, children and armed conflict, and conflict prevention and mediation (DFA, 2021).

Ireland has consistently supported an international agenda that advances social inclusion. Support for a fair global trading system is constrained by the role of the European Union in framing trading policy and to some extent by concerns about domestic self-interest with regard to certain sectors, especially farming.
DFA (2021) Ireland’s Priorities for the UN Security Council, 2021-2022, Department of Foreign Affairs, 22 January, available at:
Irish Aid, (2020). Where the money goes,
Social Justice Ireland (2021) ‘Progress towards ODA target in. Budget 2022’, 8 November 2021,
New Zealand
New Zealand has – generally speaking – long underdelivered on its international aid commitments. The 2018 budget pledged a further $714.2 million to New Zealand’s official development assistance over a four-year timeframe, bringing official development assistance (ODA) to 0.28% of gross national income (GNI) by 2021 (up from 0.25% in 2016), but still falling short of New Zealand’s promise to spend 0.7% of GNI on aid. What is more, the allocation is heavily prioritized toward the South Pacific. Amid concerns about China’s growing influence in the region, around 60% of New Zealand’s total aid spending goes to its small-island neighbors (Bramwell 2018).

The 2020 COVID-19 budget delivered $55.6 million in additional funding for ODA, which translates to almost 0.33% of forecast GNI in 2021. A total of $10 million of this money was earmarked to supporting Pacific island nations in efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 (Small 2020). In the 2021 budget, aid is projected to increase by just 0.7% over the next year (NZADD 2021).

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). The Pacer Plus Agreement was signed in December 2020 (MFAT). 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. In November 2021, New Zealand ratified the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement, which is designed to eliminate tariffs on 91% of goods, as well as to standardize rules on investment and intellectual property between New Zealand, Australia and various Asian countries.
Bramwell (2018) “NZ to increase aid to the Pacific – Peters.” RNZ.

Heritage Foundation (2021) 2021 Index of Economic Freedom.


NZADD (2021) “What happened to aid in Budget 2021/22?”

Small (2020) “Budget 2020: $50bn cash-splash includes wage subsidy extension, free trades training and infrastructure boost.” Newshub.
Norway is a leading contributor to bilateral and multilateral development cooperation activities, as well as to international agencies focusing on development issues. Norway allocates 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 international aid activities seek to combat poverty and improve women’s ability to participate fully in the economy. In general, Norway favors global free trade arrangements, but still maintains a high level of protectionism with respect to importing agricultural products. However, the 30 least-developed countries have free access to the Norwegian market with their exports, and imports from these countries have risen.

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 in creating a safe and secure society.
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. 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.

Despite this reorientation, Canada’s share of official development assistance had been declining in recent years and the OECD has critiqued the country for the very modest nature of its development assistance, relative to its economic growth. Even today, its contributions are significantly off the UN target of 0.7% of gross national income (GNI), although by 2020 Canada’s Official Development Assistance had experienced a small upswing, standing at 0.31% of the GNI. Moreover, although the government initially sustained criticism for acquiring vaccines from the Vaccine Global Access Facility (COVAX) for domestic use, the country has now made a commitment to donate 200 million vaccines to COVAX.

The 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.
Anni-Clau dine Bulles and Sghannon Kindornay, “Beyond Aid: A Plan for Canadian International Cooperation” North-South Institute, May 2013, loads/2013/05/BuellesKindornay.2013.CNDPolicyCoherenceEN.pdf

OECD, “Canada needs to increase foreign aid flows in line with its renewed engagement,” 14 September 2018,

OECD, “Canada,” Development Co-operation Profiles, 2021, Paris: OECD Publishing

OECD, “Gender equality and women’s rights in the post-2015 agenda: A foundation for sustainable development,”
The Chilean Agency of International Cooperation for Development (Agencia Chilena de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo, AGCID) under the Ministry for External Relations has been the authority responsible for bilateral, triangular and multilateral international cooperation since 1990. It coordinates both the resources that Chile gives as a donor and the aid the country receives. As a donor, Chile focuses on its own region, mainly South America. The AGCID reacted to the COVID-19 pandemic with a program called the Post-Pandemic Cooperation Strategy 2021-2024.

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 offers virtually no subsidies to domestic producers and does not maintain protectionist trade barriers to imports.
Chilean Cooperation Agency (Agencia Chilena de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo),, last accessed: 13 January 2022.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores de Chile),, last accessed: 13 January 2022.
Czechia is not a significant player in international development and devotes a relatively low share of GDP to development aid. However, it has been a member of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee since 2013 and has pursued a relatively coherent development cooperation strategy 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, many 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. In 2019, Czechia launched a new development aid program to promote investment by Czech companies in developing countries. In 2020, Czechia joined Team Europe, a joint EU response to the pandemic in partner countries (Ministry of Foreign Affairs 2020). In geographic terms, the Czech contribution to the program has focused on the existing priority countries of Czech bilateral development cooperation (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Moldova, and Zambia), as well as on Afghanistan, Ukraine and some further African countries.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2020): Czech Diplomacy 2020. Prague (
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. Appropriations budgeted for development cooperation in 2021 were estimated to total €1.257 billion, which corresponds to 0.5% of Finland’s gross national income (GNI).

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.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, development policy has declined in importance in the government’s overall policy activities.
“Finland’s Development Policy,”
Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland,
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 dependencies, such as past 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 countries to follow suit. President Macron has evoked the need to launch a significant EU investment plan in Africa, and to push for such an initiative during the French presidency beginning in January 2022. This initiative seems judicious as, given the persistent underdevelopment of the continent in spite of a sustained growth, there is a need to increase EU support to sub-Saharan countries where poverty and Islamist terrorism are together pushing an increasing number of people to migrate to Europe. Given the demographic pressures ahead (Africa will have soon 1 billion inhabitants) and the attractiveness of Europe, development in Africa is an emergency issue both for Africans and Europeans.
The total amount of official development assistance (ODA) stood at $16.3 billion in 2020 (at current prices), making Japan the fourth-largest OECD Donor Assistance Committee donor country in absolute terms and the largest in Asia. ODA represents 0.31% of Japan’s gross national income (GNI).The quality of ODA has improved in recent years, but assistance has been increasingly aligned with Japan’s broader international 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.

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 and Biden administrations having latched on, although with a somewhat less pronounced economic focus than is the case in Japan. Japan has shown active interest in development cooperation with Africa, underlined by the Tokyo International Conferences 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, Donor Tracker, Japan report, (accessed 18 February 2022)
Lithuania’s government participates in international efforts to promote socioeconomic opportunities in developing countries through its development-aid policy. Lithuania has provided development aid to Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, as well as to Afghanistan until mid-2021 (where it was involved in the civilian-military mission). This has been implemented through the country’s 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 income (GNI) 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 0.14% of GNI in 2018 – an increase from 0.12% in 2019. In absolute terms, development aid increased from €63 million in 2018 to €70 million in 2020. The majority of the aid (around 80%) is multilateral. Lithuanians are less supportive of foreign aid than are many of their European peers. According to Eurobarometer, 16% of respondents in 2020 said that tackling poverty in developing countries was important (the EU average was 30%), an increase of three percentage points relative to 2019. A total of 10% said that tackling poverty should be among the main priorities for the national government (compared to an EU average of 21%), an increase of three percentage points compared to 2019.

According to a 2020 report, Lithuania’s strengths included a clear and functioning institutional setup, good competencies, and the practice of sharing its reform experiences with other Eastern Partnership countries (Zubė/Mizgerytė). As for deficiencies, apart from aid levels failing to reach commitments by a wide margin, the report identified problems with long-term planning, feeble societal support, limited participation by representatives of the business sector, insufficient involvement in the international aid ecosystem, and a lack of synergies between bilateral and multilateral aid efforts.

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.

In late 2021, after Lithuania agreed to let Taiwan open a diplomatic office in the country, China started obstructing trade with Lithuania and exerting informal pressure on companies from other EU countries to avoid using components made in Lithuania. The Lithuanian government appealed to the EU and its member states to respond with the anti-coercion measures recently presented by the European Commission. This is a sign of potential future tensions with authoritarian countries that might increasingly inhibit EU’s external trade relations, especially as the EU has responded with new sanctions against Russian officials, entities and sectors following that country’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022.
Julius Zubė and Vygantė Mizgerytė, Lietuvos vystomojo bendradarbiavimo politikos veiksmingumo vertinimas, 2020,
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. Since 2018, the government has made development assistance and the 2030 Agenda a much greater political priority. A cross-cutting, coordinating structure covering the entire public administration was created within the government. The institutional architecture for this area centers on the Vice Presidency for Social Rights and 2030 Agenda. This vice president has a 2030 Agenda secretary of state that presides over a delegate commission (in which all Spanish ministers participate). Besides this, a new Long-term Prospective Commission (depending on the presidency) has been set up. The government’s aim is to increase official development assistance to 0.5% of GNI by 2023. The 2022 national budget raised funds for cooperation and development by 60%.
Spain has been displaying its commitment to development assistance, especially during the COVID-19 crisis. The country’s foreign development agencies approved an extra $2 billion budget for foreign aid in 2020 and 2021, announcing that they will prioritize global health and epidemic prevention in the development cooperation policy.
On 11 January 2022 the Council of Ministers presented the Draft Bill on Cooperation for Sustainable Development and Global Solidarity, which will reform the current one, which has been in force since 1997. The new law is aligned with the 2030 Agenda, the Paris climate agreements and other international treaties.
Donor Tracker: Spain

Government of Spain(2019), Action Plan for 2030 Agenda Implementation.
Turkey has long used development assistance to advance social inclusion and development beyond its borders. Most strikingly, the amount of official development assistance (ODA) provided by Turkey increased from $967 million in 2010 to $8.6 billion in 2018. This means that ODA totaled 1.1% of the country’s gross national income (GNI), well above the 0.7% threshold in the Sustainable Development Goal targets. The top five receivers are Somalia, Palestine, Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kyrgyzstan.

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.
United Nations. 2019. Turkey’s Sustainable Development Goals. (Strong Ground towards Common Goals).

TİKA Annual Report 2020,
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 2020, the United Kingdom was one of only seven countries that reported to the OECD that it had met the 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.

Until 2020, development assistance spending was coordinated by the Department for International Development, whose work was scrutinized by the 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 has emerged as an entry point for displaced persons and economic migrants over the last two years.

In the November 2020 Spending Review, the government announced that it was cutting the overseas aid budget by a third and ended the commitment to spend 0.7% of GNI on aid, even though this broke a manifesto commitment. This would be a temporary measure. Chancellor Sunak explained that this reflected “people’s priorities” in a time of unprecedented economic emergency. Earlier in the year, the Department of International Development had been merged into the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to create the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. The decision provoked criticism from all living former prime ministers and many Conservative members of parliament amid concerns that it would disrupt key programs. Despite the cut, the United Kingdom is still a major aid contributor.
Although the United States’ efforts have lagged behind those of other OECD countries, 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, Trump cut foreign aid budgets. To support Israel, he also barred aid to Palestine. In deference to anti-abortion demands, he 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. In late spring 2021, as part of his first budget plan, President Biden called for a major boost in foreign aid, including more than 10 billion dollars for global health initiatives related partly to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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).

In the South Pacific, Australia has increased its activities and is attempting to counter Chinese investments.

Rod McGuirck: Australia details investment in Pacific as China clout grows. AP News. 8 November 2018. Available at
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 European countries.

The amount of help provided to developing countries is expected to rise in 2021 after three years of decline. However, at 0.24% of GNI, it will remain well behind the 0.3% level of 2017 (OECD and Donortracker 2021).

On a more qualitative and organizational level, Italy has generally stressed the importance of fighting hunger, and developing food production and distribution. Probably because of this activism, Italy hosts three major UN food agencies, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the World Food Program (WFP).

During the COVID-19 crisis of the last two years, Italian governments have given strong support to the European vaccine donation initiative to poorer countries (COVAX).

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 “migration compact,” which would expand long-term EU help to African countries and develop bilateral agreements for the regulation of migration.
most recent data on international help: (accessed 5 January 2022); (accessed 5 January 2022)
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.
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. These reform efforts were acknowledged by the EU authorities, which in 2021 entrusted (for the first time in history) the Slovak Agency for International Development Cooperation (SAIDC) with the implementation of an EU project that aims to build local media capacities in Moldova with a budget of € 1 million. Under the new center-right government, the approach to global social policy has not changed.
South Korea
South Korea seeks to share its own development experience – in which it rose from one of the world’s most impoverished countries in the world in the 1950s to become the 10th-largest economy worldwide in 2020 – through its development cooperation. The OECD Peer Reviews of Korea’s development cooperation in 2012 and 2017 positively evaluated the role of Korea as a key bridge between developing and developed countries, as well as its leadership in pushing for greater development effectiveness. However, Korea has yet to deliver on its commitment to increase overseas development assistance (ODA) to 0.7% of GNI. Nor has it attained its specific target of reaching 0.2% of GNI by 2020. In fact, ODA disbursement increased only marginally under the Moon administration (as compared to the levels under the prior administration). However, the Moon administration actually committed – for each of the years 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 – to much larger increases. At least for the Moon administration, it seems that there was a gap between its commitment and ability to deliver ODA. As of the time of writing, preliminary data suggested that Moon might close out his tenure on a high note for development cooperation with an unprecedented 41% increase from 2020 levels.

South Korea’s development and trade cooperation – which it sees as necessarily interlinked – has become increasingly focused on Southeast Asia and India under its New Southern Policy (NSP), launched in 2017. The Moon administration aimed to double ODA to priority NSP countries by 2023, and to increase trade with NSP (ASEAN) countries by 2020. Some criticize Korea for imposing somewhat unfair trade relations on a growing number of developing (including NSP) countries via bilateral preferential trade agreements. Due to product-market regulations and the oligopolistic structure of many market segments, market access for products from developing countries remains limited. On the other hand, Korea – particularly under the NSP – offers cooperation with partner countries on emerging and innovative technologies. Technological cooperation has the potential to help partner countries to escape the dependency trap and leapfrog into the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Of course, Korea also sees expanded economic relations with more prosperous and stable NSP countries as a way for the country to achieve a degree of strategic autonomy, especially from China (its largest trade partner) and the U.S. (its dominant security partner). Korea has for some time highlighted its win-win, mutual benefit approach to development cooperation. But that notwithstanding, given that its own development success was built on both ODA and trade, Korea likely sees its concerted ODA and trade focus on NSP countries as a credible strategy to support the development and prosperity of these countries.
Botto, Kathryn. “South Korea beyond Northeast Asia: How Seoul Is Deepening Ties with India and ASEAN.” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, October 19, 2021.
Donor Tracker. “South Korea.” Accessed January 18, 2022.
“OECD Development Co-Operation Peer Reviews: Korea 2018.” OECD, February 7, 2018.

제2차 국제개발협력 종합기본계획 [Korea 2nd Strategic Plan for international Development Cooperation 2016-2020]
제3차 국제개발협력 종합기본계획 [Korea 3rd Strategic Plan for international Development Cooperation 2021-2025]
Korea ODA Annual Implementation Plan – 2016.
Korea ODA Annual Implementation Plan – 2017.
Korea ODA Annual Implementation Plan – 2018.
Korea ODA Annual Implementation Plan – 2019.
Korea ODA Annual Implementation Plan – 2020
Korea ODA Annual Implementation Plan – 2021.
The Swiss government has increased its development-aid contributions since 2000. Currently, Switzerland’s contributions are 0.44 of GNI in 2020. This remains far below the UN target of 0.7 of GNI as well as it spends less than countries such as the Nordic countries, Germany or the United Kingdom (DEZA 2022). 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 advocates a shift in policy that involves the mitigation of north-south inequalities by revising trade arrangements that disadvantage developing countries.
DEZA 2022:
The Netherlands ranks sixth in the Commitment to Development Index. It does best in trade (first place), development finance (seventh), and health (seventh). The components for which it has the most room for improvement are technology (rank 24), investment (18th), and security (16th). The development-aid budget was cut by the Rutte III cabinet, with the intention of adding expenditure for international conflict management and climate policy. In addition, costs for climate policy are allocated to development-aid budgets. The pattern of focusing on trade and the stimulation of Dutch business relations remains largely unchanged. 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. The focus is on unstable regions close to Europe.

Human rights are still a priority for Dutch foreign policy. The new government’s coalition agreement stresses that future trade and investment treaties should include high standards of fair production, human rights, food safety, sustainable growth and climate. The budget is expected to rise and to be explicitly tied to the Sustainable Development Goals. The budget has been expanded by €500 million, mainly to participate in the COVAX program and to aid in climate adaptation and climate mitigation. In addition, different tranches of money were put toward alleviation of the coronavirus crisis in India and other countries. An additional €25 million was spent on vaccines in poor countries. Also, Afghanistan received about €10 million for humanitarian help.

Dutch immigration policy since 2015 has mimicked Denmark’s efforts, seeking to discourage refugees from coming to the Netherlands. The government did provide an additional €290 million for refugee relief in countries in the Middle East and Northern Africa, as a pivotal part of the Dutch refugee approach. 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. Tellingly, in the new coalition government, the Department for Development Aid and International Trade has been rebaptized as the Department for International Trade and Development Aid. The international fight against terrorism has colored immigration policy for the last 20 years.

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. Recent evidence about illegal pushbacks by Frontex also raises questions about Dutch support for the organization.
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, 2021 (, consulted 8 November 2019)

Knoope, P. 20 jaar strijd tegen terrorisme bleek geldverslindend falen,14-07-2021
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 developing countries, Austria has been notably slow to fulfill its promises. In the projected budget for 2022, international development aid was one of the few sectors in which spending was not scheduled to increase. Actual spending remains more than 50% below the agreed 0.7% ratio, despite the growing coronavirus-related misery in many parts of the world.

At the EU level, Austria continues to block any attempts (e.g., by the European Commission) to develop a binding Common European Refugee Policy. After the latest major episode concerning refugees from Afghanistan, the Austrian government received substantial criticism for its strikingly uncompromising policies.

Regarding Austrian debates about migration and refugees, most commentators argue 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 some of the smaller parties – in particular NEOS and the Greens – no political actors have dared to promote costly Austrian activities to improve living conditions, for example, in Africa. However, even the participation of the Greens in the current coalition government, which assumed office in early 2020, has not been followed by a major change of course in Austria’s public policymaking in the areas concerned. Nevertheless, the Greens achieved some improvements, such as the significant increase of payments into the fund for foreign disasters (Auslandskatatstrophenfonds) in 2021.

Interim assessments of Austria’s progress in implementing the United Nation’s SDGs and Agenda 2030 drew a rather bleak picture. The European Parliament’s official report from 2019 highlighted Austria as one of the few countries “with no or no clear monitoring framework so far.” Furthermore, the report identified Austria and Bulgaria as the only countries “that have not signaled any of the three strategic tools for knowledge input.” Finally, the report stated that Austria was one of just three (out of a total of 28) countries in which “national parliaments have no recognizable activities or plans.” Some progress has since been achieved, though there remains much room for improvement.
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 problems. Cuts in public sector expenditure significantly impacted on Greece’s official development assistance (ODA). The refugee crisis also affected the distribution of resources. In 2019 and 2020, Greece’s ODA as a share of GNI stood at 0.13%, which was the lowest among OECD countries (along with the Czech Republic). While Greece continued to meet its multilateral commitments, including to European institutions (mainly the European Development Fund), bilateral ODA was limited to expenditure on in-country refugee costs. 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 has supported all relevant EU and UN initiatives.
Data on Official Development Assistance is provided by Tables available by OECD/DAC at
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. IIDA has reduced the number of countries in which it ran projects (bilateral cooperation) from six to three: Malawi, Mozambique, and Uganda. Further, the IIDA is involved in a regional project on geothermal power in East-Africa. In late 2015, the IIDA was incorporated into 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 indicated 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 who have since been held in custody. At the time of writing, the case is still under investigation.

In 2020, Iceland’s contribution to development aid amounted to 0.2% of GDP (Statistics Iceland), unchanged from 2008 and thus still well below the UN target of 0.7%. The government set a goal of 0.35% of GDP for 2022, but budgeted 0.3%. In 2013, parliament resolved to meet the UN 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.

OECD ilibrary (2022),
Accessed 12 January 2022.

Statistics Iceland (2022), Accessed 2 February 2022.
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).

The World Health Organization (WHO) defined COVID-19 as a pandemic that requires global attention and cooperation among nations. Israel complied with the WHO request and worked together with the international community to assist developing countries, to manufacture and spread better medical equipment and technology, and to develop a vaccine as fast as possible. Between March and July 2020, Israel’s government sent equipment, medical assistance and experts to 16 countries to assist in their fight against the pandemic.

Israeli support for the Palestinian Authority (PA) was moderate at best. Israel delivered coronavirus testing kits to the PA and worked together with Palestinian medical experts to prevent the spread of the virus in the PA’s territory. Israel also helped the PA in coordinating the entry of over 50,000 masks and 3,000 testing kits donated by the WHO.

In addition, Israel sent a research delegation to India to work on several missions, including the development of new and rapid coronavirus tests, treatment of Indian patients, and the development of new technologies to improve the treatment of coronavirus patients. Besides its assistance to other counties, the Israeli government had cooperated with the international community to develop a vaccine for COVID-19. The Israeli government joined COVAX, an international facility that aims to pull the cost and benefits of finding, producing and distributing an effective vaccine, and fully committed to the global combined effort to develop a vaccine. By placing costs and reward consideration aside, COVAX made it possible for Israel to receive frozen SARS-COV-2 samples from Japan, Italy and Switzerland for study at the Israel Institute for Biological Research. Israel also participated in the combined global effort to develop a vaccine, improve treatment, and manufacture diagnostic kits, pledging $60 million in an international conference that aimed to raise up to $8 billion.
“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:

Reuters. 2020. Brazil to Join COVAX Vaccine Facility, as Chile, Israel, UEA also Sign Up, retrieved from

Harkov, Lahav. 2020. Coronavirus complicates Israeli research and aid delegation to India, The Jerusalem Post, retrieved from

Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 2020. Israel worldwide fight against covid-19, retrieved from

NOCAMLES. 2020. Israel pledges 60$ million towards global efforts for covid-19 vaccine, diagnostics, R&D, retrieved from

Jeffery, Nathan. 2020. Their best shot: Israeli efforts to invent a coronavirus vaccine, explained, the times of Israel, retrieved from

Ron, Omri. 2020. Israel sends 200 coronavirus test kits to Gaza strip, The Jerusalem Post, retrieved from
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 (OECD 2021). However, its contribution has increased over the years and has reached 0.14% of GDP in 2020. In 2020, Poland disbursed $11 million in support for COVID-19 responses in partner countries, of which $2 million was for health-related investments. The majority of its contributions are managed via the European Union and other multilateral organizations. Other than that, Poland’s priorities are on assisting its two eastern neighbors, Ukraine and Belarus, with Turkey being the third-largest recipient.
OECD (2021): Poland, in: OECD, Development Co-operation Profiles. Paris (
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 UN, 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, although the Janša government has placed a little more emphasis on this policy compared to previous governments. 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, with Slovenia ranking among the highest in group of former socialist countries, having made substantial gains 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, given the country’s privileged ties with former colonies and protectorates (Congo, Rwanda and Burundi). Most of Belgium’s cooperation aid is channeled via its main federal public agency (formerly Belgian Technical Cooperation (BTC), but called ENABEL since 2018) and diverse NGOs. The federated entities also provide their own independent support for cooperation aid, via higher education institutions and NGO-supported projects.
At the international level, Belgium has been part of efforts to push for more fair-trade arrangements, but has not been an agenda-setter.
The Croatian government takes part in the activities of international organizations and integrations to which the country belongs. The most important avenue for promoting development assistance is the EU itself. Croatia’s efforts rely on the National Strategy for Development Cooperation 2017 – 2021, which has recently lapsed, and there is thus a clear need for the adoption of a new strategic framework. The country aims to increase its development aid to 0.33% of GDP by 2030, which would be a major feat, since the data for 2020 indicate that Croatia had reached a level of just 0.14% at that point. However, the good news is that in spite of the record 8% drop in Croatia’s GDP in 2020, the official development aid and humanitarian aid increased by 7.5% in the same year. For the first time in Croatian history, the official development assistance reached a milestone of HRK 0.5 billion, having doubled since 2016. Of the previously mentioned sum, 76.27% was earmarked for multilateral assistance, while the rest was part of Croatia’s bilateral efforts to promote development and alleviate suffering worldwide. The biggest beneficiaries of Croatian humanitarian aid in 2020 were Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Lebanon, and Venezuela. Croatia also donated 490,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine via COVAX to eight different countries. Finally, Croatia promotes global development according to the EU’s trade policy guidelines.
Hungary pays relatively little policy attention to developing countries and joined the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee only in 2016. However, the government adopted a new development strategy in 2019 (Hungarian Government 2019) and has gradually increased its development assistance. ODA amounted to 0.27% of GDP in 2020, less than the average for DAC countries, but substantially above the share in 2010 (0.09%). Although the Hungarian development policy targets areas in the Middle East and in Africa, the major focus is on Europe, especially the western Balkans.
Hungarian Government (2019): A Magyar Kormány Nemzetközi Fejlesztési Együttműködési Stratégiája a 2020 és 2025 közötti időszakra NEFE2025. Budapest (
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. In 2020, Malta reported that its overseas development aid (ODA) amounted to 0.44% of GNI.

Malta supports EU efforts to address the refugee crisis, while also providing 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. During the current pandemic, Malta has provided a number of African countries with tens of thousands of vaccine doses to help them fight the spread of COVID-19.

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. To this end, a Commonwealth small center of excellence has been set up on the island. 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.

During the pandemic, Malta’s ports were frequently closed to asylum-seekers. In 2022, Malta along with Italy is being investigated by the International Criminal Court with regards to complaints of pushing migrants back to Libya. EU policy currently encourages the surveillance of refugees and migrants entering the European Union. FRONTEX uses drones to focus on Libya’s SAR where Libyan coast guards push refugees back. These missions mostly start from Malta.
Times of Malta 17/10/2021 Malta Is Urged to Stop Inflating Its Aid Figures
Malta Today 10/09/2018 Malta to Endorse UN Global Compact on Migration
European Council 03/02/17 Malta Declaration by members of the European Council on the external aspects of migration /north-af rica_en
Malta Today 18/10/2019 Malta appoints its first ambassador to Ghana
European Commission Press Release Team Europe increased Official Development Assistance to €66.8 billion as the world’s leading donor in 2020
Newsbook 16/10/2018 Malta to be one of largest donors to Africa’s Emergency Trust Fund
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 27/11/2015 Financial services: ‘some of best growth opportunities in Commonwealth’
The Malta Independent 12/06/2019 Summit of the Southern EU Countries Being Held in Malta on Friday
Guardian 06/12/2021 Fortress Europe: The Millions Spent on Military grade tech to deter refugees
Malta Today 19/01/2022 International Criminal Court asked to Investigate Maltese, Italian Migrant Pushbacks
Romania’s development cooperation mainly focuses on countries in its vicinity – the Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries and Southern Neighbourhood. Romania’s volume of official development assistance (ODA) has steadily increased in recent years. In 2016, Romania established the legal framework for national development cooperation policy to regulate its programmatic and institutional structure, as well as associated financial and implementation regulations. Moreover, the Romanian Agency for International Development Cooperation (RoAid) became operational in 2018 and began implementing aid activities. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, Romania participated in multilateral initiatives addressing the global crisis, such as the United Nation’s Global Humanitarian Response Plan and the Team Europe initiative. Romania joined 13 EU member states to set up a support mechanism at the European level to facilitate access to COVID-19 vaccines for EaP countries. Romania has also supported its partner countries’ pandemic response in different areas (e.g., providing healthcare support to Moldova). Assistance is not limited to Europe, however, with funds reaching partner countries in Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. In 2020, Romania provided $305.5 million in official development assistance – a 17.5% increase from 2019.

Romania’s development cooperation is focused on the eradication of extreme poverty and global security by promoting socioeconomic sustainability and effectiveness through international cooperation. The Multiannual Strategic Program on International Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Assistance for the Period 2020–2023 establishes Romania’s objectives, which includes “the provision of humanitarian aid; cooperation with civil society and the private sector; promoting transparency and communication; and the strengthening of resources and the consolidation of the capacity of the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs as the national coordinator in development cooperation and humanitarian assistance.” Romania’s priorities and interests include good governance, the rule of law, peace and security, sustainable economic development, education, and youth promotion.
OECD. “Romania.” Development Co-operation Profiles. OECD. Accessed 2 January 2022.
The promotion of equal socioeconomic opportunities in developing countries has not been considered a priority issue by policymakers and public opinion in Bulgaria. 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. In 2020 and 2021, Bulgaria committed to providing official development assistance (ODA) on the order of 0.11% of the country’s GNI. In 2021, 35% of this was directed at the Western Balkans, 30% at the Black Sea region and 10% toward Afghanistan, Iraq, Mongolia and Vietnam, with the remaining 15% covering administrative costs.
There has been a lack of information on the issue for many years.

Cyprus’s participation in and contribution to development-cooperation programs has been very limited and mainly within the context of its membership in major international organizations. Its policies were tied to that of the European Union, and materialized in the context of international cooperation and bilateral agreements. A contributor to Unitaid, Cyprus participated in financing mechanisms for climate change. It has also provided assistance for infrastructure development, social services, including healthcare and human development, and environmental protection.

However, no data has been made available on the CyprusAid website since 2013.

Beyond the country’s continued contribution to Unitaid, no other actions and policies appear to form part of a specific national strategy.
1. Data on ODA, Cyprus,
Latvia’s development policy is closely aligned with its foreign policy. In the past, Latvia has primarily focused on the countries of the EU Eastern Partnership (Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine) in its development efforts, but more recently in its COVID-19 response, Latvia has launched a grant project competition to help Eastern Partnership countries and the Central Asian countries of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Overall, Latvia’s development cooperation aims to promote sustainable growth and stability in its region while also contributing to sustainable development. In 2020, Latvia provided $40.2 million in aid, representing 0.12% of gross national income (GNI). This was an increase of 14.8% in real terms in volume and an increase in the percentage of GNI relative to 2019.

In 2021, the Foreign Ministry’s budget allocated €583,813 for the implementation of bilateral development cooperation measures. Some €120,000 of these funds were channeled toward projects targeting the support of civil society in Belarus. These projects, which were selected through a competitive process, were designed to provide immediate assistance to those affected by the Belarusian authorities’ violence, and further aimed to support the development of Belarusian civil society.
1. Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2021) Grant Competition announced for projects in support of civil society in Belarus in 2021, Available at:, Last accessed: 10.01.2022.

2. Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2019), Latvia’s Bilateral Development Cooperation in 2018, Available at:, Last accessed 10.01.2022.

3. Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2020) Development Cooperation Projects 2019, Available at:, Last accessed: 10.01.2022.

3. State Development Cooperation Policy Plan (2016 – 2020), Available at (in Latvian):ības-politikas-pamatnostadnem-2016-2020-gadam. Last accessed: 10.01.2022.

4. State Development Cooperation Policy Plan (2021 – 2027), Available at (in Latvian):, Last accessed: 10.01.2022.

5. OECD (2021) Development Cooperation Profiles: Latvia, Available at:, Last accessed: 10.01.2022.
The government does not contribute (and often undermines) efforts to promote equal socioeconomic opportunities in low- and middle-income countries.
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