On Friday April 23, the Wolfensohn Center for Development at Brookings and the OECD hosted a roundtable discussion on Aid, the Crisis, and the MDGs. Eckhard Deutscher, chair of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) and Jon Lomoy, Director of the OECD Development Cooperation Directorate, presented recent OECD data and discussed the current aid climate. The discussion was moderated by Brookings Senior Fellow Homi Kharas and included participants from the public and private development sectors.
The discussion started with a review of recent trends in global aid flows, which have reached historic highs. Most countries have met their aid commitments but others have fallen short, including Japan, Germany, France and Italy among major donors. Those with more ambitious targets have generally raised aid levels the most, even if the targets are not met. Looking toward the future, donor countries need a plan for scaling up their aid commitments; they need to identify annual targets, not just far-off future targets, to improve accountability; they need to improve predictability; and they need to move forward in a coordinated way. A gap is emerging between Europe—that has common, agreed minimum aid thresholds and the Treaty of Lisbon commitment to aid effectiveness—and the U.S. and Japan where aid levels are far lower.