G7 leaders promise to boost global aid

G7 leaders pledged to increase their international aid budgets. [Palazzo Chigi/Flickr]

The leaders of the G7 have committed to increasing global aid in the face of the biggest migration crisis since the Second World War. Currently the United Kingdom is the only member of the group to fulfil its aid commitments. EURACTIV France reports.

The leaders of the world’s most developed countries have agreed to increase their aid contributions to developing countries, particularly those directly affected by the refugee crisis.

“The G7 recognises the ongoing large-scale movements of migrants and refugees as a global challenge which requires a global response,” the G7 leaders stated in their final declaration from the Japan summit, which closed on Friday (27 May).

Report: EU countries divert overseas aid to cover refugee bills

A report published on Tuesday (24 November) by CONCORD, the European NGO confederation for relief and development, documents an emerging trend amongst member states to divert aid budgets from sustainable development to domestic costs associated with hosting refugees and asylum seekers.

In 2015, around 1.3 million migrants applied for asylum in the European Union, with more than one third of these applications made in Germany alone. A large proportion of the migrants and refugees come from war-torn countries like Syria and Iraq.

Increasing development assistance

To tackle the migration crisis, the global leaders pledged to increase their international aid budgets. “We commit to increase global assistance to meet immediate and long-term needs of refugees and other displaced persons as well as their host communities,” the seven leaders said.

Composed of the United States, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Canada, the G7 gave no precise indication of what this promise would mean in practice.

But the leaders referred to the international objective of allocating 0.7% of gross national income (GNI) to international solidarity efforts.

Richest countries way off target

Yet in 2015, the date fixed for the 0.7% target, only the United Kingdom had fulfilled its commitment. The other G7 countries have varying levels of expenditure, but were generally far from the target.

The United States, the world’s biggest development assistance donor, allocated just 0.17% of its GNI to international aid in 2015. With the major donors’ aid budgets averaging 0.3% of GNI, the world’s largest economy has fallen far behind many of its international partners.

INFOGRAPHIC: Refugee crisis leads to boost in European aid spending

Europe is still the world’s leading provider of official development assistance (ODA). In 2015, its international solidarity budget increased sharply to cover the costs of the refugee crisis.

Japan (0.21%), Italy (0.22%) and Canada (0.28%) also had below-average aid budgets in 2015, according to figures from the OECD. France and Germany performed better than the other members of this club for the most developed countries, allocating 0.37% and 0.52% of GNI to development respectively.

But the United Kingdom was the only G7 member to reach the 0.7% target.

Funnelling aid towards crisis countries

The leaders also called for action on the “root causes” of the massive population movements currently being observed, which result from “from conflicts, state fragility and insecurity, demographic, economic and environmental trends as well as natural disasters”.

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