asked Her Majesty's Government:
In respect of aid to developing countries, what are the targets recommended by UNCTAD and/or the Development Assistance Committee of the OECD or other international bodies concerning: (a) official aid, (b) private financial facilities, and (c) aid to the poorest developing countries; and what are Her Majesty's Government's expectations regarding its own fulfilment of these objectives.
§ The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Young)
The recommended targets relating to the transfer of resources from developed to developing countries fall into two categories: volume and terms of aid. Taking these in turn:Volume
- (a) The Strategy for the Second UN Development Decade, adopted in 1970 by the UN General Assembly, called upon economically advanced countries to attain by 1972, or 1975 at the latest, an annual net flow of resources to developing countries (which includes net official development assistance, net other official flows and net private flows) of 1 per cent. of gross national product at market prices. Britain accepted this target, and has exceeded it in recent years. In 1982 the net flow was estimated to be 1.24 per cent. of GNP.
- (b) The International Development Strategy (IDS) for the Second UN Development Decade also called upon economically advanced countries to exert their best efforts to reach a minimum of 0.7 per cent. of GNP as official development assistance by the middle of the 1970s. The IDS for the Third UN Development Decade reaffirmed the target, calling on all developed countries to exert their best efforts to reach it by 1985, or not later than the second half of the Decade. A target of 1 per cent. of GNP as official development assistance should be reached as soon as possible thereafter. The recent UNCTAD VI meeting in Belgrade called for all developed countries to redouble their efforts towards these targets.
A statement of interpretation by the Group B countries—that is, the developed countries—made it clear however, that this was without prejudice to the statements of reservation made by some countries (which included Britain) to the IDS targets and the time frames for their achievement.
Britain has accepted the 0.7 per cent. target in principle but without commitment to a date for its 789WA achievement. It has not accepted the 1 per cent, target for official development assistance.
0.38 per cent. of GNP was spent as net official development assistance in 1982. Future progress towards the 0.7 per cent. target depends on a number of factors, including the future performance of the British economy and the need to maintain control over the level of public expenditure.
(c) At a UN Conference on Least Developed Countries (LLDCs), held in Paris in 1981, Britain and other donor members of the European Community agreed, within the context of progress towards the 0.7 per cent. target, to aim to allocate 0.15 per cent. of GNP as official development assistance to the LLDCs. UNCTAD VI urged donor countries within the above context, to attain the target of 0.15 per cent. or to double their official development assistance going to LLDCs compared with the period 1976/1980, by 1985 or as soon as possible thereafter. The United Kingdom delegation made an interpretative statement on the relevant resolution, pointing out that our progress towards the targets would be influenced by the claims of other poor developing countries with which we have 790WA close links, and by the overall constraints on public expenditure.
In 1982 an estimated 0.11 per cent. of GNP was provided by Britain as official development assistance to LLDCs. Emphasis will continue to be given within our aid programme to the needs of the poorest countries, including the LLDCs.
Terms of Aid
- (a) The Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the OECD has recommended that donor countries maintain an overall grant element of at least 86 per cent. in their official development assistance. Britain complies fully with this recommendation, achieving an overall grant element of 98.5 per cent. in 1982.
- (b) The DAC also recommend that the grant element of donor countries' official development assistance to all LLDCs be at least 86 per cent. to each country over a three-year period, or 90 per cent. annually for the least-developed group as a whole. Britain complies with both these recommendations. The grant element of Britain's aid to all LLDCs in 1982 was 100 per cent.