Redefining aid: Is it good, bad or ugly?
The concept of Total Official Support for Sustainable Development (TOSD) is being promoted as an alternative to the current Official Development Assistance (ODA). Is this going to put more money on the table or just “creative accounting” to meet the commitments made by developed countries without paying?
By Marina Ponti, Social Watch
Is the concept of Total Official Support for Sustainable Development TOSD) good news?
There is a lively debate about the role of ODA in light of the universal and transformational nature of the Sustainable Development Goals and of the current debate within the OECD/DAC.
Whatever its future definition and scope will be, aid will continue to play a critical role in development– particularly for low-income countries and when delivered based on national ownership (a principle which is not sufficiently prominent in the Elements Paper from the FfD3 process).
Any debate on improving quantity and quality of ODA could bring good news, provided that it addresses these legitimate concerns:
- Would the new ODA definition (i.e. Total Official Support for Sustainable Development) allow donors to reach the 0.7% of GDP target without putting any new money on the table?
- Which mechanism is needed to prevent donors from picking the measurement (ODA or TOSD) that best suits their existing priorities and budgetary allocations?
- As the environmental agenda requires additional resources from shrinking ODA budgets, what will prevent climate change financing from taking over most of the budgets, including priorities and allocations to fight poverty and inequality?
- The world will need more resources rather than less. Why aren’t there more explicit references to establishing new financing mechanisms such as a financial transaction tax, a carbon tax, etc.?