OECD Development Co-operation Working Papers

2222-0518 (en ligne)
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OECD Development Co-operation Working Papers cover work on understanding aid flows, strengthening aid delivery and improving development policy. Topics include, among others, aid statistics and architecture, aid effectiveness, capacity development, development co-operation systems and management, evaluation of development programmes, as well as the relationship between development and trade, conflict and fragility, environment, gender equality, governance and poverty reduction.

The Evolution of Official Development Assistance

Achievements, Criticisms and a Way Forward You or your institution have access to this content

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William Hynes1, Simon Scott1
Author Affiliations
  • 1: OECD, France

01 déc 2013
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The definition of Official Development Assistance (ODA) has for 40 years been the global standard for measuring donor efforts in supporting development co-operation objectives. It has provided the yardstick for documenting the volume and the terms of the concessional resources provided, assessing donor performance against their aid pledges and enabling partner countries, civil society and others to hold donors to account. Yet for all its value, the ODA definition has always reflected a compromise between political expediency and statistical reality. It is based on interpretation and consensus and therefore allows for flexibility. It has evolved over the decades, while preserving the original concepts of a definition based on principal developmental motivation, official character and a degree of concessionality. While agreement on the ODA concept was a major achievement, discussion of the appropriateness of this measure has never ended. The paper documents the evolution of the ODA concept and proposes a possible new approach to measuring aid effort.
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