Greece

Greece experienced two crises in the past decade: a severe economic recession resulting in significant cuts to official development assistance (ODA); and an ongoing refugee and migration crisis. Greece maintained its multilateral commitments, principally to European Union (EU) institutions, and mobilised resources and people to provide significant support to asylum seekers and refugees. In-donor refugee costs comprise the majority of bilateral ODA. Hellenic Aid, a directorate-general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, plays a leading role in development co-operation.

The latest OECD-DAC peer review in 2019 recognised the challenges Greece continues to face. It recommended that, as the economy recovers, the government: build a new vision for development that is supported by stakeholders with a keen interest in development; update the law governing development co-operation and create a focused, whole-of-government approach, including Greece’s multilateral partners; restructure Hellenic Aid to meet its policy, programming and corporate objectives; and establish an evaluation unit and more efficient and effective systems to manage Greek ODA. Learn more about the 2019 OECD-DAC peer review of Greece.

Greece seeks to resolve challenges facing the Mediterranean, South East Europe and the Middle East, and advocates for a safe marine environment in the Eastern Mediterranean. The government wants to adopt a fairer, more sustainable development approach and will reflect the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in its national development strategy. While Hellenic Aid is responsible for planning and formulating Greece’s development co-operation strategy, in 2018, the majority of Greece’s ODA was disbursed by the Ministry of Finance. The law governing development co-operation has not been updated since 1999.

Greece provided more ODA in 2019 than in the previous year. Total ODA on a grant-equivalent basis stood at USD 308 million (preliminary data), representing 0.14% of Greece’s gross national income (GNI) in 2019.1 The increase of 11% in real terms from 2018 was due mainly to in-donor refugee costs. Greece ranked 26th among DAC member countries in relation to its ODA/GNI ratio in 2019. While the government has not stated the ODA/GNI ratio it wants to achieve, Greece is committed, at the European level, to collectively achieve 0.7% ODA/GNI by 2030. Total ODA on a grant-equivalent basis has the same value as net ODA under the cash-flow methodology used in the past, as Greece provides only grants.2

Greece’s ODA is yet to recover from significant cuts in public sector expenditure following the global financial crisis. While Greece continues to meet its multilateral commitments, principally to EU institutions, bilateral ODA decreased significantly in 2018 and was primarily spent on in-donor refugee costs and scholarships. Greece’s major recipient countries are its neighbours Turkey and Albania. See the methodological notes for details on the definitions and statistical methodologies applied.

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In 2018, the largest proportion of Greece’s ODA (87%) was provided as core contributions to multilateral organisations, including EU institutions. Gross bilateral ODA was 13% of total ODA, of which 17% was channelled through multilateral organisations (earmarked contributions).

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In 2018, Greece increased its total support (core and earmarked contributions) to multilateral organisations. It provided USD 258 million of gross ODA to the multilateral system, an increase of 1.7% in real terms from 2017. Of this, USD 252 million was core multilateral ODA and the rest was earmarked for a specific country, region, theme or purpose. All of Greece’s non-core contributions were softly earmarked (to pooled funds and specific-purpose programmes and funds).

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In 2018, Greece’s total contribution to multilateral organisations was mainly allocated to the EU institutions, the United Nations (UN) and the World Bank Group. These contributions together accounted for almost 96% of Greece’s total support to the multilateral system. The UN system received 6%, mainly through core contributions. Out of a total gross volume of USD 16 million to the UN system, the top three UN recipients of Greece’s support (core and earmarked contributions) were: the UN Department of Peace Operations (USD 5 million), the UN Secretariat (USD 2 million) and the World Health Organization (USD 2 million).

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Note: See the list of UN acronyms.

See the section on “Geographic and thematic focus of ODA” for the geographical and thematic breakdown of bilateral allocations earmarked through the multilateral development system. Learn more about multilateral development finance.

In 2018, Greece’s bilateral spending declined significantly compared to the previous year. It provided USD 39 million as gross bilateral ODA (including earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations), which represented a decrease of 56.6% in real terms from 2017.

In 2019, providers of development co-operation started voluntarily reporting to the OECD data on how ODA focuses on the SDGs for 2018 activities. In 2018, Greece focused most of its bilateral ODA on addressing the goals of the UN 2030 Agenda for gender equality, education and reduced inequality.

In 2018, country programmable aid was 11% of Greece’s gross bilateral ODA, compared to a DAC country average of 49%. In-donor refugee costs were USD 28 million in 2018, a decrease of 61.0% in real terms over 2017, yet still represented 72% of gross bilateral ODA and 10% of Greece’s total net ODA.

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Note: NGO: non-governmental organisation.

In 2018, Greece channelled its bilateral ODA mainly through the public sector and multilateral organisations, as earmarked funding.

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Note: PPP: public-private partnership.

In 2018, none of Greece’s ODA was provided to or through civil society organisations (CSOs). Funding of CSOs has ceased while the Greek judicial authorities investigate allegations of misuse and mismanagement of previous grant funding. Learn more about ODA allocations to and through CSOs and civil society engagement in development co-operation.

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In 2018, Greece’s bilateral ODA was primarily focused on Europe. USD 9 million was allocated to ODA-eligible countries in Europe, accounting for 23% of gross bilateral ODA. Europe was the only regional recipient of Greece’s earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations. Seventy-three per cent of gross bilateral ODA was unspecified by region in 2018, largely explained by high in-donor refugee costs.

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Bilateral ODA by recipient country

In 2018, 26% of gross bilateral ODA went to Greece’s top 10 recipients, with its neighbours Turkey and Albania being the major recipients. The share of gross bilateral ODA that was not allocated by country was 73%.

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In 2018, least developed countries (LDCs) received 0.4% of Greece’s gross bilateral ODA (USD 0.17 million). The DAC country average was 23.8%. Greece allocated the highest share of gross bilateral ODA (23%) to upper middle-income countries in 2018, noting that 73% was unallocated by income group.

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Note: LDC: least developed country; LIC: low-income country; LMIC: lower middle-income country; UMIC: upper middle-income country; MADCTs: more advanced developing countries and territories.

Support to fragile contexts reached USD 1 million of gross bilateral ODA in 2018 (2.1% of gross bilateral ODA). Extremely fragile contexts received 21% of this amount. Learn more about support to fragile contexts on the States of Fragility platform.

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Note: The chart represents only gross bilateral ODA that is allocated by country.

In 2018, most of Greece’s bilateral ODA was committed to refugees in the donor country. Investments in this area accounted for 52% of bilateral ODA commitments (USD 36 million). Bilateral humanitarian aid amounted to USD 30 million (42% of bilateral ODA).

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In 2018, Greece committed 98% of its bilateral allocable aid to gender equality and women’s empowerment as either a principal or significant objective (up from 21% in 2017),3 compared with the DAC country average of 42%. This is equal to USD 4 million of bilateral ODA commitments in support of gender equality. No bilateral allocable aid was committed to gender equality and women’s empowerment as a principal objective, compared with the DAC country average of 4%. Greece reports that all interventions on education and virtually all multi-sector interventions had gender equality and women’s empowerment as a significant objective. Greece screens very few activities against the gender marker (12.0% in 2018). Learn more about ODA focused on gender equality and the DAC Network on Gender Equality.

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In 2018, none of Greece’s bilateral allocable aid supported the environment, down from 5% in 2017 (the DAC country average was 33%). The DAC country average for environmental issues as a principal objective was 11%. Similarly, no bilateral aid focused on climate change as either a principal or significant objective, down from 1.4% in 2017 (the DAC country average was 26%). Learn more about climate-related development finance.

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The Directorate General of International Development Cooperation-Hellenic Aid of the Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responsible for planning and formulating Greece’s development co-operation strategy as well as supervising, co-ordinating, monitoring and evaluating humanitarian and development projects. In 2018, the majority of Greece’s ODA was disbursed by the Ministry of Finance, with a small amount by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The remainder was disbursed by a range of ministries and agencies, primarily on in-donor refugee costs.

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A new legal framework for Greece’s international development co-operation is currently being finalised, in order to build a sound basis for an effective aid system. The framework foresees the establishment of a new evaluation unit.

The 2019 OECD-DAC peer review suggested that Greece prepare an evaluation policy and independent evaluation unit. Read more about Greece’s evaluation system.

Visit the DAC Evaluation Resource Centre website for evaluations of Greek development co-operation

Explore the Monitoring Dashboard of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation.

Directorate General of International Development Cooperation-Hellenic Aid: https://www.mfa.gr/en/the-ministry/structure/hellenic-aid.html

Ministry for Migration Policy, General Secretariat for Migration Policy: www.immigration.gov.gr/en_US/web/guest/elleniki-metanasteutiki-politiki

Member of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) since 1999.

The methodological notes provide further details on the definitions and statistical methodologies applied, including the grant-equivalent methodology, core and earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations, country programmable aid, channels of delivery, bilateral ODA unspecified/unallocated, bilateral allocable aid, the gender equality policy marker, and the environment markers.

← 1. DAC members adopted the grant-equivalent methodology starting from their reporting of 2018 data as a more accurate way to count the provider’s effort in development loans. See the methodological notes for further details.

← 2. All 2019 statistics in this paragraph are expressed in current prices and, therefore, they may differ from values in the ODA volume chart, which uses constant prices. Non-grants include sovereign loans, multilateral loans, equity investment and loans to the private sector.

← 3. The use of the recommended minimum criteria for the marker by some members in recent years can result in lower levels of aid reported as being focused on gender equality.

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https://doi.org/10.1787/2dcf1367-en

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