Greece

Introduction

The 2008 global financial crisis significantly impacted Greece’s economy, requiring financial assistance from the countries of the Euro area and the International Monetary Fund. Cuts in public sector expenditure significantly impacted Greece’s official development assistance (ODA), which plummeted from USD 550 million in 2008, 0.21% of gross national income (GNI), to USD 200 million (0.10% of GNI) in 2013 (values in 2017 constant prices). While Greece continued to meet its multilateral commitments, including to European institutions, bilateral ODA was limited to expenditure on scholarships. In response to the migration crisis, Greece’s expenditure on in-donor refugee costs rose from around USD 16-17 million per year over 2012-14 to USD 150 million in 2016, representing 40% of total ODA and 92% of bilateral ODA (values in 2017 constant prices).

The 2018 DAC Peer Review suggested that, as the economy recovers and Greece considers increasing its development co-operation, the government take steps to build a new vision for development co-operation, and establish structures and systems to deliver it.

Official development assistance

In 2017, the majority of Greece’s ODA (73%) was provided through multilateral channels. Of the 27% of ODA provided bilaterally, 15% was channelled through multilateral organisations and 80.4% was spent on in-donor refugee costs. Only 15.1% of bilateral ODA was programmed with partner countries. In 2017, 21% of Greece’s bilateral sector-allocable aid supported gender equality and women’s empowerment and 5% supported the environment.

In 2018, Greece provided USD 282 million in total ODA (preliminary data, current prices), using the new “grant-equivalent” methodology (see the methodological notes for further details) adopted by DAC members on their reporting of 2018 data as a more accurate way to count the donor effort in development loans. This represented 0.13% of GNI. Under the “cash-flow basis” methodology used in the past, 2018 net ODA was USD 282 million, which represented a fall of 14.5% in real terms from 2017, due to lower in-donor refugee costs.

In 2017, in-donor refugee costs were USD 68 million, a decrease of 54.7% in real terms over 2016, and represented 21.7% of Greece’s total net ODA.

Greece’s share of untied bilateral ODA (excluding administrative costs and in-donor refugee costs) was 90.6% in 2017 (similar to 90.3% in 2016), while the DAC country average was 82.1%. The grant element of total ODA was 100% in 2017.

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In 2017, 27% of gross ODA was provided bilaterally, of which 15% was channelled through multilateral organisations (multi-bi/non-core contributions). Greece allocated 73% of total ODA as core contributions to multilateral organisations, by far the largest amount of this being allocated to the European Union institutions. Learn more about multilateral development finance.

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In 2017, country programmable aid was 4% of Greece’s bilateral ODA, compared to a DAC country average of 48% (see the methodological notes for further details on country programmable aid). This is explained by its limited funding of projects to developing countries and its high spending on refugees in Greece (80.4% of bilateral aid).

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In 2017, Greece channelled 84.4% of gross bilateral ODA through the public sector (down from 94.6% in 2016). See the methodological notes for further details on channels of delivery.

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In 2017, none of Greece’s gross bilateral ODA was channelled to and 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 the Civil Society Days.

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In 2017, bilateral ODA was primarily focused on Europe.

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In 2017, 18.2% of gross bilateral ODA went to Greece’s top 10 recipients. Turkey received USD 12.7 million and Albania received USD 0.99 million. Support to fragile contexts was USD 1 million in 2017 (1.3% of gross bilateral ODA). Learn more about support to fragile contexts.

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In 2017, 0.2% of Greece’s gross bilateral ODA (USD 0.19 million) was allocated to the least developed countries (LDCs), up from 0.1% in 2016. The DAC country average for 2017 was 23.5%. Most of Greece’s bilateral ODA is expended on in-donor refugee costs. Upper middle-income countries received the highest share of bilateral ODA in 2017 (17%), noting that 80.8% was unallocated by income group. Within bilateral ODA that is unallocated by country, Greece estimates that 24% is directed to the LDCs.

At 0.03% of GNI in 2017, total ODA to the LDCs (including imputed multilateral flows) was lower than the UN target of 0.15-0.20% of GNI.

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In 2017, 1.6% of bilateral ODA commitments was allocated to social infrastructure and services, for a total of USD 1.3 million, with a strong focus on support to education (USD 1.2 million) and health (USD 0.1 million). Humanitarian aid amounted to USD 12.8 million. In 2017, Greece did not commit any ODA to support developing countries to raise domestic revenue, nor to the promotion of aid for trade and improving developing countries’ trade performance and integration into the world economy in 2017.

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USD 3.4 million of gross bilateral allocable ODA supported gender equality. In 2017, 21% of Greece’s bilateral sector-allocable aid had gender equality and women’s empowerment as a principal or significant objective (down from 25% in 2016), compared with the DAC country average of 36%. Learn more about ODA focused on gender equality and the DAC Network on Gender Equality.

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USD 0.89 million of bilateral ODA commitments supported the environment. In 2017, 5% of its gross bilateral allocable aid supported the environment and 1% (USD 0.23 million) focused on climate change, compared with the respective DAC country averages of 33% and 25%. Learn more about climate-related development finance.

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Other financial flows

Greece does not currently use ODA as a catalyst to leverage additional sources of development finance, such as private sector investment, nor does it have the resources to support developing countries to raise domestic revenue.

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Institutional set-up

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 2017, the majority of Greece’s ODA was disbursed by the Ministry of Finance, followed by the Ministry of National Defence. The remainder was disbursed by a range of ministries and agencies, primarily on in-donor refugee costs. Reactivating the Inter-Ministerial Committee for the Organization and Coordination of International Economic Relations is crucial to ensuring co-ordinated development co-operation.

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Evaluation system

A new legal framework for Greece’s international development co-operation will be completed in 2019, in order to build a sound basis for an effective aid system. The framework foresees the establishment of a new evaluation unit.

The 2019 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.

Performance against the commitments for effective development co-operation

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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.

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