Denmark

Denmark places its development co-operation at the centre of its foreign policy. In seeking to address both foreign and domestic interests, it seeks to use its development partnerships to fight poverty, promote sustainable growth and development, economic freedom, peace, stability, gender equality, and a rule-based international order. Denmark champions work that addresses the overlapping challenges of humanitarian assistance, sustainable development and peace. Denmark has consistently provided at least 0.7% of its GNI as ODA since 1978. The Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) is responsible for policy, co-ordination and implementation of Denmark’s development co-operation.

The 2019 OECD-DAC mid-term review noted that Denmark is developing business partnerships and increasingly blending public finance with pension funds to invest in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in developing countries and emerging markets. It welcomed the introduction of a new budget mechanism to manage unexpected fluctuations and increase the predictability of its ODA. Learn more about Denmark’s 2019 OECD-DAC mid-term review.

Denmark’s 2017 humanitarian and development co-operation strategy, The World 2030, is anchored in the SDGs. The strategy sets out four strategic objectives: 1) safety, peace and protection; 2) prevention of irregular migration; 3) inclusive, sustainable growth; and 4) freedom, democracy, human rights and equality over a five-year time frame. A focus on preventing irregular migration enjoyed broad political support for several years, but attention is now shifting more towards addressing fragility and vulnerability. Denmark values its country partnerships while recognising the pivotal importance of the multilateral system, civil society space, entrepreneurship and partnerships with a range of actors – research institutions, businesses, investors, etc.

Denmark provided more official development assistance (ODA) in 2019 than in the previous year. Total ODA on a grant-equivalent basis stood at USD 2.5 billion (preliminary data), representing 0.71% of Denmark’s gross national income (GNI) in 2019.1 The increase of 2.5% in real terms from 2018 was due to a slight increase in its overall aid volume. Denmark ranked fourth among DAC member countries in relation to its ODA/GNI ratio in 2019. Denmark’s 2017 strategy reiterates a commitment to provide 0.7% of GNI as ODA and, at the European level, Denmark is committed to collectively achieving a 0.7% ODA/GNI ratio 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 Denmark provides only grants.2

Denmark has a long history of meeting or exceeding the United Nations (UN) target of 0.7% ODA/GNI. While ODA allocations have fallen steadily since 2015, the share of ODA allocated to in-donor refugee costs has also dropped, with more ODA now available for programmes. Denmark channels a large portion of ODA to humanitarian assistance and to supporting governance and civil society. It is a staunch supporter of gender equality and is increasing attention to environmental sustainability and climate change within its ODA portfolio. See the methodological notes for details on the definitions and statistical methodologies applied.

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In 2018, Denmark provided the largest proportion of its ODA bilaterally. Gross bilateral ODA was 70% of total ODA, of which 35% was channelled through multilateral organisations (earmarked contributions). Denmark allocated 30% of total ODA as core contributions to multilateral organisations, including European Union (EU) institutions.

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In 2018, Denmark increased its total support (core and earmarked contributions) to multilateral organisations. It provided USD 1.4 billion of gross ODA to the multilateral system, an increase of 5.1% in real terms from 2017. Of this, USD 780 million was core multilateral ODA and the rest was earmarked for a specific country, region, theme or purpose. Project aid earmarked for a specific project or purpose (tight earmarking) accounted for 16% of Denmark’s non-core contributions, while the remaining 84% was softly earmarked (to pooled funds and specific-purpose programmes and funds).

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In 2018, Denmark’s total contribution to multilateral organisations was mainly allocated to the UN, the EU institutions and the World Bank Group. These contributions together accounted for more than 83% of Denmark’s total support to the multilateral system. The UN system received 40% of total multilateral contributions, mainly through earmarked contributions. Out of a total gross volume of USD 574 million to the UN system, the top three UN recipients of Denmark’s support (core and earmarked contributions) were: the United Nations Development Programme (USD 111 million), the United Nations Population Fund (USD 80 million) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (USD 74 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, Denmark increased its bilateral spending compared to the previous year. It provided USD 1.9 billion as gross bilateral ODA (including earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations), which represented a decrease of 1.6% in real terms from 2017.

In 2018, country programmable aid was 36% of Denmark’s gross bilateral ODA, compared to a DAC country average of 49%. In-donor refugee costs were USD 67 million in 2018, a decrease of 45.3% in real terms over 2017, and represented 3% of Denmark’s total net ODA.

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Note: NGO: non-governmental organisation.

In 2018, Denmark channelled its bilateral ODA mainly through multilateral organisations, as earmarked funding, and the public sector, while non-governmental organisations remain an important channel of delivery.

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Note: NGO: non-governmental organisation; PPP: public-private partnership.

In 2018, civil society organisations (CSOs) received USD 474 million of gross bilateral ODA. Two per cent of gross bilateral ODA was allocated to CSOs as core contributions and 23% was channelled through CSOs to implement projects initiated by Denmark (earmarked funding). Between 2017 and 2018, core and earmarked contributions to CSOs increased as a share of bilateral ODA, from 25% to 26%. Learn more about ODA allocations to and through CSOs and civil society engagement in development co-operation.

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In 2018, Denmark’s bilateral ODA was primarily focused on Africa and Asia. USD 433 million was allocated to Africa and USD 368 million to Asia, accounting respectively for 23% and 20% of gross bilateral ODA. USD 63 million was allocated to ODA-eligible countries in Europe. Bilateral allocations to sub-Saharan Africa are decreasing in line with an increased focus on countries near Europe. Asia was the main regional recipient of Denmark’s earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations. Fifty-two per cent of gross bilateral ODA was unspecified by region in 2018.

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Bilateral ODA by recipient country

In 2018, 25% of gross bilateral ODA went to Denmark’s top 10 recipients. Its top 10 recipients are partner countries or fragile states in Africa or Asia, in line with its policy. The share of gross bilateral ODA that was not allocated by country was 58%, partly due to expenditure for in-donor refugees.

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In 2018, least developed countries (LDCs) received 25.3% of Denmark’s gross bilateral ODA (USD 468 million). This is slightly above the DAC country average of 23.8%. The LDCs received the highest share of gross bilateral ODA, noting that 58% 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 598 million of gross bilateral ODA in 2018 (32.3% of gross bilateral ODA). Extremely fragile contexts received 45.8% 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 Denmark’s bilateral ODA was allocated to social infrastructure and services. Investments in this area accounted for 42% of bilateral ODA commitments (USD 700 million), with a strong focus on support to government and civil society (USD 407 million). Bilateral humanitarian aid amounted to USD 408 million (25% of bilateral ODA). Earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations also focused on social infrastructure and services in 2018.

In 2018, Denmark committed USD 7.5 million of ODA to the mobilisation of domestic resources in developing countries, amounting to 0.5% of bilateral allocable aid. Denmark also committed USD 207 million (13.2% of bilateral allocable aid) to promote aid for trade and improve developing countries’ trade performance and integration into the world economy in 2018.

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In 2018, Denmark committed 41% of its bilateral allocable aid to gender equality and women’s empowerment as either a principal or significant objective (up from 37% in 2017),3 compared with the DAC country average of 42%. This is equal to USD 628 million of bilateral ODA commitments in support of gender equality. Out of this, the share of bilateral allocable aid committed to gender equality and women’s empowerment as a principal objective was 9%, compared with the DAC country average of 4%. All of Denmark’s water and sanitation interventions address gender equality, with a lower gender focus in interventions addressing health, reproductive health and governance. Denmark screens virtually all activities against the gender marker (97.5% in 2018). Learn more about ODA focused on gender equality and the DAC Network on Gender Equality.

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In 2018, Denmark committed 29% of its bilateral allocable aid (USD 455 million) in support of the environment as either a principal or significant objective, up from 21% in 2017 (the DAC country average was 33%). Three per cent focused on environmental issues as a principal objective, compared with the DAC country average of 11%. Eighteen per cent (USD 285 million) focused on climate change as either a principal or significant objective, up from 12% in 2017 (the DAC country average was 26%). Denmark has a greater focus on adaptation (15% in 2018) than on mitigation (10%). Learn more about climate-related development finance.

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In 2018, Denmark’s development finance institution, the Investment Fund for Developing Countries (IFU), mobilised USD 902 million from the private sector through shares in collective investment vehicles (CIVs), direct investment in companies or project finance special purpose vehicles (SPVs), and simple co-financing arrangements with the private sector.

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Note: CIV: collective investment vehicle; SPV: special purpose vehicle.

Of the country-allocable finance mobilised from the private sector in 2017-18, 83% targeted middle-income countries and 17% targeted the LDCs.

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Note: LDC: least developed country; LMIC: lower middle-income country; UMIC: upper middle-income country.

Denmark’s mobilised private finance mainly related to activities in banking and financial services (60%) with other activity in the industry, mining and construction (14%); energy (12%); and agriculture, forestry and fishing (9%) sectors. Learn more about the amounts mobilised from the private sector for development.

Policy, co-ordination and implementation of Denmark’s development co-operation remains the remit of the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), which manages virtually all of the ODA budget. The brand Danida describes Denmark’s development co-operation with other countries, but there is no distinct Danida body within the ministry.

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Danish development co-operation is evaluated by the independent Evaluation Department, located in the MFA. The Evaluation Department reports to the State Secretary for Development Policy, and contributes to policy and strategy development. Its two-year rolling evaluation programme is published on the MFA’s home page for public review; and senior management reviews the evaluation results twice a year with the goal of promoting institutional learning. Learn more about evaluation in Denmark.

The Evaluation Department is currently evaluating the Investment Fund for Developing Countries (IFU) and engaging in the joint Nordic evaluation of the Nordic Development Fund. Read Denmark’s evaluation plan.

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

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

OpenAid, Denmark’s ODA data and results portal: http://openaid.um.dk/en

Website to track Denmark’s progress against the Sustainable Development Goals: https://www.verdensmaal.org

Member of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) since 1963.

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

© OECD 2020

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