Denmark

Introduction

Since 2017, The World 2030 sets out Denmark’s development co-operation and humanitarian action strategy under four priorities: 1) security and peace; 2) preventing the cause of irregular migration; 3) economic growth; and 4) democracy, human rights and equality. Denmark is a strong supporter of the multilateral system and of civic space. The 2019 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 in developing countries and emerging markets. Denmark is a strong supporter of the Grand Bargain – a global initiative to improve humanitarian assistance – and champions work that addresses the overlapping challenges of humanitarian assistance, sustainable development and peace.

Official development assistance

Denmark has a long history of meeting or exceeding the UN target of 0.7% ODA/GNI. Levels of official development assistance (ODA) available for development co-operation programmes fell sharply in 2015-17. Overall ODA volumes in 2018 are now back to 2014 levels, leaving Denmark the fourth most generous DAC donor in terms of the percentage of gross national income (GNI) allocated to ODA. Denmark has recently introduced a new budget mechanism to manage unexpected fluctuations and increase the predictability of its ODA.

In 2018, Denmark provided USD 2.58 billion 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 0.72% of GNI. Under the “cash-flow basis” methodology used in the past, 2018 net ODA was USD 2.57 billion, which represented no change in real terms from 2017.

In 2017, in-donor refugee costs dropped from USD 420 million in 2016 to USD 117 million, representing 5% of Denmark’s total net ODA.

Denmark’s share of untied bilateral ODA (excluding administrative costs and in-donor refugee costs) was 100% in 2017 (up from 99% in 2016), while the DAC country average was 82.1%. The grant element of total ODA was 100% in 2017. Non-grants, which refer to equity investments, represented 1.6% of gross ODA.

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In 2017, 71% of gross ODA was provided bilaterally, of which 33% was channelled through multilateral organisations (multi-bi/non-core contributions). Denmark allocated 29% of total ODA as core contributions to multilateral organisations. Learn more about multilateral development finance.

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In 2017, country programmable aid was 39% of Denmark’s bilateral ODA, compared to a DAC country average of 48% (see the methodological notes for further details on country programmable aid). Project-type interventions accounted for 68% of this aid, with core contributions and pooled programmes and funds accounting for 26%.

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In 2017, Denmark channelled 32% of gross bilateral ODA through the public sector (down from 51% in 2016). The share of bilateral ODA channelled through private sector institutions doubled between 2016 and 2017, from 2% to 4%. Public-private partnerships fell from 3% to 1% and academic partnerships remained at 2% of Danish bilateral ODA. See the methodological notes for further details on channels of delivery.

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In 2017, USD 441 million of gross bilateral ODA was channelled to and through civil society organisations (CSOs). Between 2016 and 2017, ODA channelled to and through CSOs increased as a share of bilateral aid (from 21% to 25%). 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 sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, particularly the Middle East, reflecting an increased focus on fragility.

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In 2017, 24.7% of gross bilateral ODA went to Denmark’s top 10 recipients. Its top 10 recipients include priority countries and fragile states. Since 2017, Demark has reduced its number of priority countries, with Bolivia and Mozambique no longer on the list. Support to fragile contexts reached USD 636 million in 2017, which was 35% of gross bilateral ODA. Learn more about support to fragile contexts.

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In 2017, 28% Denmark’s gross bilateral ODA (USD 495 million) was allocated to the least developed countries (LDCs), compared to a DAC country average of 24%, noting that 55% was unallocated by income group. This is up from 23% in 2016, but is nonetheless a significant drop from earlier levels, e.g. USD 844 million and 38% in 2011.

At 0.22% of GNI in 2017, total ODA to the LDCs (including imputed multilateral flows) was above the UN target of 0.15-0.20% of GNI.

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In 2017, 41% of bilateral ODA commitments was allocated to social infrastructure and services, for a total of USD 628 million, with a focus on support to government and civil society (USD 356 million) and health (USD 101 million). Humanitarian aid amounted to USD 364 million (24%). Denmark also committed USD 204 million 14% of bilateral allocable aid to promote aid for trade and improve developing countries’ trade performance and integration into the world economy in 2017.

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USD 510 million of gross bilateral allocable ODA supported gender equality. In 2017, 37% of Denmark’s bilateral sector-allocable aid had gender equality and women’s empowerment as a principal or significant objective (up from 34% in 2016), compared with the DAC country average of 36%. Denmark has a strong focus on women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights. Learn more about ODA focused on gender equality and the DAC Network on Gender Equality.

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USD 314 million of bilateral ODA commitments supported the environment. In 2017, 21% of Denmark’s gross bilateral allocable aid supported the environment and 12% (USD 186 million) focused on climate change, compared with the respective DAC country averages of 33% and 25%. Allocations supporting the environment increased from 19% in 2016, while those focused on climate change remained stable when compared to 2016.

Denmark is redressing the balance between support for adaptation and mitigation with the proportion of bilateral allocable ODA focusing on adaptation doubling from 8% in 2016 to 16% in 2017 and the proportion focusing on mitigation falling from 49% to 29%. Learn more about climate-related development finance.

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Other financial flows and amounts mobilised from the private sector

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In 2017, Denmark’s development finance institution – the Danish Investment Fund for Developing Countries (IFU) – mobilised USD 544 million from the private sector through direct investment in companies and project finance special purpose vehicles (SPVs), shares in collective investment vehicles (CIVs), as well as guarantees.

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Of the country-allocable private finance mobilised in 2012-17, 82% targeted middle-income countries and 9% the LDCs.

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Denmark’s private finance mobilised in 2012-17 mainly related to activities in the industry, mining and construction (41%); energy (26%); agriculture, forestry and fishing (15%); and banking and financial services (10%) sectors. Learn more about the amounts mobilised from private sector for development.

Institutional set-up

Policy, co-ordination and implementation of Denmark’s development co-operation remains the remit of the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), which managed around 90% of the budget in 2017. 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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Evaluation system

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.

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.

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.

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