Denmark’s development co-operation is based on democratic values and human rights, and focuses on tackling poverty and inequality, conflict and displacement, and giving increased attention to climate change. Most of Denmark’s official development assistance (ODA) is provided as bilateral co-operation, primarily to fragile partner countries in Africa. Denmark’s total official development assistance (ODA) (USD 2.9 billion, preliminary data) increased in 2022 due to in-donor refugee costs. It represented 0.7% of gross national income (GNI).

Find the methodological notes behind the profile here.

Denmark’s 2021 policy The World We Share strives for a more secure and sustainable world free from poverty. Development co-operation aims to create hope and help more people where it is hardest by preventing and fighting poverty and inequality, conflict and displacement, irregular migration, and fragility, and to lead the fight against climate change and restore balance to the planet. The government’s Priorities for Development Co-operation 2022-2025 include ambitious green targets, a stronger focus on the most fragile and conflict-affected states and regions, and promoting rights and civic space.

Denmark’s co-operation with multilateral organisations is guided by dedicated strategies for each organisation developed to ensure that funding to the organisation is aligned with the priorities of Denmark’s development co-operation. Denmark’s Global Climate Action Strategy aims to increase global climate ambition, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and strengthen the focus on climate adaptation and sustainable development. At the international level, Denmark advocates for gender equality and women’s rights as well as the defence of democracy and countering torture.

The 2021 OECD-DAC peer review found that broad public support and a budget balancing mechanism enable Denmark to provide 0.7% of its national income as ODA. Denmark champions gender equality, human rights and democracy; supports transparent communication; and empowers its partners. Mainstreaming climate objectives would complement Denmark’s significant investments in climate diplomacy. A global leader in fragile contexts, the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) recommended that Denmark better implement the peace component of the humanitarian-development-peace nexus and better integrate poverty reduction across its programme. The Doing Development Differently approach enables flexible budgets and trusting partnerships. Learn more about Denmark’s 2021 DAC peer review.

Denmark provided USD 2.9 billion (preliminary data) of ODA in 2022 (USD 3 billion in constant terms), representing 0.7% of GNI.1 This was an increase of 1.6% in real terms in volume and a decrease in share of GNI from 0.71% in 2021. Excluding in-donor refugee costs, its ODA fell. Since 1978, Denmark has provided at least 0.7% of its GNI as ODA, in line with its domestic and EU commitments to achieving a 0.7% ODA/GNI ratio. Denmark provided all of its ODA as grants in 2021.

In 2021, Denmark ranked fifth among DAC countries when ODA is taken as a share of GNI, one of just five to meet or exceed the 0.7% target. Denmark’s geographic focus on fragile states (39.4% of Denmark’s gross bilateral ODA in 2021) and its policy focus on gender equality (8.6% of screened interventions had gender equality as a principal objective in 2020-21) are reflected in its allocations. However, allocations do not yet reflect Denmark’s climate focus. Denmark has a high share of humanitarian aid in its bilateral ODA (19.2%).

Denmark is committed to several international targets, Development Assistance Committee standards and recommendations. Learn more about DAC recommendations.

Denmark provided a higher share of its ODA bilaterally in 2021. Gross bilateral ODA was 69.4% of total ODA. Forty-three per cent of gross bilateral ODA was channelled through multilateral organisations (earmarked contributions). Denmark allocated 30.6% of total ODA as core contributions to multilateral organisations.

In 2022, Denmark provided USD 146.4 million of gross bilateral ODA to Ukraine to respond to the impacts of Russia’s war of aggression, of which USD 100.6 million was humanitarian assistance (preliminary data). In 2021, it provided USD 35 million.

In 2022, Denmark provided USD 14.2 million in ODA for the COVID-19 response. Regarding COVID-19 vaccines, donations of excess doses to developing countries accounted for USD 10.6 million of ODA. In 2020 and 2021, Denmark’s total bilateral support for COVID-19 response was USD 582.3 million and USD 129.4 million, respectively.

In 2021, Denmark provided USD 1.8 billion of gross ODA to the multilateral system, an increase of 1.3% in real terms from 2020. Of this, USD 907.7 million was core multilateral ODA, while non-core contributions were earmarked for a specific country, region, theme or purpose. Project-type funding earmarked for a specific theme and/or country accounted for 20% of Denmark’s non-core contributions and 80% was programmatic funding (to pooled funds and specific-purpose programmes and funds).

Sixty-seven per cent of Denmark’s total contributions to multilateral organisations in 2021 was allocated to UN funds and programmes, other UN and EU Institutions.

The UN system received 44% of Denmark’s multilateral contributions, mainly in the form of earmarked contributions. Out of a total volume of USD 786.9 million to the UN system, the top three UN recipients of Denmark’s support (core and earmarked contributions) were UNDP (USD 127.7 million), UNHCR (USD 101.8 million) and UNICEF (USD 90.6 million).

See the section on Geographic and sectoral focus of ODA for the breakdown of bilateral allocations, including ODA earmarked through the multilateral development system. Learn more about multilateral development finance.

In 2021, Denmark’s bilateral spending increased compared to the previous year. It provided USD 2.1 billion of gross bilateral ODA (which includes earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations). This represented an increase of 13.3% in real terms from 2020. In 2021, Denmark focused most of its bilateral ODA on addressing poverty eradication and peace, justice and strong institutions goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

In 2021, country programmable aid was 40.3% of Denmark’s gross bilateral ODA, compared to a DAC country average of 45.2%.

In 2021, Denmark channelled bilateral ODA mainly through multilateral organisations as earmarked funding, civil society organisations (CSOs) and public sector. Technical co-operation made up 2.2% of gross ODA in 2021.

In 2021, CSOs received USD 560.4 million of gross bilateral ODA. Two per cent of gross bilateral ODA was allocated to CSOs as core contributions and 25.1% was channelled through CSOs to implement projects initiated by the donor (earmarked funding). From 2020 to 2021, the combined core and earmarked contributions for CSOs decreased as a share of bilateral ODA, from 28.2% to 27.3%. Learn more about ODA allocations to and through CSOs, civil society engagement in development co-operation, and the DAC Recommendation on Enabling Civil Society in Development Co-operation and Humanitarian Aid.

In 2021, Denmark’s bilateral ODA was focused mainly on Africa. USD 708.1 million was allocated to Africa and USD 219.3 million to the Middle East, accounting respectively for 34.5% and 10.7% of gross bilateral ODA. USD 188.6 million (9.2%) was allocated to Asia (excluding the Middle East). Africa was also the main regional recipient of Denmark’s earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations.

In 2021, 30.8% of gross bilateral ODA went to Denmark’s top 10 recipients, all of which are fragile states and prioritised areas of focus. The share of gross bilateral ODA that was not allocated by country was 54.6%, with 5.6% of this unallocated bilateral ODA spent on refugees in the donor country.

In 2021, the least developed countries (LDCs) received 31% of Denmark’s gross bilateral ODA (USD 637.3 million). This is greater than the DAC average of 22.9%. Denmark allocated the highest share of gross bilateral ODA (31%) to least developed countries in 2021, noting that 54.6% was unallocated by income group. Denmark allocated 21.6% of gross bilateral ODA to land-locked developing countries in 2021, equal to USD 444.2 million. Denmark allocated USD 0.1 million of gross bilateral ODA to small island developing states (SIDS) in 2021.

Support to fragile contexts reached USD 808.8 million in 2021, representing 39.4% of Denmark’s gross bilateral ODA. Thirty-six per cent of this ODA was provided in the form of humanitarian assistance, increasing from 28% in 2020, while 24.6% was allocated to peace, decreasing from 29.3% in 2020. Seven per cent went to conflict prevention, a subset of contributions to peace, representing a decrease from 9% in 2020.

Learn more about support to fragile contexts on the States of Fragility platform.

In 2021, close to half of Denmark’s bilateral ODA was allocated to social infrastructure and services. Investments in this area accounted for 49.1% of bilateral ODA commitments (USD 903 million), with a strong focus on support to government and civil society (USD 383.2 million), health (USD 189 million) and other social infrastructure (USD 127.4 million). ODA for economic infrastructure and services totalled 10.2% of bilateral ODA commitments (USD 187 million), focusing on energy (USD 122.5 million), business (USD 64.1 million) and transport and storage (USD 0.4 million). Bilateral humanitarian assistance amounted to USD 353.3 million (19.2% of bilateral ODA). In 2021, earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations focused on emergency response, government and civil society and health.

In 2020-21, Denmark committed 40.4% of its screened bilateral allocable aid to gender equality and women’s empowerment, as either a principal or significant objective (down from 42.8% in 2018-19, compared with the 2020-21 DAC average of 44.4%). This is equal to USD 679.3 million of bilateral ODA in support of gender equality. The share of screened bilateral allocable aid committed to gender equality and women’s empowerment as a principal objective was 8.6% in 2020-21, compared with the DAC average of 4.5%. Denmark includes gender equality objectives in 13.4% of its ODA for humanitarian aid, compared with the 2020-21 DAC average of 17.5%. Denmark screens the majority of activities against the DAC gender equality policy marker (97% in 2020-21). Learn more about ODA focused on gender equality, the DAC Network on Gender Equality and the DAC Recommendation on Ending Sexual Exploitation in Development Co-operation.

In 2020-21, Denmark committed 24.2% of its total bilateral allocable aid (USD 420.1 million) in support of the environment and the Rio Conventions (DAC average of 34.3%), down from 33.1% in 2018-19 Unpacking the environmental data further:.

  • Seven per cent of screened bilateral allocable aid focused on environmental issues as a principal objective, compared with the DAC average of 11.3%.

  • Twenty-one per cent of total bilateral allocable aid (USD 368.4 million) focused on climate change overall (the DAC average was 29%), down from 24.7% in 2018-19. Denmark had a greater focus on mitigation (14.7%) than on adaptation (13.6%) in 2020-21.

  • Two per cent of total bilateral allocable aid (USD 36.1 million) focused on biodiversity (compared with the DAC average of 6.5%), up from 1.5% in 2018-19.

Learn more about climate-related development finance and the DAC Declaration on Aligning Development Co-operation with the Goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

The OECD initiative Sustainable Oceans for All shows that Denmark committed USD 35.7 million in support of the conservation and sustainable use of the ocean in 2021, up from USD 4.4 million in 2020. The 2021 value is equivalent to 2% of Denmark’s bilateral allocable aid. Learn more about development co-operation in support of a sustainable ocean economy and the data platform on development finance for a sustainable ocean economy.

In 2021, Denmark also:

  • Committed USD 244.5 million (13.7% of its bilateral allocable aid) to promote aid for trade and improve developing countries’ trade performance and integration into the world economy in 2021.

  • Committed USD 96.1 million (5.4% of its bilateral allocable aid) to address the immediate or underlying determinants of malnutrition in developing countries across a variety of sectors, such as maternal health, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) or agriculture.

  • Committed USD 26.9 million (1.5% of its bilateral allocable aid) to development co-operation projects and programmes that promote the inclusion and empowerment of persons with disabilities.

  • Regarding the payment of local tax and custom duties for ODA-funded goods and services, Denmark rarely requests exemptions on its ODA-funded goods and services in partner countries and territories. It makes information available on the OECD Digital Transparency Hub on the Tax Treatment of ODA.

Denmark uses leveraging mechanisms to mobilise private finance for sustainable development. In 2021, Denmark’s DFI, the Investment Fund for Developing Countries (IFU) mobilised USD 296.4 million from the private sector through direct investment in companies and special purpose vehicles, shares in collective investment vehicles, and guarantees.

In 2020-21, 92% of mobilised private finance by Denmark targeted middle-income countries and 2.9% LDCs and other low-income countries (LICs), noting that 5% was unallocated by income. During the same period, the top beneficiary region of this financing was Asia (excluding the Middle East) (50.6% of the total).

Mobilised private finance by Denmark in 2020-21 mainly benefited activities in the energy (55.9%) and banking & financial services (21%) sectors. Furthermore, over this period, 71.9% of Denmark’s total mobilised private finance was for climate action.

Learn more about the amounts mobilised from the private sector for development.

In 2021, Denmark’s DFI Investment Fund for Developing Countries (IFU) extended USD 128.3 million in the form of private sector instruments. Of this, loans represented 43.5%, whereas equities accounted for 54.7%. Other private sector instruments included mezzanine/hybrid finance (1.9%).

In 2021, USD 9.9 million (7.7%) of Denmark’s private sector instruments were allocated to the LDCs and other LICs, with a majority of 56.8% received by middle-income countries and LMICs in particular (38.1%). Moreover, USD 45.6 million were unallocated by income, mostly including loans and equities with a regional focus.

Top three recipients included India, Brazil and Côte d'Ivoire, together accounting for 45.2% of Denmark’s private sector instruments to developing countries in 2021.

In terms of sectoral distribution, 48.8% of Denmark’s private sector instruments were extended in support of projects in the energy sector, followed by banking and financial services (37.7%), industry, mining, construction (4.9%) and tourism (3.4%). Health, education and other social sectors received USD 5.6 million through private sector instruments. A share of 48.8% of this financing focused on climate change mitigation and/or adaptation.

Policy, co-ordination and implementation of Denmark’s development co-operation remains the remit of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), which manages almost all of the ODA budget. A number of joint funds have been set up in areas such as stabilisation (with the Ministries of Justice and Defense) and climate (with the Ministry of Climate, Energy and Utilities). The brand Danida describes Denmark’s development co-operation with other countries, but there is no distinct institution called Danida. Denmark’s development finance institution’s Investment Fund for Developing Countries manages several funds for the MFA, including one with a focus on fragile situations.

Denmark has roughly 450 staff working on development co-operation, 45% of which are in-country offices and locally engaged and 16% of which are posted from headquarters in country offices.

The MFA organises public consultations to collect input when preparing new development co-operation strategies and policies. An important mechanism for consulting stakeholders is the Council for Development Policy, which engages in strategic and thematic discussions and publishes its deliberations and recommendations on line. CSOs active in development co-operation, humanitarian assistance and global citizenship education co-ordinate through the umbrella body Globalt Fokus.

Internal systems and processes help ensure the effective delivery of Denmark’s development co-operation. Select features are shown in the table below.

The Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation monitoring exercise tracks the implementation of the effectiveness commitments. Following a reform of the exercise during 2020-22, the 4th global monitoring round (2023-26) has resumed. More detailed results for Denmark based on the 2016 and 2018 Monitoring Rounds can be found here. Monitoring profiles for other providers are available here.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark (2022), The Government’s Priorities for Danish Development Cooperation 2022: Expenditure Framework for Danish Development Cooperation, 2022-2025:

OpenAid, Denmark’s ODA data and results portal:

Danish Government (2020), A Green and Sustainable World: The Danish Government’s Long-term Strategy for Global Climate Action:

Website to track Denmark’s progress against the Sustainable Development Goals:

CSO umbrella organisation Globalt Fokus:

Denmark’s practices on the Development Co-operation TIPs: Tools Insights Practices learning platform:

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 2019 data as a more accurate way to count the donor effort in development loans. See the methodological notes for further details.

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