Austria’s development co-operation policy prioritises poverty reduction, peace and human security, and preserving the environment. Geographically it focuses on 11 priority partner countries, particularly in South East and Eastern Europe and sub-Saharan Africa. Total official development assistance (ODA) (USD 1.5 billion, preliminary data) increased slightly in 2021, representing 0.31% of gross national income (GNI). ODA increases exceeded COVID-19 vaccine donations.

Find the methodological notes behind the profile here.

The Federal Act on Development Co-operation (2003) defines Austria’s three main development co-operation objectives as poverty eradication, ensuring peace and human security, and preserving the environment. The Three-year Programme for Austrian Development Policy (2019-21) reflects these objectives, prioritising meeting basic needs to eradicate poverty, sustainable economic development, protecting and preserving the environment, peace and security, building inclusive societies, and promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment. It also defines 11 priority countries for Austrian Development Co-operation. A new three-year programme for 2022-24 has been developed and is currently being finalised.

Austria channels most of its support to multilateral organisations, with its support to international financial institutions guided by the Ministry of Finance’s Strategic Guidelines. Austria also has a strong tradition of supporting conflict prevention and nuclear non-proliferation, disarmament, arms control and the rule of law as foreign policy priorities. These priorities are evident in Austria’s leadership in its immediate neighbourhood – South East Europe – where it plays an important role in promoting regional and European integration. Austria also seeks to promote peace and security in its engagement within the European Union (EU).

The 2020 OECD-DAC peer review praised Austria’s regional leadership, multilateral contributions, and commitment to gender and the environment. It recommended that Austria take steps to achieve a more co-ordinated and coherent whole-of-government approach to development co-operation given the role of multiple ministries in delivering the ODA budget, and develop a plan to increase its ODA budget in line with its commitments. Learn more about the 2020 OECD-DAC peer review of Austria. Austria’s next mid-term review is planned for 2023.

Austria provided USD 1.5 billion (preliminary data) of ODA in 2021,1 representing 0.31% of GNI. This was an increase of 8.7% in real terms in volume and an increase in the share of GNI from 2020. ODA volume has been increasing since 2018, although it is still below 2015-16 levels, when Austria reported higher levels of in-donor refugee costs. Austria is not in line with its domestic, international, and EU commitments to achieve a 0.7% ODA/GNI ratio by 2030. Within Austria’s ODA portfolio in 2020, 92.8% was provided in the form of grants and 7.2% in the form of non-grants.2

In 2021, Austria ranked 15th among Development Assistance Committee (DAC) member countries when ODA is taken as a share of GNI. Austria channels a large share of its ODA multilaterally, notably to the EU institutions. A growing share of Austria’s bilateral ODA is focused on climate and the environment, with one of the highest shares amongst DAC members targeting the environment as a principal objective (26.2% in 2020). A high share of Austria’s bilateral ODA covered by the DAC Recommendation on Untying ODA continues to be tied to its own companies (see Table 1).

Austria is committed to several international targets and DAC standards and recommendations. Learn more about DAC recommendations.

Austria provided a higher share of its ODA multilaterally in 2020. Gross bilateral ODA was 42.8% of total ODA. Twenty-eight per cent of gross bilateral ODA was channelled through multilateral organisations (earmarked contributions). Austria allocated 57.2% of total ODA as core contributions to multilateral organisations.

In 2020, Austria provided USD 30.9 million of gross bilateral ODA for the COVID-19 response, representing 5.4% of its total gross bilateral ODA. Less than 1% of total gross bilateral ODA was provided as health expenditure within the COVID-19 response.

In 2020, Austria provided USD 921.4 million of gross ODA to the multilateral system, an increase of 0.9% in real terms from 2019. Of this, USD 760.0 million was core multilateral ODA, while non-core contributions were earmarked for a specific country, region, theme or purpose. Project-type funding that is earmarked for a specific theme and/or country accounted for 42.5% of Austria’s non-core contributions and 57.5% was programmatic funding (to pooled funds and specific-purpose programmes and funds).

Eighty-four per cent of Austria’s total contributions to multilateral organisations in 2020 was allocated to the European Union institutions, the World Bank Group and regional development banks.

The UN system received 10.3% of Austria’s gross ODA to the multilateral system, mainly through earmarked contributions. Out of a total volume of USD 94.7 million to the UN system, the top three UN recipients of Austria’s support (core and earmarked contributions) were: the UNHCR (USD 11.2 million), the UN Secretariat (USD 9.3 million) and the UNDP (USD 8.6 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 2020, Austria’s bilateral spending increased slightly compared to the previous year. It provided USD 568.2 million of gross bilateral ODA (which includes earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations). This represented an increase of 20.3% in real terms from 2019. In 2020, Austria focused its bilateral ODA on addressing the poverty reduction, partnerships and reduced inequality goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

In 2020, country programmable aid was 14.2% of Austria’s gross bilateral ODA, compared to a DAC country average of 49.7%. In-donor refugee costs were USD 30.9 million in 2020, a decrease of 3.6% in real terms over 2019, and represented 2.3% of Austria’s total gross ODA.

Austria engages in triangular co-operation, with a focus on Latin America and the Caribbean. Guatemala is its main partner country for triangular co-operation and its main sector of focus is agriculture, forestry and fishing. Learn more about specific projects at the OECD’s voluntary triangular co-operation project repository and more broadly.

In 2020, Austria channelled bilateral ODA mainly through multilateral organisations as earmarked funding; through the public sector; and through universities, research institutes or think tanks. Technical co-operation made up 18.4% of gross ODA in 2020.

In 2020, civil society organisations (CSOs) received USD 69.7 million of gross bilateral ODA. Less than 1% of gross bilateral ODA was allocated to CSOs as core contributions and 12.1% was channelled through CSOs to implement projects initiated by the donor (earmarked funding). From 2019 to 2020, the combined core and earmarked contributions for CSOs decreased as a share of bilateral ODA, from 14.4% to 12.3%. 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 2020, Austria’s bilateral ODA was primarily focused on Europe, Africa and Asia. USD 132.1 million was allocated to ODA-eligible countries in Europe and USD 109.3 million was allocated to Africa, accounting respectively for 23.2% and 19.2% of gross bilateral ODA. USD 64 million was allocated to ODA-eligible countries in Asia. Africa, Asia and Europe were also the main regional recipients of Austria’s earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations.

In 2020, 28.4% of gross bilateral ODA went to Austria’s top 10 recipients. Its top 10 recipients are in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Turkey remains the biggest bilateral recipient, reflecting Austria’s contributions to the EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey. The share of gross bilateral ODA that was not allocated by country was 44.8%, mainly due to regional projects, expenditure for in-donor refugee costs, administrative costs and humanitarian aid.

In 2020, least developed countries received 10% of Austria’s gross bilateral ODA (USD 57 million). This is below the DAC country average of 24.4%. Austria allocated the highest share of gross bilateral ODA (25.3%) to upper middle-income countries in 2020, noting that 44.8% was unallocated by income group. Austria allocated 2.9% of gross bilateral ODA to small island developing states in 2020, equal to USD 16.6 million.

Support to fragile contexts reached USD 105.9 million in 2020, representing 18.6% of Austria’s gross bilateral ODA. Twenty-six per cent of this ODA was provided in the form of humanitarian assistance, essentially the same share as in 2019 (26.4%), while 7.1% was allocated to peace, a decrease from 9.7% in 2019. Less than 1% went to conflict prevention, a subset of contributions to peace, representing a decrease from 2% in 2019.

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

In 2020, social infrastructure and services was the largest focus of Austria’s bilateral ODA allocations. Investments in this area accounted for 38.1% of bilateral ODA commitments (USD 260.6 million), with a strong focus on education (USD 176.8 million), followed by government and civil society (USD 28.3 million), and water and sanitation (USD 23.4 million). ODA for economic infrastructure and services totalled USD 158.2 million, with a focus on energy (USD 121.7 million). Bilateral humanitarian assistance amounted to USD 66 million (9.7% of bilateral ODA). Earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations focused on economic infrastructure and services in 2020.

In 2020, Austria did not commit any ODA to the mobilisation of domestic resources in developing countries. Austria committed USD 231.7 million (49.6% of its bilateral allocable aid) to promote aid for trade and improve developing countries’ trade performance and integration into the world economy in 2020.

In 2020, Austria committed 27.2% of its screened bilateral allocable aid to gender equality and women’s empowerment, as either a principal or significant objective (down from 56.7% in 2019),3 compared with the 2020 DAC country average of 44.6%. This is equal to USD 126.9 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 3.8%, compared with the 2020 DAC country average of 4.8%. Interventions in economic infrastructure, production sectors and education focus less on gender than other sectors. Austria screens virtually all activities against the DAC gender equality policy marker (100% in 2020). 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, Austria committed 39.7% of its total bilateral allocable aid (USD 185.2 million) in support of the environment and the Rio Conventions (the DAC country average was 38.8%), up from 33.4% in 2019. Twenty-six per cent of screened bilateral allocable aid in 2020 focused on environmental issues as a principal objective, compared with the DAC country average of 10.8%. Thirty-eight per cent of total bilateral allocable aid (USD 175.8 million) focused on climate change overall, up from 24.3% in 2019 (the DAC country average was 34%). Austria had a greater focus on mitigation (33.2%) than on adaptation (17.2%) in 2020. 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.

Austria provides resource flows to developing countries beyond ODA and makes use of leveraging instruments to mobilise private finance for development.

Austria uses its ODA and other official development finance to mobilise private finance for development. In 2020, the Development Bank of Austria (OeEB) and Austrian Development Agency (ADA) mobilised USD 21.7 million from the private sector through shares in collective investment vehicles, simple co-financing, syndicated loans, and direct investment in companies and special purpose vehicles.

A share of 31% targeted middle-income countries and 1% the LDCs in 2020, noting that 68% was unallocated by income.

Private finance mobilised by Austria in 2020 related mainly to activities in the industry, mining and construction (48%); energy (18%); and agriculture, forestry and fishing (14%) sectors. Moreover, 21% of Austria’s total private finance mobilised was for climate change mitigation and/or adaptation.

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

The Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs develops and co-ordinates Austria’s development policy, and allocates and oversees the budget of the co-operation agency, the ADA. The ADA is the operational unit of Austrian Development Cooperation. The Federal Ministry of Finance is responsible for most core contributions to multilateral organisations, and is involved in the oversight of the OeEB. Local governments, the federal states and several other federal ministries – including the Ministry of Sustainability and Tourism; the Ministry of Education, Science and Research; the Ministry of Defence; the Ministry of the Interior; and the Federal Chancellery – also contribute and are involved in the delivery of Austria’s ODA. A Parliamentary Sub-Committee on Development discusses issues such as Austria’s ODA targets and the three-year programme. In 2022, the Austrian Court of Audit published reports on the OeEB as well as on Austria’s follow-up and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Stakeholders are consulted regularly on issues of development co-operation and humanitarian assistance, yet there is no institutionalised standing council or forum. CSOs active in development co-operation, humanitarian assistance and global citizenship education co-ordinate through the umbrella body Global Responsibility: Platform for Development and Humanitarian Aid.

Internal systems and processes help ensure the effective delivery of Austria’s development co-operation. Select features are shown in Features of Austria’s systems for quality and oversight:

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

Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs (BMEIA):

Austrian Development Agency (ADA):

Development Bank of Austria (OeEB):

CSO umbrella organisation Global Responsibility: Platform for Development and Humanitarian Aid:

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

Member of the OECD Development Assistance Committee since 1965.

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 donor effort in development loans. See the methodological notes for further details.

← 2. 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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