Spain lagging in giving international aid

SPAIN now spends less on international aid than it did in 1990, in terms of gross national income.

It means that of major countries, it is the nation which has reduced aid the most. It has declined five times more than the Netherlands, which is second on the list of countries where aid contributions have fallen.

While the trend for members of the Development Assistance Committee since 2018 has seen a rise of 24.5 per cent, Spain has reduced payments by 55.7 per cent.

These figures have just been released by Oxfam Intermon in its report La Realidad de la Ayuda 2019 (The Reality of Aid 2019), an exhaustive study that the NGO publishes every year analysing Spain’s contributions in comparison with other donor countries.

The organisation is now calling it a “lost decade”, but considers the upcoming Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development proposals a “great opportunity.” The NGO wants Spain to put in a plan to reach the European aid average of 0.5 per cent of gross national income compared to the 0.2 per cent it spends now.

In Spain, development aid increased alongside the national income until the financial crash of 2008. The crisis arrived and the fall in aid contributions was drastic. But as the economy has recovered, aid donations have not.

Paradoxically, while politicians have reduced payments, Spaniards as a whole view overseas aid as important. According to a 2018 Eurobarometer, survey, the Spanish are the Europeans who attach the greatest importance to international aid, and those who believe that their government should give it more emphasis.

Jaime Atienza, head of financing development at Oxfam and lead author of the report, said: “The last decade has left Spain as an international actor with little weight, limited to almost always symbolic contributions to global initiatives in favour of development. The effort to place Spain in a position commensurate with its economic dimension and political responsibility should be significant and should begin as soon as possible.”

Provisional figures for 2018 show aid contributions continuing to fall. In 2017 Spain gave €2.25 billion, last year €2.146 billion.