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Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Malta: Not all aid is development aid

Although the statistics for official development assistance (ODA) shows that Malta is reaching the targets articulated in its promises, it was highly criticized in consecutive reports published by Concord, of inflating aid figures and of not being transparent in its donations.
Malta, like all New Member States of the European Union, pledged to reach a level of official development assistance (ODA) of 0.17% of its gross national income (GNI) by 2010 and to increase it to 0.33% by 2015. The ODA was in 2011 0.25% of GNI; and the Government is aiming towards the 0.33% target in 2015.
However, civil society organizations have expressed their concern given that the government spends a large amount of ODA funds in the detention of irregular immigrants, many of them asylum seekers, the vulnerability of most of which is recognized through their refugee status or other forms of protection. Although the improvement in the distribution of ODA should be noted, 88% of bilateral aid is not clear. This is the reason why the government has been most criticized by NGOs in Malta and abroad.
Furthermore, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in the budget estimates for 2007, showed how ODA is distributed among eleven different development organizations. Only two are based in Africa. The bulk of the funds were allocated to bilateral aid, scholarships to foreign students in Malta and refugees in their first year in Malta or for repatriation.
In this logic, the Social Watch report for Malta in 2013 states that the country should:
•    Keep its promises to do its part in the eradication of poverty in the least developed countries.
•    Show more transparency and accountability in the distribution of ODA budget.
•    Display a clear policy and strategy in the selection and delivery of aid aimed at poverty eradication.
•    Provide special attention to cross-cutting issues such as children's rights and empowerment of women.
•    Collaborate with key stakeholders in making more efficient use of the money allocated.

Source: 2013 Malta Social Watch Report.