Aid

Official bilateral and multilateral aid to developing countries is known as Official Development Assistance (ODA) and is defined and measured by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The OECD reported that in 2016 worldwide development aid stood at a record high of $142.6bn, which was a nine percent increase on the previous year. Despite the overall increase in aid however, the amount of bilateral (country to country) aid to the least developed countries in 2016 actually decreased. 

UN peacekeeping soldiers collect supplies from Tebnine hospital to deliver to people in Lebanon. Credit: Jenny Matthews / Panos

In the UK the Government committed to meeting the United Nations target of spending 0.7 percent of the country’s GNI on aid and passed a bill in 2015 that enshrined the target in law. However how this 0.7% is spent is important, particularly as it is disbursed across a greater number of Government Departments.  The focus of spending should remain poverty alleviation.  According to the OECD, other countries that met the UN’s 0.7 percent target in 2016 also included Germany, Denmark, Luxembourg, Norway and Sweden.

Aid and its effectiveness is a hotly contested issue, particularly around how countries best use ODA to tackle the unprecedented and interconnected challenges that the world currently faces - poverty, inequalities, environmental degradation and climate change, mass migration, pandemic diseases, instability and conflict - and in building resilience to crisis.

IDS aims to provide research for evidence-based policy making for international aid and development, and contribute to innovation, practice and transparency regarding aid, working with global research partners.

 

Brazil and International Development Cooperation

Brazil is a founding member of the BRICS group, Latin America's largest economy and the world's sixth-largest economy. The Rising Powers in International Development (RPID) programme is looking at Brazil's growing role in the field of international development cooperation. More details

China and International Development Cooperation

China is now the African continent's biggest trading partner, and also involved in a wide range of development cooperation projects including in agriculture, health and social policy. The Rising Powers in International Development Programme is looking at the growing role of China in the field of international development cooperation. More details

Critical Research Social Justice and International Aid

Seminar series for inter-disciplinary discussions on the relationship between research, aid and social justice More details

Digital Development: IDS and DFAT InnovationXchange collaboration

This six month collaboration between the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's InnovationXchange (iXc) and the Digital and Technology cluster will strengthen DFAT’s capability to appropriately use technology to more effectively deliver aid outcomes, building on its existing expertise and experience. More details

Ebola Response Anthropology Platform

Anthropologists from around the world providing advice on how to engage with crucial socio-cultural and political dimensions of the Ebola outbreak and build locally-appropriate interventions. More details

Ebola: Lessons for development

IDS researchers argue that there is an urgent need to look beyond the immediate, on-the-ground concerns of disease control and containment to consider the bigger and broader questions about international development. More details

GSDRC

GSDRC provide high quality, timely knowledge products to support international development planning, policymaking and other activities area. This includes a document library, a research helpdesk and email bulletins More details

India and International Development Cooperation

Trade and investment linkages between India and the African continent have been growing rapidly, and recently, its role providing foreign assistance has become more prominent. The Rising Powers in International Development Programme is looking at the growing role of India in the field of international development cooperation. More details

Public Perceptions of International Development in the UK

With the world economy in a major downturn, the stakes for developing countries could not be higher. Public support for international development and aid will play a key role. But is there a domestic consensus on the UK's role in international development and what are its contours? More details

Russia and International Development Cooperation

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia was redefined as an aid recipient, but in 2007, it officially signalled its intention to reverse this role. The Rising Powers in International Development Programme is looking at the growing role of Russia in the field of international development cooperation More details

Strengthening the Capacity of the International Poverty Reduction Center in China for South-South Cooperation

This project, funded by the Chinese Government's Ministry Of Commerce, is aimed at addressing how IDA is given to developing countries (particularly Africa) and if there are ways of improving China's development assistance to create opportunities for independent development. More details

The New Bottom Billion

New IDS research shows that the global poverty 'problem' is changing. There is a new 'bottom billion' of 960m poor people or 72 per cent of the world's poor who live not in poor countries but in middle-income countries (MICs). More details

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IDS Working Paper

Public Perceptions of International Development and Support for Aid in the UK: Results of a Qualitative Enquiry

IDS Working Paper 353 (2010)

Aid budgets face immense pressure - despite overseas aid being critical for poverty alleviation in developing countries and the explicit commitments of the world's industrialised countries to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). More details

What Should Drive UK Aid to Developing
Countries?

What Should Drive UK Aid to Developing Countries? Results and Analysis from the UK Public Opinion Monitor

The UK Public Opinion Monitor (UKPOM) is a longitudinal panel of approximately 6,000 people from across the UK that is broadly representative of the demographic make-up of the UK population by gender, age, level of education and region. Members of the panel receive an internet-based survey every six to eight weeks. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Review of Impact and Effectiveness of Transparency and Accountability Initiatives

Transparency and accountability have emerged over the past decade as key ways to address both developmental failures and democratic deficits. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Supporting Inclusive and Democratic Ownership. A 'How to Note' for Donors

Even in stable democracies broad-based, inclusive policy ownership is rare. It is even more unlikely in country contexts that are more institutionally and socially complex and experiencing rapid economic and social change. With an aid effectiveness agenda that promotes ownership and accountability in partner countries this means looking critically at how 'ownership' is constructed in the policy process and the role of donors in support. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Aid to Developing Countries: Where does the UK Public Stand?

Garnering public support for aid to developing countries is critical if donors are to increase their aid budgets in line with international commitments. This is even truer in times of economic austerity, when governments are looking to cut rather than expand large tranches of public expenditure. It is in this context that the Institute of Development Studies has launched the UK Public Opinion Monitor, a unique research tool to understand UK public opinion on aid to developing countries. More details

IDS Working Paper

Paris in Bogotá: Applying the Aid Effectiveness Agenda in Colombia

IDS Working Paper 342 (2010)

Recent research in the field of development aid persuasively problematises aid relationships and begins to reveal their significance for the real-life application and effectiveness of international development cooperation. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Using Technology to Deliver Social Protection: Exploring Opportunities and Risks

Development in Practice 20.3 (2010)

Providing cash transfers to vulnerable groups reduces vulnerability and chronic poverty; but delivering cash to remote, rural locations can be expensive and insecure. Alternative delivery systems using technology are thus being piloted. More details

IDS Research Summary

Donor Schizophrenia and Aid Effectiveness: The Role of Global Funds

IDS Research Summary of IDS Practice Paper 5 (2010)

This paper examines donors as both funders and critics of global funds. More details

IDS Practice Paper

Donor Schizophrenia and Aid Effectiveness: The Role of Global Funds

Practice Paper 5 (2010)

This paper looks at what donors, who are at the same time funders and critics of global funds, can do to increase the coherence of their own policies and actions. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Relationships Matter: The Best Kept Secret of International Aid?

Annual Digest of CDRA 1 (2010)

Taking as starting point current orthodoxies of results-based management, this article discusses the long duration of the substantialist 'philosophical plumbing' of international aid and the ambivalent, if not subversive, relational response of some aidpractitioners. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Hiding relations. The irony of 'effective aid'

European Journal of Development Research 22.3 (2010)
IDS publications on international development research

What Is Happening to Donor Support for Women's Rights?

Contestations 4 (2010)

This article deals examinse the recent trend that human rights, including women's rights are dropping off the donor agenda. More details

IDS In Focus Policy Briefing

Making the Case for Aid: The Challenge of UK Public Perceptions

IDS In Focus Policy Briefing 12 (2009)

Aid budgets face immense pressure – despite overseas aid being critical for poverty alleviation in developing countries and the explicit commitments of the world’s industrialised countries to the Millennium development goals. More details

IDS In Focus Policy Briefing

Changing the Aid for Trade Debate towards Content

IDS In Focus Policy Briefing 6 (2009)

The Aid for Trade (AfT) debate has mostly focused on how to implement AfT programmes (aid architecture), rather than on what to do and the specific content of these programmes. Exports from developing countries, especially from sub-Saharan Africa, continue to be concentrated in few commodities, and diversification into new exports and markets remains poor. More details