Skip navigation

Financing for Development


  • Official development assistance (ODA) stands at 0.31 per cent of national income for developed countries, far short of the recommended 0.7 per cent UN target. (Only five donor countries have reached or exceeded this target.)
  • Debt burdens have eased for developing countries and remain well below historical levels.

Despite falling short of expectations, ODA levels continue to rise nonetheless, reaching almost $120 billion in 2009, an all-time high. In a positive sign on trade, developing countries are increasingly gaining access to global markets. Meanwhile, access to information and communications technology (ICT) is also expanding ― but still closed to the majority of the world’s people.


Starting in 2008, the Council has held its biennial Development Cooperation Forum (DCF) every two years, bringing countries together to review aid effectiveness and to scale-up partnership efforts.

The DCF had an impact of the outcome document of the Doha Follow-up Conference on Financing for Development in November/December 2008.  The conference re-emphasized the importance of the DCF as the focal point within the United Nations system for holistic consideration of issues of international development cooperation and recognized the efforts of the forum to improve the quality of ODA and to increase its development impact.

UN System

Since its adoption in 2002, the UN-brokered Monterrey Consensushas become the major reference point for international development cooperation. The document embraces six areas of Financing for Development:

  1. Mobilizing domestic financial resources for development.
  2. Mobilizing international resources for development, including foreign direct investment and other private flows.
  3. Encouraging international trade as an engine for development.
  4. Increasing international financial and technical cooperation for development.
  5. “Forgiving” external debt.
  6. Addressing systemic issues, like enhancing the coherence and consistency of the international monetary, financial and trading systems in support of development.

In 2011, the 5th High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development was held at UN Headquarters in New York. There, proposals to reform the international monetary and financial system were considered, as were their implications for development.

A special high-level meeting is held every spring with the leadership of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization and UNCTAD on the follow-up to the Consensus. These meetings have helped to deepen the dialogue between the United Nations and international financial and trade institutions, and strengthened their partnership for achieving the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development goals.

Further reading…

Documents by category