Survey results on LDC-specific bilateral ODA

2012. To enhance the bi-lateral support received by LDCs from the international development community, it is necessary to identify the existing LDC-specific ODA and their use by LDCs. As it is often difficult to obtain such information, a survey on ODA flows and development cooperation policies related to LDC status was conducted in order to identify the extent of provisions and use of the LDC-specific international support measures. A total of 17 countries participated in the survey, of which 15 are members of OECD/DAC.

The result of the survey suggests that the LDC category does not seem to have attracted more attention from donors than other developing countries. The LDC category itself, and some of the criteria which are used to identify LDCs, especially  the Economic Vulnerability Index, are not explicitly taken into consideration by donors when they determine their ODA priorities. It leads to a skewed sectoral distribution of aid to LDCs, which concentrates heavily on social infrastructure and assigns lower priority to economic infrastructure and productive sectors. A great deal of ODA flows seems to be determined by considerations other than LDC status, such as the conflict situation, the historical relationship between the donor and the recipient country, and so on.

While improvements were noted on the delivery of ODA to LDCs with respect to the level of ODA, grant element, untying aid, and conditionalities, very few bi-lateral donors have established LDC specific programmes and technical assistance initiatives.

Some bi-lateral donors indicated that they provided assistance for smooth transition of graduated LDCs. However, the effect of graduation on donors’ ODA policies is mixed. For some donors, graduation would result in a change in the development cooperation policy, while for others, it would not. Donors’ views on whether graduating and graduated countries should have continued access to LDC-specific programmes are divided.

The survey was conducted by UN Committee for Development Policy Secretariat (CDP), with the assistance of Development Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD/DAC) and the Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (OHRLLS). Survey participants include Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, European Commission, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Republic of Korea, Luxemburg, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, and Sweden, as well as two non-OECD/DAC countries, Iceland and Thailand.

By Namsuk Kim
The content, findings, interpretations, and conclusions as expressed in this article reflect the views of its author and do not necessarily represent the views of the United Nations.