editorial

Self help

Christoph Eder, corporAID

Issue 93 - Winter 2021/22

Christoph Eder, editor-in-chief of corporAID magazine
Christoph Eder, Editor-in-Chief

Zero point seven percent of gross national income has been the gold standard for the amount of development aid provided by industrialized countries for more than 50 years. As is so often the case when the international community declares great intentions, this is of course non-binding and has only been achieved by a few countries in the past - the Scandinavian countries are considered model students here, but recently Germany has also jumped the bar. Austria has not yet succeeded in doing this.

It should be so far for the first time in 2022. 0,87 percent or almost 3,5 billion euros are estimated. This is not made possible by a newly established development cooperation in the face of pressing global challenges, but by Austria's participation in the debt relief of Sudan. Its debts come from export credits from the 1970s, and today nobody knows exactly what was financed with them. Success is therefore really not the all-time high in Austrian development efforts - and there is just as little perspective for domestic development cooperation.

The latter is chronically dreary despite the phrase "help on site" that has been used frequently in recent years. Without debt relief, Austria spends an average of around one billion euros on global development, more than half of which goes to international organizations and the European Union. In order to get from this around 0,25 percent of GNI to the long promised 0,7 percent, Austria would have to spend an additional two billion euros annually. So that one does not attract further attention internationally, 0,5 percent would probably be enough - but in this scenario too, one billion more would be needed every year for global development.

In reality, domestic politicians are happy when they donate a few million more for humanitarian aid, international climate funds or the Development agency ADA provides. Unfortunately, it fundamentally fails to recognize the challenges in the area of ​​development finance. Because it is foreseeable that the international community and thus also Austria will have to invest substantially in global sustainable development and international climate protection in the coming years. 

The domestic structures are not designed for this in the first place - Austria has a turnover of around 200 million euros with these, which would have to be multiplied. At least if you want to use Austrian funds yourself and combine them with local skills and interests. It would therefore be more than sensible to create suitable structures in good time. Because one thing is clear: practical inability will not release Austria from its international obligations.

Photo: Mihai M. Mitrea