Malta’s overseas development aid way off €30 million target

Malta should be earmarking 0.33% of its €9.3 billion GNI for overseas development aid, but instead in 2017 it will be spending just €900,000

Foreign affairs minister Carmelo Abela
Foreign affairs minister Carmelo Abela

Foreign minister Carmelo Abela has admitted that Malta’s overseas development aid targets set by the European Union have not been reached.

Overseas development aid (ODA) is financial aid given by governments and other agencies to support the economic, environmental, social, and political development of developing countries.

As a member state of the EU, Malta had committed to reach 0.33% of its gross national income in overseas development aid by 2015. In 2016, Malta’s GNI was estimated at some €9.3 billion, meaning that Malta had to donate €33 million as overseas financial aid.

However, the country’s overseas development aid in 2016 was at €800,000 and in 2017 the government was pledging just €900,000.

Speaking at developing aid charity SKOP’s business breakfast on UN sustainable development goals (SDGs), Abela said that his ministry was in talks with the finance ministry to increase ODA spending

The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals are international agreements that target change in 17 areas, including gender equality and poverty.

“Right now our ministry is working with the Finance ministry, encouraging it to allocate the necessary funds to increase [ODA],” he told MaltaToday.

“Our goal is to try to reach the development goal as outlined by the EU,” the MP insisted. “We’re not reaching the goal right now, but we’re trying to do so while managing the challenge of immigration”.

During a speech to local council representatives, Abela emphasised the importance of civil society in efforts to reach sustainable development goals, one of which is to reduce inequality within and among countries.

“Change starts at home,” emphasised the MP, congratulating SKOP on its Teacher Training Programme, which educates teachers on sustainable development goals.

Abela will be presenting the Voluntary National Review to the United Nations next year. The review outlines SDG progress at national and sub-national levels and “will share their lessons learnt with Malta”.

Abela also highlighted the central role of Malta in the development field during the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, which “provided an unparalleled opportunity to work actively in the field of sustainable development”.