Industrialized Countries - Progress and Disparity

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Targeting poverty

In the battle against poverty, basic social services are fundamental. This means securing people's access to education, health care, adequate nutrition, family planning services, and safe water and sanitation.

UNICEF and other development agencies promote the 20/20 Initiative, which calls on governments of donor and developing countries to allot 20% of their development assistance and national budgets, respectively, to basic services.

Donor countries are becoming more explicit and transparent in reporting on their support for basic services. In the past three years, annual reports on aid by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have included data on bilateral (or country-to-country) aid to basic education and health. All but 5 of 21 donors provided data on at least one of these categories in the latest report.

Among countries providing data in 1995, the United States gave the highest portion of bilateral aid to basic health care: 5.3%. Germany provided 4.0% of its bilateral aid for basic education, the highest among countries reporting. These are disappointing figures compared to the target of 20%.

 

Copyright © UNICEF/96-0274/Toutounji

Aid should target people's basic needs, such as water and sanitation. Here, two girls use a handpump in a village near Asyut (Egypt).

 
Aid to the basics
  % of total aid (1995) committed to:
  Basic education Basic health
United States 1.8 5.3
Sweden 3.1 5.0
Australia 2.6 3.7
Belgium 0.3 3.6
Norway 1.1 3.5
Canada 0.1 3.1
Spain 0.9 3.0
Netherlands 1.2 2.9
Germany 4.0 1.4
Italy - 1.4
Finland - 0.9
New Zealand 0.1 0.7
Japan 0.5 0.6
Switzerland 0.4 0.5
Austria - 0.4
Portugal 0.1 0.4
Denmark - -
France - -
Ireland - -
Luxembourg   - -
United Kingdom - -
Total 1.2 1.7

Source: OECD, Development Co-operation (1997 report), 1998.

 

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