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Understanding development aid

Official development assistance (ODA) is an essential public policy for the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on a global scale.

ODA is public funding, provided by governments to developing countries. It is but one of the many different sources of development financing which will help to achieve the SDGs by 2030.

But ODA stands out from the other sources, private in particular, in that government ODA financing is intended to support the needs and human development of the poorest populations, thus implementing the the SDGs’ overarching objective to "leave no-one behind".

This section offers an overview of how and where official development assistance is used, to provide a picture of the successes and challenges of this particular form of development financing, which remains a lifesaving investment for millions of the poorest people around the world.

English translations of the full range of our Policy Notes will be online by the end of 2019.


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