Adapting Aid to End Poverty: Delivering the Commitment to Leave No One Behind in the Context of Covid-19

Hurley, G. , Dodd, A. , Knox, D. & Christensen, Z.
Publication language
Date published
04 Nov 2020
Research, reports and studies
Coordination, Multi-sector/cross-sector, Development & humanitarian aid, COVID-19, Epidemics & pandemics, Funding and donors, Poverty, Response and recovery, No poverty (SDG)

This report calls for us to refocus ODA (aid) in the context of Covid-19, shifting the ‘leave no one behind’ agenda from inclusive growth to inclusive recovery. It analyses changes to poverty and how the pandemic has impacted finance vital to the poorest people.

The Covid-19 pandemic is having a devastating impact on human development around the world. In the short term, millions of people have lost their lives, livelihoods, incomes and months of education. But the impacts are likely to reverberate for years, including on the education, job prospects and the wellbeing of an entire generation. This is likely to impact the poorest people hardest – pushing some people even further behind. Official development assistance (ODA) is needed now more than ever, and it needs to support a recovery that is inclusive, sustained and resilient.

Our analysis of the data shows that despite warm words from donors and pledges to focus on the poorest people and places, patterns in ODA allocation have shifted little over time. Now is an opportune moment to reflect on how ODA might refocus to ensure it is most responsive to the immense harm caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, in both the short and long term, and reaches those that need it most.

The Covid-19 pandemic has increased the incidence of extreme income poverty in both low-income and middle-income countries. However, as the data shows, it is the poorest countries and fragile states that have fewer financial resources to emerge from this crisis quickly. ODA resources will be more important than ever before, and it is incumbent on the international donor community to ensure that ODA does not decline as a consequence of the crisis.

So how can ODA be most responsive to this new context? What does the data tell us? Addressing this crisis means addressing long-term challenges and imbalances in the allocation of ODA. Here we pose key questions and outline our recommendations for donors.

Development Initiatives (DI)