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Public Opinion and International Development Co-operation in OECD DAC Member Countries

Fredag 00. november 2003

A summary from
Public Opinion, Global Education and Development Co-operation Reform: In Search of a Virtous Circle (pdf),
by Ida Mc Donnell, Henri-Bernard Solignac Lecomte and Liam Wegimont,
OECD/DAC Development Centre, November 2003

Public Opinion and International Development Co-operation in OECD DAC Member Countries:

Summary of Trends

  1. Public support in OECD DAC member countries for helping poor countries has remained consistently high for almost two decades: there is no aid fatigue.
  2. Donations from the public to development and emergency NGOs have been increasing, mostly in reaction to emergencies and natural disasters in developing countries.
  3. Concern among the public about aid effectiveness exists alongside continued high support for aid.
  4. The relationship between public support and ODA volumes is complex, but a positive correlation exists at the national level between satisfaction with ODA volume, and reaching or bypassing the UN target of 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income.
  5. People’s understanding of poverty and development issues remains very shallow. Public awareness about ODA and development co-operation policies is also low.
  6. Awareness does increase significantly as a result of global education, awareness raising campaigns, public debate and media focus.
  7. The majority of people identify the media as a primary source of information about developing countries, although there is some evidence of scepticism about the nature of the information.
  8. Official expenditure on global education and on information about national aid programmes has been increasing in some OECD countries, but remains very low.
  9. Better educated, more aware, young and urban dwelling individuals are stronger supporters of development co-operation.

Policy Conclusions

Citizens in OECD countries unambiguously support more solidarity and justice at the international level: if they were better educated and knew more about global development issues, they could provide informed, critical support to reformers in their country, so as to foster more vigorous, more efficient and coherent development co-operation policies. Engaging critical public support in the fight against global poverty requires:

  1. better and more internationally comparable data on public opinion and international development co-operation, for closer and more coherent monitoring of trends. This can be achieved through closer co-ordination among DAC member countries Information Units.
  2. a significant stepping up of investment in global education, including determining adequate targets for spending.
  3. more transparent information on development co-operation policies, which also requires a significant increased investment in information services. OECD countries have taken steps in that direction, some as part of a more general move towards a more consultative and participatory type of governance at home.

Redaktør: Arnfinn Nygaard
Sist oppdatert: 12. januar
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