General Trends in ODA
Official Development Assistance (ODA) generally, though not exclusively, flows from developed to developing nations for investment in sustainable developments in civil society and the environment, including forests. The UN has set a target for developed countries to commit 0.7% of their Gross National Income (GNI) as ODA. With the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) average ODA/GNI ratio at only 0.22%, the 0.7% target is still a distant goal. Furthermore, the promised commitments of the Rio Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in 1992 have largely failed to materialise and whilst levels of ODA have risen, over the period 1990-1998, levels are generally low compared to UN targets.
The total Bilateral and Multilateral sustainable development ODA commitments to developing countries, including emergency assistance, for the period 1990 to 1998 is shown in Figure 1 below. Over this period, the commitment increased from US$ 60,699 million to US$ 77,549, represents an increase of some 28%.Figure 1. Combined Bilateral and Multilateral ODA to Developing Countries
Figure 1. shows the combined Bilateral and Multilateral ODA to developing countries between 1990 to 1998. The proportion of the commitments by major Agenda 21 category are shown as stacked bars. These figures are for developing countries and do not include ODA to least developed and small island states. The source of these data is the OECD Creditor Reporting System, DESA (2000).
Within these figures are ODA commitments to forests, which are masked by the categorisation of the data into Agenda 21 categories. The main Agenda 21 category of Conservation and Management of Resources, show in blue in Figure 1, is expanded into it component parts and is shown below in Figure 2.Figure 2. Bilateral and Multilateral ODA Commitments in Conservation and Management of Resources between 1990 and 1998.
The categorisation of these figures makes it difficult to ascertain exactly how much ODA has been committed to forests, as forest activities may be included in a number of the sub-categories. Conservation and Management of Resources main category shows in (Figure 2) that the allocation for this category rose from US$ 14 041 million in 1990, peaked at US$ 14 434 million in 1996, only to fall back to US$ 12 531 million in 1998, a decline of more than 10%.
Assuming that forest activities occur mainly within sub-categories of land resources and combating deforestation (in green and brown in Figure 2) , these activities have fallen from 13.1% to 10.97% of the Conservation and Management of Resources total. This represents a fall from 2.99% to 1.73% of the total combined Bilateral and Multilateral ODA for the period.
Overall ODA commitments have risen over the period between 1990 - 1998. Within the overall commitments some categories have benefited more that others. Indeed, some categories have benefited at the expense of others, Conservation and Management of Resources being one of the loosers.