New report reveals only 5% of global aid targets children

New report reveals only 5% of global aid targets children

A new report conducted by children’s charity World Vision in collaboration with Ernst & Young Australia has revealed that every $1 invested in child-related Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) yields a staggering $10 return. The ‘Putting Children First for Sustainable Development’ report quantifies the strong social and economic benefits of ODA and its long-term impact.    

However, shockingly, the report also found that despite the positive impact of investment, of the $207 billion annual global ODA investment, only 5% is child-focused, with a further 7% allocated to broader child-benefitting programmes even though children constitute 46% of aid-receiving populations.   

This key disparity highlights a critical gap in global development efforts which needs to be urgently addressed. With a general election looming, World Vision UK is using the report’s evidence and recommendations to call on the next UK government and world leaders, to advocate for a 10% increase in development spending targeted for children.   

The charity would like the next UK government to appoint a Special Envoy for Children within FCDO to prioritise children in all development policies and commit to developing a cross-FCDO Child Rights Strategy. The charity has launched a petition asking that the next government ensures children’s voices are heard in policy-making.   

The new report delivers strong recommendations for all ODA-contributing countries:  

  • Increase child-related investment: A minimum of a 10% increase in child-related investment by each ODA-contributing country each year has the potential to double the impact of current funding. 
  • Put a child lens on all diplomatic and development policies and strategies: Children should be a priority for funding and key political policies. 
  • Be accountable to children: Young people should be consulted as part of donor policy-making processes, and national and global forums discussing development issues. The UK government should use their influence at the upcoming G20 Summit and Summit of the Future to ensure children’s needs are not forgotten. 

The report is set to be launched at an event hosted by Sarah Champion MP, the Chair of the International Development Select Committee (IDC). At the event, Sarah will highlight the need for attention to child-focused development initiatives and the urgency of addressing the critical aid gap in global development.   

Sarah Champion MP said:

“Across the globe – from the Middle East to Sub-Saharan Africa and from Europe to the Indo-Pacific – children are bearing the brunt of a heartbreaking range of intersecting crises. Despite children being among those most affected by poverty, conflict and hunger, only 5% of global ODA spend is directly child-related. Prioritising investment for children makes sense and is the way to maximise the benefits from ODA programmes and I hope the publication of this report will be an important step in addressing the inequalities in ODA spending.” 

Photograph credit: World Vision.

Fola Komolafe, MBE DL, World Vision UK CEO said:

“Our report proves the enormous value and impact that development aid has on the lives of the world’s most vulnerable children. But worryingly, it also reveals a major problem with prioritising this vital assistance, with only 5% of ODA directly targeting children. Today I’m setting the challenge for the next UK government to address this inequality and increase aid by 10%. I would also like to request a Special Envoy for Children appointed within FCDO to put young people’s rights at the heart of policy decisions.   

“This essential support will help millions of vulnerable children with vital access to healthcare, education, protection and emergency services. We risk failing the world’s children if they are not prioritised by world leaders. The next UK government must act immediately to stop the needs of children being overlooked.”