OFFICIAL development assistance (ODA) to Asia and Oceania declined 3.7% last year, forcing recipients to identify priorities for emergency needs and other projects that require immediate funding, the United Nations Global Crisis Response Group (UNGCRG) said.

“At a time when slowing economic growth, rising inflation and other macroeconomic challenges put pressure on aid budgets, dealing with new emergencies is inevitably complex,” the UNGCRG said in a report.

ODA is deemed “one of the most stable and predictable sources” of external financing during a crisis, the UNGCRG said.

The report found that ODA to Asia and Oceania dropped to $2.9 billion in 2022. Countries in Africa were the biggest recipients of ODA at $3.5 billion, which represented a drop of 4.1% from a year earlier.

Least developed countries received $2.4 billion worth of ODA. Latin America and the Caribbean received $2.1 billion.

Around 70 developing countries, including the 24 least developed countries and 15 small island developing states, saw their ODA decline.

“International crises leave visible marks on the ODA landscape, generating new demands and reshuffling priorities,” the UNGCRG added.

Global ODA totaled $287 billion last year, but remained $143 billion below the 0.7% of gross national income target, as stated in UN sustainable development goal 17 or “Partnerships for the goals.”

Multilateral lenders and research institutions have projected global growth to slow until next year.

“Inflation, food insecurity, the cost-of-living crisis, supply chain disruptions and tightening financial conditions are among the pressing challenges added to a world recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and facing the threats of climate change and conflicts,” the report said. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz