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Denmark to reduce development aid because of higher spending on refugees

Staff Writer |
Denmark will reduce its development aid donations in 2016 because of the increasing spending on refugees, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said.

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The Danish aid budget in 2015 amounted to $2.6 billion, or 0.85 percent of the country’s gross national income (GNI), surpassing an international donor commitment of at least 0.7 percent of GNI.

"Yet Danish ODA [official development assistance] is programmed to fall back to 0.7% of GNI from 2016. This budget reduction, along with staff cutbacks, organisational changes and an expected tripling in spending on refugees in Denmark in 2016…will put pressure on development programmes and aid planning," the OECD said.

The organization noted that in 2014 Denmark sent the equivalent of 0.26 percent of its GNI to aid the poorest countries, exceeding a UN target of 0.15-0.20 percent.

"Denmark has shown a strong commitment to poverty reduction and humanitarian aid over the years, as well as providing guidance on human rights and gender equality for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

"The challenge now will be to ensure that a smaller aid budget and fast-rising refugee costs do not derail this excellent record," OECD Acting Director of Development Mario Pezzini was quoted as saying in the statement.

Amid a major migrant influx to Europe, in 2015, the number of refugees that applied for asylum in Denmark exceeded 21,000.

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