Wednesday, November 25, 2015

It's OK, it's ODA

BBC staff have been briefed that the new Government funding for the World Service is coming from the Official Development Assistance budget, channelled by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. So that's alright, then.

The Government has a commitment to spend 0.7% of gross national income on ODA; that came to a total of £11,775m in 2014. The biggest single recipient in 2015/16 is classified as "Aid-related front line diplomacy", at  £132m; then comes the British Council, at £115m; and the "Diplomatic Influence and Values Programme" at £90m. The "Prosperity Programme" follows at £30m. We dosh up the UN with £15m and the Council of Europe with £10m. These figures were issued before the BBC funding programme was announced.

There are international "rules" on what should be classified as ODA spend, held by the OECD, which stresses it must have "the promotion of the economic welfare and development of developing countries" as its main objective. "Cultural programmes in developing countries whose main purpose is to promote the culture or values of the donor are not reportable as ODA."  You decide.

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