• DAC-CSO Reference Group

War in Ukraine: demanding increased financing in humanitarian assistance, development and peace



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CSO Statement on ODA and War in Ukraine
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A CSO Statement on ODA at the time of Russia's war against Ukraine


May 2022


The CSO community stands in solidarity with the people of Ukraine. Many civil society organizations, both Ukrainian and from other countries, have been actively providing support in Ukraine and in the neighboring countries since the very early stages of the humanitarian crisis due to the invasion. This social resilience and quick response are also the result of the networks and international relationships forged by CSOs and faith groups over the past few years.


We are pleased that many DAC-members are directing development cooperation funds to emergency assistance in Ukraine or neighboring countries who desperately need the world to share the burdens caused by the war. However, we call on the donor community to mobilize additional resources to address the short-and long-term consequences of this conflict: the current geopolitical crisis, and the resulting spikes in food prices are possibly making 2022 the worst year yet for hunger, human insecurity, and risks of social and political unrest.


All nations have international and humanitarian obligations to provide refuge for those fleeing war, and more humanitarian support is necessary in Ukraine, whereas cuts to development, humanitarian and peacebuilding programmes elsewhere would be unacceptable and counterproductive in the long term. Now is the time to increase international assistance, as people suffer from Russia ́s war on Ukraine and multiple crises around the world.


The CSO community stands in solidarity with women, men, and children across the globe who are facing the most diverse challenges, from war to poverty, from climate crisis to structural inequalities; we are concerned about the growing threats to civic freedoms and the space of CSOs and Human Rights defenders, including in Russia. Harmful impacts of these multiple crises are aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has already pushed more than 100 million people into hunger and extreme poverty, causing at least two-thirds of households with children to lose income, and increased gender-based violence to levels so high that the alarm was sounded on a “GBV shadow pandemic”.


A failure to increase, or worse, a reduction of public development cooperation and humanitarian assistance budgets at a time when the world is already facing an unprecedented hunger crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic is not yet under control, would not only worsen humanitarian needs, but also further derail decades of development gains and threaten global peace and stability.


We have noted that several DAC member states are considering or announcing the use of development budgets for costs incurred within their own borders to sustain refugees from the war in Ukraine. Diverting aid budgets to in-donor country costs should be unthinkable, given the drastic increase of global injustice and the growing development and humanitarian financing gap. It is alarming that a formerly principled donor like Sweden just announced its highest ever cuts to the development budget. Other donors were also quick to announce cuts or diversions to face the current humanitarian crisis.


Developing countries host 85% of the world ́s refugees, and international assistance helps shoulder only a small portion of the costs. Most of the costs are carried by the countries and populations hosting them and the refugees themselves. DAC member states must be able to show that same solidarity with people fleeing Russia ́s war against Ukraine without making the world ́s poorest suffer cutbacks in the process. We urge DAC members to show leadership, step up and show more resolve to increase ODA.


This is the time to expand solidarity and invest more in humanitarian assistance, sustainable development and peace. Development cooperation must be part of the solution and is a critical pillar to strengthen a common future based on human rights and social, economic & environmental justice. We call on all ODA providers to safeguard current development and humanitarian budgets, honor standing commitments with partners and use additional resources in response to the current Ukraine humanitarian crisis in order to steadily move towards achieving their internationally agreed target of providing at least 0.7% of GNI as ODA.


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Act Church of Sweden; ActAlliance; ActionAid; AidWatch Canada; AKU; Alliance Sud; Ambrela; CARE International; Caritas Europa; CNCD-11.11.11; Coordiation Sud; CORDAID; CPDE; Crosol; CSPPS; Diakonia; EKVILIB; Eurodad; FIAN Sri Lanka Support; ForumCiv; Global Focus; IBON; KCOC, Korea NGO Council for Overseas Development Cooperation; LAPAS (LV Development platform); Lithuanian NGDO Platform; ONGD; Piango; Reality of Aid Asia Pacific; Reality of Aid Network; SLOGA; SMC; Sri Lanka Nature Group; Swedish Society for Nature Conservation; Trocaire; Vi Agroforestry; We Effect; Women’s international leagues for Peace & Freedom–Sweden.