What is ODA?

UK Aid or Official Development Assistance (ODA) is funding provided by official agencies around the world, including the UK government, to promote the economic development and welfare of developing countries.

The primary purpose of programmes funded by the Newton Fund and GCRF must be to benefit a country (or more than one country) on the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) list.

The Newton Fund and Global Challenges Research Fund and are an integral part of the UK’s strategy to address key development challenges such as human health, food security and climate change.

Our funds aim to deliver the UK aid strategy by:

  • strengthening global peace, security and governance
  • strengthening resilience and response to crises
  • promoting global prosperity
  • tackling extreme poverty and helping the world’s most vulnerable

Queries about ODA compliance

Applicants should ensure they have considered existing advice on ODA eligibility. Any queries about the ODA eligibility of projects should be raised with the relevant delivery partner as early as possible.

The OECD website has more information and a detailed definition of Official Development Assistance. Further information can be found at:

For spend to be eligible as Official Development Assistance (ODA) its primary purpose must be to benefit a country (or more than one country) on the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) list.

The activity and associated spend does not have to take place in an ODA-eligible country for it to score as ODA, as long as ODA-eligible countries are be the primary intended beneficiaries of the activity.

The ‘benefit’ should be something that promotes and specifically targets the economic development and welfare of the DAC country(ies).

Benefitting country(ies) should be determined at the formation/award of a project/programme). It should be made clear who this work is primarily intending to benefit. (Unless the scope of the work changes, in which case benefitting country(ies) and eligibility would be re-assessed). There should be no speculation as to who might benefit when determining benefitting country(ies).

There are guidelines to ODA eligibility, but slight differences in context and detail could mean that an activity would or would not be ODA eligible. Therefore when trying to decide whether an activity is ODA eligible, it is important to focus on the questions which would typically be asked for by the OECD.

Questions you may wish to consider regarding your project’s ODA eligibility include:

  • Is the project addressing the economic development and welfare of the country in question?
  • Are the countries involved on the DAC List of ODA Recipients (the Development Assistant Committee of the OECD)
  • Is there a development need that my project or activity is addressing?
  • Is this credible or is there evidence of the need?
  • How would this project or activity be applied in the country?
  • What would the impact of my  project or activity be, and who would benefit?
  • How does my project or activity contribute to sustainable development?
  • Would this lead to a reduction in poverty in a developing country?
  • What would success for this activity look like?
  • How would success or impact be measured?

 

Yes, the Newton Fund* and GCRF investments are classed and reported as official development assistance.

All UK Aid (Official Development Assistance) complies with the international standards set by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The primary consideration of any ODA activity is that it must promote the economic development and welfare of developing countries as its main objective.

*Under the Newton Fund, the UK’s ODA investment is matched by investment and resources from partner countries but only the UK’s portion of the investment is classed and reported as ODA.

UK Aid or Official Development Assistance (ODA) is funding provided by official agencies around the world, including the UK government, to promote the economic development and welfare of developing countries. 

Research and innovation can lead to economic growth and play a decisive role in delivering the Sustainable Development Goals. In recent decades, significant progress has been made in improving people’s health, making the world a better place for women, designing laws that foster open and just societies, and protecting our planet. 

The Newton Fund and Global Challenges Research Fund and are an integral part of the UK’s strategy to address key development challenges such as human health, food security and climate change. 

Our funds aim to deliver the UK aid strategy by:

  • strengthening global peace, security and governance
  • strengthening resilience and response to crises
  • promoting global prosperity
  • tackling extreme poverty and helping the world’s most vulnerable