New report reveals only 5% of global aid targets children: NZ called on to do more

08 May 2024 by World Vision
New report reveals only 5% of global aid  targets children: NZ called on to do more

  • New research by World Vision and Ernst & Young finds the impact of aid investment in children is 10 times what is put in.
  • Only 5% of development aid directly targets children despite children making up nearly half of aid-receiving populations.
  • The report recommends global government and world leaders urgently deliver a 10% increase in development spending targeted to children.
A new report by World Vision, in collaboration with Ernst & Young, reveals that a meagre 5% of Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) is directly targeted to benefit children.

This is despite the fact children make up nearly half of aid-receiving populations and that every US$1 invested in child-related programming yields a ten-fold return.

World Vision New Zealand’s National Director Grant Bayldon says the Putting Children First for Sustainable Development report demonstrates the unequivocal social and economic benefits of development aid and its long-term impact.

“The world’s most vulnerable children deserve better. We know that investing in children is the right thing to do; but this report clearly shows that it also makes huge economic sense too.

“We are in the midst of a global crisis for children with millions facing hunger, lack of education, poor nutrition and now a perilous future in the face of conflict and climate change. The funding targeted to directly assist children must increase,” he says.

Bayldon says it’s time for the New Zealand government, and other governments around the world, to make a real commitment to the world’s most vulnerable children.

He says the New Zealand Government could make an immediate and impactful difference by increasing the country’s Overseas Development Assistance to 0.5% of Gross National Income (GNI). It currently sits at 0.23% of GNI.

“The four-year allocation for New Zealand's International Development Cooperation ends on June 30, 2024 and we urge the new government to boost Official Development Assistance (ODA) in the next cycle.

“We like to see our ODA contribution align with OECD recommendations calling for clear targets and progress towards the global 0.7% of gross national income standard.[i]

“New Zealand’s ODA has remained stagnant at around 0.23% for half a century. It's time for New Zealand to match or exceed this benchmark, starting with a 10% increase in child-related investment,” Bayldon says.

Furthermore, he says a children's lens should be applied to any ODA increase to ensure that funding is child-focused and targeted at those who need it most.

“This is particularly relevant for New Zealand’s aid contributions in the Pacific. At least half the population of the Pacific is under 23 and we need to provide these children and young people with the best possible start in life to ensure they can grow and thrive in the future. That’s in New Zealand’s interests and the Pacific region more broadly,” Bayldon says.

The new report delivers strong recommendations for all ODA-contributing countries including:
  • Increasing child-related investment: A minimum of a 10% increase in child-related investment by each ODA-contributing country each year has the potential to double the impact of current funding.
  • Putting a child lens on all diplomatic and development policy and strategies: Children should be a priority for funding and key political policies.
  • Being accountable to children: Young people should be consulted as part of the donor policy making processes, as well as in national and global forums discussing development issues.
Bayldon says the long-term impact of investing in children is huge.

“Investing in children fosters lasting improvements to their welfare and living standards, along with their families and communities. We believe that targeted aid for children must rise to fund much-needed healthcare, education, protection and support in emergencies. This will help ensure that every girl and boy can achieve their true potential in life.”