Responsibilities for development cooperation
Main responsibilities for Portuguese aid lie with the Portuguese
Institute for Development Support (IPAD). IPAD is part of the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it is responsible for the planning,
supervision and coordination of Portuguese aid.
Other actors in development cooperation include: i) Foreign
Affairs Commission of the Parliament, ii) Inter-ministerial
Commission for Cooperation (CIC), iii) 15 different ministries,
iv) 308 municipal governments, v) universities and other public
Contribution to the Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s)
In November 2005, the Council of Ministers approved the new
strategy for development co-operation entitled “A strategic
vision for Portuguese co-operation”. The strategy cites
commitment to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
as one of the five guiding principles of Portuguese development
Portugal’s record on aid
Portuguese ODA (Official Development Assistance)
represented 0.27% of GNI (Gross National Income) in 2008,
up from 0.22% in 2007. Portugal’s ratio of ODA to GNI lags
far behind the average country effort of DAC-EU countries
(0.42%) and will most likely miss the 2010 target of 0.51%.
In 2008, Portugal was the third worst-performing country
among DAC-EU member states in terms of ODA/GNI.
Portugal provided 614 million USD in net ODA in 2008, up
from 471 million in 2007. In 2008, Portugal was the second
worst performing country among the DAC-EU member states
in terms of aid volume after Luxemburg. None of Portugal’s
2008 ODA represents debt relief grants (form of debt
reorganisation which relieves the overall burden of debt).
In its 2000 Peer Review, the OECD/DAC recommended
to Portugal to keep increasing its ODA in order to meet its
international commitments. It also adds that Portugal should
create an implementation plan detailing how it expects to
attain its 2010 target.
Portugal’s share of bilateral aid (in this case, the aid given by
Portugal to a developing country) was 57% in 2007.
In Portugal’s 2006 Peer Review, the OECD-DAC commends
Portugal for concentrating bilateral aid on a small number of LDCs (least-developed countries) and allocating a high
proportion of aid to Sub-Saharan Africa, where it is most
needed. Moreover, nine of its top ten recipients, including 5 of
its 6 priority countries, are fragile or conflict-affected states.
By region, Sub-Saharan Africa received the greatest share of
Portugal’s bilateral ODA (53.0%). By country, top recipients
of gross bilateral ODA in 2006-07 were Cape Verde and Timor-Leste.
Country programmable aid (CPA) is the proportion of aid
that developing countries can allocate according to their
development needs. CPA represented 65% of Portugal’s
gross ODA in 2005 – one of the best ratios among DAC-EU
peers, exceeding the combined figure across all DAC countries
In 2007, only 58% of Portugal’s aid was untied (tied aid is
assistance given to developing countries which must be used to
purchase goods and services from the donor country).
Portugal has the lowest share of untied aid among its peer
nations. A significant proportion of tied Portuguese aid is
disbursed as Technical Cooperation (TC). Portugal should
strive to fully untie its aid, as Luxembourg, the Netherlands,
and the UK have already done.
In 2006 and 2008, The OECD/DAC conducted a Survey on
Monitoring the Paris Declaration to gauge the progress of
donor nations toward improving aid effectiveness. The report
finds that between 2005 and 2007, Portugal performed below
the majority of its peer donor countries on most indicators of
aid effectiveness (transparency and accountability of funding
mechanisms, coordinated technical assistance, predictability of
aid- precise time tables on aid delivery, harmonisation of donor
procedures, number and extent of joint missions).
The DAC recommends that Portugal design and implement
a “multi-year, results-based action plan” to modify its
development policies and procedures in line with the
poverty reduction framework set out in the new strategy for
development cooperation adopted in 2005.
Portugal’s new strategy for development cooperation includes
a commitment to intensify inter-ministerial cooperation and
policy coherence and calls for several new mechanisms to be
implemented to increase collaboration among actors.
The Inter-Ministerial Committee for Cooperation (CIC)
facilitates greater coordination among the various
stakeholders of Portuguese Cooperation through sessions with
representatives of ministries, the preparation of Cooperation
programmes or simple discussion on Cooperation issues.
The Portuguese government has just recently launched the
Forum for Development Cooperation which gathers all relevant
public and private actors working on development cooperation.
In Portugal’s 2006 Peer Review, the OECD/DAC suggests
that Portugal adopt policy coherence for development as a
government objective at the highest political level and clarify
the role that the Council of Ministers for Cooperation (CIC)
and the Institute for Development Support (IPAD) might play
in promoting coherence across government ministries.
Portugal’s record on trade
Policy coherence for Development does not refer just to aid
policies: coherence of trade policies with development is key to
help create livelihoods in poor countries.
As an EU Member State, Portugal implements the Common
Agricultural Policy (CAP), providing subsidies and price
controls on agricultural commodities. Despite gradual reforms,
the CAP continues to distort the market for a wide range of
products of critical importance to developing countries, such
as cotton, dairy products, rice, fruits and vegetables, etc.
In Portugal’s 2006 Peer Review, the OECD-DAC notes that
Portugal supports the reform of the CAP and of the world
trade system to better serve the interests of developing
countries. However, Portugal has advocated for protectionist
policies where national interests are at stake. In June 2009,
Portugal joined with France and Spain in an attempt to preempt
the European Commission from cutting banana import
tariffs, which would threaten their production. In order to relaunch
WTO talks, the European Commission hopes to end
a historical trade dispute with Latin American producers by
significantly reducing its banana import tariffs.
Portugal appears to have made some progress on this issue,
though much work remains to be done. A 2009 Eurobarometer
survey asked EU citizens “Have you ever heard or read
about the Millennium Development Goals?” Of Portuguese
respondents, 35% reported that they had heard of the goals
yet understanding of the content is somewhat lower.
Reports by the OECD (2003) and the EC (2005) concluded
that Portugal had been slow to implement development
education strategies and public debate remained limited. A
December 2005 survey by the Portuguese NGO Platform and
the University of Aveiro reported that half of respondents were
unaware of Portuguese development cooperation and 85%
believed it to be unimportant.
Portugal’s 2005 strategy for development cooperation made
education for development a key priority, including in school
curricula. This strategy, particularly the development education
component, received broad support in Parliament.
The OECD-DAC recommended that IPAD create and
implement a National Strategy for Development Education.
Commitment to Development Index
The Centre for Global Development (CGD) ranks 22 of
the world’s richest countries based on their dedication to policies that benefit poor nations. CGD’s “Commitment
to Development Index” (CDI) looks at seven policy areas
important to developing countries: aid, trade, investment,
migration, environment, security and technology.
CGD’s 2009 Commitment to Development Index ranks
Portugal 15th among twenty-two OECD countries. This score
represents a rise in the rankings since 2006, when Portugal
was ranked 16th among 21 nations.
Portugal’s overall score is brought down by low marks on aid
and migration. Portugal allocates a very low share of GNI
to aid and accepts few refugees in the wake of humanitarian
On the positive side, Portugal performs well on the environment
and on security.
Updated: November 2009
For a more in-depth analysis and list of sources, please refer to the long
version of the What About.