What about Portugal?

End Poverty 2016 millennium campaign

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 institutions.

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 co-operation.

Portugal’s record on aid
Aid quantity

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.

Aid quality
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 (47%).

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.

Policy coherence

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.

Public Opinion

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.