Since the beginning of the 90’s, despite strong political commitments made by donor countries for the water sector (one of the main recommendations of the Camdessus Panel is that financing to the water sector is expected to double if the water-related MDGs are to be met), the amounts of ODA for water have risen only slightly from 2.8 billion dollars in 1992 to 3.8 billion in 2002.
After a worrying decrease in commitments between 1999 and 2002, it seems that the downward trend has now been reversed as a large rise in commitments can be observed in the year 2004, with annual ODA amount reaching 4.8 billion dollars. But the large increase observed in 2004 is largely due to the important amounts of ODA for water provided to Iraq, which received 887 million dollars in 2004, that is 18% of the total amount.
In real terms, however, and when excluding Iraq, the current level of ODA for water is lower than in 1996 (3958 million 2004 dollars vs 4176 in 1996). This situation is particularly worrying as in other priority sectors, such as education or health, the level of ODA has doubled in the same period. There is thus a large aid deficit in the water sector relative to the financing that would be required to meet the water-related MDGs. Increasing aid flows to the water sector should be an immediate priority for donors.
The figure below also illustrates the large variability of ODA for water from one year to another, which leads to the unpredictability of aid flows in the water sector (Confirmed by the recipient-side analysis in the WMA Country Profiles).