Opinion column - ODA budget cuts: Action Education takes action

Action Education is a signatory of Coordination Sud's article published in Le Monde on 27 February 2024. The text, signed by over 100 organisations, denounces the French government's decision to cut official development assistance (ODA) by 742 million euros. This decision contradicts France's commitments and the principles of international solidarity.

On 18 February, the French government, through the Minister of the Economy and Finance Bruno Lemaire, announced its decision to make savings of 10 billion euros from this year. Among the main sectors affected by these budget cuts is official development assistance, which will have to forego €742 million. It should be noted that at the end of 2023, the French government had already refused to increase the budget for official development assistance (+0.08 % compared with 2023) in a context of "reducing the public deficit".

A budget cut with serious consequences for the most vulnerable

This unprecedented announcement is contrary to presidential commitments and to Law 2021-1031 on programming for inclusive development and the fight against global inequalities, passed unanimously by members of parliament in August 2021, which provided for a continuous increase in ODA and the achievement, by 2025, of the target of 0.7 % of gross national income. For Action Education, this massive cut is unacceptable and will have dramatic consequences for the most vulnerable populations. Projects and programmes guaranteeing access to essential services such as water, food and education will be cancelled in a difficult global context where crises and human rights violations are on the increase.

All the NGOs involved

For all the international solidarity organisations, this announcement came as a wake-up call, leading to an immediate general mobilisation. As a result Coordination Sud, the national coordination body for French solidarity organisations published on Tuesday 27 February a article in the daily newspaper Le Monde . The text, signed by more than a hundred organisations, including Action Education and the Education Coalitionwhich we lead, is denouncing a real step backwards for official development assistance.

Is France turning back, shirking its responsibility towards international solidarity?Does the President want to go against the law that he himself initiated and promulgated in August 2021, after its unanimous adoption by the parliamentary groups and providing for a significant increase in funding? "All the international solidarity organisations are asking.

Together, we are calling on the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, to reverse his decision and reaffirm that its commitment to international solidarity.

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