On 4 April 2006, the Development Assistance Committee of the OECD released provisional 2005 aid figures for its 22 member countries. Overall, official development assistance (ODA) increased significantly in 2005 to US $106.5 billion from the US $79.6 billion provided in 2004. The sharp increase in ODA levels was due to sizable debt relief operations and one-off relief for countries affected by the tsunami, while the underlying growth in funding for development assistance was more moderate.
Debt relief totalled $23 billion in 2005 and grew by more than 400% between 2004 and 2005. In particular, there were large debt relief operations in favour of Iraq and Nigeria. $14 billion was provided in debt relief for Iraq alone in 2005. This forms a sizable proportion of the $26.9 billion increase in ODA between 2004 and 2005. While such relief may be important necessary, it does not constitute fresh funding for the achievement of the MDGs in the poorest countries and for the poorest people.
The growth in underlying funding for development aid was moderate at 8.7%. For some countries the slow pace of growth of fresh funding may leave them with substantial financial and institutional challenges in meeting commitments for increased aid in future years, particularly as the possibility to bolster ODA figures with debt relief will be largely exhausted in the next year or two.