Spain

At a glance

 

Download

Funding trends

  • Spain’s ODA was US$3.5 billion (in current prices) in 2021, making it the 12th-largest Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC) donor in absolute terms. Spain spent 0.25% of its GNI on ODA, earning the rank of twentieth-largest donor in relative terms. 
  • According to the General State Budget for 2022, Spain’s ODA is set at €3.5 billion (US$4.0 billion), or 0.28% of the country’s gross national income (GNI). This budget represents a 4% increase compared to 2021 ODA.
  • In turn, on January 11, 2022, the Spanish government launched a new development cooperation bill draft for Sustainable Development Cooperation and Global Solidarity that will replace the current law dated 1998. The new development law draft reportedly includes, for the first time in Spain’s history, the objective of increasing Spain’s ODA to 0.7% of GNI by 2030. 

Strategic priorities

  • Under the new proposed Sustainable Development Cooperation and Global Solidarity bill (which is expected to be approved by late-2022), Spain is expected to focus its development cooperation efforts on tackling inequality, poverty and environmental crises and defending gender equality, human rights and democracy.
  • On April 7, 2022, the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) announced the launch of the new ‘Salud Covid’ program, which will aim to support public health systems in the management of the COVID-19 pandemic in low- and middle- income partner countries.
  • In January 2021, Spain released a new ‘Foreign Policy Strategy 2021-2024’, which prioritizes global health, nutrition, education, climate change, and gender equality. In March 2021, Spain also launched a new ‘Feminist Foreign Policy’, promoting gender equality in Spain’s external action.
  • Spain seeks to establish new models of development cooperation with partner countries in Latin America and ‘sub-Saharan Africa’ (meaning the countries of Eastern, Western Central, and Southern Africa, as designated by the African Union) through ‘triangular’ cooperation programs, blended finance, and delegated EU cooperation mechanisms.
     

Outlook

  • Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s social-democratic socialist party, PSOE, won the general election in November 2019. PSOE formed a progressive coalition government with the left-wing party Podemos, under which Sánchez has continued as Prime Minister. 
  • In September 2019, Sánchez resumed contributions to multilaterals by pledging €100 million (US$114 million) to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and €150 million (US$171million) to the Green Climate Fund (GCF). 
  • In response to COVID-19, Spain has prioritized global health in its development policy. Between May and June 2020, Spain made pledges to multilateral initiatives as part of the Access to Covid-19 Tools – Accelerator (ACT-A), including €75 million (US$85 million) to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), €125 million (US$142 million) to Gavi’s COVID-19 Vaccines Advance Market Commitment (COVAX AMC), and €10 million (US$11 million) to the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) to support efforts to address the COVID-19 crisis. 
  • In January 2021, under the leadership of the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation (MAUC), Sánchez’ cabinet approved the first draft of the ‘Foreign Action Strategy 2021-2024’, which outlines Spain’s foreign priorities and goals for the next four years. The new plan emphasizes the current administration’s commitment to increase Spain’s ODA to 0.5% of the country’s GNI by 2023, to reform the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), and to provide the Spanish development cooperation system with a new and reinforced vision.

Policy Priorities

Spain focuses on the SDGs, development effectiveness, and gender equality

Spanish ODA declined by more than half between 2010-2015 due to the country’s economic downturn in this period. ODA spending has since resurfaced as a result of Spanish economic recovery and renewed political commitment by Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’ administration. Accordingly, ODA spending has gradually increased since 2017. Between 2019 and 2020, ODA slightly decreased (-1%), due to a slight decrease in its bilateral ODA, but spending increased again by 13% between 2020 and 2021.  
According to the General State Budget for 2022, Spain’s ODA is set at €3.5 billion (US$4.0 billion), or 0.28% of the country’s gross national income (GNI). This budget represents a 4% increase compared to 2021 ODA.
In turn, on January 11, 2022, the Spanish government launched a new development cooperation bill draft for Sustainable Development Cooperation and Global Solidarity that will replace the current law dated 1998. The new development law draft reportedly includes, for the first time in Spain’s history, the objective of increasing Spain’s ODA to 0.7% of GNI by 2030. 
Under the new proposed Sustainable Development Cooperation and Global Solidarity bill (which is expected to be approved by late-2022), Spain is expected to focus its development cooperation efforts on tackling inequality, poverty and environmental crises and defending gender equality, human rights and democracy.
The Spanish government outlines its strategic orientations for development in the ‘Master Plan for Spanish Cooperation 2018-2021’ (previous Master Plan), which emphasizes Spain’s commitment to advancing the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The next Master Plan for the period between 2022-2025 is expected to be released by late-2022.  
The previous Master Plan outlines four cross-cutting development priorities: human rights, gender equality, cultural diversity, and environment. Seven strategic goals are highlighted, in line with the SDGs: 1) zero hunger, 2) good health and well-being, 3) quality education, 4) gender equality, 5) clean water and sanitation, 6) decent work and economic growth, and 7) peace, justice, and strong institutions. According to the Master Plan, these sectors are to account for 87% of Spain’s bilateral funding. In addition to these thematic priorities, the development strategy outlines four cross-cutting development areas: 1) human rights, 2) gender equality, 3) cultural diversity, and 4) the environment.
Within its development policy, Spain adopts a differentiated strategy depending on the status of its partner countries. When cooperating with middle-income countries (MICs), Spain’s traditional top recipients are Latin American countries such as Peru and Colombia, which are transitioning to 'upper-middle-income status. ‘The Sahel’ region is another geographic priority of Spain’s development policy; Spain currently holds the presidency of the Sahel Alliance. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation (MAEC, responsible for setting the strategic orientation of Spanish development policy) seeks to progressively substitute traditional development funding to middle-income countries with new models of development cooperation (including blended finance, equity investments, and knowledge transfer programs). The existing Master Plan also includes a focus on countries in the ‘sub-Saharan Africa’ region (meaning the countries of Eastern, Western, Central, and Southern Africa as designated by the African Union). Spain aims to prioritize traditional ODA disbursements (mostly grants) to support the provision of basic social services and institution strengthening in this region. In March 2019, the Spanish Foreign Ministry approved an ‘Africa Plan’, aimed at strengthening Spain’s foreign relations with the region. The plan outlines four strategic objectives: 1) sustainable development, 2) peace and security, 3) institutional strengthening, and 4) migration. Angola, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, and Tanzania are listed as priority countries.
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Spain announced that global health and epidemic preparedness would be prioritized within its development cooperation policy. Accordingly, in July 2021, the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation approved the ‘Spanish Cooperation Strategy to Respond to COVID-19’ which outlines measures to support low-income countries in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic including supporting health systems strengthening and equitable immunization campaigns,  fostering education and food security, and guaranteeing universal access to public goods in several regions including countries in ‘Sub-Saharan Africa’, the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA), and Latin America. 
Spain’s ‘Foreign Action Strategy 2021-2024’, approved in January 2021, prioritizes strengthening its external development cooperation. The strategy underlines key priority areas or ‘axes’ for Spain’s development cooperation efforts, outlined as: A) Vertical axes of Spain's development cooperation, including measures for 1) tackling extreme poverty by fostering nutrition, water and sanitation, and global health; 2) addressing the negative effects of climate change; 3) fostering global education; and 4) promoting socio-economic development, as well as B) Horizontal axes of Spain's development cooperation, including measures for 1) deploying a feminist development cooperation plan; 2) protecting human rights; 3) strengthening humanitarian assistance; and, 4) developing innovative public-private partnerships.
The new foreign action strategy also highlights the current administration’s commitment to increase Spain’s official development assistance (ODA) to 0.5% of the country’s gross national income (GNI) by 2023. However, assuming that this target would be hard to achieve given budgetary constraints related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, the Spanish government has adjusted the goal of increasing ODA to 0.7% of GNI by 2030.
In January 2022, Prime Minister Sánchez’ cabinet released a new development bill which aims to harmonize the Spanish development cooperation system. The development bill proposes: 1) the creation of a new evaluation unit at MAEC, 2) the reformation of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID); and 3) the substitution of the Development Promotion Fund (FONPRODE) with a new Fund for Sustainable Development that aims to optimize the disbursement of ODA-countable loans and equity investments.
 

ODA Breakdown

Spain channels the majority of its ODA through core contributions to multilaterals 

Several years of economic turmoil between 2008 and 2013 resulted in Spain channeling an increasing share of its ODA through core, obligatory contributions to multilateral organizations. These core contributions remained high throughout the economic upturn and recovery period, and in 2020, they accounted for 66% (US$2 billion) of Spanish ODA, well above the OECD DAC average of 42%. 
Bilateral ODA in 2020 (US$895 million) decreased from previous years (US$983 million in 2019 and US$956 million in 2018). Spain channels more than half of its bilateral ODA through NGOs and CSOs: 56% (US$584 million) in 2020, much higher than the DAC average of 19%. This is because Spanish civil society, which includes secular and Catholic non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and think tanks, serves a key role in Spain’s development cooperation. The second-largest channel for Spain’s ODA is the ‘public sector’ channel, receiving 24% of bilateral ODA (US$252 million), followed by multilateral institutions as the third-largest sector, receiving 14% of Spain’s bilateral ODA (US$141 million) in 2020. 

Most bilateral funding is directed to hosting refugees in Spain 

According to data from the OECD, in 2020, the largest share of Spain’s bilateral ODA was used for costs of hosting refugees in-country (19% or US$195 million). However, this sector saw a 37% decrease in funding since 2019. 13% of bilateral ODA (US$133 million) was provided to the ‘government and civil society’ sector, within which Spain focuses on gender equality and democratic participation, in accordance with the cross-cutting themes set out in the Master Plan. 11% of funding (US$112 million) was directed to humanitarian aid. Funding to this sector has increased by 56% as compared to 2019.

Spain focuses its bilateral funding on Latin America, 'sub-Saharan Africa', and the MENA region 

Spain contributed the largest shares of bilateral ODA in 2020 to Latin America and the Caribbeans (39%), to ‘developing countries (unspecified)’ (30%), and countries in the ‘sub-Saharan African region’ and the MENA region (12% each). Spain has a strong focus on development cooperation in upper- and lower-middle-income countries which curbs its support to low-income countries or ‘fragile’ states (receiving 10% of bilateral ODA).
Accordingly, half of bilateral ODA (55%) was allocated to upper-middle-income countries (UMICs) and  lower-middle-income countries. Comparatively, only 10% of ODA was allocated to low-income countries. 
Spain focuses its bilateral ODA efforts on reducing poverty and inequality, building social cohesion, mainstreaming gender equality, and empowerment of vulnerable groups.
According to the Master Plan, the government will concentrate its ODA on fewer countries going forward, reducing the number of priority countries from 50 in 2013 to 21 by 2021 (of which seven are expected to be low-income countries and 14 are expected to be MICs). 
The new Spanish government’s renewed focus on countries in the ‘sub-Saharan Africa’ region indicates that priority countries may change in the next Master Plan for 2022 - 2025 and that Spain’s geographic focus could shift from Latin America to countries in Africa, particularly focusing on countries in the Sahel region. In fact, in March 2019, the Spanish Foreign Ministry approved an ‘Africa Plan’, aimed at strengthening Spain’s foreign relations with the region. The plan outlines four strategic objectives: 1) sustainable development, 2) peace and security, 3) institutional strengthening, and 4) migration. Angola, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, and Tanzania are priority countries.  
 

Contributions to multilaterals expected to increase  

Spain’s core contributions to multilaterals amounted to US$2 billion or 66% of ODA disbursements in 2020 (DAC average: 42%). The largest proportion (68%) of Spain’s multilateral contributions went through European Institutions in 2020 (US$1.4 billion), followed by 15% to the World Bank Group (US$299 million), and 7% to regional development banks (US$135 million). Amongst regional development banks, US$34 million was disbursed to the African Development Bank, US$27 million to the Inter-American Investment Corporation and Multilateral Investment Fund, US$24 million to the African Development Fund, and US$14 million to the Asian Development Fund
Spain also provides earmarked funding to multilateral organizations tied to particular regions, countries, or themes (as opposed to core contributions, which can be spent at the discretion of the multilateral itself). These allocations stood at US$141 million in 2020. 
Spain’s voluntary contributions have been hampered in recent years by budgetary limitations. However, contributions are expected to resume to previous levels, driven by the current Spanish government’s strong focus on multilateralism. For instance, in 2020, Spain pledged €100 million (US$114 million) to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and €150 million (US$171million) to the Green Climate Fund. Between 2020 - 2021,  Spain’s COVID-19-related multilateral commitments have included €75 million (US$86 million) to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), €125 million (US$143 million) to Gavi COVAX AMC, and €10 million (US$11 million) to the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) to support efforts in addressing the COVID-19 crisis. Spain does not currently fund the Global Financing Facility (GFF), or the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). 

 

Download

 

Download
Download
Download

 

Download
Download

Unless otherwise indicated, all data in this section is based on the grant-equivalent measurement system. For more information, see our Donor Tracker Codebook.

For more granular and up-to-date development finance data on Spain, including information on where and in which sectors it is spending both ODA and non-ODA funds, please consult the IATI d-portal. IATI is a reporting standard and platform on which organizations and governments voluntarily publish data on their development cooperation.

Main Actors


Ministry of Foreign Affairs steers strategy; AECID leads implementation

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez of the Spanish socialist workers’ party ‘PSOE’ won the general election in November 2019 and formed a coalition government with the Spanish left-wing party ‘Podemos’. The Prime Minister’s office (La Moncloa) provides leadership at high-level forums such as the UN General Assembly, the EU, and the G20, and steers international discussions on sustainable development, human rights, and gender equality. Under the Prime Minister’s leadership, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the European Union, and Cooperation (MAEC) sets the strategic orientation of Spanish development policy.  
MAEC is currently headed by José Manuel Albares, former Spanish ambassador to France and Prime Minister Sánchez's office’s head of international affairs. MAEC drafts the budget for Spain’s development cooperation efforts. 
Within MAEC, Pilar Cancela, the Secretary of State for International Cooperation, leads Spain’s development policy. In this role, Cancela also supervises the work of the General Directorate for Sustainable Development Policies (DGPOLDES) — an administrative body that steers development policy and defines ODA priorities for MAEC  and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID). AECID, which is headed by Antón Leis, is responsible for implementing bilateral programs, humanitarian assistance, and funding to CSOs. AECID also advises MAEC on allocation issues. 
The Ministry of Finance and Public Function (Ministry of Finance) finalizes the budget and channels official development assistance (ODA) to EU institutions. The Ministry of Economy and Digital Transformation (MINECO) is engaged in debt-relief operations, in the management of Spain’s Development Promotion Fund (FONPRODE) jointly with MAEC, and oversees disbursements to regional development banks and financial institutions. FONPRODE is the main financial instrument for voluntary multilateral funding, loans, and equity investments. While AECID manages day-to-day FONPRODE operations, MAEC (together with MINECO and other ministries) defines its funding priorities.
Spain programs its bilateral funding based on the strategic, regional, and thematic priorities established in the four-year ‘Master Plan for Spanish Cooperation 2018-2021’ (Master Plan).  Cooperation with upper- and lower-middle-income countries is focused on fostering triangular partnerships, facilitating global health research and development, and the provision of global public goods. The governing council of AECID, which includes representatives from MAEC, decides on allocations by region and country.
To increase ODA predictability, Spain uses multi-annual country partnership frameworks (MAPs) for its priority countries. MAPs specify sector priorities and provide estimated annual budget allocations. These are developed jointly by AECID, partner countries, and local civil society organizations (CSOs). In addition to MAPs, Spain plans to develop New Generation Partnerships (ANG) with some of its traditional ODA recipients that have progressed to upper-middle-income status. These partner countries include Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Egypt, Jordan, Mexico, Panama, Uruguay, and Tunisia. 
The Spanish Parliament is composed of two chambers, the Congress of Deputies and the Senate, each with a development committee. Within the parliament, the two most important bodies working in development affairs are the Congress of Deputies’ Development Committee and the 2030 Agenda Committee. Members of Parliament debate and vote on commitments related to development and can request information on all development matters, as well as compel development leaders to give testimony in parliamentary hearings. Spain has had minority governments since its June 2016 elections, which have resulted in the Parliament holding greater influence over development policy and the ODA budget. 
Spanish civil society, which includes secular and Catholic NGOs and think tanks, plays a key role in development cooperation. Although NGOs have lost some of their influence in recent years, the level of NGOs’ inclusion in policy dialogue remains high, both through bilateral platforms and MAEC’s Council for Development Cooperation. Prominent organizations include Spain’s main civil society umbrella organization for development cooperation, Coordinadora de ONGD España (‘la Coordinadora’), the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), Oxfam Intermón, the Elcano Royal Institute, Salud por Derecho, and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Spain.
Spain is a highly decentralized country, therefore sub-national state actors (autonomous regions, local administrations, and universities) also provide ODA.
 

organhart-spain.png

 

Budget Structure

 

The Finance Ministry provides the largest share of ODA

In December 2021, the Spanish Congress of Deputies approved the General State Budget for 2022 with support from 15 different parliamentary groups including the governing social-democratic Socialist Party (PSOE) and the left-wing Podemos party, amongst others. The 2022 budget sets Spain’s ODA at €3.51 billion (US$4.0 billion), or 0.28% of the country’s gross national income (GNI). This budget represents a 16%, increase compared to estimates for 2021 ODA .
In Spain, all ministries account for ODA budgetary envelopes. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation (MAEC) used to be Spain’s primary ODA provider, but its share has decreased due to budget cuts. The Ministry of Finance and Public Function (MINHAFP) now manages the largest share of Spain’s ODA budget (36% in 2022), as it channels the country’s mandatory contributions to the EU. 
MAEC’s budget for 2022 (i.e., €910 million, or US$1 billion) increased by €122 million (or US$139 million) compared to its budget for 2021. MAEC’s ODA budget includes funding envelopes for the following administrative bodies in charge of Spain’s development policy:

  • The Spanish Secretary of State for International Cooperation’s ODA budget amounts to €295 million (US$336 million), which includes €199 million (US$227 million) for the Development Promotion Fund FONPRODE (to be disbursed as loans and equitable investments), €15 million (US$17 million) to the WASH (Water Sanitation and Hygiene) Fund (for management purposes only), and €62 million (US$71 million) to be disbursed as voluntary contributions to multilateral instruments.
  • The Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation’s (AECID’s) ODA budget amounts to €390 million (US$444 million) to be mainly disbursed through bilateral development programs, humanitarian assistance, and NGOs.
  • The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs’s ODA budget amounts to €172 million (US$196 million) to be mostly disbursed as multilateral contributions. 

The third-largest ODA provider is the Ministry of Economy and Digitalization, which manages Spain’s ODA contributions to the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and regional development banks and oversees Spain's foreign debt operations. This ministry’s ODA budget accounts for €389 million (US$443 million) for 2022.
The general state budget for 2022 also accounts for a new ODA-related envelope for the Spanish Ministry of Health, in the amount of €293 million (US$334 million), which is to be used for purchasing COVID19 vaccines for middle- and low-income partner countries.
Spain’s funding for refugees and asylum seekers in-country is counted as ODA and is managed by the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security, and Migration. The budget for this ministry amounts to €341 million (US$389 million). Other ministries of the Spanish government account for a 2022 ODA budget of €71 million (US$81 million) in total.  
Spanish regions, municipalities and Universities are expected to disburse €354 million (US$403 million) or about 10% of Spain’s development spending in 2022. 

 

General state budget for 2021

millions

millions
US$

Ministry of Finance and Public Function (MINHAFP)  1149 1309
Contributions to the European Union  1149 1309
Contributions to multilateral institutions  0 0
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (MAEC) 910 1037
Ministry, Sub secretariat, and general services  6 7
State Secretariat for International Cooperation (SECI)  295 336
i. FONPRODE  (199) (227)
ii. Water and Sanitation Fund (15) (17)
iii. Strategic voluntary contributions to multilaterals  (62) (71)
iv.  International Finance Facility for Immunisation (IFFim)  (9) (10)
v. Development Cooperation Programmes SECIPI (except    FONPRODE, IFFim)  (5) (6)
vi. Other interventions (4) (5)
 State Secretariat for Foreign Affairs and Ibero-America 172 196
State Secretariat for  Ibero-America 1 1
Resilience and recovery mechanism 8 9
Instituto Cervantes  37 42
Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID)  390 444
Ministry of Economy and Digitalization (MINECO)  389 443
   International Financial Institutions 389 443
   Debt relief 0 0
   Other 0 0
Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security, and Migration 341 389
Ministry of health 293 334
Other Ministeries  71 81
Autonomous and local cooeration and universities 354 403
Total ODA 3507 3996

Budget Process

ODA levels and main funding lines are typically decided between March and July

Budgetcircle Spain

The typical budgetary cycle and timeframe are depicted below. 

  • The government suggests overall official development assistance (ODA) volume: In March, the government sets guidelines for overall spending by ministry, including overall ODA volume, as well as funding lines for Spain’s Development Promotion Fund (FONPRODE) and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID). Key stakeholders in this period include the Prime Minister’s Office, as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (MAUC) and the Ministry of Finance and Public Function (MINHAFP). 

  • Ministries develop their budget requests: Between May and June, each ministry, including MAUC and MINHAFP, develop their budget requests in accordance with overall spending levels set in the government’s guidelines to each ministry. Around June or July, ministries present their requests to MINHAFP.

  • The government decides on ministerial spending caps: Once budget requests are sent to the MINHAFP, negotiations start between the ministries. In July, the government decides on caps for ministerial budgets and the government’s overall spending ceiling is approved, including the budget of the Foreign Ministry. Key decision-makers regarding ODA levels are the Prime Minister, the Finance Minister, and the Foreign Minister.

  • Negotiations take place among ministries: From August to September, MAUC continues to negotiate with the Ministry of Finance for specific funding items such as the share of loans or grants in the FONPRODE budget. Both ministries are key stakeholders during this period.

  • Parliament discusses, amends, and votes on the budget bill: From October to November, Parliament discusses and amends the ministries’ draft budgets. The Development Committee provides recommendations on budget amendments, and the Budget Committee makes the final decision. Members of Parliament may present amendments to the overall budget and specific ODA budget lines in this period. The lack of a clear majority in Parliament since 2016 reinforces the influence of individual members regarding budget allocations, including for ODA.
    Further allocations are decided upon during the implementation phase of the annual budget. MAUC decides on spending for partner countries and other multilateral organizations throughout the year. Allocations from FONPRODE are made by the ‘FONPRODE Executive Board’. The Board (which includes representatives from MAUC, the Ministry of Economy, Industry, and Competitiveness, MINHAFP, and other ministries) usually meets three to four times per year. Its funding proposals must be approved by the Prime Minister’s weekly Cabinet meeting (Consejo de Ministros).