Management of the 0.7% ODA spending target in 2020

A rapid review looking at how the government managed the official development assistance (ODA) spending target during 2020 in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  1. Status: In progress
  2. Last updated: 4 March 2021
  3. Type: Rapid review
  4. Subject: Government processes and systems
  5. Lead commissioner: Tamsyn Barton

Latest news

We’ve published details about the approach for our forthcoming rapid review on the management of the 0.7% ODA spending target in 2020. We expect to publish the review in spring 2021.


In 2020, the UK economy was severely impacted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has reported that the UK economy shrank by 9.9% in 2020, the largest yearly fall in gross domestic product (GDP) on record, with similar implications for gross national income (GNI). This will be in stark contrast to the previous seven years, when UK economic growth has led the aid budget to increase by an average of £628 million per year.

Furthermore, a shift in the management of the UK’s 0.7% ODA spending target followed the September 2020 merger of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office with the Department for International Development, to create the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

In 2021, the FCDO’s new strategic framework will focus aid on seven core thematic commitments, and will see the Foreign Secretary assume a greater oversight of ODA. Further changes to the UK’s aid budget are expected as a result of the temporary reduction of the UK’s ODA spending target from 0.7% to 0.5% of GNI in 2021 (during which the Office for Budget Responsibility is predicting GDP growth of 4%).

This review will aim to capture lessons from the management of the ODA spending target in the context of a declining GNI in 2020, for use in 2021, but will not comment on events in 2021, and will not cover the 0.5% target decision itself. It builds on our earlier rapid review of the management of the 0.7% ODA spending target (which covered the period 2013-19), which was published last year. As a rapid review, it will not be scored.



Published 4 March 2021

Evidence gathering


Review publication

Expected spring 2021

Further scrutiny

Details to be confirmed