OCFA holds workshop on Tracking and Recording Official Development Assistance

Published March 10th, 2010 - 09:35 GMT

The UAE Office for the Coordination of Foreign Aid (OCFA) is today holding a workshop for UAE humanitarian and development organizations, outlining the criteria and methods for recording Official Development Assistance (ODA).  The workshop is being facilitated by representatives of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), one of the world's largest and most reliable sources of comparable statistics and economic and social data, at Al Raha Beach Hotel in Abu Dhabi. The workshop represents a first-of-its kind collaboration between the OECD and an Arab country.
Held under the patronage of Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler’s Representative in the Western Region and President of OCFA, the workshop is part of OCFA’s efforts to improve current reporting of the UAE’s substantial international assistance. This is significant since effective donation tracking will improve the quality of the UAE’s humanitarian and development work by allowing actors to avoid duplication and identify gaps in their activities, as well as raise the international profile of the UAE’s work in this sector. 
“One of OCFA’s core goals is to enhance the quality and visibility of UAE official development and humanitarian assistance – collecting and reporting information about the quantity, type and target destination of the UAE’s international assistance is central to this effort. In order to ensure that the UAE’s assistance is accurately reflected in international records, OCFA is in the process of streamlining the reporting process to bring it in line with international reporting standards,” said Hazza Mohammed Falah Al Qahtani, OCFA Director General.

“The United Arab Emirates has long been an important donor both in the region and beyond, but at present, little is known internationally about their aid programmes, as is the case with other Arab donors in general,” said Julia Benn, Manager, Statistical Policy, Analysis and Outreach, OECD.  “The Development Assistance Committee (DAC) welcomes the efforts of the UAE government to improve the quality and coverage of their aid statistics and is very much looking forward to working with them on this important endeavor to ensure consistent reporting on the basis of the internationally accepted measure of aid – ODA.  The DAC hopes that this may lead to closer collaboration with the other donors in the region so as to provide the global aid community with improved information on the very substantial Arab aid effort.”

The OECD delegation includes Julia Benn, Manager, Statistical Policy, Analysis and Outreach, and Kimberly Smith, Economist, who will facilitate the workshop comprising of sessions on the relevance of reporting on international assistance; an introduction to Development Assistance Committee (DAC) statistics; and an outline of the classification system for Official Development Assistance (ODA) and ODA eligibility. 
OCFA was set up by UAE Cabinet decree no. 36 for the year 2008 and has been operational since early 2009 to help UAE foreign aid donors improve delivery of humanitarian and development programmes worldwide.  With Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler’s Representative in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi, presiding as the office’s President, OCFA is assessing foreign aid donor needs; providing appropriate training programmes and knowledge transfers; and, building and strengthening ties between the UAE foreign aid sector and the international aid community by providing multiple platforms that bring international and local aid organizations together.


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