Although 31, 2007, by Ambassador Hjálmar W.

            Although Iceland is a small donor
country, it has almost forty years of experience managing aid and has
established a remarkably effective legal framework for its official development
assistance (ODA).  Since 1976, the last
year in which Iceland itself was an aid recipient, it has worked to achieve the
same aid levels and standards as the other Nordic countries, delivering USD $50
million in net ODA in 2016.1  Iceland has not yet reached its ultimate goal
of allocating 0.7% of its Gross National Income (GNI) to ODA, largely on
account of the 2008-2011 financial crisis, and its parliament, the Althingi,
adopted a plan which sets ODA levels at 0.26% from 2018 to 2021.2  Close to eighty percent (77.9% as of 2015) of
Iceland’s ODA is provided bilaterally, meaning that it goes directly to an
official source in its recipient country, although it uses some of this aid for
projects being conducted by multilateral organizations.3  Iceland’s vehicle of bilateral aid is the Icelandic
International Development Agency (ICEIDA), established in 1981 with the purpose
of promoting co-operation between Iceland and developing countries, but the
Icelandic Ministry of Foreign Affairs manages multilateral aid directly.4  While Iceland only recently joined the Development
Assistance Committee (DAC) in 2013, and was not part of the Organisation for
Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) monitoring process for the Paris
Aid Effectiveness targets until after this, it has worked rigorously to design
and implement a framework for effective aid in line with current international consensus.5

            On the topic of aid effectiveness, Iceland
has supported increased international cooperation and harmonization for many
years.  In a statement delivered on
October 31, 2007, by Ambassador Hjálmar W. Hannesson, Permanent Representative
of Iceland to the United Nations, Iceland expressed its support for the work of
the Development Cooperation Forum (DCF), a forum convened by the United Nations
Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to discuss policy guidance on effective
foreign aid.  In his statement, Ambassador
Hannesson declared,

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“The
universal and political legitimacy of the DCF, involving all Member States of
the United Nations and a broad range of stakeholders engaged in development
cooperation, makes it an ideal forum for providing global oversight of aid
commitments and aid quality. The findings and recommendations of the 2008 DCF
should also become a reference point for the discussions taking place in next
year’s Monterrey Follow-up Conference in Doha as well as the Accra High-level
Forum on Aid Effectiveness. For the DCF to add value to these important
intergovernmental processes, it is imperative that the analytical preparations
and the consultative process are focused. It is now more important than ever
that we avoid overlap and duplication of work.”6

 

Since
Ambassador Hannesson’s speech, Iceland has been involved in a variety of
international aid effectiveness forums, with the country endorsing the Paris Declaration
on Aid Effectiveness, the Accra Agenda for Action, and the final Busan document.   On
June 29, 2009, Ambassador Emil Breki Hreggviðsson, Deputy Permanent
Representative of Iceland to the UN, delivered a statement in which he reiterated
Iceland’s support for the Paris Declaration and the Accra Agenda and shared
Iceland’s view that good government is key to improved aid accountability.7

Iceland’s legal structure addressing
international development cooperation dates to 1971, the year in which Iceland’s
government passed the Act on Iceland’s
Assistance to the Developing Countries (No 20/1971).  It was not until 2008, however, that Iceland
updated its laws pertaining to aid cooperation, with the aptly named Act on Iceland’s International Development
Cooperation (No 121/2008).  In the
law, which entered into force on October 1, 2008, Iceland established a
comprehensive framework for its foreign development cooperation, emphasizing
transparency and accountability, increasing the role of the parliament, and
making clear references to international agreements and declarations.  Another major aspect of the law was its
highlighting of civil society and cooperation with NGOs.

1 OECD
(2017), Development Co-operation Report 2017: Data for Development, OECD
Publishing, Paris.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/dcr-2017-en

2 OECD
(2017), Development Co-operation Report 2017: Data for Development, OECD
Publishing, Paris.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/dcr-2017-en

3 OECD
(2017), Development Co-operation Report 2017: Data for Development, OECD
Publishing, Paris.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/dcr-2017-en

4 OECD
(2013), Special Review of Iceland, OECD Publishing, Paris.

https://www.oecd.org/dac/dac-global-relations/Iceland%20Special%20Review.pdf

5 OECD
(2017), OECD Development Co-operation Peer Reviews: Iceland 2017, OECD
Publishing, Paris.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264274334-en

6 Report
of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). 
Statement by Ambassador Hjálmar W. Hannesson, Permanent Representative
of Iceland to the United Nations.

http://www.iceland.is/iceland-abroad/un/nyc/statements-and-news/report-of-the-economic-and-social-council-(ecosoc)/6764

7 United
Nations Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and its Impact on
Development.

Statement by Mr. Emil Breki Hreggviðsson, Deputy
Permanent Representative of Iceland to the UN. 
June 29, 2006.

http://www.iceland.is/iceland-abroad/un/nyc/statements-and-news/united-nations-conference-on-the-world-financial-and-economic-crisis-and-its-impact-on-development/6845