by Simon Scott
OECD Development Co-operation Directorate, September 2015
Official development assistance (ODA) has been the standard measure of foreign aid for 45 years, but its creation was largely accidental, and followed no plan. Its origins lie with efforts by the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) in the early 60s to soften and harmonise the terms of aid to developing countries. It was not until the 1972 revision of the Terms Recommendation that ODA was fully defined. Though not perfect, the 1972 decisions created an integrated and fully specified system for monitoring aid volume and softening aid terms.