The Hague, 16 September 2021 – On 31 August 2021, the 30 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC) unanimously approved the inclusion of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in the list of multilateral organizations which can receive funding under Official Development Assistance (ODA) programs.
ODA is government aid designed to promote the economic growth of developing countries and may be provided bilaterally or channeled through the United Nations or other multilateral organizations approved by the DAC. Donors can now report their funding for ICMP, including funding for ICMP’s Headquarter-based Main Program, as ODA. Funding for ICMP, including its Main Program, will count towards donors’ overall targets for annual official government aid and will no longer be classified as being outside the donor’s overall ODA targets. ODA-eligibility removes a significant impediment to making ICMP’s Main Program, which includes specialized, centralized capabilities that are essential to carrying-out work in ICMP’s regional and country programs financially sustainable (see below).
The inclusion of ICMP on the list of ODA-eligible multilateral organizations (channel category: Other multilateral organizations/47000) is based on the DAC’s assessment that ICMP’s work is focused on technical assistance in the development of good governance and rule-of-law strategies to address the issue of missing persons, by:
- Ensuring that governments and other parties cooperate to address the missing persons issue, which includes institutional capacity building, encouraging public involvement and addressing the needs of the judicial system; and
- Providing technical assistance to governments in locating, recovering and identifying missing persons.
ICMP’s programs and work align themselves to the development strategies of donor countries in a number of priority areas, including:
- Fighting the root causes of displacement, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa, where the large number of missing and disappeared persons and a faltering or ineffective state response have created powerful disincentives to the return of people to their homes and have compromised development as well as efforts to establish lasting peace;
- Advancing open societies and conflict resolution where the issue of large numbers of missing persons has deepened sectarian divisions, and, in this way, contributing to ending cycles of violence;
- Advancing economic and human development by strengthening rule-of-law approaches and human rights to uphold or reinstate public trust in state institutions, especially among those who have suffered most from past or continuing lawlessness and abuse; and
- Increasing partner country ownership of development strategies by aligning rule-of-law-based strategies to account for the missing and disappeared though domestic legislative and policy frameworks and through technical development.
As noted above, ICMP pursues these objectives through its Headquarters-based Main Program and Country/Regional/Thematic Programs. The Main Program provides bilateral and multilateral strategic planning, oversight, expert input and technical support to ICMP’s country and thematic programs. The Main Program also includes six specialized cross-cutting programs: Direction and Policy, Institutional Development, Science and Technology, Data Systems and Data Coordination, Civil Society Initiatives and the Wim Kok Centre of Excellence and Learning. The Main Program accounts for 25 percent of ICMP’s total budget.
ODA-eligible multilateral organizations such as ICMP that promote development and welfare in developing countries can receive contributions towards their core requirements or Main Programs from DAC member states. ICMP asks that donor states explore opportunities to secure ICMP’s sustainability, and in particular that of its Main Program, now taking into account ICMP’s eligibility for ODA funding.
The ODA system was introduced by the DAC in 1969 to standardize and measure international aid. In 1970, most DAC members committed to the aid target proposed that year by the UN General Assembly, according to which economically advanced countries should devote 0.7 percent of their national income to international aid. The five largest ODA donors have been the United States, Germany, the UK, Japan and France. For the last decade, the value of total ODA has averaged roughly 150 Billion USD annually. In 2019, 28 percent of all ODA was multilateral, and therefore channeled through international and other ODA-eligible organizations.
ICMP is a treaty-based international organization with Headquarters in The Hague, the Netherlands. Its mandate is to secure the cooperation of governments and others in locating missing persons from conflict, human rights abuses, disasters, organized crime, irregular migration and other causes and to assist them in doing so.