Development aid or development cooperation (also development assistance, technical assistance, international aid, overseas aid, official development assistance (ODA), or foreign aid) is financial aid given by governments and other agencies to support the economic, environmental, social, and political development of developing countries. It is distinguished from humanitarian aid by focusing on alleviating poverty in the long term, rather than a short term response.
The term development cooperation, which is used, for example, by the World Health Organization (WHO), is used to express the idea that a partnership should exist between donor and recipient, rather than the traditional situation in which the relationship was dominated by the wealth and specialised knowledge of one side. Most development aid comes from the Western industrialised countries but some poorer countries also contribute aid.
Aid may be bilateral: given from one country directly to another; or it may be multilateral: given by the donor country to an international organisation such as the World Bank or the United Nations Agencies (UNDP, UNICEF, UNAIDS, etc.) which then distributes it among the developing countries. The proportion is currently about 70% bilateral 30% multilateral.
About 80-85% of developmental aid comes from government sources as official development assistance (ODA). The remaining 15-20% comes from private organisations such as "non-governmental organisations" (NGOs), foundations and other development charities (e.g., Oxfam). In addition, remittances received from migrants working or living in diaspora form a significant amount of international transfer.
Some governments also include military assistance in the notion "foreign aid", although many NGOs tend to disapprove of this.
Official development assistance is a measure of government-contributed aid, compiled by the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) since 1969. The DAC consists of 34 of the largest aid-donating countries.