Although still a work-in-progress, Total Official Support for Sustainable Development (TOSSD) endeavours to count all financial flows (public and private, concessional and non-concessional) from traditional and emerging donors aimed at supporting global public goods and sustainable development. TOSSD stretches the boundaries of its predecessor, Official Development Assistance (ODA), the long-standing statistical term for foreign aid.
The problem with the new measure is that, once again, it is being created without consulting the main beneficiaries in the process.
In fact, developing countries didn’t even ask for this new statistic. The concept of TOSSD originated and was driven by discussions within the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC). But at the third UN Conference on Financing for Development it crept into the text of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, when countries agreed 'to hold open, inclusive and transparent discussions on the modernization of the ODA measurement and on the proposed measure of total official support for sustainable development.'
Unfortunately, the process has not been open, inclusive, or transparent.
Dr. Neissan Besharati is the African coordinator of the Network of Southern Think Tanks. He is a senior researcher at the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) and a senior monitoring & evaluation specialist at the African Centre for Learning on Evaluation and Results (CLEAR-AA) at the Wits School of Governance.
Read a related article, 'The uncounted billions in international aid.'