Official Development Assistance (ODA)

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office uses ODA, known as overseas aid budget, to support the government's 2015 Aid Strategy in developing countries.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) uses its Official Development Assistance (ODA), also known as its overseas aid budget to support and deliver the 4 strategic objectives of the government’s 2015 Aid Strategy which aligns the government’s global efforts to defeat poverty, tackle instability and create prosperity in developing countries. The 4 objectives are:

  • strengthening global peace, security and governance
  • strengthening resilience and response to crises
  • promoting global prosperity
  • tackling extreme poverty and helping the world’s most vulnerable

This information is part of the FCDO commitment to the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) standard. It contains all the information that can be released whilst safeguarding FCDO’s obligations under UK national security, diplomatic relations and individual’s personal information.

ODA spend data for the FCDO is provided on GOV.UK. The whole of government ODA data can also be found through:

Where available, evaluation documents are published under the relevant funds below. See also past project evaluation documents for the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office Prosperity Fund and for human rights and democracy projects.

ODA allocations aid policy

International Programme

Formerly known as ‘strategic and bilateral programmes’ and ‘FCO Departmental Policy Programmes’, this programme supports the FCDO’s wider diplomatic effort and foreign policy in support of UK interests overseas. Our International Programme is aligned with FCDO strategic objectives and, where appropriate, National Security Council strategies and the Aid Strategy.

Issues supported by our funds include Human Rights, Democracy and the Rules Based International System, Open Futures, and Strengthening Maritime Security.

Frontline Diplomatic Activity (FDA)

Project facilitation costs covering planning, implementation and resources as part of ODA projects across the globe, in accordance with OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) criteria.

British Council

Through its grant in aid, The British Council works with UK and local partners to deliver Official Development Assistance programmes in developing and emerging economies and in fragile states.

This includes working to enrich the quality of education through support to system reform, training teachers of English and developing international school partnerships. They support social enterprise and the creative economy to help build stronger, safer societies through programmes in the rule of law, governance, civil society and the arts.

BBC World Service

The UK government’s grant will support The BBC World Service to provide accurate, impartial and independent news and analysis to developing, fragile and closed societies across the globe, including where free speech is limited. The new language services will be distinctive and tailored to the audiences needs in these hard-to-reach, ODA eligible countries. The services will support a positive environment for economic development and stable, lawful, and more democratic societies. Impartial and independent media has been noted by the UN as an ‘essential foundation’ for prosperous and peaceful societies.

International subscriptions

The 9 ODA eligible international organisations are the United Nations Regular Budget, Council of Europe, Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Commonwealth Foundation, the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Co-operation, the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Commonwealth Youth Programme, the Commonwealth of Learning, and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Arms Length Bodies and Soft Power Programmes

These funds provide support to arms length bodies and to FCDO-led soft power programmes. These include Wilton Park conferences, International Leaders Programme, Great Britain-China Centre (GBCC), Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD), and Chevening scholarships.

Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF)

The cross-Whitehall CSSF supports work to reduce that risk in countries where the UK has key interests. Through the CSSF, the UK and our international partners are more secure.

Prosperity Fund

The 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review announced a £1.3 billion cross-Whitehall Prosperity Fund from 2016 to 2021 to promote the economic reform and development needed for growth in partner countries.

Prosperity Fund priorities include:

  • improving the business climate
  • competitiveness and operation of markets
  • energy and financial sector reform
  • increasing the ability of partner countries to tackle corruption

Transparency and International Aid Transparency Initiative Standards

The FCDO publishes the data behind our ODA spend and the supporting programme documentation as part of the UK government’s commitments in the Open Government Partnership National Action Plan. This includes a commitment to comply with the International Aid Transparency Initiative Standards (IATI).

Archive: FCO ODA budget

Archive: programme strategies 2016 to 2017

Archive: programme strategies 2015 to 2016

Archive: programme strategies 2014 to 2015

Archive: programme strategies 2012 to 2013

Archive: FCO departmental policy programmes to 2017

Archive: British Council to 2016

Published 11 May 2015
Last updated 31 March 2023 + show all updates
  1. Added links to recent annual International Programme spend objectives.

  2. ODA allocations aid policy page added

  3. Updated with April to June 2019 data and documents for 2019/20

  4. Updated with December 2018 to March 2019 data

  5. New documents added on FCO programme spend objectives 2018 to 2019, and arms length bodies and soft power programmes

  6. New section added Arms length bodies and soft power programmes

  7. Updated with data for October to December 2017.

  8. Prosperity Fund data added

  9. ODA data published for 2016-2017 for: International subscriptions, Frontline Diplomatic activity, British Council and BBC World Service.

  10. Data added for 2015-16.

  11. Added Counter Proliferation Programme, Small arms and light weapons and EECAD open futures fund programme

  12. Added International leaders programme 2016/17

  13. Added MCF programme strategy 2016/17

  14. Added Maritime security programme strategy 2015/16 Added Human rights and democracy programme 2015/16 Added FCO Counter-Proliferation Programme 2015/16

  15. Added Overseas Territories Programme strategy 2015-16

  16. New project fund evaluations for Kenya and Kazakhstan added

  17. Document added

  18. Project fund evaluation documents added

  19. Document added

  20. Data added

  21. First published.