What can TOSSD tell us about official development support in 2021?


In 2021, Total Official Support for Sustainable Development (TOSSD) collected information on more than 400,000 activities from 106 providers of development co-operation, totalling almost USD 395 billion (disbursements). What was the main thematic and geographic focus of this support?

This data story presents key figures and brief analysis based on 2021 TOSSD data, both in terms of disbursements and number of activities – contributions to sustainable development go sometimes far beyond dollar amounts.


How does TOSSD contribute to filling data gaps on development finance? 

TOSSD provides greater transparency on contributions to sustainable development, made both by traditional and southern providers as well as multilateral organisations. The figure below demonstrates this increased transparency for fifteen recipient countries. For Chile, the Cook Islands, Seychelles and Uruguay, TOSSD is the only international database that shows in a consolidated manner the official support they receive (over USD 3 billion in 2021). For Yemen, Equatorial Guinea and Lebanon, TOSSD also provides additional transparency, with the volumes reported at least twice those available in OECD development finance databases. This is due to the inclusion in TOSSD of the full array of contributions by multilateral organisations to these countries, mostly in the humanitarian field.

Also, TOSSD helps countries to track the support they receive for the implementation of the SDGs, at both goal and target levels. In 2021 data, reporting on the SDGs improved, with 62% of disbursements assigned to at least one SDG or target, compared to 52% in 2020. For 11 countries and territories, more than 90% of TOSSD flows are aligned to at least one SDG (almost all of them being SIDS). Improvement in SDG reporting is particularly striking for some recipients, as shown in the graph below.

Total official support for sustainable development remained stable between 2020 and 2021

In 2021, TOSSD amounted to USD 395.8 billion in gross disbursements, including USD 299.3 bn in cross-border resources to developing countries (Pillar I) and USD 95.5 bn in regional and global expenditures, including for international public goods (Pillar II). TOSSD remained relatively stable (+0.26%) compared to 2020, with a small decrease in cross-border flows (-2.84%) and a 10% increase in global and regional expenditures, in constant terms. In addition, countries and organisations reported almost USD 41 billion of private finance mobilised for sustainable development through official interventions .

TOSSD figures for 2021 include USD 85 billion of official support not captured in any other existing international database in a centralised manner. One of the major breakthroughs for TOSSD in 2021 was the increase in South-South co-operation activities reported to the framework, their number doubling in comparison to 2020. In 2021, 16 Southern providers reported more than 8,300 activities to TOSSD, the large majority (79%) being in the form of grants for projects, scholarships, technical co-operation and training.

Geographical allocations in 2021:

In 2021, the top 10 recipients received almost 30% of total funds reported in TOSSD, nine of them being middle-income countries. The most significant increases between 2020 and 2021 TOSSD flows are to Egypt (+USD 6.96 billion), Brazil (+USD 3.23 billion) and Sudan (+USD 1.98 billion). The graph below also includes the top 10 recipients in terms of number of activities. 

TOSSD resources in 2021 were mainly deployed for humanitarian aid as well as the sectors of health and governance:

The graph below shows the top 5 sectors in TOSSD in 2021. These five sectors concentrated around 43% of TOSSD disbursements and 56% of activities. An analysis of disbursements between 2019 and 2021 shows how recent humanitarian and COVID-19 crises have reshaped the development finance landscape in terms of sectoral support. In 2021, humanitarian aid and health were the first and second most supported sectors. Humanitarian aid reported to TOSSD increased by almost 20% from 2019 to 2021. Furthermore, health-related cross-border flows to developing countries increased by 90% from 2019 to 2021, and there was a three-fold increase in health-related global and regional expenditures.

There are other interesting trends in the sectoral distribution of TOSSD flows. Disbursements related to “action oriented to debt” increased 2.5 times from 2019 to 2021, the highest growth rate across sectors in TOSSD. This is due to an increase in debt relief granted to developing countries in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as to the Paris Club agreement to restructure Somalia’s external public debt. Disbursements and activities related to “refugees”, “commodity aid” and “social infrastructure and services” have seen steady increases from 2019 to 2021 (+33%, +51% and +66% respectively). Support to “education”, “agriculture, forestry and fishing” and “transport and storage” have remained stable over this period (no more than a +/-2% variation between 2019 and 2021).

TOSSD sectoral data can also help decision-makers monitor country and global commitments (e.g., humanitarian appeals, climate finance goals).


Visit to explore TOSSD activity-level data on official support for sustainable development.

Author: TOSSD Task Force Secretariat


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