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The aim of Denmark’s development cooperation is to reduce poverty through the promotion of human rights and economic growth. It is focused on some of the poorest countries in the world.


12-year old girl in Chittagong, Bangladesh. Photo: Jørgen Schytte.

Danish development cooperation - in the top league

Denmark’s development cooperation is in the international top league, both quantitatively and qualitatively. Denmark is one of only five countries in the world which have exceeded the UN target of spending 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income (GNI) on development assistance. Danish development assistance reached that level in 1978 and has since then constantly remained above 0.7 per cent of GNI. In 2011 Danish development assistance amounted to roughly DKK 15.98 billion (or USD 2.68 billion). This corresponded to 0.85 per cent of Denmark’s GNI. Read more about Denmark's efforts to encourage other countries to honour their aid commitments here.

As a member of OECD, Denmark's development cooperation is thoroughly examined at regular intervals. The quality of Danish development cooperation is generally rated highly. The most recent OECD-DAC Peer Review of Denmark 2011 confirmed the high quality of Denmark’s development cooperation. The report can be downloaded here.


Priorities and instruments

In line with Denmark’s new development strategy, Danish development cooperation targets four main priority areas:

  • Human rights and democracy
  • Green growth
  • Social progress
  • Stability and protection

Danish development cooperation is adapted to the local context in a flexible and varied manner. A general distinction is made between bilateral and multilateral development cooperation and development assistance:

  • Bilateral development cooperation, which includes direct development assistance to some of the poorest countries and regions in the world. Most of Denmark’s bilateral development cooperation supports national development programmes implemented by partners in our priority countries. This is the primary instrument in development policy. About 70 per cent of Danish aid is targeted directly to specific countries or regions.
  • Multilateral development cooperation, which includes support for development activities of multilateral organisations such as the UN and the World Bank. It also includes aid through the EU system. About 30 per cent of Danish aid is provided through multilateral channels.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark
Asiatisk Plads 2 
DK-1448 Copenhagen K
Tel. +45 33 92 00 00
Fax +45 32 54 05 33