The Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) accepted a proposal to include the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) on the list of international organizations eligible to receive official development assistance (ODA). UNWTO’s inclusion on the list of ODA-eligible international organizations is seen as a strong recognition of UNWTO’s role in promoting the potential of tourism in enhancing economical, social and environmental development as well as in achieving the Sustainable Developments Goals (SDGs).
Although inclusion on OECD’s list of ODA-eligible international organizations, hereafter referred to as “the List”, is considered a milestone, there is a pressing need for understanding the exact consequences of this inclusion in favor of making the best out of the organizations’ ODA eligibility. In this context, the management question of the thesis project deals with “how can UNWTO respond to itsinclusion on the List of international organizations eligible to receive ODA to the best extent possible?”
Focusing on the consequences of ODA eligibility, a literature review as well as a survey on the perspectives and experiences from UNWTO’s Member States, Non-member States and other ODA-eligible international organizations build the foundation of the research. Despite the fact that the report is particularly focused on UNWTO as an ODA-eligible international organization, the findings can also be considered relevant for other international organizations. Even though ODA no longer dominates financial flows to poor countries, valuable opportunities might go to waste if organizations disregard their ODA eligibility. This is not solely affecting organizations, but also peoples and planet. Therefore, the thesis assignment will deal with the value of being ODA-eligible.
100% of the questioned Member States of UNWTO indicates that UNWTO’s ODA eligibility is of interest for them since it allows governments to report (part of) their contributions as ODA to the OECD. At the same time, 80% of the surveyed international organizations state that ODA eligibility has been proven to be beneficial for the organization. Although this may be true, research underlines that benefits of ODA eligibility go hand in hand with a respective additional workload.
Besides supporting Member States, ODA eligibility has the potential to strengthen the developmental role of the organization, mobilize financial resources as well as partnerships, provide visibility and contribute to the credibility of the organization. ODA eligibility serves as an enabler since it provides access to the development community and thus to funds. Besides better access to development funds, ODA eligibility provokes dialogue within the development community. In this regard, the 2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development and its corresponding SDGs offer a framework that can point the activities of ODA-eligible international organizations into the right direction. Above all, ODA eligibility enhances actions taken by organizations to improve the wellbeing of all peoples and planet.
In conclusion, UNWTO is recommended to scrape the bottom of the barrel and pursue a long-term strategy that allows the organization to leverage on more than one benefit ODA eligibility offers. Nevertheless, it is important to consider that this approach can only be achieved if the organization takes responsibility and is willing to make efforts in order to get the most out of its ODA eligibility.