It is distinguished from humanitarian aid by focusing on alleviating poverty in the long term, rather than alleviating suffering in the short term.
The term development cooperation, which is used, for example, by the World Health Organisation (WHO) is used to express the idea that a partnership should exist between donor and recipient, rather than the traditional situation in which the relationship was dominated by the wealth and specialised knowledge of one side. Most development aid comes from the Western industrialised countries but some poorer countries also contribute aid.
Aid may be bilateral: given from one country directly to another; or it may be multilateral: given by the donor country to an international organisation such as the World Bank or the United Nations Agencies (UNDP, UNICEF, UNAIDS, etc.) which then distributes it among the developing countries. The proportion is currently about 70% bilateral 30% multilateral.
About 80 to 85 per cent of developmental aid comes from government sources. The remaining 15 to 20 per cent comes from private organisations such as "Non-governmental organisations" (NGOs) and other development charities (eg. Oxfam). This is not counting remittances by individuals working in developed countries to family members in developing countries.
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