In 2017, the United Kingdom was the 2nd European ODA donor in volume as its ODA represented USD 18.05 billion. In the past few years, ODA in volume has gradually reduced as it equaled USD 19.3 billion in 2014 and USD 18.7 billion in 2015. Nevertheless, the UK is one of the few European countries that have reached the target of allocating 0.7% of their GNI to ODA, and that is complying with the recommendation of the WHO Commission on Macroeconomics and Health unlike other European members of the DAC such as France and Germany.   

Although the UK reaches the 0.1% recommendation of WHO, it is interesting to note that this has been steadily decreasing since 2013 when DAH represented 0.16% of UK’s GNI.


In 2016, the UK mainly allocated its DAH through bilateral funding (60%) compared to multilateral organisations (40%).

The main multilateral recipients are global health initiatives such as the Global Fund to Fight Aids, TB and Malaria and Gavi, but European institutions also remain important recipients of the UK.

To Whom?

The United Kingdom is predominantly allocating its DAH to low-income and lower-middle-income countries.

Since the CRS database does not allow providing multiple recipients for one activity, all the multi-countries or multi-regions projects are reported as “unspecified”.

Therefore, only 63% of total bilateral DAH could be allocable by income in 2016. On average during the period 2014-2016, the UK allocated around 38% to low-income countries, around 23% to lower-middle-income countries and around 1.6% to upper-middle-income countries (the remaining 37.2% being impossible to allocate).   

Sierra Leone, Gambia and South Sudan were the top 3 countries to receive UK DAH in grants per capita on average between 2014-2016 

The UK is mostly channeling its DAH trough civil society organizations (29.7% in 2015 and 24% in 2016) and the UN organizations (24.7% in 2015 and 28.9% in 2016).

The UK is also supporting the public system of the recipient countries (12% on average for 2014-2016).

The UK is also providing its ODA through public-private partnerships in recipient countries even if it is a slight share: less than 1% in 2015 and 2016.

What for?

Our methodology is proposing an alternative classification to the CRS purpose codes. We’ve tried to classify the health projects according to the SDGs as an attempt to suggest different codes than those proposed by the Working Party on Development Finance Statistics and to produce more detailed information. As mentioned in the methodology, this report is made for food for thought and to trigger the discussions on improving the accuracy of ODA for health.

The support to health systems and reproductive health are two of main sectors financed by bilateral UK DAH (respectively 25% and 28% of bilateral DAH). The fight against epidemics and child health are some of the main sectors of UK DAH, bilateral and multilateral channels aggregated. By financing these two areas both through global health initiatives and bilateral grants – apart from tuberculosis, which is barely financed by bilateral DAH – the UK differs from other donors.

It’s worth noting that non-communicable diseases and mental health are under-funded with less around 3 million each between 2014 and 2016.


In this project, we tried to asses to what extent each donor is contributing to Universal Health coverage (UHC) taking into account the difficulty to formulate an extensive procedure to determine what is UHC and what is not. So far, we could claim 28% of the projects of the UK are contributing to UHC on average from 2014-2016, mainly due to a lack of detailed information provided through the CRS.