Portugal has pledged to fulfil its international commitments regarding Official Development Assistance (ODA). However, the effects of the worldwide economic crisis make this questionable. As well as increasing the volume of assistance, the transparency of the process must improve, the target sectors must be selected with more human rights criteria and greater medium as well as long-term predictability must be achieved. To this end, civil society should take on a more active and, above all, more constant role in monitoring ODA decisions.
The economic crisis that Portugal has been facing since at least 2001, reinforced by the current international financial and economic crisis, has brought increasing unemployment and poverty. The latter, however, is not just an effect of the current situation, but remains a structural condition. Almost half the population, including members of the middle class who lost their jobs and/or houses, experienced poverty between 1995 and 2000. Climate change is also affecting the economy and the well being of citizens. New approaches and specific measures are needed to combat poverty and tackle environmental challenges.
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