2018 Organisation and Management of Aid Mapping

Who makes the decisions on Swedish aid funding? An overview

The Expert Group for Aid Studies

The purpose of this report is to provide an overview of the financial governance of Swedish ODA at the national level. Many different stakeholders at various levels are involved in the decisionmaking process for Swedish aid including the Parliament, the Government, the Government offices and state authorities, local governments, local level authorities, and implementing organisations.

This mapping has resulted in a number of reflections that are beyond the scope of this report but can be starting points for followup studies.


  • The volume of foreign aid, in contrast to the rest of the Government budget, is determined by an expenditure target (one percent of GNI). This leads to the question of how this affects the governance of Swedish foreign aid in comparison to other expenditure areas.
  • Appropriations that allow for multiannual financial commitments appear to be increasing over time. An interesting question to analyze more closely is how well this trend corresponds to, one the one hand, Sida’s ability to adapt to unforeseen events and, on the other hand, the Government’s ability to reform development cooperation.
  • The fact that a large proportion of the management and decisionmaking authority for development cooperation is delegated to embassies should allow for improved ability to adapt to local contexts, enabling flexibility and well-informed decision-making, but can it also be problematic from a steering perspective?

The report is a translated, shortened and updated version of a previously published EBA-study (EBA 2016:06, “Vem beslutar om det svenska biståndet? En översikt”). Revisions have been made by Mats Hårsmar with the assistance of Lena Johansson de Chateau.