French multilateral assistance


Multilateral assistance accounted for 41% of France’s overall official development assistance in 2017 (€4.2 billion). Half of this multilateral assistance goes to our contribution to European assistance (€2.1 billion).

The multilateral channel enables France to fully exercise its influence and its responsibility in the international system and to take part in the major international debates on development. It enables France to increase the leverage of its resources invested in development and, by pooling resources, to address problems beyond the scope of bilateral action. Lastly, the multilateral channel enables France to contribute to the international solidarity effort in locations and sectors where it does not act bilaterally.

France’s support for multilateral institutions is consistent with its support for establishing truly comprehensive public policies to deal with the global challenges of development. France uses the multilateral channel to act in a number of priority strategic sectors: first and foremost in the healthcare sector, where French ODA is almost entirely multilateral, as well as in supporting basic education and the environment.

Aside from the work of development banks and multi-sectoral organizations, France contributes to these sectors through dedicated funds: the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the GAVI Alliance and UNITAID for healthcare, and the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

In 2017, France adopted a multilateral aid strategy, including the major categories of institutions (European development instruments, development banks, UN institutions and vertical funds). This strategy sets out France’s priorities advocated in multilateral bodies and highlights how to optimize the links between bilateral and multilateral aid and limit aid fragmentation.

Breakdown of multilateral official development assistance

France’s multilateral aid is spread across four categories of international development instruments:

  • European development instruments, which receive half of French multilateral aid. European aid goes through three main instruments: (i) the European Development Fund (EDF), which is the main source of official development assistance managed by the European Commission (11th EFD, €30.5 billion for 2014-2020) and finances actions in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific; (ii) the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI), used to cover geographical areas (Latin America, Asia, Middle East and South Africa) or given themes (human development, non-state actors and local authorities, the environment, food security, migration and asylum); and (iii) the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENV), which covers Mediterranean countries, Eastern Europe and the Balkans.
  • Vertical funds for healthcare and the environment account for 24% of French multilateral assistance Healthcare funds go to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the international drug purchase and immunization facilities and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Environment funds are directed to the Green Climate Fund and the Global Environment Facility (GEF).
  • France allocates 20% of its multilateral assistance to multilateral development banks. Multilateral development banks in various sectors (infrastructures, agriculture, gender equality promotion, administrative capacity building) help come up with international standards and implement crisis support measures. The World Bank receives nearly 9% of France’s multilateral assistance while regional development banks, including the African Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank, receive 11%.
  • United Nations agencies, funds and programmes receive approximately 6% of France’s multilateral assistance. In United Nations bodies, France focuses on the themes of peace and human rights, humanitarian aid and food security. France’s assistance therefore mainly goes to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the World Food Programme (WFP).

France is an active contributor to the Multilateral Organization Performance Assessment Network (MOPAN), which evaluates the performance of multilateral development organizations. Through MOPAN, 17 member countries pool their efforts and strengthen the legitimacy of evaluation tools with regard to the organizations concerned. Within the Ulstein Group, France also engages in close and rigorous dialogue with the United Nations funds and programmes on their strategic trends and internal organization.

Updated: April 2019