The commitment to provide 0.7% of gross national product (GNP) as official development assistance was first made 35 years ago in a General Assembly resolution, but it has been reaffirmed repeatedly over the years, including at the 2002 global Financing for Development conference in Monterrey, Mexico. However, in 2004, total aid from the industrialized countries totaled just $78.6 billion or about 0.25% of their collective GNP.
Five European countries already devote 0.7% or more of their gross national income to aid. In a historic declaration on 24 May 2005, the European Union announced plans and timetables to reach 0.7 before 2015, which means that 16 of the 22 OECD DAC countries (the EU-15 plus Norway) are on track to meet the commitments they made in Monterrey. The six remaining countries Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, and Switzerland and the United States have not set out timetables to reach 0.7. If the wealthy nations do what they have already promised to do, the Millennium Development Goals can be achieved in even the poorest regions.