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Denmark—Commitment to Development Index

The Commitment to Development Index ranks 27 of the world’s richest countries on policies that affect people living in poorer nations. This is the country report for Denmark. For results of all countries, visit the main CDI page.

Overall

Denmark leads this year’s Commitment to Development Index, performing above average on all components except migration.
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Aid

Denmark comes out on top on this year’s aid component. In 2016, Denmark provided 0.75% of its GNI for development assistance. This is above the international commitment of 0.7% GNI and above the average among the CDI countries. Denmark’s contributions are its lowest, however, since the start of the CDI in 2003. The quality of Denmark’s aid program is among the best. It provides support to poor countries where aid is needed the most, and its aid is untied and transparently reported. Denmark could increase the share of its contribution to multilateral agencies.
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Finance

Denmark ranks second on the finance component, slightly better than in the previous year. Denmark provides sound institutional support for investment in developing countries. It is a member of all institutional investment frameworks considered in the CDI and shows commitment to the OECD Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises by having a national action plan on business and human rights. Its performance on facilitating financial transparency is top ranked (tied with Finland), with room for improvement on policies regarding public company ownership. Denmark could improve the design of its international investment agreements (IIAs), however, where it currently scores below average. It should take more into account the sustainable development goals of its investment partners.
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Technology

On the technology component, Denmark scores in the top 10. Its 7th place ranking is mainly due to the government’s significant support for research and development (0.95% of its GDP in 2016, weighted value), which is well above the average among the rest of the CDI countries. Also, Danish business expenditures on R&D (as a percentage of GDP) are significant compared to peers in other CDI countries. To make its technology policies more development friendly, Denmark could loosen its intellectual property rights policies, especially in the areas of database protection and patents.
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Environment

Denmark’s performance is average or above on most indicators included in the environment component, which puts it in 8th place. This is a slight drop from the previous year (when it ranked 6th) but still better than many of its peers. Denmark scores above average due to its low greenhouse gas emissions per capita and low fossil fuel production. Denmark has also ratified the Paris agreement and the UN fisheries agreement. It has role-model reporting standards to biodiversity treaties, as its reporting is of high quality and timely. Denmark could improve its score, however, by putting in place higher gasoline taxes.
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Trade

Denmark ranks second on trade. This top position is mainly due to the absence of red tape in imports (where it scores the best of all the CDI countries) and limited restrictions on trade in services. Among the different sectors, it places particularly low barriers to logistics and telecom services. Furthermore, by having only limited tariffs, Denmark keeps its borders open to trade with developing countries. Denmark could do more, however, to facilitate international trade by cutting its agricultural subsidies, as they are among the highest of all the CDI countries. Subsidizing the production of its own farmers results in price and market distortions, thereby hurting producers in developing countries by limiting their access to the Danish market.
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Security

After a slight drop on last year’s CDI, Denmark has climbed back on top of the security component. Denmark is party to all international security agreements taken into account in the CDI and exports only a few arms to poor countries. Furthermore, Denmark receives credit for its significant financial and personnel contributions to international peacekeeping efforts and humanitarian missions. It also performs well on the indicator measuring contributions to the protection of global sea lanes, ranking as the fifth largest contributor (expressed as a percentage of GDP) of all the CDI countries.
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Migration

Denmark ranks less well on migration than on the rest of the CDI components, illustrating that even the leading CDI country can learn from other countries’ policy designs. Although Denmark accepts a large share of asylum seekers, its borders are less open to other migrants. It hardly accepts students from developing countries (measured as countries eligible to receive ODA), giving it the lowest ratio of students from these countries out of the total of international students. Denmark is not a signatory to the Migration for Employment Convention or the Convention on the Treatment of Migrant Workers. It is rewarded, however, for its integration policies, which are less discriminatory than those of many other CDI countries.
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