Peer reviews of DAC members

OECD Development Assistance Committee Review of Spain


10/04/2002 - Spain's Official Development Assistance (ODA) amounted to USD 1.2 billion in 2000. Spain's ODA in relation to its Gross National Income (GNI) peaked at 0.28% in the mid-nineties, but decreased to 0.22% in 2000, ranking it 19th out of the 22 DAC countries. The DAC welcomed Spain's commitment made at the European Council meeting in Barcelona to reach 0.33% ODA/GNI ratio by 2006. This may be helped by Spain's steady economic growth and strong public support for development co-operation.

The DAC commended Spain for the notable progress made in development co-operation since the last Peer Review. Its new comprehensive Law on International Development Co-operation and its four-year master plan have enhanced the consistency and co-ordination of the diversified Spanish aid system, which seeks to focus on poverty reduction, gender equality and the environment. To further align Spain's efforts with the Millennium Development Goals, the DAC welcomed the confirmation of poverty reduction as an overarching goal across the entire aid system and recommended increased spending on poverty reduction, including basic social services such as health and education.

In 2000, more than half of Spanish aid went to lower middle-income countries and 40% was directed towards low-income countries. The DAC recommended that Spain should strengthen its allocation of resources to enhance the targeting of aid to poor populations and poor countries as well as the creation of a pro-poor environment. At present, Spain gives loans to highly indebted poor countries; since loans are tied to Spanish procurement, they can have limitations on partnership, ownership and aid effectiveness. The DAC noted the decreasing share of Development Aid Fund (FAD) loans. In this context, Spain should continue its review of its FAD loans in a comprehensive manner. Spanish development co-operation would benefit from more emphasis on results achieved and effectiveness in aid programming and implementation to inform lesson-learning and reinforce public support.

A large proportion of Spanish aid goes to Latin America. Spain's strong linguistic, historical and cultural ties with Latin America and its recent experience of building a democratic state mean it is in a good position to share its experiences with that region. In view of these factors, Spain could take a lead role among donors in discussions on good governance, such as judicial reform, decentralisation, tax administration and police force training.

Spain's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has been assigned the central responsibility in development policy. In 2000, decentralised co-operation through autonomous regions and local authorities accounted for 25% of bilateral ODA. The DAC suggested that Foreign Affairs be accorded a clearer lead role in providing directions to all actors in development co-operation, particularly in reinforcing consistency between the growingdecentralised co-operation and overall aid policy. To promote coherent development policies, Spain's Law on International Development Co-operation states that the principles and objectives of development co-operation should be reflected in all other policies affecting developing countries. In order to enhance the discussion on policy coherence for development, the DAC recommended MFA to strengthen its analytical capacity in order to contribute to an informed debate with other policy communities on issues such as EC policies on trade, agriculture, fisheries and technology transfer.

This was the third DAC Review of Spain. The meeting, held on 9 April 2002, was chaired by
Jean-Claude Faure. The examining countries were Ireland and the United Kingdom. Spain was represented by Rafael Rodriguez Ponga, Secretary General of the Spanish Agency for International Co-operation.

For further information on this Review or other OECD/DAC work, journalists should contact
Helen Fisher, OECD's Media relations Division (tel. [33] 1 45 24 80 97).The Main Findings and Recommendations arising from the DAC review will be available as from next week on the DAC/OECD internet site at A full record of the review will be published in the DAC Journal.

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