Peer reviews of DAC members

Lessons from peer reviews


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What have we learnt from individual peer reviews and peer learning exercises? The OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) is a forum where bilateral donors come together to exchange experience and to address issues of common interest or concern. The overarching objective of the DAC is to promote development co-operation and other relevant policies so as to contribute to implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including inclusive and sustainable economic growth, poverty eradication, improvement of living standards in developing countries, and a future in which no country will depend on aid. Development co-operation peer reviews are a hallmark of the DAC, with a history spanning over 50 years. Through peer reviews, each member’s development co-operation system is reviewed and assessed by the DAC roughly every five years.

Peer reviews make recommendations and suggestions for improvement, and a follow up process ensures that lessons are translated into policies, programmes, and practices of the member. DAC peer reviews therefore promote individual and collective behaviour change of DAC members to ensure their development co-operation policy framework and systems are fit for purpose. In addition to the individual peer reviews of DAC members, the OECD captures lessons and trends that emerge across peer reviews and facilitates learning exercises between peers on areas of particular interest to DAC members.

Key publications

Innovation for Development Impact

The development co-operation community needs to innovate to meet the global challenges ahead. Although it has an established track record for innovating partnerships, funding instruments and technologies, they are not enough to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals. This report synthesises the lessons emerging from an OECD Development Assistance Committee peer learning exercise on how innovation efforts can be strengthened, individually and collectively, to achieve the 2030 Agenda. The report is organised around three blocks – strategy, management and culture; organisation and collaboration; and, the innovation process – and provides recommendations on how innovation can best benefit poor and vulnerable people around the world.

Greening Development Co-operation

How can members of the DAC effectively tackle critical environmental challenges and threats – such as climate change, pollution, and loss of soil fertility and biodiversity – in activities supporting the 2030 Agenda in developing countries? Most already have environmental safeguards in place to screen out negative environmental practice, but they need far more robust policies, capacities and approaches for mainstreaming environment across all their development co-operation activities. This report examines five critical areas for mainstreaming: strong policy commitment and leadership; robust systems, processes and tools; capacity and continuous skill development; shared knowledge, learning and engagement; well-supported country systems. On that basis, the report suggests priority actions for the OECD-DAC, its Network on Environment and Development (ENVIRONET) and the wider development community.

Private Sector Engagement for Sustainable Development

Members of the DAC are increasingly working with the private sector in development co-operation to realise sustainable development outcomes. To learn from this experience, the DAC introduced a peer learning review on working with and through the private sector in development co-operation. Private Sector Engagement for Sustainable Development: Lessons from the DAC examines the politics, policies and institutions behind private sector engagement, the focus and delivery of private sector engagements, private sector engagement portfolios, effective partnership and thematic issues including risk, leverage and ensuring results. Drawing on the practical experiences of DAC members, the report highlights good practice, provides a typology of private sector engagement and outlines key lessons. It highlights the importance of aligning private sector engagements to overall development co-operation strategies and aid effectiveness principles. It also looks at investing in institutional capacities, developing a suite of flexible mechanisms for private sector engagement, and adopting appropriate systems to monitor, evaluate and report on the results of partnerships with the private sector.

Engaging with the Public

Engaging with the Public: 12 Lessons from DAC Peer Reviews and the Network of DAC Development Communicators (DevCom)” is the DAC’s first good practice publication on engaging with the public and building awareness about global development challenges. This booklet highlights key lessons learned on engaging with the public based on DAC members’ practices as documented in peer reviews, DevCom’s reports and publications, and wider work from across the OECD. It includes examples from DAC members’ experiences and sketches out the challenges they continue to face as they move toward more strategic, effective and innovative engagement with citizens and taxpayers on development co-operation.

Mainstreaming Cross-Cutting issues

Why and how should development policy bring in issues like the environment and gender equality? “Sustainable development is not possible if rivers are polluted, if climate fluctuations create instability, if soil is depleted and biodiversity is destroyed. No country can reach its potential if 50% of its labour force, talent and ingenuity go unused because of gender inequality,” says Erik Solheim, Chair of the OECD/DAC. “These are cross-cutting issues that must be mainstreamed into all development initiatives.” DAC members have a wealth of experience in dealing with the challenges of mainstreaming gender equality and environment into the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of development policies and programmes. This booklet offers seven essential lessons culled from their experience to help to make development more effective.

Evaluating Development Activities

As development co-operation faces ever increasing pressures to demonstrate results, donors and partner governments need credible, timely evidence to inform their programmes and improve performance. Evaluation has a critical role to play in providing such evidence.  New methodologies and ways of working are being developed to better understand what works, why and under what circumstances and improve mutual accountability. The 12 lessons on Evaluating Development Activities are aimed at strengthening evaluation for better learning and decision-making.

Partnering with Civil Society

These 12 lessons are based on evidence and experience, and identify common ground for dialogue and action while respecting the distinctive objectives and roles of official donors and CSOs. They focus on how DAC members and CSOs can create stronger, balanced partnerships to reach common development goals.

Supporting Partners to Develop their Capacity

This booklet draws out some common themes or lessons regarding capacity development from these peer reviews, including technical co-operation which is one of the main forms of DAC members’ assistance to partner countries.

Towards Better Humanitarian Donorship

Donors are implementing the GHD principles in different ways, dealing with various realities and building on individual comparative advantage, to deliver principled and effective humanitarian funding as best they can.

Managing Aid: Practices of DAC Member Countries

With the manager and practitioner in mind, this book makes recommendations to donors on how to grow, strengthen or consolidate their programmes.

Effective Aid Management: Twelve Lessons from DAC Peer Reviews

Accompanied by specific examples of donor practices, these are organised around the broad categories of strategy, organisational management and management of aid delivery.