At the beginning of 2015, the OECD published a new working paper, which assesses the need for adaption of the members of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) to contextual changes. The DAC, which serves as an international forum of many of the largest funders of aid, was established in 1961 and has continuously aimed to facilitate exchange of experience and insights into how to co-ordinate and manage development finance for greater impact.
The OECD’s Development Co-operation Directorate (DCD) recognizes that the members of the DAC needs to adapt their policies, partnerships and organisational structures to remain relevant and to increase their impact. Rapid economic, social and environmental change require both policy and management changes. In order to determine what these changes should entail, the OECD undertook a comprehensive survey in 2014, interviewing senior government representatives from 40 developing countries, on how they see their development co-operation needs evolving over the next 5-10 years.
Key findings which emerged from the survey include:
- Respondents are optimistic about their future, due to experienced improvement in their own governance, institutional capacity and ability to deliver basic services and to generate domestic resources. Foreseen challenges include achieving sustainable economic growth and climate change;
- While demand for official development assistance (ODA) is expected to remain strong, respondents want DAC members to shift to a more enabling role in the future. This would involve: providing financing for government-led investment programmes; offering more and better technical and policy advice; and doing more to leverage private flows;
- Respondents are increasingly diversifying their choice of development assistance providers and demand high-quality assistance, taking into account the international development effectiveness principles of alignment and predictability;
- As they progress, developing countries aim to shift from short-term development assistance to long-term multi-faceted relationships based on trade and economic ties.
The working paper ‘Making Development Co-operation Fit for the Future: A Partner Country Survey’ presents and analyses the main findings of the partner country survey and provides recommendations to the members of the DAC based on the survey’s findings. Based on the survey, authors Davies and Pickering conclude that DAC members will need to let go of some of their control over programming, diversify their policy advise (from natural resource management to social protection systems) and develop different types of partnerships in a context in which developing countries become increasingly selective and strategic in their use of development assistance.