OECD Development Co-operation Peer Reviews

2309-7132 (online)
2309-7124 (print)
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The OECD's Development Assistance Committee (DAC) conducts periodic reviews of the individual development co-operation efforts of DAC members. The policies and programmes of each DAC member are critically examined approximately once every five years. DAC peer reviews assess the performance of a given member, not just that of its development co-operation agency, and examine both policy and implementation. They take an integrated, system-wide perspective on the development co-operation and humanitarian assistance activities of the member under review.

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OECD Development Co-operation Peer Reviews: Iceland 2017

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19 June 2017
9789264274334 (PDF) ;9789264274327(print)

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This review assesses the performance of Iceland, including looking at how Iceland works in its three partner countries and on key priority issues such as gender, health, education and renewable energy.

Iceland joined the Development Assistance Committee in 2013. This is its first peer review.

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  • Conducting the peer review

    The OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) conducts periodic reviews of the individual development co-operation efforts of DAC members. The policies and programmes of each member are critically examined approximately once every five years, with six members examined annually. The OECD Development Co-operation Directorate provides analytical support, and develops and maintains, in close consultation with the Committee, the methodology and analytical framework – known as the Reference Guide – within which the peer reviews are undertaken.

  • Abbreviations and acronyms
  • Iceland's aid at a glance
  • Context of the peer review of Iceland

    With just 330 000 people dotted over a land mass of 103 000 square kilometres, Iceland is the most sparsely populated country in Europe. In addition to having one of the highest life satisfaction ratings of all OECD countries, Iceland also boasts the highest employment rate. While Iceland still has a lower gross national income per capita than other Nordic countries (USD 46 606), wage growth is in double digits and the income inequality gap is the narrowest of all OECD countries.

  • The DAC's main findings and recommendations
  • Towards a comprehensive Icelandic development effort

    Iceland contributes to the global development agenda in a strategic and joined-up manner. In doing so, Iceland takes a selective approach, advocating for gender equality, renewable energy, sustainable fisheries, and land restoration. These are areas where Iceland has forged an international reputation and where its knowledge can have global benefit. In its work to shape the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Iceland uses its diplomatic weight to promote global public goods.

  • Iceland's vision and policies for development co-operation

    In line with its international commitments, Iceland’s development co-operation focuses on eradicating poverty and improving living standards in the world’s poorest countries. The new hierarchy between Iceland’s updated law, draft development co-operation policy and forthcoming action plan is developing well, with increasing synergies between development and foreign policy.

  • Allocating Iceland's official development assistance

    Iceland’s official development assistance (ODA) comprises a small proportion of DAC members’ total bilateral development co-operation funding. Yet Iceland stands out for its high share of ODA allocated to the world’s poorest countries, much of which is spent in fragile states. In the wake of its severe economic and banking system crisis, Iceland has abandoned ambitions to dramatically scale-up its development co-operation, with ODA levels now expected to stabilise at around 0.26% of gross national income over the next five years. However, the government’s new five-year budget framework for development co-operation can help to support a gradual and sustained increase of Iceland’s ODA in line with its future economic growth, as well as to improve predictability for its partners.

  • Managing Iceland's development co-operation

    Iceland is bedding down the integration of its bilateral development agency within the Ministry for Foreign Affairs – a move which is strengthening its institutional framework and operational capacity for development co-operation. The merger has safeguarded country-level bilateral structures, enabling Iceland to honour its commitments to partner countries. The new arrangements, including a single advisory body on development co-operation, should be kept under review to ensure Iceland can continue to implement its aid effectively.

  • Iceland's development co-operation delivery and partnerships

    Iceland takes its commitment to the Busan principles for effective development very seriously. This is reflected in its development co-operation strategy and tight, effective operations on the ground. In particular, Iceland makes good use of district-level systems, is well aligned with national and district development plans, co-ordinates meaningfully with other donors, unties all of its aid and makes limited use of conditionality. In addition, Iceland is improving the predictability of its programming and budgeting processes, which are helping it to respond and adjust to the needs of its partners.

  • Results management and accountability of Iceland's development co-operation

    Iceland monitors results to improve planning and implementation of its development co-operation and supports its bilateral partners’ overall monitoring capacity by using their district-level results frameworks. Extending this results-orientation beyond bilateral to multilateral, regional and humanitarian activities would help Iceland to better account for all the results of its development programme.

  • Iceland's humanitarian assistance

    Iceland’s overall policy framework for humanitarian aid is solid and driven by international standards. The country makes the best use of its limited resources and maximises its impact and visibility by deploying technical experts to UN agencies’ field missions. Iceland pays great attention to gender equality throughout its humanitarian and development assistance strategies. This focus is clear and gives Iceland’s policy greater clout and coherence.

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