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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Towards Better Humanitarian Donorship

Towards Better Humanitarian Donorship

Twelve Lessons from DAC Peer Reviews You do not have access to this content

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03 May 2012
9789264174276 (PDF)

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This publication outlines the 12 most important humanitarian lessons from the DAC peer reviews, profiles examples of good donor behaviour highlighted in the peer reviews, and sketches out the challenges donors still face as they move towards better humanitarian donorship. Lessons are grouped under the following headings: the strategic framework; delivering effective funding; an organisation fit for purpose; and learning and accountability.
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  • Preface
    Peer reviews of OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) members are based on the dual principles of peer pressure and peer learning. The reviews are the only international process to regularly examine key bilateral development co-operation systems and offer constructive commentary for their reform. In doing so, peer reviews constitute a yardstick against which the DAC can measure the influence – or lack of it – of its good practice principles on donor behaviour, both in the field and at headquarters.
  • Introduction
    Humanitarian action – saving lives, alleviating suffering and maintaining human dignity during and in the aftermath of crises – remains a clear priority for DAC donors. Over USD 11.2 billion of public funds were disbursed as humanitarian aid in 20091 by the 24 members of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC), representing nearly 9% of the total allocation for official development assistance (ODA). Volumes are important, of course, but it is the quality and effectiveness of development assistance that the DAC peer reviews seek to assess and improve.
  • The strategic framework
    A cross-government policy and/or strategy for humanitarian assistance is a critical first step towards ensuring consistent humanitarian responses that respect the GHD principles and highlight important areas such as gender equality. This must be anchored in relevant legislation and accompanied by a realistic implementation plan. Humanitarian frameworks are more effective when they are based on the donor country’s comparative advantage and take into account other policy directives (e.g. on climate change or on migration issues). In setting out the strategy, policy makers must be wary of broad generalisations. Instead, they should base their strategy on a focused and realistic vision that will allow the donor to take a targeted approach to funding and supporting its humanitarian programme.
  • Delivering effective funding
    Providing an appropriate level of predictable and flexible humanitarian funding is not an optional extra for donors. All DAC donors have made – directly or indirectly – a commitment to the Principles and Good Practice of Humanitarian Donorship, which call for "funding in proportion to needs" (GHD principle 6, see Annex). There is currently no comprehensive, objective measure of global humanitarian need, complicating advocacy for more appropriate humanitarian funding levels. The closest approximation is the Consolidated Appeals process – and on average, 30% of the needs listed in these appeals go unfunded every year.
  • Organisation fit for a purpose
    Donors are often criticised for having fragmented humanitarian management structures, but this is not in itself a barrier to coherent humanitarian programming across government. Each of the current donor humanitarian aid management models has merits and disadvantages, and all these business models can deliver useful results if there is an effective cross-government co-ordination mechanism in place.
  • Learning and accountability
    Learning and accountability in humanitarian action is generally accepted as a system-wide weakness. Most DAC donors do little to ensure that humanitarian organisations are committed to promoting accountability, efficiency and effectiveness (GHD principle 15, see Annex), promote the use of guidelines and principles (GHD principle 16, see Annex), support learning and accountability initiatives (GHD principle 21, see Annex) or encourage regular evaluations of international responses to humanitarian crises, including assessments of donor performance (GHD principle 22, see Annex).
  • Notes
  • References
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