Table of Contents

  • 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 four or five years. Five members are 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.

  • The centre-right People’s Party won a landslide victory in the 2011 general election, ousting the Socialist Party from power. The two parties have dominated Spanish government and politics since the country’s transition to democracy from the mid-1970s to the early 1980s. This picture is now changing. In elections in 13 of Spain’s 17 regions in May 2015, two new parties – Podemos (“We can”), a far-left party, and Ciudadanos (“Citizens”), a centre party – made significant gains, including in the biggest cities of Madrid and Barcelona. The ruling People’s Party gained just 27% of the vote, maintaining control of only four regions, down from 10 prior to the election.

  • Spain provides global public goods through multilateral channels and co-ordinated interventions with other partners. It advocates for the active engagement of middle-income countries in the provision and management of such goods, particularly by supporting regional integration and renewed country partnerships. Spain has also been actively involved in work to define the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

  • Spain’s fourth Master Plan gives Spanish development co-operation purpose. Spain has a clear commitment to improving focus and effectiveness in the context of a declining ODA budget. However, its policies and strategies have not been fully successful in guiding all aspects of the programme.

  • Spain’s overall ODA volume has suffered a dramatic decline. At 0.13% of gross national income, it is at its lowest since 1988. Spain has committed to reversing the decline as its economy recovers – there is evidence that it is living up to that commitment in recent budget statements. The multilateral channel claims the lion’s share of ODA, with the bilateral channel bearing the brunt of cuts and ODA to the least developed countries at low levels. Spain needs to improve its ODA execution rate and reporting practices.

  • Spain recognises, and has tried to address, structural weaknesses in its institutional system. It has attempted to streamline management arrangements to ease co-ordination within MAEC. At a broader level, it has structures and tools to improve co-ordination between several governmental and non-governmental actors, both at headquarter level and in country offices. Indeed, there appears to have been a slight, though not yet significant, improvement in whole-of-government approaches. However, co-ordination efforts will need continued strengthening.

  • Spain is clearly committed to the Busan principles for effective development co-operation. Flexibility in budgeting and programming, enhanced by AECID’s significant autonomy in partner countries and territories, helps Spain to be responsive to the needs of its partners and adjust its activities in a timely manner. Spain uses country systems when possible and uses conditionality sparingly. However, the low levels of disbursement affects results, programme management and budgeting. The absence of standard, streamlined procedures, even for risk analysis and oversight, can also affect efficiency and accountability.

  • Spain is developing a promising approach in planning for results, drawing on partner country results frameworks. However, accelerating the move from planning to managing for results – i.e. using results information to support decision making – will require a results culture, the right tools, and adequate monitoring.

  • Spain’s humanitarian budget has suffered from sudden, significant cuts over the last four years, forcing a reduction in the scope and quality of the programme. As a consequence, Spain has had to think hard about where it can best add value with its limited humanitarian funds. The result is a more strategic approach concentrated on a small number of crises, complemented by active efforts in international humanitarian diplomacy – efforts that are highly appreciated by partners and other DAC members. There have also been negative impacts: limited resources hinder holistic programming, so affecting resilience building and recovery components, and the immediacy of the cuts significantly reduced the predictability of Spain’s funding to partners. Spain could put greater effort into development programmes that address crisis drivers, perhaps by systematically including them in their Country Partnership Frameworks. In addition, the humanitarian budget – at only 4% of ODA – is unnecessarily low, particularly as public support is so strong. Spain could certainly allocate greater resources to this key area.