Development Co-operation Reviews: Denmark 1999

The OECD Development Assistance Committee's 1999 review of Denmark's development aid programmes and policies. It finds that Denmark is the top performer among the 22 Members of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) in terms of the volume of its official development assistance (ODA). Denmark’s ODA volume has been maintained at around 1% of gross national product (GNP) since 1992, thanks to a strong consensus and public support for development aid. The quality of Denmark’s aid effort is also most impressive. In particular this high volume of aid is supported by a strong long-range strategy, whose directions - and especially the central emphasis on poverty reduction - are in harmony with the Development Partnership Strategy agreed by the DAC in 1996. Denmark has succeeded in concentrating its bilateral assistance on 20 countries, 18 of which are low-income or least developed countries. Aid is concentrated on sectors of particular relevance to the poor and on programmes in the poorest areas of these countries, thus working towards the goal of poverty reduction. Since 1996, Denmark has pursued a policy of "active multilateralism" to promote its concerns for increased focus and efficiency in multilateral aid programmes. However, there is no clear evidence that this policy has greatly advanced the intended results, as it still reflects a largely unilateral approach more than a joint endeavour. Denmark is a long-standing positive example of the integration of the aid system with other aspects of foreign relations. This approach combines policy coherence in Denmark’s relations with developing countries and professionalism in the aid programme, enhanced by an effective decentralisation of responsibility to embassies in programme countries. This integrated approach has helped Danish development assistance (Danida) to pioneer since 1994 a shift in aid implementation from project support to Sector Programme Support (SPS), an approach which should be mutually reinforcing with the DAC’s Partnership Strategy. It implies also a stepping up in co-ordination activities, both between donors and with partner countries, which Denmark has fully backed.

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