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.

The objectives of DAC peer reviews are to improve the quality and effectiveness of development co-operation policies and systems, and to promote good development partnerships for better impact on poverty reduction and sustainable development in developing countries. 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.

The peer review is prepared by a team consisting of representatives of the Secretariat working with officials from two DAC members who are designated as “examiners”. The country under review provides a memorandum setting out the main developments in its policies and programmes. The Secretariat and the examiners visit the capital to interview officials, parliamentarians, as well as civil society and non-governmental organisations’ representatives in the donor country to obtain a first-hand insight into current issues surrounding the development co-operation efforts of the member concerned. Field visits assess how members are implementing the major DAC policies, principles and concerns, and review operations in recipient countries, particularly with regard to poverty reduction, sustainability, gender equality and other aspects of participatory development, and local aid co-ordination. During the field visit, the team meets with representatives of the partner country’s administration, parliamentarians, civil society and other development partners.

The Secretariat then prepares a draft report on the member’s development co-operation, which is the basis for the DAC review meeting at the OECD. At this meeting, senior officials from the member under review respond to questions formulated by the Committee in association with the examiners.

This review – containing both the main findings and recommendations of the DAC and the analytical report of the Secretariat – was prepared with examiners from France (Hatem Chakroun and Stéphane Cieniewski) and Korea (Jae Myong Koh and Eunshil Han) for the peer review of Sweden on 14 May 2019. The Secretariat team consisted of Hetty Kovach, Jenny Hedman, Cyprien Fabre and Claudio Cerabino. Katia Grosheva provided logistical assistance to the review, and formatted and produced the report. The report was prepared under the supervision of Rahul Malhotra. Among other things, this review recognises Sweden’s use of a multidimensional poverty approach to deliver on its pledge to leave no one behind, and its continued leadership in providing gender-focused aid. It also notes Sweden’s long-term and valued partnerships with multilateral organisations, and its support for civil society organisations as an integral part of its pursuit of democratic governance. Areas for improvement outlined in the review include: allocating a higher share of development assistance to a prioritised set of partner countries, and working more directly with and through partner government systems; systematic application of a joined-up approach to addressing development, humanitarian and peace needs in fragile partner countries; and ensuring that development co-operation is guided by relevant and strategic evaluations.

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