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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 to six years, with five members reviewed annually.

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 greater impact on poverty reduction and sustainable development in developing countries. DAC peer reviews assess the performance of a given member 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 OECD Development Co-operation Directorate provides analytical support to each review and is responsible for developing and maintaining, in close consultation with the Committee, the methodology and analytical framework – known as the Reference Guide – within which the peer reviews are undertaken.

Following the submission of a memorandum by the reviewed member, setting out key policy and programme developments, the Secretariat and two DAC members designated as peer reviewers visit the member’s capital to interview officials, parliamentarians, as well as civil society and non-governmental organisations’ representatives. This is followed by a field visit, where the team meet with senior officials and representatives of the partner country or territory’s administration, parliamentarians, civil society and other development partners. The main findings of these consultations and a set of recommendations are then discussed during a formal meeting of the DAC prior to finalisation of the report.

The Peer Review of Austria involved an extensive process of consultation with actors and stakeholders in Vienna, Austria and Pristina, Kosovo.1* The resulting report, which contains both the main findings and recommendations of the DAC and the analytical report of the Secretariat, formed the basis for the DAC meeting at the OECD on 5 December 2019, at which senior officials from Austria responded to questions formulated by the Committee.

The peer review took into account the political and economic context in Austria, to the extent that it shapes Austria’s development co-operation policies and systems. Compared to most other OECD Member countries, Austria performs well on many measures of well-being, ranking above average on income and wealth, jobs, housing, health status, subjective well-being, personal security, social connections, and education and skills. While Austria experienced a broad upswing in economic growth over 2016-2018, this is projected to slow in 2019 and 2020 and uncertainties surrounding global trade, the Euro-area and Brexit may dampen growth further.2

Following general elections in October 2017, the centre-right Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) formed a coalition with the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ) in December 2017. However, the government was dissolved in May 2019 following a vote of no confidence by parliament. A technocrat caretaker government was assigned in June 2019 by President Alexander Van der Bellen. A general election was held in September 2019, which the ÖVP won comfortably.

Austria’s development co-operation system is relatively complex. The Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs (MFA) allocates and oversees the budget of the Austrian Development Agency (ADA), sets development policy, and manages Austria’s Foreign Disaster Fund. ADA, established in 2004, functions as the operational unit of Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC), operating from a head office in Vienna and through 11 ADC Co-ordination Offices in Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe. Around six other federal ministries contribute to official development assistance (ODA). The Federal Ministry of Finance is responsible for most core contributions to multilateral organisations, and is involved in the oversight of the Development Bank of Austria (OeEB) and the Oesterreichische Kontrollbank AG (OeKB). The federal states (Bundesländer) and several other federal ministries – the Ministry of Sustainability and Tourism; the Ministry of Education, Science and Research; the Ministry of Defence; the Ministry of the Interior; and the Federal Chancellery – also contribute to total ODA and are important elements in the overall system.

← 1. This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244/99 and the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice on Kosovo’s declaration of independence.

← 2. For more information, see the OECD Better Life Index ( and the OECD Economic Survey of Austria 2019 (

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