Spain

Development Assistance Committee (DAC) Peer Review 2011

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The DAC’S main findings and recommendations

Overview

Spain has made remarkable progress in improving both the quantity and quality of its development co-operation. Since 2004 it has doubled the amount it invests in official development assistance, making it the seventh largest donor in the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC). The country is sticking to its resolve to achieve its internationally-agreed target of giving 0.7% of its gross national income as official development assistance (ODA) by 2015. This is despite the severe impact of the global economic crisis, which led to budget cuts in 2009 and 2010 and a reduction of Spain’s ODA from 0.45% of its national income in 2008 to 0.43% in 2010. Spain’s development co-operation has been driven by a government commitment to fighting poverty and by strong cross-party and public support based on a sense of solidarity with the world’s poor.

Since the last peer review in 2007, Spain has made development policy a key policy in its own right and an important element of its foreign policy. The government has given a wide range of stakeholders a voice in influencing the design of its medium-term strategy for development co-operation – the IIIrd Master Plan (2009-2012). It is also putting in place strategic frameworks to engage with partner countries, multilateral agencies and the private sector. The Spanish Agency for International Development Co-operation (AECID, referred to here as “the agency”) has recruited substantial numbers of staff in order to cope with increased levels of ODA, and has focused on improving how it works. Spain has strengthened its humanitarian assistance programme, using a number of innovative approaches, including in the area of rapid response.

Spain still has scope to improve its development co-operation in several ways. Its ambitious development strategy would benefit from prioritising among the many countries, sectors and cross-cutting issues. This would avoid spreading Spanish ODA thinly among its partners. Spanish co-operation could be made more transparent if partner countries and field offices had information on all activities by national and decentralized actors. A policy on working with civil society would strengthen Spain’s growing engagement with NGOs in Spain and in partner countries, and stronger development communication might help to maintain public support for development. Spain needs a staff policy for mobility between field and headquarters, and needs to introduce a performance management system. Finally, the various institutions mandated to co-ordinate development and humanitarian efforts need to be better linked if they are to be effective.