Peer reviews of DAC members

Lessons from peer reviews


How effectively do donors manage their development programmes?

The peer review process is a unique experience for learning about the characteristics of effective development co-operation systems, in the light of internationally agreed standards, commitments and principles (the Paris Declaration and Accra Agenda for Action).


Collectively, these reviews cover the full range of aid management challenges for DAC members from policy to delivery. In an effort to make donor action more coherent and effective, and to improve accountability, co-ordination, learning and evaluation, these reviews attempt a critical, helpful and respectful commentary on practices by DAC members. It is a process that seeks a common understanding of aid practice and provides regular feedback on innovative ways in which donors have made progress towards more effective aid management.


Key lessons from peer reviews have been developed in the following areas:



thumbnail of 12 lessons engaging with the public

Engaging with the Public

Engaging with the Public: 12 Lessons from DAC Peer Reviews and the Network of DAC Development Communicators (DevCom)” is the DAC’s first good practice publication on engaging with the public and building awareness about global development challenges. This booklet highlights key lessons learned on engaging with the public based on DAC members’ practices as documented in peer reviews, DevCom’s reports and publications, and wider work from across the OECD. It includes examples from DAC members’ experiences and sketches out the challenges they continue to face as they move toward more strategic, effective and innovative engagement with citizens and taxpayers on development co-operation.


 Mainstreaming cross-cutting issues

Mainstreaming Cross-Cutting issues

Why and how should development policy bring in issues like the environment and gender equality? “Sustainable development is not possible if rivers are polluted, if climate fluctuations create instability, if soil is depleted and biodiversity is destroyed. No country can reach its potential if 50% of its labour force, talent and ingenuity go unused because of gender inequality,” says Erik Solheim, Chair of the OECD/DAC. “These are cross-cutting issues that must be mainstreamed into all development initiatives.” DAC members have a wealth of experience in dealing with the challenges of mainstreaming gender equality and environment into the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of development policies and programmes. This booklet offers seven essential lessons culled from their experience to help to make development more effective.


Evaluating Development Activities

As development co-operation faces ever increasing pressures to demonstrate results, donors and partner governments need credible, timely evidence to inform their programmes and improve performance. Evaluation has a critical role to play in providing such evidence.  New methodologies and ways of working are being developed to better understand what works, why and under what circumstances and improve mutual accountability. The 12 lessons on Evaluating Development Activities are aimed at strengthening evaluation for better learning and decision-making.

 Partnering with Civil Society

These 12 lessons are based on evidence and experience, and identify common ground for dialogue and action while respecting the distinctive objectives and roles of official donors and CSOs. They focus on how DAC members and CSOs can create stronger, balanced partnerships to reach common development goals.


Supporting Partners to Develop their Capacity

This booklet draws out some common themes or lessons regarding capacity development from these peer reviews, including technical co-operation which is one of the main forms of DAC members’ assistance to partner countries.


Towards Better Humanitarian Donorship

Donors are implementing the GHD principles in different ways, dealing with various realities and building on individual comparative advantage, to deliver principled and effective humanitarian funding as best they can.



 Managing Aid: Practices of DAC Member Countries

With the manager and practitioner in mind, this book makes recommendations to donors on how to grow, strengthen or consolidate their programmes.


 Effective Aid Management: Twelve Lessons from DAC Peer Reviews

Accompanied by specific examples of donor practices, these are organised around the broad categories of strategy, organisational management and management of aid delivery.