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OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) became a part of the OECD in 1961. It is a unique forum where the governments of the donor countries and multilateral organisations like the World Bank and UN are joined in helping the developing countries reducing poverty and reaching the Millennium Development Goals.

The Development Assistance Committee (DAC) today “only” counts 29 out of the 34 OECD members as only donor countries can be members. Members also include the World Bank, the International Monetary Foundation (IMF) as well as UN’s Development Programme (UNDP) as observer – this means that they take part in the committee’s work process, but not in the actual decision making process.

Furthermore, DAC is to an increasing degree making efforts to engage a diverse and growing number of actors within development – both by inviting partner countries and NGOs to participate in meetings, working parties (especially the Working Party on Aid Effectiveness) and events, and by seeking to further dialogue and cooperation with new donor countries such as China, India and Brazil.

Traditional core activities in DAC include statistics, “standard setting” and identifying “good practices”. An important and central tool in this regard, as well as in the rest of the OECD, are the so-called “peer reviews” between DAC-members. With regard to statistics, DAC plays a central role internationally. It is DAC that sets the international standard for defining and registering public development assistance, ODA, and it is the only reliable source of comparable data on the development assistance of the OECD countries. Aid effectiveness – which includes both quality and quantity – is a major theme.

In 2005, the work on aid effectiveness resulted in the groundbreaking Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and in the adoption of the “Accra Agenda for Action” in 2008. In 2011 this work was followed up with the High Level Meeting on Aid Effectiveness in Busan which resulted in the Global Partnership for Effectice Development Cooperation, a global initiative to end poverty which you can read more about in the link below.

DAC’s major role in international agenda setting on development is illustrated by the fact that DAC’s strategy for the 21st Century was the most important contribution to the establishment of the Millennium Development Goals.

In spring 2009, DAC increased its efforts on strategy development through the work of a high level reflection group which has analysed challenges on development policy towards 2020 and DAC’s role in these.