The OECD is a Paris-based international organisation with 37 member countries. It is a forum for member states to discuss, evaluate and improve their policies. It is composed of various committees. The Development Assistance Committee, which has 30 members, is of central importance for development policy.
Main tasks of the OECD
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is an international organisation that aims to develop better policies to improve lives – policies that ensure prosperity, justice, opportunity and quality of life for all. Together with governments, policymakers and citizens, the OECD develops international standards and evidence-based solutions for a broad range of social, economic and environmental challenges. The OECD provides data and analyses that constitute a unique knowledge base on a wide range of topics. Its members are 37 industrialised countries. The OECD provides governments with a framework for discussing and further developing their policies in the fields of the economy, finance, education, development, science and the environment.
The OECD is organised into various committees. For the SDC, the most important of these is the Development Assistance Committee (DAC).
Other OECD institutions involved in development are:
- The Development Centre
The Development Centre is mandated to carry out research on economic and social development. It serves as a forum for informal policy dialogue between OECD and non-OECD countries and between academics, policymakers and representatives of the private sector.
- The Sahel and West Africa Club (SWAC)
The SWAC promotes ties between OECD states and the West Africa region. Its goal is to facilitate the exchange of experience and know-how and make policy proposals to support development and regional integration. Climate change and food security are important themes for the SWAC.
- Global Relations
Global Relations promotes and coordinates dialogue between OECD states and emerging, transition and developing countries and is the main point of contact for non-OECD member states.
Tasks and goals of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC)
The DAC has 30 OECD members. Its main remit is to protect the integrity of official development assistance (ODA), promote mutual learning, collect and analyse data and develop standards.
The DAC itself does not carry out projects but focuses on the political, methodological and technical aspects of development cooperation. Accordingly, it produces baseline documents, guidelines and recommendations for development cooperation. DAC activities focus primarily on the following: ODA statistics, evaluations, private sector finance, effective development cooperation, governance, gender equality, climate change, fragility and nexus, illicit financial flows, and engagement with the civil society.
The DAC has been chaired by Susanna Moorehead since 2019. The DAC Delegates Committee meets once a month in Paris to discuss and approve, by consensus, the committee's strategic directions. In 2019, the DAC approved three new recommendations:
- The DAC Recommendation on the Humanitarian-Development-Peace Nexus
- The DAC Recommendation on Ending Sexual Exploitation, Abuse, and Harassment in Development Co-operation and Humanitarian Assistance
- The OECD Recommendation on Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development
The DAC and Switzerland
Switzerland is a founding member of the OECD and joined the DAC in 1968. Active participation in the OECD is very important for Switzerland, as it enables it to contribute its viewpoints and expertise directly. Switzerland actively participates in the various working parties of the DAC and highly values its core competencies: protecting the integrity of ODA, fostering shared learning, generating knowledge and setting standards.
Switzerland's cooperation with the DAC is coordinated by the Swiss permanent delegation. In addition, representatives and experts from the SDC and SECO regularly take part in DAC thematic networks and working parties.
One of the DAC's special areas of expertise is the evaluation of the development assistance systems of member states through peer reviews, which take place every six years. Member states have their work thoroughly evaluated, compare their activities with the principles and approaches set out by the DAC, and thus identify their own strengths and weaknesses. The most recent review of Swiss development cooperation took place in 2019.