Handbook on Origins, evolution and future of global development cooperation: The role of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) takes a stock of successes and challenges of the DAC.

Press release of 30 September 2021

Bonn, 30 September 2021. The concerning developments in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Haiti in the recent past – in countries that have been among the largest recipients of development assistance over time – have raised intensive questioning of the role and effectiveness of that assistance. Such questioning calls for an understanding of the history of and change in development cooperation over time. The handbook Origins, evolution and future of global development cooperation: The role of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC), edited by Gerardo Bracho, Richard Carey, William Hynes, Stephan Klingebiel, Alexandra Trzeciak-Duval reveals:

  • the history of the Development Assistance Committee and to what extent the Cold War both motivated and constrained the evolution of development cooperation during the DAC’s first thirty years of existence;
  • how this time of superpower rivalry nonetheless allowed for the definition and measurement of Official Development Assistance (ODA) – hence financial framework and accountability -- on which the development community relies to this day;
  • the emergence of a wide-ranging “aid industry” buttressing and complementing the policy work of the DAC;
  • which development priorities emerged after the end of the Cold War, not least women’s empowerment and gender equality and addressing situations of fragility;  
  • why and how the DAC responded to post-Cold War aid fatigue with the international development goals that became the globally accepted Millennium Development Goals (MDGs);
  • how well the DAC’s goals advanced when partners – both receivers and providers of development assistance – became involved and, to the contrary, how partnerships waned when DAC members’ commitment faded.


Stephan Klingebiel, head of Programme Inter- and Transnational Cooperation at the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) and one of the editors of the volume, says “We hope that our attempt to make the role of the DAC in the development cooperation narrative better known and understood will inspire your own reflection, critique and further research.”


The book features 18 chapters by 13 authors - including personal accounts by two former DAC Chairs of the MDG and aid effectiveness stories, as well as by a former high level UN official telling the inside story of how the Sustainable Development Goals were formulated and adopted. Sixty years after the DAC’s creation, development problems loom larger than ever in geopolitics and call for assessing past performance and questioning the way forward, as the final chapters seek to do.


Find out more about the book here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PEGZFMajPcI