Thinking and Working Politically: An evaluation of policy dialogue in AusAID

30 April 2013

The need for AusAID to identify, define and practice good policy dialogue was highlighted in ODE’s 2009 Annual Review of Development Effectiveness and the 2008 OECD Development Assistance Committee peer review of Australia’s aid program.

This evaluation recommended that policy dialogue be better incorporated into AusAID’s practices by promoting a common understanding and providing senior direction on policy dialogue, embedding policy dialogue into aid management practices, ensuring policy dialogue is properly resourced, and supporting the skills development of staff. Findings from this evaluation also led to the development of the first official policy dialogue guidelines for AusAID as well as formal mechanisms to improve policy dialogue capacity.

Evaluation report

Case studies

The evaluation team conducted two case studies of successful and contrasting examples of AusAID’s policy dialogue.

Other resources

This review of literature and international practice introduces key concepts relating to policy dialogue between donors and recipient governments to inform the wider analytical framework for the evaluation.

Think pieces

Two think pieces from members of the international aid community provide insight and opinion on engaging in policy dialogue in developing countries.

Donor engagement in policy dialogue: navigating the interface between knowledge and power—Harry Jones

Many aid agencies and international development organisations are increasingly engaging in policy dialogue in developing countries. Why is this, and what tools do they need to do this effectively? Harry Jones from ODI RAPID poses these questions. He outlines some challenges in this area, followed by some tools with which to grapple with the issues.

How to win friends and influence policy in the Pacific—Derek Brien

In our region we have over one thousand languages, and a cultural make up that is as diverse as it comes. Some rules of engagement cross cultural boundaries, and some don’t. The way one person says something, is not necessarily the way the other person hears it. Engaging in policy dialogue in this context is about effective communication: building trust, understanding and consensus for action. Derek Brien from the Pacific Institute of Public Policy presents a Pacific perspective on more effective donor engagement in policy dialogue.


Last Updated: 10 September 2014
A group of children sitting in a circle writing
Through policy dialogue, DFAT helps its partners shape their development priorities and policies. Credit: Conor Ashleigh / Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.