As we know the EU and its member countries are collectively the world’s largest donor. In December 2013, the Parliament approved the total amount of 51.4 billion euros for ODA / external action financing instruments for the 2014-2020 financial period. I’ve read the final agreement of Development Section as a part of this Model Conference of the Faculty of International Relations in Slovakia. Let’s discuss your Vision of the Development Assistance Policy of the European Union.
Let‘s discuss financial and territorial aspects of ODA
I have just few comments or suggestions related to financial and territorial aspect of the cooperation. Let’s start with Financial aspect. As we know: EU governments had promised to deliver 0.7 % of gross national income to development aid. AidWatch, an aid monitoring initiative of Concord (the European confederation of Relief and Development NGOs), published interesting report recently. It finds that only 4 EU countries (members of the OECD DAC) met their targets: Denmark, Luxemburg, Sweden and UK. It means that European governments have failed to meet their historic aid pledge to developing countries in 2015. (Slovakia – ODA as 0.08 % of GNI at the end of listed countries with Poland, Greece and Czech republic). So it’s great that you call upon the rest of the EU member states to meet their national volumes (respective percentage of the GNI) in paragraph 6 of article 10.
Let’s move on to Territorial aspect of the cooperation (chapter IV). In paragraph 1 of the article 8 there is written: “The signatory parties support the formulation of territorial priorities of the EU Development Assistance Policy on a basis of a global territorial approach, which emphasizes a broad solidarity and disregards any former or existing historical, economic or politic interests of the donor countries.” I would recommend you to rephrase or reformulate this sentence. Because you have already mentioned in Article 6 Horizontal division of competencies – that we are supposed to distinguish between two independent horizontal institutional systems: the national development assistance system and the EU development assistance system. Let’s stick to this. The discussion about territorial priorities could last the entire day. In paragraphs 3 and 7 of article 9 you have wisely suggested the DAC recipient list and the Human development index for the categorization of ODA recipient countries. But Slovak republic, as well as other EU member states cannot forget about its historical, politic and logistical interests and conditions.
Let’s strengthen the reform efforts in partner countries
Program of development interventions (implementation of dev. Coop. projects of SR in beneficiary countries) is a key program of bilateral cooperation of Slovak ODA. The cooperation is based on long-term strategic partnership and for each of the 4 program countries CSP does exist. We cannot disregard it! Do not forget that SAIDC / SlovakAid was founded in 2007, but development projects between SR and East African and other countries existed already in 1990s thanks to NGDOs like eRKo (with 20 years of Dobra novina campaign) or university led by prof. Krcmery. Also we should take into consideration the existance and availability of the embassy in beneficiary country. It is always easy to implement, but also to monitor and evaluate the delivery of ODA development Cooperation. projects, microgrants or scholarships in Kenya or South Sudan where we have very active Slovak ambassador.
There is also CETIR – The program for transfer of experience in integration and reforms, that is part of Slovak ODA since 2011. Slovak experts are sharing their experience about our transformation process after 1989 and integration process to the European Union and to NATO with the representatives of the states from Western Balkans and the Eastern Partnership. It is our experience and our ODA priority, so we cannot disregard it.
Let’s share success stories from developing world
I can mention one of the positive examples of strengthening the reform efforts in beneficiary countries. I’ve been involved into the UNDP program, called Public Finance for Development: Strengthening Public Finance Capacities in the Western Balkans and the Commonwealth of Independent States (2009-14-16). The goal of the program is to strengthen and enhance national capacities in the area of public finance by raising awareness, developing analytical capacities and sharing good practice with regard to reforms implemented in Slovakia and elsewhere. The program works in two beneficiary countries – Moldova and Montenegro.
It is essential to share in public success stories, lessons learn and best practices from the implementation of Slovak dev. Coop. projects abroad. Especially this year, because year 2015 is European year for development. It is pity that the EU is the largest donor of ODA and 53 % of EU citizens don’t know where EU aid goes. According to Eurobarometer from september 2014: only 12 % of EU citizens are aware that year 2015 is EYD. Only 6 % of EU citizens have heard about MDGs.
This year the MDGs reach their deadline and new SDGs will be launched. So let’s do more towards public awareness about EU ODA. But I think this is the topic for open discussion after this session.
Written by: Božena Baluchová (communication consultant @ UNDP for Europe and CIS / BB trainee @ Representation of the EC in Slovakia), Photo: Model conference of FIR