As a member of the European Union (EU) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Slovak Republic ranks among the most advanced countries in the world. In light of its positive macroeconomic development, Slovakia graduated from the World Bank’s operations in 2008, which means that Slovakia ceased to be a recipient and became a donor of development assistance. Under the Medium-Term Concept for Official Development Assistance for 2003-08, the Slovak Republic has, since 2003, been engaged in bilateral development assistance programmes and projects carried out in developing countries, in addition to providing trilateral and multilateral assistance and humanitarian aid (Slovak Aid). Since 2004, as an EU Member State, Slovakia has been engaged in the funding of development activities carried out by the European Commission.
Slovakia’s top ODA priorities for the 2009-13 period include the strengthening of stability and good governance in regions and countries that are among the priority areas of Slovakia’s concern, including in terms of Slovakia’s economic interests, as well as encouraging development, thus reducing poverty and hunger in developing countries through more effective and better-targeted development and humanitarian aid.
Global Challenges and Development
Basic Parameters of Slovak Development Assiastance
Bilatreral Development Assistance
Trilateral Development Assiastance
Multilateral Development Assistance
Capacity Building of the Slovak Official Development Assistance Actors
Development Education and Public Awareness
Global Challenges and Development
Combating global poverty is not only a moral commitment, it also helps to build a more stable, peaceful, prosperous and equitable world. Even though the largest share of responsibility for their advancement is borne by developing countries themselves, the advanced countries also have a great deal of responsibility.
Slovak development assistance is an inseparable part and instrument of Slovak foreign policy, which shapes, to a large degree, Slovakia’s relations with recipients, international organisations such as the UN, OECD, the World Bank Group, the European Commission and other donors – EU Member States in particular.
Development assistance already provided has helped recipients, made Slovakia more visible, deepened our links with partner countries, opened the door for Slovak entities to become established abroad, and generated new institutional and expert capacities in Slovakia.
Development assistance provided by the Slovak Republic complies with international documents, treaties and declarations to which it has acceded, namely the UN Millennium Declaration and the Millennium Development Goals, the Paris Declaration, and the Accra Agenda for Action. Further, it acts in line with the commitments made at the UN International Conference on Financing for Development held in Monterrey, and confirmed at the Doha Conference. As an EU Member State, Slovakia acts in compliance with the European Consensus on Development and the conclusions of the European Council and the Council of the EU addressing various aspects of the EU’s development policy. The so-called “Aid for Trade” initiative also constitutes an important part of the EU’s development policy.
Under its membership in the OECD, Slovakia may participate in the work of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC-OECD), having an observer status, thus far.
The European Union provides over half of the world’s official development assistance and represents the most important trade partner for developing countries. Slovakia supports the EU’s goal to improve quality and effectiveness of development assistance. In 2007, Slovakia completed the creation of its institutional and legal framework on development assistance. The Foreign Affairs Ministry established the Slovak Agency for International Development Cooperation in 2007; Act No. 617/2007 Coll. entered into force on 1 February 2008 to make Slovakia a development aid donor with a defined legislative and institutional framework. Slovakia participates in European development policy by means of EU external assistance instruments, coordination of its efforts, and cooperating with other EU Member States and the Commission. The principles of the European Consensus on Development of 2005, in whose preparation Slovakia was actively engaged, will be reflected in the implementation of Slovak development assistance more intensively. In the upcoming period, the Foreign Affairs Ministry will therefore step up its activities with respect to participation in the preparation of EU development policy, including through paying increased attention to the EU’s eastern neighbours. The Ministry will closely cooperate with Slovak non-governmental organisations in this purpose.
Basic Parameters of Slovak Development Assiastance
Slovakia provides development assistance in compliance with Act No. 617/2007 Coll. This Act defines official development assistance as activities and measures designed to promote sustainable development in developing countries financed from public funds of the Slovak Republic, used in accordance with the DAC-OECD rules on official development assistance for the provision of bilateral, trilateral, and multilateral official development assistance and humanitarian aid.
Development assistance activities planned for 2009-13 are a follow-up to the Medium-Term Strategy for Official Development Assistance for 2003-2008.
Having committed itself to the fulfilment of the Millennium Development Goals in compliance with the main objective of EU development cooperation, i.e., poverty reduction, the Slovak Republic endeavours to contribute to reducing poverty in developing countries and to promoting their sustainable development. In the case of middle income countries, to which Slovakia provides development assistance, the crucial objective is their sustainable development based on good governance, respect for human rights and addressing political, economic, social and environmental issues.
The Slovak Republic provides development assistance primarily based on the following grounds:
a) Co-responsibility for global development
Co-responsibility is based on the values of peace, solidarity, social justice, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, democracy, the rule of law and good governance.
b) A desire to be an active player in international policy and an active member of the donor community.
Slovakia’s activities within the UN, including its non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council (2006-07), and the EU have proven the country’s ability to participate in the shaping and implementation of international policy. In addition, it may take advantage of its notable and unique experience with a development, transformation and reform process (political, economic, legislative, and institutional) in all aspects of public life. Due to such experience, Slovakia enjoys a specific position within the international donor community.
c) Moral obligation and commitments arising under its membership of international organisations, of the EU in particular.
Slovakia feels a moral obligation to provide development assistance with respect to the values of democracy, solidarity and the rule of law, to which it is committed. Slovakia has gone through a challenging process of transformation from a recipient to a donor country. As an EU and OECD member, it ranks among the world’s most advanced countries. The membership in these international organisations and institutions entails obligations Slovakia endeavours to pursue through its activities.
Slovak official development assistance goals are defined by Act No. 617/2007 Coll. and the Millennium Development Goals. They include:
a) reducing poverty and hunger in developing countries;
b) promoting sustainable economic, social and environmental development in developing countries;
c) ensuring global peace and security, in particular by enhancing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and good governance in developing countries;
d) promoting universal access to education in developing countries;
e) improving the quality of basic healthcare services in developing countries;
f) promoting economic cooperation with developing countries;
g) raising public awareness of the needs of developing countries and development assistance provided by Slovakia.
Slovakia will pursue its official development assistance goals under Act No. 617/2007 Coll. mainly through the following measures and actions:
a) engagement of Slovak and local stakeholders in developing countries into implementation of the Slovak Medium-Term Strategy;
b) sharing Slovakia’s knowledge and experience with social and economic transformation;
c) engagement of Slovak experts and actors in international development activities, mechanisms and international development projects;
d) coordination of efforts with other donors and inclusion of Slovak development assistance into international projects;
e) bilateral, trilateral and multilateral development assistance provided in the form of grants, micro-grants, public contracts, financial and in-kind donations, and other forms of assistance as defined in Act No. 617/2007 Coll.;
f) humanitarian aid;
g) improving the monitoring and evaluation of development assistance provided by the Slovak Republic;
h) education and information on global development and development assistance;
i) ensuring sufficient information and awareness raising with respect to Slovak development and humanitarian aid through sufficient funds earmarked within national ODA programmes and the use the Slovak Aid logo in all activities performed under Slovak development assistance.
Basic rules and principles for the provision and evaluation of Slovak official development assistance
The Slovak Republic provides official development assistance in accordance with the basic rules and principles that comply with its priorities in foreign policy and the economy and are consistent with the principles of international development policy and the European Union. The basic rules include aid effectiveness, coherence and flexibility. Slovak development assistance is governed by the Paris Declaration and the Accra Agenda for Action, bearing in mind aid effectiveness.
1. Effectiveness is a key rule that enhances the effects of development assistance. Aid effectiveness is primarily based on the principles of ownership, alignment, harmonisation, result-oriented management, and mutual accountability and transparency, as well as on other principles (cost-effectiveness, predictability, relevance, quality, etc.).
Slovakia cooperates with governments of priority countries (programme countries in particular) on the development of their national strategies, underlying recipient country ownership, and their stronger leadership in shaping those strategies. An important aspect that is taken into account is the long-term financial support for such strategies. A differentiated approach to priority countries is applied during the preparation of such strategies in order to prepare special, custom-made programmes that respect their needs, priorities and resources. These underlying aspects are defined in a Country Strategy Paper (CSP).
In order to ensure aid effectiveness, it is necessary to work with recipient country governments to align systems through which development assistance is delivered. This, in particular, involves the strengthening of capacity building programmes in recipient countries, development of financial management systems that comply with international standards, and provision of information about time plans for planned financial support and preparation of a support schedule for a given period of time so that the recipient countries have a clear view of the financial support provided.
The Slovak Republic wishes to cooperate with donors, both at the government and non-governmental sector level, with international organisations and other donors, on the clear division of labour in order to reduce the number of donors working in the same sector in a priority country. Another goal is to reduce the administrative burden on recipient countries and transaction costs. In doing so, Slovakia acts in compliance with the EU Code of Conduct on Complementarity and the Division of Labour in Development Policy and other documents issued by the OECD, the UN and the Commission.
d) Result-oriented management
Result-oriented management represents a significant principle in aid delivery. The aim is to deliver and manage development assistance focused on the achievement of desired results and providing feedback to enhance decision-making. An inseparable part of result-oriented management is the assessment of a positive change delivered by development activities and the sustainability of results.
The Medium-Term Strategy reinforces the aspect of result-oriented management through the monitoring and evaluation of development assistance provided by the Slovak Republic. Slovakia is currently introducing a system for the monitoring and evaluation of public expenditures. This system supplements the existing system of programme budgeting, thus contributing to better public finance management. Good monitoring, evaluation and statistical reporting requires that all organisational units engaged in the provision of development assistance and linked to a public budget step up their efforts in budget preparation and transparently define components, projects and programmes with measurable goals. This will also help create a transparent and comprehensible basis for subsequent statistical reporting by the Slovak Republic.
The public expenditure monitoring and evaluation system is complemented with an emerging system for the monitoring and evaluation of development assistance provided by Slovakia. This system should be applied and improve consistently, based on Slovakia’s own experiences, as well as on information and recommendations gained from the DAC-OECD or other major donors.
It is necessary to improve reporting on development expenditures in line with DAC-OECD requirements. The proper programming, evaluation and monitoring will simplify and unify the collection of information necessary for statistical reporting on development assistance.
e) Mutual accountability and transparency
Slovakia implements its general government budget in compliance with a three-year budget planning process. Financial resources earmarked for development assistance from public funds are planned on a three-year basis in budgetary chapters of individual government authorities and agencies, which enhances the predictability of development assistance funding and enables the priority countries, programme countries in particular, to reckon in advance with the aid provided and include it among their priorities in accordance with Country Strategy Papers. This strengthens mutual accountability and transparency in the use of funds earmarked for development assistance.
2. The second basic rule of Slovak official development assistance is coherence for development policy, meaning strengthening the coherence of Slovak development policy with the country’s priorities in foreign, security, economic and migration policies. At the same time, it is necessary to boost the link and coherence between bilateral, trilateral, multilateral and humanitarian aid (namely in terms of territorial, sectoral and other priorities of Slovak development assistance specified in the Medium-Term Strategy and national ODA programmes for particular years) in order to make use of their possible synergies.
At the EU level, Slovakia also intends to promote strengthening the coherence among EU external policy instruments and the coherence between the EU’s development policy and other Community policies at the meetings of the Council of the EU working groups/parties and Commission bodies.
3. The third basic rule is the flexibility of the mechanism for the provision of official development assistance. This flexibility is necessary in order to appropriately respond to the needs and changes in developing countries, in particular with respect to the provision of humanitarian aid, and to topical global challenges, as well as to better target and improve the effectiveness, impact and sustainability of Slovak development assistance efforts.
For the purpose of a more flexible delivery of Slovak development assistance, decisions on solving a pressing development or humanitarian problem are adopted by the Foreign Affairs Minister. To that effect, national ODA programmes contain special (budgetary) items that enable the Foreign Affairs Minister to promptly respond to humanitarian crises and pressing development challenges.
Forms of development assistance funding
Slovak Republic will employ all forms of funding in compliance with the ODA Act through international organisations, international financial institutions, contributions to the EU budget and European Development Fund, establishment of trust funds, provision of project and programme aid as well as other means for the simplest and most effective implementation of activities and accomplishment of set objectives in compliance with international documents to which Slovakia has acceded or will accede.
During a five-year period defined in the Medium-Term Strategy, the established Slovak Aid-operated system of calls for project proposals for priority countries and sectors will be supplemented with a more flexible way of utilising Slovak development assistance funds through public contracts. Public contracts are announced for recipient countries that have their Country Strategy Papers prepared in line with the Medium-Term Strategy and national ODA programmes for the relevant year.
If new financial (innovative) instruments become available, which Slovakia has not used before but wishes to use, or if it decides to provide development assistance by establishing a financial institution to provide risk capital, the use of such instruments is conditioned upon their effectiveness and compliance with Slovak development policy and the Medium-Term Strategy.
Well-functioning domestic and international trade is crucial to the development of any country, as it helps improve citizens’ living standards and welfare and, at the same time, safeguards sustainable development of the country. Slovakia endorses the building of infrastructure related to trading and production capacities of recipient countries, which is necessary for their effective engagement in international trade in goods and services, through investments and technical assistance provided to priority countries under the “Aid for Trade” initiative.
Bilatreral Development Assistance
Bilateral Development Assistance Provided by the Slovak Republic
Under Act No. 617/2007 Coll., bilateral development assistance means in particular development programmes, development projects and donations provided by the Slovak Republic for a recipient country.
In 2003, government agencies and local authorities, non-governmental organisations and businesses performed bilateral ODA projects.
After 2003, Slovak development assistance was curtailed by limited capacities (Foreign Affairs Ministry, Slovak Aid, and aid implementers), the low and stagnating volume of funds available for bilateral development assistance, and the need to concentrate development assistance activities in order to increase their effectiveness.
In light of the experience gained by the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Slovak Aid, and diplomatic missions, the Ministry arrived at the conclusion that more narrowly focused activities had been more effective, resulting in a stronger impact of development projects, better visibility of aid, and full utilisation of their synergies.
The current Medium-Term Strategy takes the narrower territorial and sectoral focus, as defined in the 2003-08 Medium-Term Strategy, even further.
Territorial and Sectoral Priorities of Bilateral and Trilateral Development Assistance for 2009-13
Slovakia’s comparative advantages as a new donor, including mainly its experiences with the transition to democracy and market economy backed by its knowledge of the territory of priority countries, represent the most notable added value that Slovakia may bring to the donor community. Slovakia has only limited financial and human resources for development assistance at its disposal. Therefore, it needs to specialise and concentrate its development assistance on a limited number of countries and sectors. In order to meet its international commitments and perform in an effective and visible way in the programme and project countries to which Slovakia provides official development assistance, it is also necessary to increase the volume of funds earmarked for bilateral assistance under the Foreign Affairs Ministry’s budgetary chapter.
Territorial Priorities of Slovak Development Assistance
Priority countries were selected using the following criteria:
1. Political and economic criteria:
- coherence with Slovak and EU foreign policy;
- possibilities to utilise comparative advantages and potential of Slovak ODA;
- Slovakia’s economic activities (quality of economic cooperation, or its potential).
2. Development criteria, including criteria for allocation of resources based on needs and performance*:
- level of social, economic and political development (Human Development Index - HDI**, accomplishment of MDGs – based on data provided by the UN and the OECD***);
- urgency for assistance (based on needs identified in documents prepared by international organisations, in national strategies and CSPs);
- progress made in country’s development and reforms taken to improve social, economic and political development, and progress made in the utilisation of funds provided under development assistance;
- coordination of development efforts with other donors and availability of complementary financial resources for Slovak projects from other donors (possibilities of trilateral cooperation).
3. Logistical and practical criteria:
- existence of a Slovak diplomatic mission and its technical and human capacities that may be used in order to promote Slovak development projects in a given country (selection, monitoring, evaluation);
- existing activities and experiences of Slovak actors – private companies, governmental agencies and local authorities, NGOs, experts, historical bonds between that country and Slovakia, existing cooperation;
- conditions or obstacles for ODA (degree of democracy, security situation, economic and political stability, legislative conditions, quality of governance, level of corruption), experiences by Slovak Aid and other donors with effective ODA utilisation.
4.Success and Effectiveness of Slovak Development Assistance Provided So Far
Impact and sustainability assessment; number of submitted and approved projects and the volume of aid for Slovakia’s priority countries in the 2003-08 period; assessment of estimated success rate and potential of Slovak development assistance projects for any new priority countries
Based on the aforementioned criteria, similar to those included in the 2003-08 Medium-Term Strategy, the following indicative list of priority countries was prepared and approved by the Foreign Affairs Ministry’s senior officials in October 2008.
The programme countries under the Medium-Term Strategy are Afghanistan, Kenya and Serbia.
The project countries under the Medium-Term Strategy are Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Ethiopia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia (FYR), Moldova, Mongolia, Sudan, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.
The priority countries are listed as programme and project countries pursuant to Act No. 617/2007 Coll. Pursuant to the OAD Act, a recipient country is a country recognised by the DAC-OECD as a developing country and included on the list of programme and project countries of the Slovak Republic under the Medium-Term Strategy or based on a decision adopted by the Slovak Government. Act No. 617/2007 Coll. also includes definitions of a development programme and a development project. Development assistance is provided to the programme countries on a longer term basis and with a larger amount of financial resources. The Foreign Affairs Ministry will make sure that national ODA programmes include a substantially larger indicative amount of funds earmarked for a programme country than for a project country.
Any changes within country categories are made through national programmes approved by the Government. Taking into account Slovak foreign-policy priorities, the volume of Slovak development assistance will be gradually reduced in those countries that make major progress in their EU accession process (acceding countries). Slovakia will stop development assistance for those developing countries that cease to be developing countries pursuant to the guidelines of the DAC-OECD.
Slovak bilateral development assistance will be provided on three continents: Europe, Asia and in the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa. Slovak development assistance projects will be implemented in four regions: Western Balkans, Eastern Partnership of the European Union Asian and Eastern Africa.
Sectoral Priorities of Slovak Development Assistance
The 2003-08 Medium-Term Strategy defined the following sectoral priorities:
- building of democratic institutions and market environment;
- infrastructure (including social infrastructure);
- rural landscaping, environmental protection, agriculture, food security and utilisation of mineral resources.
Specific sectoral priorities were defined for programme countries (Montenegro, Serbia):
- development of civic society, social revitalisation and regional development;
- local infrastructure reconstruction and development;
- assistance with integration into international bodies and organisations.
The Medium-Term Strategy pursues an approach of a narrower sectoral focus.
The basic principle behind the sectoral focus is to specialise in selected sectors and activities. It should help to better align Slovak development assistance potential with the needs of aid beneficiaries, as well as with activities performed by other donors in the same field. The aim is to avoid dissipation of resources and to concentrate on selected sectors where Slovakia has more potential and advantages compared to other donors.
Pursuant to Act No. 617/2007 Coll., the following choice of four sectoral priorities for Slovak development assistance should primarily facilitate sustainable development (economic, social and environmental) of developing countries.
A. Building of democratic institutions, the rule of law, civic society and peace
Slovakia remains prepared and willing to share its transformational experiences and knowledge of the reform process in key sectors such as democratisation, the building of the rule of law, civic society development, promotion of good governance, and/or security sector reform. The Slovak Republic has also numerous experiences with peacekeeping operations led by the UN or other international organisations; therefore, it can provide, for example, mediation programmes and/or mine-clearing works.
B. Social development
– health sector, aid to persons with disabilities, awareness-raising, prevention and treatment of infectious and epidemic diseases (HIV/AIDS in particular), child and adult education programmes, social services, and drug prevention. Slovakia can also share its experience with health sector transformation and social reforms.
C. Economic development, building of market environment, strengthening of macroeconomic environment, public finance management, support to small and medium-sized enterprises
Slovakia will share its experience with and knowledge of economic reforms. It mainly concerns development of a market economy, public finance reform, trade policy reforms, creation of a business environment, including support to employment growth and support to small and medium-sized enterprises, for example through micro-loans, changes in ownership structures, as well as other public sector reforms.
D. Infrastructure development with a positive impact on sustainable development and environmental protection
Based on an analysis of the needs of priority countries and Slovakia’s capacities in relevant priority sectors, Slovakia will support the building of trade-related economic infrastructure (transport and logistics infrastructure, communication infrastructure, energy production and distribution), the building of production capacities (industry, agriculture, mining and quarrying, tourism), sewerage systems, wastewater and water treatment plants, waste management policies, ecological technologies, projects and engineering services in drinking water supply and landscaping, environmental protection, agriculture, food security, and utilisation of mineral resources.
A strategy for the implementation of Slovak development assistance in a programme and/or project country will define two sector-specific priorities (and one more complementary priority/sector, as the case may be), including appropriate indicators. Narrower sectoral priorities may be defined under national ODA programmes for all priority countries, if necessary.
Trilateral Development Assiastance
Trilateral Development Assistance Provided by Slovakia
As defined by Act No. 617/2007 Coll., trilateral development assistance means participation in development programmes and development projects implemented in a recipient country co-financed by the Slovak Republic and other donor countries. This type of assistance is provided in compliance with territorial and sectoral priorities of Slovak bilateral development assistance for 2009-13.
Pursuant to the provisions of the Paris Declaration, the Accra Agenda for Action and the EU Code of Conduct on Complementarity and the Division of Labour in Development Policy, coordinated donor efforts and cooperation with other donors are among crucial requirements for a successful operation in a developing country.
Cooperation with more experienced traditional donors is a great opportunity for Slovak development assistance sector and Slovak ODA stakeholders to build their own capacities and learn from those donors.
Slovakia’s major trilateral official development assistance partners include mainly EU Members States.
Territorial and Sectoral Priorities of Trilateral Development Assistance for 2009-13
Slovakia will implement trilateral partnerships in cooperation with more experienced donors with a specific expertise in a relevant region, e.g., Africa, in deployment of volunteers, or where Slovakia is able to offer its specific expertise and knowledge of a given country (e.g., trilateral cooperation in Western Balkans and Eastern Partnership of the European Union).
Forms of trilateral cooperation:
a) support to joint projects in priority countries;
b) capacity building of stakeholders engaged in development cooperation;
c) promotion of a development policy dialogue both on the governmental and non-governmental level;
d) support to cooperation on the governmental, parliamentary and non-governmental level.
MULTILATERAL DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE
Multilateral Development Assistance Provided by Slovakia
Pursuant to Act No. 617/2007 Coll., multilateral development assistance means development programmes and development projects financed by the Slovak Republic, performed by an international organisation, and contributions paid by Slovakia to international organisations to be spent on their development programmes and development projects.
Slovakia provides multilateral development assistance primarily through multilateral organisations and institutions, the United Nations System, the World Bank Group, the European Commission, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in particular.
World Trade Organization (WTO)In 2002, the WTO members approved, as part of the Doha Development Agenda, establishment of a so-called Global Trust Fund (GTF) in order to raise funds in excess of regular membership contributions to the WTO to fund yearly trade-related technical assistance plans for developing and least-developed countries, as well as for countries with transition economies. Contributions to the GTF are paid on a voluntary basis. Slovakia made the first contribution to the GTF in 2008 and will make further contributions in line with the EU’s Aid for Trade Strategy and its own Medium-Term Strategy.
United Nations SystemSlovakia considers expert bodies, funds and programmes of the UN System an important international instrument for the promotion of economic and social development in the world. The UN embodies international energy, resources and expertise to support the accomplishment of the global development agenda, which may be utilised for effective cooperation.
Slovakia is resolved to continue actively cooperating with UN System organisations, especially with its specialised agencies such as the United Nations Development Fund (UNDF) that plays a pivotal role in coordinating efforts under the UN development agenda, the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), with which Slovakia has signed an agreement on cooperation, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) which focuses on problems of children with respect to health, education and protection of children’s rights, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the World Food Programme (WFP) and other specialised agencies with which Slovakia has signed agreements on cooperation, or to which it may decide to provide financial contributions based on the criteria for development aid effectiveness.
World Bank GroupUpon its graduation from the World Bank, Slovakia joined the group of countries with an advanced economy and was granted the status of a development aid donor. In light of its new status, Slovakia should enter a more advanced partnership level. To that account, Slovakia made a pledge to the 15th replenishment of the International Development Association (IDA) resources for 2009-11. Slovakia is expected to participate in future IDA replenishments as well. Also, it will consider establishing trust funds with the World Bank. Demand for services supplied by consultancy agencies and Slovak experts is expected to increase, and they will participate in projects financed by the World Bank.
International Monetary FundAs in the past, Slovakia will also participate in the IMF’s Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI).
European CommissionBeing an EU Member State, Slovakia makes contributions to the European Commission’s budget in the form of yearly determined percentages and participates, through the Commission, in the funding of EU development assistance activities. In addition, as a regular member of the ten-member European Development Fund (EDF) for the support of African, Caribbean and Pacific states, Slovakia participates in the EDF’s financing.
Member States may increase financial resources for development assistance in the form of an additional contribution to the European Development Fund; such resources are included in annual action plans and make the Member State’s contribution visible.
European Investment BankPursuant to the Internal Agreement between the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States and in accordance with the Partnership Agreement between the members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States and the European Community on the provision of financial aid to overseas countries and territories, the Slovak Republic, as an EIB member, will provide a guarantee in proportion to its share in the EIB’s capital and will act, along with other EIB’s shareholders, as a guarantor of all financial obligations incurred by debtors under agreements signed with the Bank on loans provided from the EIB’s own resources. In cases where Slovakia makes a payment to the EIB based on the application of guarantees, the contribution is recognised as development assistance.
European Bank for Reconstruction and DevelopmentThe European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is an international financial institution established under the Agreement establishing the EBRD. Its mission is to support CEE countries and countries of the former Soviet Union committed to the principles of democracy and pluralism in developing market-oriented economies. Slovakia is soon expected to graduate from the EBRD’s financing to be granted a donor status.
A proposal to set up a Fund for the Western Balkans was approved at an Annual Meeting of the EBRD’s Board of Governors. The Fund focuses on Western Balkan countries with the purpose of mitigating disparities between those countries and their more advanced neighbours. Slovakia is a Fund member and financial contributor.
Based on its active cooperation with the EBRD, Slovakia plans to set up a special technical assistance fund. The fund will exclusively concentrate on supporting activities performed by Slovak actors in order to aid transforming Eastern European and Central Asian countries in their transition to a market economy, with the emphasis put on support for the private sector.
Organization for Security and Cooperation in EuropeSlovakia will continue financing deployment of Slovak observers in OSCE’s election monitoring missions to CIS and Western Balkan countries, which seems to be an effective and committed contribution to the building of democracy in those countries.
Priorities of Multilateral Development Assistance for 2009-13
One of the most important criteria for the assessment of appropriateness of the provision of Slovak development assistance through an international organisation is the relevance of that organisation; i.e., an assessment is made of its purpose and tasks, their compatibility with the objectives of Slovak development assistance, the organisation’s international status, its functioning and effectiveness in providing development aid, aid distribution and achievements, as well as of the possibilities for the Slovak Republic to gradually join development assistance activities and programmes implemented by that organisation.
To improve the effectiveness of multilateral development assistance, Slovakia uses available monitoring and evaluation mechanisms in order to decide whether to participate in cooperation efforts.
Mandatory contributions paid by Slovakia to international organisations arise from the country’s desire to be a member, while contributions represent the minimum condition for membership. With respect to mandatory contributions, it is necessary to seek improvements in the effective functioning of international organisations.
Slovakia will pay more attention to voluntary contributions as a possible means to improve the effectiveness of multilateral assistance. Slovakia will preferably use voluntary contributions committed consistently to projects that comply with territorial and sectoral priorities of Slovak ODA, or in which Slovak entities and individuals may participate.
Voluntary contributions to relevant international organisations and funds within the UN System can be provided even without them being specifically committed to particular projects and programmes, provided that their use is subject to a decision by the respective organisation in compliance with its agenda or priorities. Slovakia will seek to influence the spending of such resources through its membership of, or as an observer in, the organisation’s executive bodies, which assess and approve its budget, agenda and/or priorities, and oversee the transparency of its actions.
It is equally necessary to considerably increase the amount of financial resources to be spent on Slovakia’s voluntary contributions to international organisations from the Foreign Affairs Ministry’s budgetary chapter and from budgetary chapters of other central government bodies engaged in Slovak development assistance.
Slovakia is very keen to actively cooperate with major international organisations with the aim of more effective utilisation of appropriate means, improving their effectiveness, and linking development, political, security and other dimensions. For this purpose, the following steps should be taken:
Humanitarian Aid Provided by Slovakia
Act No. 617/2007 Coll. defines humanitarian aid as an expression of solidarity with people in need, whose primary objective is to provide assistance and support, save lives, maintain human dignity and alleviate the suffering of people in the case of natural disasters, man-made crisis, famine and malnutrition situations or in similar emergency situations, as well as to assist and support prevention and emergency programmes, especially in high-risk areas.
The same Act also specifies the forms of humanitarian aid.
Humanitarian aid constitutes a significant component of official development assistance but is subject to specific conditions that require specific decision-making instruments and mechanisms. They result mainly from a time framework, instability and security risks, etc. The provision of humanitarian aid is a dynamic process that requires a very flexible approach, including continuous improvements in aid mechanisms. Unlike bilateral, trilateral and multilateral assistance, all of which represent a long-term process, urgent humanitarian aid cannot be programmed; humanitarian crises require a prompt and speedy response.
Slovak humanitarian aid is provided under a mechanism approved by the Slovak Government in 2006 and in accordance with national ODA programmes adopted on a yearly basis. It builds on international principles of humanity, impartiality, independence and neutrality. The aim is to further promote and reinforce the basic humanitarian principles and apply the principles of good humanitarian donorship.
A positive change was made in 2007, when a budgetary item was earmarked under a national ODA programme for the first time, which does not require any further approval by the Slovak Government. All decisions on the use of the funds earmarked under this item are made directly by the Foreign Affairs Minister. The Foreign Affairs Ministry is therefore able to provide financial aid through a selected implementer in a speedy and targeted manner.
The existing experience has shown that the flexibility in providing in-kind humanitarian aid is limited by the lack of financial resources to cover transport costs in cases of a humanitarian crisis in remote countries.
Priorities of Humanitarian Aid for 2009-13
As far as humanitarian aid is concerned, the Foreign Affairs Ministry’s major partners include the Ministry of the Interior of the Slovak Republic, other central government bodies and Slovak humanitarian organisations, UN agencies (WFP, OCHA, UNICEF, UNHCR), organisations of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent (ICRC, IFRC), and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
The main challenges for the upcoming years include increasing the effectiveness of humanitarian aid, in particular strengthening actors’ capacities, building stronger partnerships, and improving the flexibility, targeting and transparency of aid provided.
Building on its previous experience, the Foreign Affairs Ministry will make greater use of a flexible humanitarian aid mechanism which will be updated, if necessary, with the aim of providing humanitarian aid in a more speedy and effective way, and will include a sub-programme for foreign countries in individual national ODA programmes. Slovakia will support humanitarian aid cooperation with renowned international humanitarian organisations and Slovak humanitarian organisations that comply with standard international criteria; the Foreign Affairs Ministry will consider signing long-term partnership “framework agreements” with such organisations.
Slovak humanitarian projects remain to be implemented in compliance with a bilateral development assistance mechanism. Calls for humanitarian aid project proposals will be made and managed by Slovak Aid, subject to a decision by the Foreign Affairs Ministry.
The Slovak Republic may provide humanitarian aid even to countries not specified on the indicative list of priority countries for Slovak development assistance included in the Medium-Term Strategy.
The main challenges for the upcoming years include increasing the effectiveness of humanitarian aid, in particular strengthening stakeholders’ capacities, building stronger partnerships, and improving flexibility, targeting and transparency of aid provided.
CAPACITY BUILDING OF THE SLOVAK OFFICIAL DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE ACTORS
In order to increase the professional aspect and effectiveness of development assistance, as well as the effective use of financial resources, the Foreign Affairs Ministry further actively supports capacity building of Slovak entities engaged in Slovak development assistance efforts.
Under the applicable law, the Foreign Affairs Ministry is a national ODA coordinator, responsible for capacity building of organisations engaged in Slovak development assistance efforts. To that end, it works in cooperation with Slovak Aid, other central government bodies and local authorities, the private sector and academic circles, and non-governmental organisations.
The Ministry’s key development assistance coordination instrument is a Coordination Committee for Slovak Official Development Assistance. The Coordination Committee serves as an advisory body to the Foreign Affairs Minister. The Committee is chaired by a Foreign Ministry statutory representative and is comprised of members from central government bodies and other partners providing development assistance.
The building of expert capacities on all levels of ODA management and implementation is a crucial requirement for a successful ODA. The Foreign Affairs Ministry is building a human resources development assistance department with the necessary expertise to manage ODA, including multilateral development assistance. The Ministry is improving the department’s capacity in order to provide methodology guidelines to Slovak Aid. The Ministry provides comprehensive training and educational activities to other state administration bodies involved in the implementation of Slovak development assistance.
Slovak Aid prepares and carries out activities related to the provision of Slovak development assistance, especially bilateral and trilateral, and manages and controls the implementation of bilateral assistance programmes and projects, humanitarian aid and reconstruction projects, and education development projects. In this context, it is necessary to systematically strengthen Slovak Aid’s expert, executive, management and control capacities.
Slovak diplomatic missions play an important role in the implementation of Slovak development assistance, since they have good knowledge of the environment and country where aid is provided. The experience so far has shown that there is a need for stronger involvement of Slovak diplomatic missions in preparation of Slovak development policy, as well as in planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of development assistance projects carried out in the country of their operation. To that effect, the Foreign Affairs Ministry and/or Slovak Aid will take measures, by 2011, to ensure that personnel assigned with development assistance tasks are placed in diplomatic missions in selected priority, in particular programme, countries.
Since other ministries and public authorities also play an important role in the provision of Slovak development assistance, increased attention should be paid to the building of their expert capacities. Each body is responsible for the strengthening of its own expert capacities. At the same time, it is necessary that they coordinate their training and educational activities with the Foreign Affairs Ministry to ensure that a uniform methodology approach is applied to the implementation of development assistance.
Various actors and stakeholders wishing to participate in development projects funded not only by the Slovak Republic should be familiar with a development assistance structure and procedures on how to apply for such financial support. In order to better inform about ODA efforts, Slovakia will consider establishing a contact point for the business and non-governmental sectors. The contact point will provide all necessary information that facilitates participation in the utilisation of international development aid resources and enhance the presence of Slovak businesses and NGOs in developing countries.
Important partners of the Foreign Affairs Ministry include the Platform of Non-Governmental Development Organisations (the NGDO Platform) and the European NGO Confederation for Relief and Development (CONCORD). Non-governmental organisations perform important tasks in the implementation of Slovak development assistance; therefore, it is necessary to pay increased attention to providing them with necessary information and encouraging them to further build their own capacities.
Effective capitalisation of Slovakia’s unique experience with the transformation process is also enhanced through deployment of Slovak experts and volunteers in development projects carried out by international organisations under Slovak bilateral assistance and other forms of aid. Deploying Slovak experts and volunteers helps build Slovak personal capacities, of young people in particular, who are given a chance to gain hands-on experience working in developing countries. Slovakia intends to create a functioning and practice-tested legislative and institutional framework and an ODA financial instrument to support the deployment of experts and volunteers. The Foreign Affairs Ministry will initiate the setting up of a legislative and institutional framework for the deployment of Slovak experts and volunteers.
The capacities of all Slovak development assistance actors need to be reinforced in such a way as to improve the quality of submitted proposals and, subsequently, increase the number of Slovak entities successfully applying for those funds available from the European Commission or other donors. It is necessary to continue co-funding such projects through Slovak development assistance and build a system to support the participation of Slovak entities in EU external assistance calls and tenders, as well as those made by other donors.
DEVELOPMENT EDUCATION AND PUBLIC AWARENESS
Development education and public awareness is an integral component of Slovak development assistance. Public awareness-raising activities focused on the importance and relevance of ODA for developing countries are among the priorities of the Foreign Affairs Ministry’s information policy. They help to better know the problems of the developing world, identify possible solutions, and enhance transparent use of public funds for this purpose.
Cooperation will intensify among the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Slovak Aid, which is responsible for development education, the Ministry of Education of the Slovak Republic and its organisations, as well as other central government bodies engaged in ODA efforts, non-governmental organisations, academic circles and other relevant institutions in order to find room for development education both within the education system and life-long learning, and to define a basic strategy for development education and public awareness-raising that will facilitate coordination of efforts made by all stakeholders.
In this context, cooperation with other donors will be encouraged and intensified, with the focus given to the exchange of experience, information and education practices.