State Secretary Peter Javorčík opened the International Scientific Conference on Development and Democracy – New Trends in International Development Cooperation held within the premises of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Slovak Republic on Thursday, May 3, 2012.
"Slovakia, as an aid partner, may be a country with a small wallet but with a big heart," said Javorčík in his speech and stressed that Slovakia, being a small donor country, has to develop its development policy in an extremely effective way and put emphasis on its comparative advantages and be an added value to other donors.
"The comparative advantages of Slovakia include passing on our experience in the transition and integration process in both European and Transatlantic integration. In that respect an important aspect of our development cooperation includes the activities of Slovakia in the Western Balkans, the countries of the EU Eastern Partnership as well as the EU Southern Neighborhood which have a unique opportunity to benefit from years of ours experience in developing our democracy," State Secretary stated.
The focus of Slovak development aid, as seen by Javorčík, is primarily on Afghanistan, South Sudan and Kenya where several Slovak non-governmental organizations and academic institutions have been successfully conducting their activities on a long-term basis.
Dawson Mwazo, tourism minister of the Republic of Kenya, who has been interested for a long time in development projects of Slovak organizations in Kenya, gave a presentation at the event. The Kenyan minister also presented specific forms of cooperation in the area of tourism between the two countries as an example illustrating an important and effective combination of business and development activities that Slovakia’s diplomacy keeps pursuing.
"Our official development aid has to be designed in that respect so as to permit the private sector to follow-up the implemented development activities in partner countries and open access to investment opportunities. We will support activities to help Slovak businesses to become established in new markets with their key feature, the development dimension, remaining valid," State Secretary Javorčík said.
Prizes awarded in the 3rd year of a student competition for the best essays on development aid are an integral part of this event. The 1st and 2nd prizes, internships at the Permanent Mission of the Slovak Republic to the UN in Geneva and at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Slovak Republic, were awarded and funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.