On 21 April 2021, Minister Ivan Korčok visited the Eleonas refugee camp in the centre of Athens, accompanied by the Greek Minister for Migration and Asylum, Notis Mitarachi. (Photo: MFEA SR/Tomáš Bokor)
The peer OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) recommended that Slovakia further improve its development cooperation system. In 2021, the Foreign Ministry approved three new development cooperation strategies with the program countries (Georgia, Kenya and Moldova). An external, independent and objective evaluation of the implementation of the Slovak Republic’s Mid-term Development Cooperation Strategy for 2019- 2023 was conducted. The above evaluation resulted in several recommendations for adjustments in setting up the Slovak Republic‘s development cooperation system so that it will become more effective and achieve greater impact in partner countries. The selected recommendations were reflected in the focus on the Slovak Republic‘s bilateral development cooperation for 2022, in particular the narrowing of territorial and sectoral priorities. In order to strengthen the integration of two cross-sectoral issues - environmental protection and climate change and gender equality - into development interventions in 2021, handbooks and training for the professional public were developed in cooperation with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
In 2021, we continued through development cooperation instruments to support civil society and victims of repression in Belarus. The support included the provision of an additional twenty government scholarships in the Slovak Republic under the auspices of the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic.
The Ministry has also made efforts to strengthen the involvement of the private sector in development cooperation. In 2021, another call for project support through the Slovak Challenge Fund was launched within the framework of the MFEA SR in partnership with UNDP, aimed at transferring innovative Slovak ideas to support the sustainable development of partner countries. Two projects were approved focusing on the testing of water quality and building early warning systems in Moldova. In 2021, the Slovak Agency for International Development Cooperation (SAIDC) supported four projects under the Enterprise Partnership Program aimed at developing telemedicine in Albania and Moldova and capacity building in IT and eGovernment in Georgia and Moldova. In 2021, co-ordination between institutions with tools for involving entrepreneurs in development cooperation (MFEA SR/SAIDC, Ministry of Finance of the Slovak Republic, Eximbank Slovak Republic) was launched in order to increase their synergies and transparency.
In total, in 2021, SAIDC launched 11 calls for funding for development and humanitarian projects. Out of the total number of project applications submitted, 45 were approved with a total financial volume of more than EUR 4 million.