Vienna, 1 July 2004 - Foreign Minister Benita Ferrero-Waldner has presented a favourable report on the first six months of the Austrian Development Agency (ADA). Outsourcing of the operative segments of the Austrian Agency for Development Cooperation and Cooperation with Eastern Europe has proved successful, stated the Minister, who congratulated Michael Linhart and his team on the excellent first half-year. "In the past months, ADA has assumed responsibility for the management of a total of more than 700 individual projects of the Austrian Agency for Development Cooperation and Cooperation with Eastern Europe and has launched numerous new projects. The OECD’s Development Assistance Committee has recently confirmed the success of ADA’s policy", said Foreign Minister Ferrero-Waldner on 1 July 2004.
The Austrian Development Agency defines itself as a centre of competence for development cooperation and cooperation with Eastern Europe. It is in charge of the implementation of the projects and programmes in Austria’s partner countries. 128 staff members have been recruited in Austria and abroad, a working programme has been developed for ADA, new instruments of aid have been created, and the new task area "economy and development" has been introduced.
The renewal process of Austria’s Development Cooperation and Cooperation with Eastern Europe culminated in the foundation of the Austrian Development Agency at the beginning of 2004. Thus, a clear line has been drawn between strategic planning and operative tasks of project implementation. Furthermore, more resources are now available for these two areas. According to Foreign Minister Ferrero-Waldner, restructuring has been due to the planned budget increase as well as international trends in development policy. "In 2004, an additional 30 million euro have be allocated to Development Cooperation and Cooperation with Eastern Europe in the federal government’s budget. Therefore, we need more capacity for implementation and greater flexibility, for which the federal administration has not provided the optimal framework. Moreover, there are new challenges in development policy, e.g. the entire field of synergies between the economy and development. With the Austrian Development Agency, Austria now boasts an ideal structure to respond to these challenges." The OECD’s Development Assistance Committee praised the performance of the Austrian Development Agency and of the coordination offices in the partner states as "excellent and exemplary" after its audit in June.
The additional funds of 30 million euro will be invested in the further development of cooperation with Eastern Europe, programmes in developing countries as well as in co-financing EU projects. Besides taking over existing projects, ADA also succeeded in concluding numerous new project agreements with Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and enterprises within the first six months of its existence. Cooperation with NGOs is to be intensified inter alia by ADA’s two new instruments of aid. Thus, facilities to co-finance projects in Eastern and South Eastern Europe and the "Calls for Proposals" model allowing NGOs to apply for support by filing their own project proposals have been introduced. Moreover, ADA’s mission now also includes the task area "economy & development", informed Managing Director Michael Linhart: "Investments in companies in developing countries are a dire need. They can create jobs and income and thus make a significant contribution to development - provided that they meet social and ecological minimum standards." On this basis, ADA’s team is currently developing a model for development partnerships between enterprises and ADA for the task area "economy & development". Foreign Minister Ferrero-Waldner: "The Austrian Development Agency has fully lived up to expectations and demonstrated that it can perform enormous tasks efficiently and quickly."