Vienna, 7 November 2012 - Austria's development cooperation has always been based on a three-year programme. "With the new three-year programme, a real multi-annual strategy has been laid down for the first time", State Secretary Lopatka explained. "This is going to significantly improve the planning of our development cooperation."
Another innovative step is a mission statement that has been defined for the three-year programme and beyond. "All public actors in development cooperation, i.e. ministries, the Austrian Parliament, social partners, NGOs, businesses, and scientific institutions, have developed this mission statement in the course of a one-year discussion process ", Lopatka said. The three-year programme is presented on the occasion of the Development Policy jour fixe of the Foreign Ministry today.
"Development policy is part of the general policy we pursue; we want to bundle the interests of Austria." With this in mind, the three-year programme will in future also take account of Austria's economic interests in addition to the development and foreign policy objectives. "Businesses as the drivers of development and as political forces are central stakeholders in international cooperation", the State Secretary said. "The most recent report of the World Bank says that eight out of ten jobs in developing countries are created by the private sector."
"Our focus is on the special priority issues where Austria is able to contribute particular expertise", Lopatka continued. "These include the areas of water, energy, food security, matters of human safety and human rights." This is the only way for Austria to flesh out its profile as a donor in future and to benefit from comparative advantages. Austria's commitment is always oriented along the priorities of the partnering countries and the requirements of the people.
Austrian Development Cooperation is also proving its expertise in the Indirect Centralised Management, ICM. The Austrian Development Agency (ADA) is one of more than 20 European agencies that have been accredited and is now successfully employing some 60 million euros on behalf of the EU in partner countries. State Secretary Lopatka: "We aim for a further increase of these funds and have already contacted EU Commissioner Piebalgs in this matter." Austria has also successfully established itself in terms of project financing. To date, the Austrian Development Bank OeEB has concluded contracts for about 100 projects; Austrian companies are involved in nearly fifty percent of all financing projects. With ADA and OeEB, Austria can avail itself of two bodies to strengthen bilateral development cooperation.
As in 2012, the ADA will have some 77 million euros available for development cooperation in 2013. Curtailments as demanded in all other departments were successfully averted. Due to the debt relief for Sudan, the public development spending quota will increase to 0.41% with 1.36 billion euros. "We are still far from our objective of reaching 0.7%", Lopatka said. "It must also be said, however, that only four of the 27 EU member states have already reached this goal. The quality of development cooperation is good as has been confirmed only recently by Talaat Abdel-Malek, former chairman of the working group for effective development cooperation in the Development Assistance Committee of the OECD", Lopatka concluded.
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