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TRANSPARENCY and accountability are interlinked and integral elements that help to ensure that development efforts are conducted efficiently and effectively, thereby maximising results. Information on past, current and future efforts helps to hold officials and institutions accountable for their performance and how they use development resources. Access to high-quality and timely information on development co-operation helps governments to plan and manage resources for results; it also helps increasingly diverse development partners to co-ordinate their support and thus avoid fragmentation and duplication of efforts.
Official development assistance (ODA) is defined by the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) as government aid that promotes and specifically targets the economic development and welfare of developing countries. The DAC adopted ODA as the “gold standard” of foreign aid in 1969 and it remains the main source of financing for development aid.
Under the Medium-Term Strategy for Slovak Development Cooperation in 2019–2023, Kenya, Moldova and Georgia were designated as SlovakAid programme countries. We are implementing deeper development cooperation there by providing greater funding tranches and strengthening our personnel capacities through the diplomats who have been working in Moldova and Kenya since 2014. In December 2019 a development diplomat began working in Georgia. In 2019 Slovakia expanded its ODA activities to Eastern SubSaharan Africa, building on the basis of good experiences in development cooperation with Kenya. Ethiopia occupies a special position, as the Slovak embassy in Addis Ababa plays an important role in project implementation. Ethiopia is becoming a promising partner country, particularly regarding the involvement of businesses in development cooperation.
In 2019 Slovakia continued to take its responsibilities seriously as both partner and donor, flexibly responding to the needs of developing countries under the SlovakAid brand. These objectives are achieved through the available instruments of official development cooperation and partnerships with traditional donors and international organisations. The Slovak Republic signed a memorandum of understanding with UNICEF and the International Red Cross and a project memorandum with USAID on the joint implementation of the National Convention on the EU project in North Macedonia. Other examples of good practice in identifying development synergies and funding are the development dialogue in partnership with V4 countries, the provision of special assistance in the Western Balkans and the EU Eastern Partnership. These were pursued under the priorities of Slovak OSCE Chairmanship and to achieve capacity building among new donors, such as Bulgaria, as part of our activities to share experience of building the SlovakAid system.
Ensuring Slovakia makes a specific contribution to resolving the migration and refugee crisis is a long-term challenge, and is now conceptually addressed in the new Mediumterm Strategy for Development Cooperation in 2019–2023. Under the Strategy, we have, for example, expanded SlovakAid operations in Eastern Sub-Saharan Africa to support local economic development and thereby prevent the emergence of migration and refugee flows. Following the principle of effective solidarity, V4 discussions were launched on contributions and and projects to address the causes of migration in cooperation with our key European partners, Italy and Germany. Projects to improve young people’s social conditions and education have been implemented in cooperation with local non-governmental and international partners in African countries such as Kenya and Ethiopia, as well as in conflict-affected Middle East countries. In 2019 Slovakia provided significant contributions to the EU Facility for Syrian Refugees in Turkey. With the ongoing political, environmental and migration crises, Slovakia promptly responded to requests for financial or material humanitarian aid for countries such as Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, Iran, Mozambique and Venezuela.
Slovakia is involved in joint EU programming aimed at stabilising and strengthening local communities through job creation in the key sector of agriculture. The Slovak Agency for International Development Cooperation (SAMRS) is a contributor to the most important component of the AgriFi Kenya programme, providing €2.5 million under EU Joint Programming in Kenya. The aim is to support small farmers by providing incentives to invest in the agri-food sector.
Under the SlovakAid medium-term strategy and strategic framework, it is our responsibility to actively respond to the challenges of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. For instance, by moving towards enhanced cooperation at the national and international level and building partnerships with civil society and the private sector. On a project basis, the Ministry provided €4.1 million in subsidies to the NGO sector. This year we took the important step of amending the Development Cooperation Act. This provides SlovakAid with a new tool for sharing experience with a variety of Slovak institutions. In 2019 this enabled 111 experts, mainly from the Western Balkans and Eastern Partnership region, to participate in activities worth €100,000. An amendment to the Eximbanka Act (Slovakia’s Export–Import Bank) enabled conditions to be set for Slovak exporters to access developing markets through preferential export credits from 1 October 2019.
In order to better finance sustainable development, SlovakAid will continue to support private sector engagement in development cooperation in the coming year by creating synergies between existing facilities and communicating even more with entrepreneurs. In cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), we undertook activities aimed at increasing the involvement of Slovak organisations in EU programmes. SlovakAid supported 11 Business Partnership Programme projects in Kenya, Belarus, Moldova, Ethiopia, Ghana, Macedonia, Mauritius and Ukraine, totalling €494,000 in 2019.
The quality of SlovakAid was mentioned in the OECD/DAC peer review of development cooperation. The results were presented in 2019 and serve as encouragement for Slovakia to continue its efforts to further improve the effectiveness of official development cooperation. This year we continued to streamline SAMRS by standardising internal processes. SAMRS obtained its quality management certification (ISO 9001:2015) and is continuing the EU Pillar Assessment process. Once successfully completed, this will entitle SAMRS to participate in joint EU projects via delegated cooperation. SAMRS will then become eligible for EU resources and be able to engage in larger projects and international partnerships.
SR: OFFICIAL DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE 2019 (part SlovakAid - preliminary data):
Source: MFA SR Annual Report 2019
SR: OFFICIAL DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE 2009 - 2019 comparison (preliminary data):
Source: MFA SR Preliminary ODA Report 2019
TRANPARENCY has been pushed to the top of the global agenda. As part of its mandate to monitor, assess, report and promote the provision of resources that support sustainable development, the DAC of the OECD contributes to the global Transparency agenda, including by providing comparable and qualitative information on Development finance through its International Development Statistics (IDS) online databases that cover bilateral and multilateral aid (ODA) as well as other resource flows to developing countries.
As part of the OECD the DAC is working towards making this "transparency transformation" a success through promoting four dimensions:
The common standard sets out good practice in reporting and publishing data. It combines three complementary systems and processes: the DAC’s Creditor Reporting System (CRS) and the Forward Spending Survey (FSS) – two reporting instruments of the OECD with comprehensive statistical information – plus IATI.
OECD - DAC: TRANSPARENCY of development cooperation remains steady:
TRANSPARENCY and MUTUAL ACCOUNTABILITY in an evolving development landscape: there is mixed progress in making development co-operation more transparent. More development partners report to global information systems and standards to make information on development co-operation publicly available.
Source: MAKING DEVELOPMENT CO-OPERATION MORE EFFECTIVE: 2019 PROGRESS REPORT © OECD, UNDP 2019
The DAC’s main findings and recommendations Extract from: OECD Development Co-operation Peer Reviews Slovak Republic 2019