On 11 November, the Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica, took part in the informal meeting of the European Union ministers responsible for development (FAC) in Tallinn. Main topics on the agenda of the meeting were the role of digital solutions and technologies in development cooperation, the way forward with the EU’s External Investment Plan, and innovative engagement with middle income countries.
“Digitalisation is a field highly important for all countries regardless of their level of income. Not only does digitalisation offer tangible dividends such as investments, increasing trade and employment, it also makes states and communities stronger. At the same time, with a view to safeguarding security, privacy and freedom of speech, developing countries also need to strengthen democracy, human rights and the rule of law. Cyber security must be an integral part of the digitalisation process,” the Parliamentary Secretary stressed in a discussion on the role of digitalisation in development cooperation.
“To foster engagement with the private sector, synergies should be built between the policies of development cooperation, trade and innovation. Businessmen have the required tools for and interest in introducing digital solutions in partner countries. Development instruments in turn can develop public administration and the legislative environment, which promotes the use of these tools towards the development of partner countries,” said Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica.
In terms of bilateral development cooperation, Latvia’s experience with e-services and e-Government and the promotion of good governance are the fields presenting interest to our partner countries. “No doubt, digitalisation contributes to development in partner countries, while providing opportunities for promoting innovative products developed in Latvia,” the Parliamentary Secretary noted. Digital and e-Government solutions are also expected to be in the focus of the Eastern Partnership and the EU-Africa summits scheduled later this year.
Next, the participants shared views on the course of establishment of the new European Fund for Sustainable Development. The fund is expected to launch operations already in 2017. The fund seeks to pair development cooperation funding with external, for instance, private sector investments for the growth of partner countries.
The meeting also addressed the EU’s cooperation with middle income states and enhancing resilience in partner countries with a special emphasis on the ways of operationalising the humanitarian-development nexus.
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