On 12 March 2019, the Cabinet considered and approved the report produced by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the mid-term evaluation of the Development Cooperation Policy Guidelines for 2016–2020. The report provides and overview on what has been accomplished from 2016 to 2018, and offers recommendations with respect to the implementation of the guidelines in the next operational period.
A broad range of stakeholders – public authorities, local government institutions and civil society organisations – are involved in putting the guidelines into practice. Latvia’s development cooperation covers not only activities financed from the bilateral development cooperation budget administered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but also those implemented by public authorities and non-governmental organisations in addition to the Foreign Ministry funding.
A number of significant results have been achieved over the reporting period:
- development cooperation pursued by Latvia has been rated positively by partner countries; it has a positive long-term influence on the sustainable development of partner countries;
- cooperation among public authorities in project implementation has increased, and so has inter-sectoral cooperation with civil society organisations, which plays a vital role in Latvia’s development cooperation policy.
- knowledge and professional standards of Latvian experts involved in development cooperation projects are steadily increasing;
- increasingly more often, Latvia is involved in joint projects with other donors, thereby enhancing effectiveness and visibility of development cooperation pursued by Latvia and opening up further opportunities for taking part in competitions for participation in larger-scale projects financed by international donors.
In accordance with the guidelines, during the reporting period, Latvia has consistently continued providing support for the countries of the EU Eastern Partnership region, in particular, Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, and Central Asian countries, in particular, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. 57% of bilateral development cooperation budget administered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been channelled to assist the Eastern Partnership countries, 19% – to Central Asian countries, 15% – to other countries and territories, and 9% – to civil society organisations, public outreach activities and development cooperation (global) education.
63 projects have been implemented with support from the Foreign Ministry’s bilateral development cooperation budget since 2016, including multi-annual projects with contributions from other donors. Latvia has continued working in its niche of expertise: the Foreign Ministry has mainly invested its funding in capacity building among the partner countries’ public administration, business development and facilitating export capacity, as well as support for decentralisation processes.
The bilateral development cooperation budget in the reporting period has been below the amounts envisaged in the guidelines, thereby making impact on the possibilities for Latvia to honour its international obligations and make full use of the potential of Latvian project promoters and development cooperation as a whole.
During the further functioning of the guidelines, special attention will be paid to the enhancement of the legislative framework regulating the field of development cooperation, the improvement of the system for evaluating bilateral development cooperation, as well as public outreach measures to raise awareness of the importance of development cooperation and its role in fostering sustainable development.