Republic of Hungary
The Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) is responsible for planning and coordinating the Hungarian international development cooperation and humanitarian aid activities via the International Development Cooperation (IDC) Department. The main decision-making body related to the development cooperation policy and strategy is the Development Cooperation Governmental Committee, which is an inter-ministerial forum, chaired by the MFA. The committees related to development cooperation are assisted by a Civil Advisory Board, which consists of representatives of political parties, trade unions, employers’ associations, academic communities, civil organisations and individual experts. It is also a duty of the Board to increase awareness in the Hungarian society on issues related to international development cooperation and humanitarian aid.
The main policy documents used as a basis for Hungarian Development Cooperation are the ‘Concept Paper of IDC’ (2003) and the ‘External Relations Strategy’ (2008). ‘Resolution 1/2008 of the IDC Governmental Committee’ acknowledges that IDC is pointed out as one of the most important activities in Hungary’s External Relations Strategy.
Hungary’s primary themes and sectors of development assistance activities include:
- Sharing Hungarian experiences associated with the political-economic transition
- Knowledge transfer in good governance
- Promoting education
- Developing health services
- Water management and water resources development
- Developing general infrastructure
- Environmental protection
The geographical span of Hungary’s international development policy has been chosen from the least-developed countries (LDC). Far-Eastern countries have also been included due to their pre-existing bilateral relations with Hungary and the experiences accumulated in the course of cooperation over the past few decades.
Main partner, priority and top recipient countries of Hungarian IDC include:
- Cooperation based on a medium-term development strategy: Bosnia- Herzegovina, Moldova, Palestinian Authority, Serbia, Vietnam
- Project-based partner countries: Africa (Sub-Saharan), Cambodia, Kyrgyzstan, Kosovo, Laos, Macedonia, Mongolia, Montenegro, Ukraine, Yemen
- IDC based on international commitments: Iraq, Afghanistan
- Eligible for tied aid credit: according to the OECD DAC categorisation
Preferred bilateral instruments in Hungary are Country Strategy Papers. In 2007, two Country Strategy Papers were drafted; for Bosnia-Herzegovina and for Vietnam. Both outlined the directions and the main field of development policy until 2010. Hungary’s goal is to prepare more Country Strategy Papers for partner countries receiving the highest Hungarian development aid. Hungary ODA spending in 2008 amounted to 19 billion HUF (€72 million) (0.07% of GNI)
Hungary is signatory of numerous international agreements and member of several international organisations. It is also becoming part of various IDC initiatives. In 2008, Hungary contributed 4 million HUF (€15,724) to UNFPA, however neither UNAIDS nor did UNIFEM receive any donations.
Support for SRHR and HIV/AIDS activities
Although SRHR and HIV/AIDS are not among the priority sectors of Hungarian bilateral IDC, Hungary acknowledges their thematic importance and implements relevant projects. Hungary is firmly dedicated to supporting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) including MDG 5 and 6, i.e. to improve maternal health and combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.
The Dutch and Hungarian MFAs organised a seminar on EU Development Policy and Reproductive Health in Budapest in 2007. The goal of the meeting was to provide insight into EU development cooperation policy on reproductive health. In 2007 in Afghanistan, Hungary implemented an SRHR-related project concerning midwife-training, which aimed at the reduction of maternal and infant mortality. In 2008-2009, Hungary implemented a project in Serbia which aimed at the awareness-raising of the Serbian youth of health issues, among them HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. The project included training 25 technical college students.
Hungary regards it as vital to focus on young people, in particular with regard to the man’s role and his engagement in his partner’s reproductive health and his child’s development. According to Hungary’s Report on the MDGs, education and awareness-raising actions are as important as providing medicines and building hospitals.
Co-operation with NGOs
Civil society plays a fundamental role in implementing development projects, increasing social awareness and securing the sustainability of development results in Hungary. There has been increased IDC activity between Hungarian NGOs, creating justifications for the creation of a discussion and coordination forum for dialogue between the representatives of civil society partner organisations and the MFA.
Over the last few years, sources from the Hungarian government have been increasing. In 2003 a ‘Law on the National Civil Fund’ was passed.1 According to this act people give 1% of their income tax to civil society organisations, to be doubled by the government. The establishment of this National Civil Fund was a very important step and opened up the possibility for Hungarian NGOs to apply for “internal” funding. It consists of different “colleges” which publish calls for proposals on specific topics. Not all calls are applicable to development NGOs and only within one college can NGDOs apply for projects to be implemented abroad.
The MFA has organised several capacity building trainings, seminars and conferences for civil society partners, for example in the framework of the UN Volunteers Programme, the Finnish-Hungarian twinning programme by Finnish experts and in the framework of the MATRA Programme by Dutch experts.2
Hungarian civil society is eligible for tenders offered by the MFA. The majority of tenders are aimed at strengthening the governmental structure, health services, agricultural development and education.
The Hungarian Association of NGOs for Development and Humanitarian Aid (HAND) plays a very prominent role in Hungary.3
1 More information can be found at: http://www.nca.hu/?page=webtext/show&wte_code=english
2 More information can be found at: http://www.minbuza.nl/en/Key_Topics/Matra_Programme
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Hungary: A Brief Summary of Hungary’s International Development Cooperation Activities.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Hungary: Hungary’s Report on the Millennium Development Goals. Taking stock” (October 2004).