In 2007 Slovakia established the Slovak Agency for International Development Cooperation (SAMRS). SAMRS is responsible for administering Slovakia’s grant opportunities and monitoring development projects under the overall management of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).
Originally, Slovakia had little capacity in implementing Official Development Assistance (ODA) strategies to developing countries. Therefore, its implementation structure largely relied on the experience of traditional donors such as UNDP. Slovakia’s transformation from a development aid recipient to a donor country began in 2000 when it became member of the OECD, and ended in 2008 following its graduation from World Bank operations. During this period, Slovakia has steadily increased its share of ODA disbursements, increased its involvement in international organisations and is participating in the implementation of the EU’s development policy. In 2009, Slovakia’s ODA amounted to €52 million, i.e. 0.08% of GNI.
“The Medium-Term Strategy of the ODA for the years 2009 – 2013” is very much in-line with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and defines Slovakia’s strategic goals and development policy approach. It is the basis for implementation documents such as the annual national programmes, bilateral agreements with developing countries, financial guidelines and budgets. Slovakia’s main development cooperation goals are:
- Reducing poverty and hunger in developing countries
- Promoting sustainable economic, social and environmental development in developing countries
- Ensuring global peace and security, in particular by enhancing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and good governance in developing countries
- Promoting universal access to education in developing countries
- Improving the quality of healthcare services in developing countries
- Promoting economic cooperation with developing countries
- Raising Slovak public awareness of the needs of developing countries and development assistance provided by Slovakia
Geographically, Slovakia concentrates its aid and targets towards a set of programme and project countries: Afghanistan, Kenya and Serbia (programme countries), as well as Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Ethiopia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia (FYR), Moldova, Mongolia, Sudan, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.
The priorities of Slovakia’s bilateral development assistance as defined in the medium-term strategy are fourfold:
- Developing democratic institutions: The promotion of good governance
- Social Development: Awareness-raising activities, prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS, and through child and adult education programmes
- Infrastructure/social infrastructure: Health care, and education
- Economic Development: Market economies, reforms in the public sector and public administration
Support for SRHR and HIV/AIDS activities
Both Slovakia’s Medium Term Strategy and its core development assistance legislation mention that Slovak ODA programmes should include social development as a sectoral priority of its bilateral development assistance. This reference specifically cites contributions towards the treatment of infectious diseases (HIV/AIDS in particular), and achievement of the MDGs are mentioned as criteria for Slovakia’s territorial selection. Healthcare and HIV/AIDS are particularly included as a focus of the social development priority in two of Slovakia’s programme countries: Kenya and Afghanistan.
Co-operation with NGOs
The Slovak MFA regards cooperation with NGOs and the private sector as important. It works with them mainly through the umbrella organisations - the Platform of Non-Governmental Development Organisations (the NGDO Platform) and the European NGO Confederation for Relief and Development (CONCORD).1
The Ministry has a specific interest in building the capacities of Slovak NGOs to submit quality proposals and become successful actors in development cooperation. To this end, the Ministry recognises the importance of its co-funding support for Slovak organisations in European external assistance calls and tenders.
The majority of NGO support funded by SAMRS is destined to regions other than in least-developed countries, such as Afghanistan, Ethiopia and Sudan. While less interest is partly due to a security risk and to the remoteness of said countries, it also indicates a need to pay closer attention to building the capacity of Slovak development assistance in these countries, as well as to intensify cooperation with well-established donors
In the future, Slovakia will gradually shift away from providing project-level assistance to programme assistance and direct aid, as well as working more closely with international organisations.
1 Contact information can be found in the NGO Platform Contact Information section of this Guide.
Slovak Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The 2009 Official Development Aid National Programme. http://www.slovakaid.mfa.sk/en/index.php/article/articleview/103/1/1
Slovak Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The 2008 Official Development Aid National Programme.http://www.slovakaid.mfa.sk/en/index.php/article/articleview/97/1/1
Slovak Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Medium Term Strategy for Slovak Republik’s ODA: 2003-2008. http://www.slovakaid.mfa.sk/en/index.php/article/articleview/30/1/2/
Slovak Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Medium Term Strategy for Slovak Republik’s ODA: 2009-2013.
Slovak Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Act on Official development assistance SR.
Slovak NGDO Platform: Development Assistance.
Slovak Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Financial Guide for the Slovak ODA projects.
Slovak Ministry of Foreign Affairs: SAMRS Statistics for 2009.