Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic

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Foreign Aid Concept: Updating and Follow-up

The proposed Concept will provide a basis for increasing effectiveness of the foreign aid program and for gradually increasing funding in line with integration priorities and liabilities of the Czech foreign policy. This will involve a gradual and transparent process allowing the Concept to be regularly updated every six years on the basis of thorough evaluation of previous practices and international tendencies in the area of foreign aid.

Stage 1 - Scheduling of Implementation Measures

The following are measures for the Stage 1 that fully reflect Government Decision no. 153 of 15 March 1995 and, under the Competency Act, belong to the jurisdiction of the MFA:

  • establishment (on 1 September 2001) and funding of the Development Centre as part of the existing programs for providing multilateral aid developed by the MFA;

  • the MFA has submitted to the Czech Government this 'Concept of the Czech Foreign Aid Program for the 2002-2007 Period' and the 'Summary of Expected Requirements and Obligations of the Czech Republic in the Area of Foreign Aid Policy after the Accession to the European Union',

  • a medium-term financial outlook of the foreign aid budget will be submitted to the Czech Government by the end of 2002 (Ministry of Finance in cooperation with the MFA).

Transition Period before the Stage 2

By the end of 2003, the MFA, in cooperation with other departments, will carry out evaluation of foreign aid program implementation during Stage 1 and will propose desirable measures for the institutional framework of the Czech foreign aid programme after the accession to the EU. The evaluation will specifically address implementation and meeting of the targets and priorities as well as the medium-term strategy and funding of the foreign aid program. On the basis of this evaluation the Czech Government (at the proposal of the Minister of Foreign Affairs) will make a decision regarding Stage 2.

Stage 2 - Supposed Measures

Measures proposed for the Stage 2 should be designed by the date of the accession of the Czech Republic to the EU. These measures, which will require approval of the Czech Government and, if need be, amendment of existing legal prescriptions (e.g. the Principles for Providing Foreign Aid of 1995), include the following:

  • establishing of the Development Agency (this includes defining statutes and relevant legal provisions based on the findings and comparison with established practices in the OECD and EU countries);

  • creating legislative and budgetary conditions to allow multi-year funding of foreign aid projects comparable with established practices in other aid-providing countries;

  • amending the Public Commissions Act to allow tendering procedures and to introduce the system for accreditation;

  • defining the legal status and services of professionals and volunteers in the area of foreign aid.

Summary

The proposed 6-year Concept will enable the Czech foreign aid program to become gradually compatible with similar policies of the EU countries and other aid-providing countries, which are joined in the OECD/DAC. Proposed measures are to implement in two stages separated by the transition period during which the Czech Republic is to become a member of the EU. In accordance with the valid Government Decision no. 153/1995, the application and implementation of measures for Stage 1 have been introduced since planning the foreign aid for 2002. As the activities of the Development Centre are to be financed together with the ongoing multilateral programs implemented by the MFA, there are going to be no additional financial requirements during this stage. On the basis of the assessment and evaluation of the foreign aid program in the Stage 1 and the assessment of aid provision practices in other OECD and EU countries, the Czech Government, at the proposal of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, will take further decision regarding introduction of the Stage 2. This will be marked by the establishment of an integrated professional body (the Development Agency) and the introduction of changes in financing the foreign aid program, with most of the changes aimed at introducing a multi-year funding program thereby allowing more effective and transparent provision of the foreign aid implemented by the Government. By adopting a new, more effective system for provision of foreign aid program the Czech Republic will stress its joint responsibility for the future of least developed countries throughout the world. At the time when gap between rich and poor countries and their interdependence continue to grow, the necessity for constantly addressing provision of foreign aid represents an integral part of the Czech foreign policy.

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