Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic

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Two Stages

An institutional framework for backing the Czech foreign aid policy should be based on the model used in comparable aid-providing countries. This, in a medium term, will allow to achieve necessary compatibility with principles of the OECD/DAC and with the general practice in the EU countries. The period dealt with in this Concept may be divided into two stages - before and after the accession to the EU (see Appendix 2). In Stage 1 the existing practices will continue to be used and the system put into place by the Government Decision no. 153/1995 will be retained. On the basis of the previous assessment of the foreign aid program and comparison with the other OECD and EU countries, the government departments will during this stage continue to discuss proposals for modification of the existing system so that the Czech Republic will be ready to accept responsibilities arising from the EU membership upon its entry to the EU. Proposed modifications to be introduced in Stage 2 address in particular the institutional frameworks for the provision of foreign aid (e.g. establishment of the integrated expert body, i.e. 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 system.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Under the Competency Act the MFA is the supreme body for coordinating implementation of the Czech foreign policy. The MFA will also take advantage of its network of representative offices abroad. The MFA will be exercising its role as a coordinator by convening regular inter-departmental meetings of representatives of individual departments engaged in developing foreign aid projects. The tasks of the MFA (as the coordinator) include the following:

  • preparing and presenting concepts of foreign aid program, setting out the territorial and sectoral priorities and estimating prospective volumes of funding and structuring of the foreign aid program;

  • developing and presenting annual foreign aid project plans and, also, presenting annual evaluation reports (based on the data from individual departments and project implementers) regarding implementation of the foreign aid program;

  • negotiating agreements and cooperating with aid-receiving countries and coordinating development activities with the EU, OECD and other international institutions;

  • providing information and popularising the Czech foreign aid program, also keeping the statistical evidence of the foreign aid program.

Development Centre

In Stage 1 it is the Development Centre that will act as the main supporting expert agency of the MFA. The Ministry has set up the Centre after an agreement with the Institute for International Relations (IIR). The Development Centre will undertake the following main activities:

  • assessing proposals for long-term programs and specific foreign aid projects;

  • cooperating with relevant departments in the process of implementing individual projects;

  • monitoring implementation of individual foreign aid programs and projects;

  • cooperating in assessing and evaluating foreign aid programs and projects using the uniform methodology;

  • cooperating with other institutions implementing foreign aid projects in the aid-providing countries;

  • coordinating work of government and non-government institutions and private sector in the area of foreign aid;

  • training experts in foreign aid, administering data base of Czech experts and volunteers;

  • coordinating research in the area of foreign aid (in cooperation with the IIR).

Development Agency

It is essential for the Development Agency to be established in Stage 2 (i.e. after the accession of the Czech Republic to the EU), subject to decision of the Czech Government. This Development Agency will take over from the Development Centre to continue and further extend its work as an organisation implementing foreign aid program. On the approval of individual projects by the Czech Government the main task of Development Agency will be to allocate funds for implementation of foreign aid projects. Further, a system of accreditation will be established in the Stage 2; this will allow the Development Agency to accredit selected institutions to implement foreign aid projects. Activities of the Development Agency will be directed by the Steering Committee, which will basically continue the work of the inter-departmental meetings in the Stage 1. Other specific measures (i.e. drafting statutes of the Development Agency, its funding and its relations to the MFA) will be undertaken subject to a decision of the Czech Government made on the basis of assessment of implementing the Stage 1 and comparison with current practices in the OECD and EU countries.

Implementation Centres and Departments

Individual departments, NGOs, branches of international organisation in aid-receiving countries or selected private companies may all become centres for implementation of bilateral and multilateral foreign aid. Besides carrying out their main task, i.e. implementing specific foreign aid projects, these implementation centres will also serve as a source of information before selecting further projects or programs for cooperation and will present proposals for implementation of such projects or programs. The task of the individual departments will be, apart from acting as implementers of foreign aid projects, to give statements regarding adoption of long-term programs and specific foreign aid projects. In Stage 1, the MFA will be convening inter-departmental meetings for this purpose every three months (i.e. every quarter). The main task of each individual department will be to assess proposed projects especially in terms of expertise. In Stage 2 installing departmental representatives on the Steering Committee to run the Development Agency will further enhance the operations of the government departments.

Foreign Aid Council

The MFA will establish the Foreign Aid Council. This Council will undertake an advisory role in the area of foreign and also humanitarian aid to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. The members of the Council will be the representatives of the Czech foreign aid platform comprising government and non-government organisations, political parties, academic community, mass media, union organisations and members of the general public. The Council will then communicate the opinions of the Czech foreign aid platform as regards implementation of the Czech foreign aid program and humanitarian aid.