Approval Of The Principles Of Estonian Development Cooperation

Published: 2003-01-21

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Approval of the Principles of Estonian Development Cooperation

Passed 15.01.2003

The Riigikogu resolves:

To approve the annexed "Principles of Estonian Development Cooperation".

President of the Riigikogu Toomas SAVI



1. Definitions

The following definitions are used in the principles of development cooperation:

Development cooperation - cooperation including development assistance and humanitarian aid;

Development assistance - financial and other material assistance, as well as technical assistance rendered to the recipient;

Humanitarian aid - financial and other material assistance to other countries to alleviate the effects of natural or man-made disasters;

Donor - a country which is providing development assistance and humanitarian aid to another country;

Recipient - a developing country or a transition economy receiving development assistance and humanitarian aid from another country or an international organisation;

Developing country - a country so classified by the United Nations (UN) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD);

Transition economy - a country so classified by the UN and the OECD;

Bilateral development cooperation - development assistance and humanitarian aid granted by a donor to a recipient;

Multilateral development cooperation - development assistance and humanitarian aid granted to a recipient through an international organisation.

2. Introduction

Estonia has systematically engaged in development cooperation since 1998. The experience obtained during that period and the developments in the international environment have created the need for the principles of development cooperation approved by the Riigikogu in 1999 to be renewed.

The principles of development cooperation are based on international rules and good practice and take account of changes in the global political and socio-economic landscape, the process of Estonia's accession to the European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and further national rearrangements ensuing therefrom.

Estonia's economic development and its integration into international organisations has placed on us the responsibility of increasing our contribution to securing global well-being in accordance with our own increasing opportunities and with international agreements.

This document sets out the principles of Estonian development cooperation and the ways in which they are to be accomplished. The document should be renewed following any changes in the situation and on the basis of the experience gained, with the involvement of our partners who are participating in development cooperation.

3. Principles of Estonian development cooperation

As an integral part of Estonian foreign policy, development cooperation is directed towards ensuring peace, democracy, the observance of human rights, economic and social stability and the eradication of poverty in the world in accordance with internationally approved principles of sustainable development. Estonia observes the UN Millennium Declaration adopted in 2000 and the principles for humanitarian and development aid established by international organisations, primarily by the UN, the OECD and the EU.

Estonia’s development cooperation is implemented in partnership with the recipient, on the basis of mutual interest. Distinctions can be drawn between four aspects in Estonia's participation in international development cooperation.

a) Moral aspect - during the last decade, Estonia has developed rapidly with the support of international donors and it is our moral responsibility, as it is that of every other successful country, to provide similar support for countries less developed than ourselves.

b) Political aspect - development cooperation helps to improve relations with donors and recipients and assists in achieving foreign policy goals.

c) Economic aspect - the strengthening of the economy of the recipients widens the circle of potential trade partners for Estonia and strengthens international economic development.

d) Cultural aspect - development cooperation helps the Estonian state and Estonian culture to present itself and fosters ties with other indigenous and kindred peoples in order to contribute to their development.

4. Implementation of development cooperation

The implementation of the principles of Estonian development cooperation is organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Estonia is engaged in development cooperation through bilateral development cooperation projects, international organisations and development cooperation partners.

Civil society organisations play an important role in Estonian development cooperation by participating in policy formulation, preparing and implementing concrete projects and presenting the subject matter to the Estonian population. In addition to civil associations, the partners in Estonian development cooperation may include private businesses and other volunteers whose background, relevant preparedness and achievements meet the requirements for development cooperation projects. 

Estonia focuses on fields where it is possible to help and support both developing countries and transition economies by sharing our experience of reform.

Estonia supports the amended cooperation strategy adopted by the OECD in 1996 which provides for a new type of partnership as a basis for cooperation, in which developing countries take the responsibility for their own development. In bilateral cooperation, Estonia has a continuous dialogue with its partners in order to understand their needs and to participate successfully in the implementation process. Estonia participates in joint programmes organised by donors and cooperates with recipient governments.

4.1. Bilateral development cooperation

The grant of development aid by Estonia within the framework of bilateral development cooperation is focused on fields where we have experience of reform and where we are able to create added value, for instance the use of information and communication technologies, democratic and market economy reforms, and the harmonisation of legislation with the requirements of international organisations.

Estonian bilateral development cooperation is primarily directed towards regions where processes similar to the reforms Estonia has already completed lie ahead or are in progress. An important role has been assigned to development cooperation oriented towards other indigenous and  kindred peoples.

4.2. Multilateral development cooperation

Multilateral development cooperation is particularly important in fighting against such regional and global problems as environmental pollution and the spread of disease. By participating in multilateral development cooperation, Estonia can obtain up-to-date information and have a say in the decision-making process at an international level. There is close cooperation with the UN agencies, the EU, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). Estonia implements multilateral development cooperation primarily through these organisations, with which it has long-term ties and shares similar priorities.

4.3. Humanitarian aid

In recent decades, the world has faced an increasing number of both natural and man-made catastrophes which have prompted a growing need for closer international cooperation to alleviate the consequences of disasters and to avoid new ones being caused.  Depending on the urgency with which humanitarian aid is to be supplied, Estonia cooperates with international organisations and, where possible, directly with the affected areas.

Estonia participates in international rescue work pursuant to the Rescue Act and grants crisis aid pursuant to the Emergency Preparedness Act.

5. Domestic awareness raising

An important part of implementing development cooperation is providing relevant information to the Estonian public. Awareness in Estonian society of the diversity, causes and various consequences of global problems is the key to successful development cooperation. Awareness-raising activities increase the solidarity of society and general preparedness to attain the goals of development cooperation, as well as enhancing the readiness of partners to cooperate and to take collective responsibility. Domestic awareness-raising activities are carried out through civil associations, educational and cultural institutions and the media.

6. Financing of development cooperation

In order to implement development cooperation, resources will be allocated to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the state budget and the volume of these resources will increase in accordance with Estonia's economic development and international trends.