On Tuesday, the Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Action Franz Fayot presented to the Chamber of Deputies his analysis of the challenges facing Luxembourg’s development cooperation.
War in Ukraine
The Minister opened his speech by referring to the impact of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine, in particular on Luxembourg’s cooperation partners around the world. After the Covid-19 pandemic has already caused major setbacks in poverty, nutrition, education and security in many developing countries, the war has pushed millions of people to the brink of starvation.
In this context, the Minister underlined the increased efforts that Luxembourg Development Cooperation has undertaken to combat food insecurity, both in humanitarian action to combat acute hunger and in development cooperation projects to make food systems more resilient in the long term. While Luxembourg has already invested around 40 million euros in sustainable agriculture and access to food in 2021, this amount is expected to increase to more than 60 million euros in 2022, which represents more than 10 % of Official Development Assistance (ODA).
Fayot also addressed the challenges faced by humanitarian affairs and the response of Luxembourg development cooperation to this situation. With no less than 274 million people in need of humanitarian assistance and protection according to the United Nations, Luxembourg is committed to devoting at least 15% of its ODA to humanitarian purposes in the future. This commitment is part of the new Humanitarian Action Strategy published in 2022, which will enable the Luxembourg Humanitarian Affairs department to act in a more targeted and effective manner around six strategic priorities, six horizontal themes and 50 action points. ‘stock.
In order to further leverage Luxembourg’s strengths and expertise in innovation and humanitarian action, the Minister also announced that in June 2023, Luxembourg will host the first edition of an international accelerator program humanitarian innovation event, organized in collaboration with the World Food Programme, with the aim of finding and developing new solutions to humanitarian emergencies.
Fayot then gave an update on bilateral cooperation activities. It appears that the situation in many partner countries of Luxembourg cooperation is unstable. This is particularly evident in the Sahel region, where a host of crises related to climate change, malnutrition and security concerns are on the rise. While Senegal and Niger continue to be trusted partners despite the rise in insecurity and the implementation of the indicative cooperation programs (ICP) is proceeding as planned, the situation in Burkina Faso, which has experienced two military coups in 2022, and in Mali remains of concern. Development cooperation in both countries will continue on the basis of transition strategies. In this regard, Fayot underlined that the safety of personnel in the field is a top priority and that the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs ensures that the necessary security measures are in place at all times.
Fayot also presented the future direction of bilateral development cooperation. Given the difficult situation in many partner countries and in order to diversify Luxembourg’s development cooperation activities on the African continent, Luxembourg will intensify its relations with Rwanda and Benin. Projects in these countries will aim to promote the rule of law and good governance, sustainable agriculture and food security as well as better access to inclusive finance for farmers. After Luxembourg ended bilateral development cooperation relations with Nicaragua in 2019, a reorientation is underway in Central America. Accordingly, further regional cooperation will be encouraged, as well as greater collaboration with Costa Rica, which will support triangular and South-South cooperation. Luxembourg is thus following in the footsteps of other EU member states which also operate from San José.
During his speech, the Minister underlined the importance that the Luxembourg Development Cooperation attaches to respect for human rights in all its activities. In order to strengthen its commitment and its impact in this area, the Luxembourg Development Cooperation plans to increase the budget allocated to projects specifically promoting the protection of human rights.
In this context, Fayot announced that human rights, as well as food security, will be key topics during the Development Cooperation Conferences in December.
The Minister indicated that Luxembourg Development Cooperation will strengthen its support for Non-Governmental Development Organizations (NGDOs), emphasizing the essential role they play in the execution of cooperation for sustainable development. It will thus increase its contribution to covering their actual administrative costs by raising the ceiling taken into account from 14 to 15%.
At the end of his speech, the minister presented the budget forecasts to the deputies. Despite the economic situation, ODA is expected to exceed €500 million for the first time.