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Government adopts Foreign Ministry’s proposal for establishing a development cooperation centre

1. April 2021 - 18:45

Today 1 April, the government adopted the proposal to establish an international centre for development cooperation of Estonia. The task of the proposed foundation is to implement international development cooperation and humanitarian aid projects, and its goal is to become a centre of excellence for Estonia’s international development cooperation.

The Estonian Centre of Eastern Partnership will be merged with the international centre for development cooperation, as it has long-standing experience with international development cooperation projects in the European Union’s Eastern Neighbourhood.

Based on Estonia’s Foreign Policy Strategy 2030, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has decided to separate development cooperation and humanitarian aid from policymaking and create a new unit. The future foundation will reinforce Estonia’s development cooperation and humanitarian aid by focusing on carrying out major projects in countries and areas Estonia considers a priority.

“Development cooperation and humanitarian aid have been very important in Estonia’s foreign and security policy for more than 20 years. This aims at contributing to solving global issues, which also ensures our wellbeing and security. Environmental and climate problems, pandemics, poverty, violent clashes and armed conflicts, humanitarian disasters, irregular migration and other major challenges have a direct impact on international relations and, accordingly, on Estonia and its security,“ Foreign Minister Eva-Maria Liimets said.

She highlighted the fact that development cooperation entailed the inclusion of both the public and the private sector and the civil society of Estonia, and providing them with a chance to share their knowledge and experience. Liimets said development cooperation was also increasingly useful when it came to Estonian companies finding partners on foreign markets, which contributes to the development of Estonia’s people and economy. 

“As the digital and green transformation are increasingly important goals for the entire world, demand for Estonian expertise in the digital domain has grown significantly in recent years. The foundation will also increase our competence in carrying out international cooperation projects and boost the share of international funding in implementing Estonia’s development cooperation,” the minister added.

In the future, the aim of the foundation is to become a centre of excellence for Estonia’s international development cooperation and obtain official certification from the European Commission to become an equal partner in organising the European Union’s development cooperation projects. Other EU member states and Estonia’s closest partners have various models for implementing development cooperation; however, separate institutions have been established in most cases.

The founder of the new foundation is the Estonian state, with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs implementing founder’s rights. The centre will have a five-member board appointed by the foreign minister. A one-member board will coordinate the daily work of the foundation.

Additional information:
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia
Communication Department

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