Estonia to establish international development cooperation center

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Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

A foundation for international development cooperation and humanitarian aid projects will be created the government has decided, adopting a proposal by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The foundation's task to implement international development cooperation and humanitarian aid project, and to become a centre of excellence for Estonia's international development cooperation.

The Estonian Center 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 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.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Eva-Maria Liimets (Center) said: "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."

The minister highlighted 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. She 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," Liimets said.

In the future, the aim of the foundation is to become a center 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 center will have a five-member board appointed by the foreign minister. A one-member board will coordinate the daily work of the foundation.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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