On 3 March 2020, the Cabinet approved the Development Cooperation Policy Plan for 2020 drawn up by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as the new Cabinet Regulation, “Procedures for conducting grant project competitions”. The Development Cooperation Policy Plan sets out specific measures for practical implementation of Latvia’s Development Cooperation Policy Guidelines for 2016–2020.
The amount of 463,813 euros has been allocated in the Foreign Ministry’s budget for the implementation of bilateral development cooperation measures in 2020. More than a half of the funds will be channelled into a grant projects competition and a competition to co-finance projects by civil society organisations that provide support and share Latvia’s best practices and lessons learned with the EU’s Eastern Partnership and Central Asian priority countries, thereby promoting sustainable growth and stability in those regions.
As part of bilateral cooperation measures, taking into account Latvia’s expertise and the needs identified by partner countries, a training program will be run for the fifth consecutive year for representatives from the European Neighbourhood Policy countries, Central Asia and Western Balkans.
For representatives from Ukraine, participation will also be ensured in the “Young professionals’ training programme” spring school. In addition, assistance will be offered to Ukraine in the field of agricultural development. Capacity building among the Supreme Audit Institutions of Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine will be provided in cooperation with Sweden.
Latvia will also support educational reforms in the Central Asian countries, including via activities and projects under the EU-Central Asian Education Platform. This year, too, Latvia will continue sharing its experience and expertise with partner countries by participating in projects funded by other donors, for instance, the United Nations Development Program.
Outreach measures will be supported in order to raise awareness among the general public of the development cooperation goals and policy. Support will continue for civil society organisations with the view of representing Latvia’s interests in EU-wide platforms of civil society organisations.
The new Cabinet Regulations, “Procedures for conducting grant project competitions”, have been developed pursuant to amendments to the Law on International Assistance that came into force on 13 February 2020. Amendments to the law making it possible to improve the planning and implementation of development cooperation activities, including the possibility of planning development cooperation activities for several years ahead.
Amendments to the Cabinet Regulations, “Procedures for conducting grant project competitions”, will facilitate participation and make requirements more clear for applicants . In the evaluation criteria, a stronger emphasis will now be placed on contents-related aspects of the projects.