Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs, Romain Schneider

Introduction by the Minister

Dear friends of Luxembourg’s development cooperation,

It is my pleasure to present to you this annual report 2014 on Luxembourg development cooperation and to show you how we have tried to modernise our activity and make it even more effective, while still building on the important work done by my predecessors. The DAC mid-term review, which took place in January 2015, confirmed that we are on the right track. My staff have reviewed the results and weaknesses of our programmes with the partner countries with a view to preparing the fourth-generation Indicative Cooperation Programmes (ICP). The first of these Programmes was signed with Cabo Verde in March on the occasion of the official visit by His Royal Highness the Grand Duke.

For our partners in West Africa, the Ebola crisis has definitely marked 2015 with its dramatic consequences on health, but also in the economic, financial and political sectors. The countries most directly affected by this crisis and those in the region as a whole have seen their development substantially impaired in terms of improving the well-being of their people.

It has also been a year of major political upheavals in Burkina Faso, where Luxembourg’s development cooperation is accompanying the transition towards democracy. In Mali, the situation remains critical but, there too, we are ready to support the population in the north and south through a new ICP focusing on rural development. Two of the poorest regions in Niger – Diffa and Zinder – where the programmes for access to water were carried out, are now experiencing regional upheaval caused by Boko Haram coming from Nigeria. Here we are trying to complement our development action with humanitarian assistance, as we did during a period of intense crisis in Mali.

The growing insecurity in our partner countries has made our work more difficult and access impossible at times. I hereby salute everyone at Lux-Development, other agencies and professionals and NGO volunteers who work on the ground in spite of these less-than-ideal conditions. The same applies, but even more so, to our bilateral and multilateral humanitarian actors, who confront situations of conflict and crisis to help those in need, in particular the most vulnerable people. I am pleased that we have been able to extend the project with our partners in the private sector until 2020 in order to provide means of communication to members of the humanitarian community on the ground.

Unfortunately, during the past year, the NGO “Le Soleil dans la Main” lost two of its staff, the chairperson and a young volunteer, when an Air Algeria plane crashed as they were returning from a mission in the field to start a new project. Everyone in Luxembourg development cooperation has been deeply moved by these dramatic deaths.

During my various missions in our partner countries, I have been able to see the wealth of our bilateral relations and confirm the sound implementation of our projects and programmes. This was especially the case in El Salvador and Nicaragua, but also in Cabo Verde, Mali and Senegal.

In the autumn I had the pleasure of presenting to the Chamber of Deputies our action plan for development effectiveness, which encompasses both bilateral and multilateral activities. Its aim is to promote a more systematic application of the principles of ownership, alignment, transparency, mutual accountability and inclusive partnership, as well as the coordination and harmonisation of Luxembourg development cooperation activities on the ground. At the beginning of 2016 we will have the task of assessing the impact of this action plan.

At that point I will also present the legislative proposals which follow on from the government’s future package of measures affecting development cooperation and especially the co-financing of NGOs’ activities. I hope that we will find common ground with the NGOs, whose activities are very important both in terms of development cooperation and in the humanitarian field. Finally, their development education and awareness raising contributes hugely to making development cooperation an issue that a very large part of Luxemburgish public opinion actively supports.

2015 will be a pivotal year for development cooperation and I look forward to being able to share new experiences and new challenges with you: the post-2015 development agenda and its financing; Luxembourg’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union and also the European Year for Development. I hope to see many of you at the various events throughout the coming year.

Romain Schneider
Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs