Cooperation with the main partner countries

Alignment with the sustainable development goals and concentration on the least developed countries

Alignment with the sustainable development goals and concentration on the least developed countries

In 2017, Luxembourg’s development cooperation accelerated its efforts to align with and implement Agenda 2030 and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in its seven preferred partner countries. Special attention was given in this respect to the integration and enhanced operational deployment of the “leave no one behind” concept and development finance principles, in accordance with the Addis Ababa Action Plan (2015) and taking into account the conclusions of the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul (2016) and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015).

In line with the above, Luxembourg continued to concentrate on the most disadvantaged countries and population groups – the least developed countries (LDC) – with special attention being given to the four partner countries in the Sahel area, both in terms of development cooperation and political and diplomatic relations. In addition to a significant increase in the volume of official development assistance (ODA) to the LDC, this concentration is also continuing its effect on the five main recipient countries of bilateral ODA, four of which are in West Africa (Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Senegal), along with Laos in South-East Asia. In order to address the growing complexity of the security and development challenges and the amplified risks of vulnerability of the countries in the Sahel-Saharan strip, Luxembourg has reaffirmed its commitment by contributing additional financial support of 17.5 million euros to its bilateral cooperation programme with Niger and 6.8 million euros to Mali. In line with this policy of concentration and Luxembourg’s foreign policy principles based on the 3D approach (diplomacy, development and defence), Luxembourg has reviewed and strengthened the organisation of its diplomatic system in West Africa. In parallel, this new system also aims to support the diversification of relations between Luxembourg and its partner countries beyond development cooperation in order to deepen political, diplomatic, commercial and cultural relations – dimensions that are indispensable and complementary and promote long-term sustainable, inclusive development. Thus, the first Luxembourg Ambassador to reside in Africa took up her post in August 2017 in Dakar and is also accredited to Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. The deepening of the partnership between the Benelux countries in the Sahel should also be noted in this respect, illustrated in particular by the joint visit to Mali by Prime Minister Xavier Bettel and his Belgian counterpart in November 2017.

At the thematic and sector-based level, Luxembourg’s development cooperation consolidated its interventions in terms of the supply of, and access to, basic, high-quality social services and integrated rural development, paying special attention to the implementation of sustainable approaches to benefit the most vulnerable, disadvantaged populations, including women, girls and young people in general. Luxembourg continued to prioritise support in the field of health, including mother-child health and access to universal health coverage, as well as in the field of education, where support is specifically targeted at assisting partner countries to establish successful, upgraded vocational and technical training systems that will improve youth employability. The governments of Senegal and Luxembourg were guided by this approach when identifying the priority areas of the next Indicative Cooperation Programme (ICP IV).

Alongside these traditional areas of support, which also include major efforts in the field of water and sanitation and food and nutritional security, Luxembourg also continued to provide its expertise in the field of information and communication technology (ICT), both within Luxembourg’s development cooperation’s priority sectors and in support of the fields mentioned above. In this regard, increased attention was paid to the promotion of South-South and three-way cooperation, in particular through establishing innovative partnerships that bring actors from the private sector, civil society and the research world into even closer collaboration.

In order to diversify relations between Luxembourg and Cabo Verde, Luxembourg continued its support to the Centre for Renewable Energy and Industrial Maintenance (CERMI) in Cabo Verde by producing a report into the establishment of a renewable energy skills centre.

The entirety of Luxembourg’s development cooperation’s activity in and with its seven partner countries is still underpinned by a firm commitment to the implementation of the principles of the global partnership for effective development cooperation. In this respect, Luxembourg’s interventions are guided by alignment with the partner countries’ development policies and priorities, the implementation of programme-based approaches and capacity building. Such an approach is designed to promote ownership and national implementation through the increased use of national implementation systems. Thus, in Senegal, almost half of Luxembourg’s bilateral ODA was applied in 2017 via the public expenditure route, while in Niger, Luxembourg assumed a leadership role to coalesce the efforts of the Niger government and those of the other development partners by creating joint financing in the water and sanitation, education and vocational and technical training sectors.

In sum, this systematic approach of promoting multi-actor partnerships in its partner countries is also reflected in Luxembourg’s proactive involvement in the technical and financial partners’ fora and coordinating groups, as well as in terms of the joint programming between the Member States of the European Union, where Luxembourg regularly assumes the role of lead partner for its priority issues and sectors.