Interministerial committee for development cooperation
The Law of 6 January 1996 on development cooperation and humanitarian action defines the responsibilities of the Interministerial Committee for Development Cooperation (IDC). The latter thus has the remit of giving its opinion on the broad outlines of development cooperation policy and the coherence of development policies. The law also requests the government to submit an annual report to the Chamber of Deputies on the work of the Committee, including the issue of the coherence of development policies.
The Grand Ducal Regulation of 7 August 2012 lays down the make-up and mode of operation of the Interministerial Committee for Development Cooperation.
The Grand-Ducal Regulation of 7 August 2012 stipulates that each member of the government shall appoint one delegate to sit on the Committee.
The list of members shall be updated regularly and published on the Luxembourg’s Development Cooperation website in order to ensure that procedures are transparent. The appointment of full and alternate members is a response to the request by some ministerial departments to be associated with the Committee’s work. Representatives of the development NGOs’ Cercle de coopération participate in all meetings addressing the coherence of development policies.
The Committee, chaired by the Director of Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs, met five times during the past year, on 1 February, 29 March, 7 June, 4 October and 6 December. In 2019, two interministerial working groups were also established under the Committee’s auspices, one on operationalising a whole-of-government approach between Cabo Verde and Luxembourg and a second on the topic of ‘Digital4Development’ (D4D). The reports of the Committee’s meetings are public and are available on the MFA’s website.
At the meetings in 2019, in accordance with the Committee’s mandate, the following issues were addressed:
The Committee was presented with and discussed the broad outlines of the 2018-2023 government programme on development cooperation and humanitarian action. In particular, the coalition agreement reiterated Luxembourg’s commitment to promoting multilateralism and international cooperation, particularly at the European Union level, remaining firmly within the framework of the United Nations Agenda 2030 and the achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including the concept of ‘leaving no one behind’. The government’s programme reaffirms the establishment of development cooperation as a full pillar of Luxembourg’s foreign policy within the framework of the ‘3D’ approach: diplomacy – development – defence.
At the bilateral level, Luxembourg confirmed its geographical concentration approach through targeting a limited number of priority partner countries, particularly the least developed countries (LDCs) located in West Africa and the Sahel region, while maintaining a presence in other regions. Finally, the 2018-2023 agreement maintains the objective of allocating 1% of Luxembourg’s gross national income to official development assistance (ODA) by focusing on grants and continuing to apply the principle of additionality of funds mobilised for international climate finance and for taking refugees in Luxembourg. While maintaining the untied nature of its aid, the coalition agreement emphasises the promotion of responsible private-sector engagement through innovative, mutually beneficial public-private partnerships to contribute to growth and sustainable development.
The Committee was also informed of the following points :
- The key elements highlighted by Minister Lenert in the statement she gave on 14 May in the Chamber of Deputies on development cooperation policy and humanitarian action. In her statement, the Minister recalled Luxembourg ‘s commitment to maintaining official development assistance at the level of 1% of its gross national income. She placed particular emphasis on renewable energies and technological innovation, especially digital innovation, as essential elements in making development cooperation more effective. She recalled the continued need for the evaluation of cooperation interventions and announced that Luxembourg had joined the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI). The Minister also announced the implementation, on a pilot basis, of a whole-of-government approach with Cabo Verde that would go beyond development cooperation to include areas such as finance, climate and defence.
- The international ‘Stand, Speak, Rise Up!’ conference to end sexual violence in conflict zones, held in Luxembourg from 26 to 27 March. An initiative of her Royal Highness the Grand Duchess, the event brought together 1,200 people and enabled some 50 survivors from 18 countries to talk to experts and the public about ways to better protect them and successfully combat sexual violence in fragile environments. Three Nobel Peace Prize winners, Dr Mukwege, Mrs Murad and Professor Yunus, took part in the conference. The event was supported by the Luxembourg government and the Women’s Forum for the Economy & Society.
- The launch of the fourth call for projects under the Business Partnership Facility (BPF) held on 4 April. The BPF is a financing facility with an annual working capital of EUR 1 million, which aims to encourage private sector actors in Luxembourg and the European Union to partner with public and private partners in the countries of the South to initiate sustainable commercial projects, with a preference given to Luxembourg’s Development Cooperation partner countries.
- Paulette Lenert’s working visit to Bangladesh from 10 to 13 June 2019. The visit focused on three themes: living conditions in the precarious neighbourhoods of the textile industry, vulnerable populations in the north of the country and the Rohingya refugee camps near Cox’s Bazar.
- Paulette Lenert’s working visits to Cabo Verde and Laos from 1 to 4 July and from 6 to 14 September, respectively. The visit to Cabo Verde, which was Minister Lenert’s first visit to a priority partner country, confirmed Luxembourg’s commitment to a new multiannual partnership programme with the archipelago, starting in 2021, that will include the implementation of a whole-of-government approach on a trial basis. The visit to Laos, during which the Minister was accompanied by members of the Luxembourg Chamber of Deputies and a national press delegation. This was an opportunity to take stock, at the 12th Partnership Committee meeting, of partnership relations between the two countries and to lay the foundations for a future partnership programme by 2021.
- The ‘Let’s Net’ training, which was held on 8 July in Lipperscheid in the presence of Minister Lenert. The training course, organised by emergency.lu as a member of the UN’s Emergency Telecommunication Cluster (ETC), took place over 10 days and brought together 16 participants from humanitarian agencies and the Grand Ducal Fire and Rescue Corps (CGDIS).
- The deployment of emergency.lu in Mozambique on 23 March and the Bahamas on 10 September in the context of Cyclone Idai and Hurricane Dorian respectively.
- The participation of the Minister of Finance, Mr Gramegna, and Minister Lenert, in the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Financial Technology Transfer Agency (ATTF) on 2 October. Created at the initiative of the Luxembourg government in 1999, ATTF’s primary mission is to promote the inclusion and development of emerging and developing countries through the sharing of expertise and networking with Luxembourg’s financial centre.
COHERENCE OF DEVELOPMENT POLICIES
The Committee was informed of the launch in Luxembourg on 26 February of the Social Performance Task Force Europe (SPTF), in the presence of the Minister of Finance, Mr Gramegna, and Minister Lenert. Already a regular partner of the main microfinance sector players based in Luxembourg, since January 2019 SPTF has had a presence in the Grand Duchy through the creation of the non-profit association SPTF Europe, which receives financial support from the MFA/Cooperation Directorate and the Ministry of Finance. The mission of SPTF, established in 2005, is to contribute to the establishment of a responsible financial services sector which is transparent about its results. Its social performance management tools are used by organisations and companies to define, measure and monitor their social goals and to make their customers their principal focus.
On 29 March, delegates attended the presentation by the NGOs Fairtrade and Caritas Luxembourg on their joint awareness-raising campaign ‘Rethink your clothes’ (www.rethinkyourclothes.lu), which was aimed at raising public awareness of social and environmental issues in the textile sector. The campaign, which was supported by Luxembourg’s Development Cooperation, was officially launched on 27 March 2018. A major event in the campaign was the Fair Fashion Days, held from 5 to 7 April in Luxembourg, to acquaint the general public with accredited fashion exhibitors and upcycling creators.
On 7 June, the Committee attended a presentation session on mixed finance by Convergence, the global network, facilitated by the Ministry of Finance. The aim of the presentation was to raise awareness of current practices and trends in mixed finance and to explore potential opportunities in this area for Luxembourg. It should be noted that Convergence is a global network working on the issue of mixed finance. Its goal is to generate data and facilitate the flow of financial resources to increase private-sector impact investments in order to achieve the SDGs.
The Committee was informed of and discussed the proposed introduction of a whole-of-government approach in the Luxembourg’s Development Cooperation’s priority partner countries. Approved by the Government Council at its meeting of 20 September, this approach aims to strengthen coherence and synergies between development actions and other public policy areas, such as combating climate change and economic, cultural, political and security relations. As Cabo Verde is the partner country with which Luxembourg has the most diversified and developed relations, it has been chosen to initiate this new approach, on a trial basis.
In addition to five regular meetings of the Committee in 2019, two interministerial working groups were established under the auspices of the Committee. Thus, a first working group was mandated by the Government Council to initiate and monitor the development of a whole-of-government approach to Cabo Verde. The work of this group, launched on 5 December, is coordinated by the MFA and involves the main ministries and other Luxembourg actors with responsibilities or a role in relation to the development of Cabo Verde.
A second interministerial working group, dedicated to the topic of Digital4Development (D4D), has been established to serve as a framework for the exchange and use of Luxembourg expertise and know-how generated around digital transformation and information and communication technologies and to translate its key principles into a coherent digital development approach which could, on request, be deployed in Luxembourg’s Development Cooperation partner countries.
On 6 December, the Committee took part in a presentation session entitled ‘The shrinking space of civil society – link with the coherence of development policies and human rights’, facilitated by the development NGOs’ Cercle de coopération. Co-presented by representatives of the Cercle and its NGO members Fairtrade Lëtzebuerg, Frère des Hommes and SOS Faim, the discussions focused in particular on the issue of the restriction of the civic space, the relationship between the private sector and human rights, the situation of human rights advocates and the approaches available to Luxembourg to address these challenges.
The Committee was informed of the launch of the Agri-Business Capital Fund (ABC Fund) on 15 February in Rome, in the presence of Minister Lenert. The aim of the fund, which was initiated by Luxembourg’s Development Cooperation in collaboration with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), is to stimulate economic and social development in rural areas through investment in micro, small and medium-sized rural and agricultural enterprises. This new sustainable finance instrument is managed by a fund manager based in Luxembourg, Bamboo Capital Partners. In the fund’s initial tranche, the European Commission committed EUR 40 million, AGRA committed EUR 4.5 million and Luxembourg EUR 5 million. The concept behind this innovative financial instrument is to serve as leverage to mobilise private investment to achieve the SDGs.
The delegate members were informed of the conference entitled ‘The Global Fund and Luxembourg: Advancing the fight against HIV and beyond for women and girls’, held in Luxembourg on 14 March, in the presence of Minister Lenert and the Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Mr Sands. In the replenishment campaign for the 2020-2022 period, Luxembourg was the first partner to renew its financial support to the Global Fund, pledging EUR 9 million in February 2019. With a total contribution of EUR 42 million since 2002, Luxembourg is one of the largest donors to the Global Fund. per capita.
STAFF ACTIVE WITHIN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION
In accordance with Articles 24 and 50 of the amended Law of 6 January 1996, the Committee gave its written or tacit approval to:
- 10 applications for the official status of cooperation agent
- 20 applications for the extension of aid worker status
- 54 applications for development cooperation leave