Foreword by the Minister
Dear friends of the Luxembourg Development Cooperation,
Following the impact on all our lives of COVID-19, for over two years, with serious consequences for the ‘least developed’ countries in particular, we had high hopes of quickly overcoming setbacks in terms of poverty, nutrition, education and security around the world. However, the Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022 changed our world completely. The war has further exacerbated suffering in many countries, where it was already significant. Extreme poverty has increased dramatically, while food security has deteriorated. These difficult times underline once again the importance of solidarity with each other. This is why it makes me particularly proud that in 2022, despite the setbacks it had to deal with in its actions, the Luxembourg Development Cooperation has continued to support its partners, both bilaterally and multilaterally.
I am very pleased that, from a financial point of view, we have had the necessary resources in 2022 to continue our support in combating extreme poverty and promoting sustainable development. Despite the economic impact of the Russian war in Ukraine, in 2022 Luxembourg’s official development assistance exceeded EUR 500 million for the first time, amounting to EUR 503.87 million. Luxembourg has thus again allocated one percent of its gross national income to official development assistance, making the Grand Duchy the most generous member of the OECD’s Development Aid Committee in terms of the size of its economy, for the second year in a row. This is an effort we can be proud of — not only because we are in first place, but above all because this amount reflects our unwavering commitment to leaving no one behind.
In 2022, as a result of the war in Ukraine, food insecurity increased worldwide, particularly affecting those populations that were already the most vulnerable. In order to respond to this crisis, the Luxembourg Development Cooperation has mobilised more than EUR 80 million to support projects linked to agriculture, agroecology and strengthening food supply. Luxembourg has devoted 16.5% of its official development assistance to combating hunger, aiming both to alleviate acute hunger through its humanitarian action and to make food systems sufficiently resilient in the long term through its development cooperation.
But the resurgence of food insecurity is not the only crisis facing the international community. Conflict and climate change continue to have negative impacts, leaving millions of people without resources and in need of humanitarian assistance. Urgent solutions are needed, and it is with this in mind that we set ourselves a new strategy for our humanitarian action in 2022. Through this approach, we are committed to dedicating at least 15% of our financial resources to humanitarian purposes and thus to make our contribution to combating the many crises that are currently in progress. In 2022, we were able to devote a total of EUR 87.6 million to our humanitarian action and we plan to increase this amount further for 2023.
In addition to humanitarian efforts, we continued our bilateral development cooperation activities, which form an essential part of our interventions. In many partner countries, our development cooperation relations were marked by difficult, and even fragile, situations. The Sahel, a long-standing region for the Luxembourg Development Cooperation, is a prime example of what happens when various crises combine, with the outcome of growing insecurity. In Burkina Faso, which suffered two coups in the course of nine months, we decided to continue to support the population on the basis of a transition strategy, as in Mali. Senegal and Niger remain pillars of stability in the region. With Niger, we have been able to significantly consolidate our development cooperation relations in recent years, and we are currently implementing our largest Indicative Cooperation Programme to date, with an indicative financial envelope of EUR 144.5 million.
In Asia, we are continuing our cooperation with Mongolia and Laos, where in 2022 we celebrated 20 and 25 years of development cooperation relations respectively. During these periods, considerable progress has been achieved, which I have seen with my own eyes on working visits to both countries. While our projects in the fields of telemedicine and cardiovascular medicine have contributed significantly to improving the health situation of the population in Mongolia, our interventions in the fields of rural development, good governance, health and nutrition, and employment and vocational training have produced significant results in Laos.
In order to strengthen our impact and to be able to contribute our skills to other contexts and fields, we are in the process of diversifying our development cooperation relations in Africa and Central America. In this context, in 2022 the first steps were taken to deepen cooperation with Rwanda, Benin and Costa Rica. In Rwanda, we were able to open an office of LuxDev, our development cooperation agency, in September, and we signed our first general cooperation agreement with Benin in December.
In the framework of our multilateral cooperation, which remains a fundamental element of our activities, new partnerships were also established in 2022. Thus, in July, I signed a first framework agreement with UN Women for the period from 2023 to 2025. This is a clear sign of even closer collaboration to achieve rights and autonomy for women and girls worldwide, and is wholly in line with the priority of the Luxembourg Development Cooperation to promote gender equality in all its interventions.
Civil society, and therefore NGOs in particular, continue to play a very important role in our development cooperation. They are present on the ground, work very closely with local partners and are familiar with the needs of the people. However, they were also hit by the global upheavals and the ensuing price rises. I am therefore particularly pleased that we have maintained our commitment and support to NGOs at a very high level, as was the case during the pandemic. Thus, we ensured that the necessary flexibility could be used in project budgets. In addition, we provided additional support by raising the ceiling that is used in calculating administrative costs from 14% to 15%.
While our traditional development cooperation work is important, and will remain so, it is essential that we continually adjust our approach so that we can address challenges differently and contribute to a more resilient world. In Luxembourg, we have a wealth of expertise in innovation, digitalisation and research — a potential that we can and must make use of so that we may continue to support development cooperation and humanitarian action efforts. In concrete terms, we were able to put our strengths in digitalisation and cybersecurity to work for the humanitarian community in November 2022, with the inauguration, in Luxembourg, of the first delegation for cyberspace of the International Committee of the Red Cross. It is the first delegation of its kind in the world, a testament to the confidence that the international humanitarian community places in the work and competences of the Luxembourg Development Cooperation.
Speaking of confidence, I would also like to highlight the excellent work of all those involved with the Luxembourg Development Cooperation for our common cause, whether it be our many partners, LuxDev agents, NGOs, volunteers or my co-workers at the ministry. It was a real pleasure to meet them all for fruitful dialogue at the development cooperation conference in December, which we were finally able to hold once more under normal conditions, after a two-year break due to COVID-19.
Finally, all that remains is for me to say a big thank you to all those who have contributed to ensuring that we were able to manage 2022 well, despite it being a difficult year. I am particularly grateful to those on the ground who are experiencing difficult conditions, including in terms of security, but who are constantly forging ahead. Through all these efforts, we continue, despite the many obstacles, to contribute together to a better and more sustainable future for all.