Austrian Government Adopts New Three-Year Program for Development Policy

PeopleDiplomats ♦ Published: November 16, 2022; 21:54 ♦ (Vindobona)

The new three-year program of the Austrian development policy from 2022 to 2024 was adopted. According to the government, the three-year program aims to open up sustainable life prospects for people in partner countries by creating an environment of social and political stability on the ground and sustainable development in line with the 2030 Agenda.

Through the new Three-Year Program, development cooperation reflects the priorities of Austrian foreign policy. / Picture: © BMEIA Bundesministerium für Europa, Integration und Äußeres / Flickr Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

According to the Austrian Foreign Ministry, the new three-year program provides development policy responses to global challenges. Austria's international solidarity is also demonstrated by the fact that global challenges, as well as crises, are now better taken into account in the thematic focus.

For example, the Russian war in Ukraine shows how vulnerable the global system is. "Global food insecurity and the rising number of people living in extreme poverty have posed immense challenges for the international community even before February 24," stresses Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg. In the face of these multiple global challenges, Austria is showing solidarity and spending more money than ever before on development cooperation and humanitarian aid.

For example, the budget for bilateral development aid will increase next year by 12 million to 137 million euros and for humanitarian aid by 20 million to 77.5 million euros. The continuous increase in recent years demonstrates Austria's clear commitment to solidarity through assistance on the ground. Thus, the existing partnerships of the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) can be supported financially. Austria's focus is on the poorest developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa as well as in the neighborhood, especially in Southeastern Europe and the Southern Caucasus, but also in crisis regions and fragile states.

"With the three-year program, we are providing aid where it is most urgently needed - directly on the ground. Rapid assistance on the ground is also the most effective contribution to offering people in their home country or home region a perspective and creating a livable environment," said Ambassador Peter Huber, Head of the Development Section at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, affirming the role of ADA.

As an essential component of Austrian foreign policy, Austrian development cooperation reflects the priorities of the government program through the new Three-Year Program. Here, the two substantive priorities are economic cooperation and migration. On the one hand, the ReFocus Austria initiative is intended to create new entrepreneurial opportunities and possibilities on the ground. On the other hand, so-called conditionality has now been introduced in the three-year program: In the event of a deterioration of cooperation in the field of migration, especially in the case of repatriations, it is now possible to adjust the allocation of financial resources to the partner countries.

With the new three-year program, the German government is continuing its previous thematic priorities, such as strengthening women and vulnerable groups, inclusion, education, promoting the rule of law, supporting local civil society and democratization programs.

It is also important to help people help themselves, emphasizes Ambassador Friedrich Stift, Managing Director of the Austrian Development Agency, "Austria's humanitarian aid not only makes a direct contribution to alleviating suffering on the ground, such as by providing food. By providing affected regions with seeds and our technology, for example, we can thus ensure sustainable development on the ground."

Through the new three-year program, Austria remains committed to reducing poverty, protecting natural resources and promoting peace and security for the people in partner countries.

Austrian Federal Ministry for Europe Integration and Foreign Affairs

Austrian Development Agency