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Activity Reports

2023 REPORT ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION AND DEMOCRACY PROMOTION PROGRAMME

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Overview

In 2023, we celebrated 20 years of Lithuanian development cooperation. Lithuania's strength as a donor country is based on a strong track record of transformation and commitment to democratic principles. Our history has repeatedly shown that the desire for freedom and solidarity can help overcome even the greatest challenges.

In 2023, we continued our consistent support to Ukraine with financial and humanitarian assistance, pioneering reconstruction projects and legislating that fines for breaches of international sanctions against Russia and Belarus and confiscated assets will be used to rebuild Ukraine through the Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid Fund (the Fund). Taiwan has joined our efforts to help Ukraine by making a significant contribution to the Fund.

In multilateral formats of international partnerships, we have actively raised issues of support to Ukraine, including on the transportation of its grain through the Black Sea corridor and EU Solidarity Lanes. We also advocated for the swift approval of the agreement on EU financial assistance, the Ukraine Facility.

Lithuania has been at the forefront of the EU Twinning Programme in sharing public sector expertise. In 2023, we participated in 23 projects in partner countries. Together with partners, Lithuanian institutions won five new projects in the areas of anti-corruption, environmental policy, taxation, market surveillance and statistics.

Through bilateral support, Lithuania has consistently contributed to institutional capacity building and Euro-integration reforms in the EU Eastern Partnership countries, women's empowerment, education, disinformation resilience, environment and health in partner countries.

This report covers activities falling under the competence of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania and financed from the Ministry's state budget allocations.

Official development assistance

Official Development Assistance (ODA) provided by Lithuania is assistance and humanitarian aid to developing countries and territories financed from the budgets of the state and municipalities and their subordinate institutions. The support provided from the earmarked budget allocations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is a component of ODA. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has consistently sought to ensure that Lithuania's ODA increases steadily and is in line with Lithuania's international commitments – as a member of the EU, Lithuania has committed to allocate to ODA at least 0.33% of its gross national income (GNI) by 2030.

According to preliminary data by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Lithuania's ODA amounted to €196 million in 2023, or 0.28% of GNI. Bilateral aid amounted to €111 million and multilateral aid to €85 million. The largest part of Lithuania's ODA was humanitarian and financial assistance to Ukraine - €52 million (almost one third of Lithuania's ODA - 29.3%).

Over the last five years, Lithuania's ODA has been fluctuating between 0.12 and 0.14% of GNI, rising to €231.31 million or 0.36% of GNI in 2022. In 2022, expenses for refugees accounted for as much as a third of Lithuania's ODA and was one of the main reasons for the "growth leap" of ODA. In 2023, these expenditures decreased, as only expenditures allocated to refugees during the first twelve months of their stay in Lithuania are eligible for inclusion in the ODA statistical report.

EU and global development cooperation policy making

Based on the strategic priorities, national interests and partner countries’ needs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ensured Lithuania's continued effective engagement in the formulation and implementation of development cooperation policy at the international, EU and bilateral levels, thereby strengthening Lithuania's role as a responsible and reliable partner and donor.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the diplomatic missions of the Republic of Lithuania accredited to the partner countries participated in the implementation of Lithuania's development cooperation policy and were actively involved in the search for partners and contributed to the coordination of donors' activities, including involvement in the Team Europe Initiatives. Lithuania contributes to the Team Europe Initiative in Moldova on countering disinformation, on environment in Georgia, on socio-economic development of the Syunik region in Armenia, and on digitisation initiatives in Palestine, Kenya, and South Africa.

In multilateral formats of international partnerships, we have actively raised issues of support to Ukraine and called for a common legal solution to use frozen Russian assets to rebuild Ukraine. In the EU working groups, we have advocated for a swift agreement on EU financial assistance to Ukraine, a review of the reform of multilateral development banks to mobilise additional development finance and the involvement of the private sector in development cooperation.

Funds and activities

€27.96 million was allocated for development cooperation activities from the State Budget of the Republic of Lithuania approved for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Purpose

Funds, in thousands EUR

Voluntary contributions to multilateral funds

1 050

Projects

2 212,54

Reconstruction and Recovery of Ukraine (contribution to the Fund)

23 000

Humanitarian aid

1 600

Participation in activities of the EU, UN and other international organisations and programme monitoring

49,27

Other development cooperation activities (project management, events, exhibitions, printed materials, services, etc.)

48,82

The total amount of funds allocated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for development cooperation activities:

27 960,63

Multilateral development assistance

As part of its international commitments, contributing to international efforts to reduce poverty, increase the resilience of recipient countries and the most vulnerable groups of people, and to promote the spread of democratic values, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs provided multilateral development assistance through voluntary contributions to foundations and international organisations involved in or coordinating development cooperation activities. In 2023, Lithuania allocated €1.05 million to voluntary contributions from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Strategic Plan measure "Strengthening Lithuania's Participation in the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Partner Countries".

Thematic, regional and country-specific programmes (Armenia, Iraq, Moldova, Georgia, Ukraine) of the OECD, the OSCE, the UN and other organisations, agencies and foundations were supported. The largest contributions were made to the Democracy Support Fund (€260,000) and the European Humanities University Trust Fund (€200,000). Voluntary contributions to programmes in Ukraine have increased 11-fold and the total MFA budget for voluntary contributions has increased by more than a fifth over the year.

Voluntary contributions

Funds, in thousands EUR

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC)

50

OECD Ukraine Country Programme

100

OECD Eurasia Competitiveness Programme

30

OECD Dis/mis Resource Hub

30

EU-LAC Foundation

10

Endowment for Democracy

260

European Humanities University Trust Fund (administered by CPVA)

200

OSCE project Ukraine Human Rights Monitoring Initiative

10

OSCE Support Program for Ukraine

20

OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR)

15

International Lifeline Fund

10

Community of Democracies

5

United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (UNHRMMU)

20

UN Women

10

UNESCO Revive the Spirit of Mosul

20

UNESCO Global Media Defence Fund

10

UNESCO International Programme for the Development of Communication, IPDC

20

UN Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict (OSRSG-SVC)

30

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

20

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)

20

Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF)

20

European Endowment for Democracy (EED)

50

Council of Europe Action Plan for Ukraine

15

Council of Europe Action Plan for Georgia

10

Eastern Europe Energy Efficiency and Environment Partnership (E5P) programmes in Armenia and Moldova

50

Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for the Dialogue Between Cultures (Anna Lindh Foundation)

15

Total:

1 050

Humanitarian aid

In 2023, from the MFA Strategic Plan measure "Strengthening Lithuania's Participation in the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Partner Countries", Lithuania allocated €1.6 million (€0.45 million from Government of the Republic of Lithuania's (GoL's) Reserve Fund) for humanitarian assistance to Armenia (€0.35 million to host the population displaced from Nagorno-Karabakh), Yemen, Libya, Morocco, Palestine (€0.28 million), Slovenia, Turkey, and Ukraine. With the increase in global humanitarian needs and in line with EU recommendations for quality funding, unearmarked contributions (€0.3 million) to the United Nations and Red Cross Crisis Management Centres increased but have not yet reached the 2021 level (€0.55 million). The humanitarian budget of the MFA for 2023 (excluding the GoL’s Reserve Fund) increased by 47% compared to 2022.

Humanitarian aid from the MFA Strategic Plan Measure “Strengthening Lithuania’s Participation in the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Partner Countries”

Funds, in thousands EUR

Humanitarian aid for earthquake-hit Turkey

100

United Nations Yemen Humanitarian Fund (YHF), humanitarian aid to Yemen

50

United Nations Humanitarian Fund for Ukraine (UHF), humanitarian aid to Ukraine

150

UN World Food Programme (WFP), humanitarian aid to Ukraine

70

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), humanitarian aid to Ukraine

50

UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Humanitarian aid for Palestinian refugees

30

UNRWA, Humanitarian aid for Palestinian refugees

100

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Humanitarian aid to Palestine

150

OCHA, Humanitarian aid to Libya

50

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Humanitarian aid to Morocco

50

Humanitarian aid to the flood-affected Republic of Slovenia

50

IFRC Disaster Response Emergency Fund (DREF)

100

UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

100

UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF)

100

Humanitarian aid from the Government Reserve Fund transferred to the MFA

 

Humanitarian aid to earthquake-hit Turkey (Government Decision No 84 of 8 February 2023)

100

Humanitarian aid to the Republic of Armenia for the reception of the population that has fled Nagorno-Karabakh (Government Decision No 733 of 13 September 2023)

350

Total:

1 600

Bilateral development assistance by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

In 2023, Lithuania provided bilateral development support through the projects of Development Cooperation and Democracy Promotion Program (the Program) and bilateral, direct management and national co-financing projects of the Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid Fund. In 2023, Lithuania initiated 46 new projects, and another 17 projects were ongoing since 2022.

In 2023, €10.4 million was allocated to projects for the recovery and reconstruction of Ukraine and €2.21 million to other projects under the Programme and the Fund.

In 2023, fourteen Fund supported projects, totalling €988.9 thousand in financing, were launched in Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Uzbekistan, Palestine, Iraq, and Kenya. The diplomatic missions of the Republic of Lithuania, accredited to the partner countries, supported 22 development cooperation projects (€338.2 thousand). The co-financed EC's indirect management project EU4Youth (€180 thousand), one ongoing project in Belarus (€22.3 thousand) and 8 reconstruction projects in Ukraine (€10.4 million) were continued.

In line with the Strategic Directions for Development Cooperation 2022-2025, priority was given to the EU's Eastern Partnership countries: Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, and Armenia. Bilateral projects strengthened the administrative and institutional capacities of these countries, while Lithuania's good practices and transitional expertise helped to bring Moldova, Ukraine, and Georgia to EU standards, to prepare for EU membership negotiations, and contributed to the implementation of the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with the EU in Armenia. Support was also given to strengthen civil society, combat disinformation, to the environment and sustainable economic development (digitalisation, women's economic and social empowerment), to psychosocial and physical rehabilitation (Ukraine) and gender equality in these countries and in partner countries in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.  

Ukraine

Reconstruction of Ukraine. In 2023, Lithuania continued Ukraine’s recovery and reconstruction projects, which started in 2022 and were financed by the Fund. Lithuania was one of the first countries to start such projects in Ukraine. Lithuania's priority sectors are education, energy, health, and institutional capacity building in support of Ukraine's EU integration.

In 2022, €1 million was transferred to the Fund for Ukraine reconstruction purposes, and €11 million in 2023. In November 2023, a further €12 million was allocated for Ukraine reconstruction projects to be implemented in 2024.

In 2023, eight projects for the recovery and reconstruction of Ukraine were being implemented (2 projects approved in 2022, 6 projects in 2023), with a total disbursement of €10.4 million. On 12 May 2023, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Central Project Management Agency (CPVA) and the Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania, under which Taiwan contributed USD 5 million to the Fund for the reconstruction of Ukraine. The funds are to be used for the implementation of education infrastructure projects and other infrastructure necessary to improve the economic and social situation of the population.

In 2023, two reconstruction projects in Ukraine have been completed. Reconstruction of the Rūta kindergarten was finished in Irpin (Lithuania’s allocation consisting of €3 684 916 and Taiwan’s contribution €857 453). On 24 August 2023, during his visit to Ukraine, the President of the Republic of Lithuania Gitanas Nausėda officially opened the rebuilt and modernised kindergarten, which has a capacity of 450 children.

The project "Modernisation of the Mykolaivoblenergo distribution network by upgrading to 20 kV" (€264,750) was also conducted: a technical study for the upgrade of the Mykolaivoblenergo electricity distribution network was prepared and handed over to the Ukrainian authorities.

Six more Ukrainian restoration projects were under implementation in 2023:

  1. Renovation of School No. 1 in Borodyanka (Kyiv region) (€7 944 848, including €1 700 000 Taiwan’s contribution). The project entailed the rebuilding and equipping the school building, construction of a new bomb shelter, and landscaping the school grounds. The school will accommodate 700 students after reconstruction.
  2. "Future School for Ukraine: preparation of a standard technical design" (€500 thousand). CPVA, together with the Ukraine’s Agency for Restoration and the Lithuanian Architects' Union, plans to develop an easily adaptable technical design for the construction of new schools suitable for the whole of Ukraine. The standard technical design will be shared with the Ukrainian authorities to speed up the reconstruction of schools and save financial resources.
  3. "Strengthening the administrative capacity of the Ukraine’s Agency for Restoration in line with the requirements of the European Commission's pillar-based methodology" (€300 thousand). The objective of the project is to strengthen the Agency's administrative capacity in public procurement.
  4. "Indoor and outdoor equipment for Borodyanka kindergarten" (€500 thousand, including €250 thousand Taiwan’s contribution). The objective of the project is to equip a kindergarten building, accommodating 120 children, with furniture, kitchen and other equipment, and install the playgrounds. The reconstruction of the kindergarten and the construction of a bomb shelter are being carried out by Project HOPE, an international NGO. This exemplifies cooperation between Lithuania and an international NGO in the reconstruction efforts in Ukraine.
  5. "3D Digital Spatial Planning Tool for Ukrainian Local Authorities" (€426 thousand, including €213 thousand Taiwan’s contribution). The project aims to develop a platform for 3D visualisations of cities and digital tools for urban planning.
  6. "Renovation of a school in Snihurivka" (€68 thousand). The school in Snihurivka (Mykolaiv region) will be renovated by replacing the school's broken windows with windows produced and donated by the private company LTintus. This is the first example of Lithuania’s public-private cooperation in the Ukraine reconstruction efforts.

In 2023, four bilateral projects on health and good governance were financed by the Fund. Complex psychosocial and physical rehabilitation services for war victims and wounded, including children, were developed and arranged. Good governance support was provided to Ukraine's judiciary to address low public confidence in the judiciary and the communication challenges.

Two bilateral projects dedicated to Internally Displaced People (IDPs) and approved by the Fund in 2022, were continued. Children and youth engaged in non-formal education activities to improve their emotional well-being; business courses were organised to improve the socio-economic situation of IDPs. In addition, 3 regional projects were carried out, focusing on the transfer of Lithuanian expertise in fire protection, building resilience against disinformation and strengthening strategic communication capacities by consolidating the dissemination of independent information in the EU’s Eastern Partnership countries.

In 2023, the Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania in Ukraine supported 2 health projects under the Programme aimed at providing urogenital prosthetics services to war victims, as well as otorhinolaryngology services to the residents of the liberated territories (Chernihiv region), who suffer from hearing impairment due to constant shelling.

Moldova. The largest part of the support to Moldova in 2023 was for development cooperation projects aimed at implementing Euro-integration reforms strengthening administrative and institutional capacity in the areas of foreign affairs and European integration, environment, health, agriculture, and fire protection. We supported projects in the areas of historical memory and citizenship education, strategic communication, and resilience to disinformation.

In 2023, five bilateral projects were implemented under the Development Cooperation and Democracy Promotion Programme. A two-year project to strengthen the institutional and administrative capacity and governance of the Moldovan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration was completed. In the context of the country's reforms and preparations for EU membership negotiations, Lithuania provided expert and technical support in the most relevant areas of diplomatic service, Euro-integration, economic diplomacy, management of hybrid threats, strategic communication, and countering disinformation. Moldovan officials benefited from experience exchange visits and trainings in Vilnius, Brussels and Chisinau.  They were introduced to Lithuania’s model of economic diplomacy, experience of EU integration, and learned about the coordination of EU affairs, including the LINESIS system and the EU institutional framework. Lithuanian experts shared their experience in hybrid threat management, strategic communication, and countering disinformation.

Projects on historical memory and the fight against disinformation as well as other contemporary threats were implemented to facilitate the culture of historical memory, societal resilience and the ability to detect propaganda. Lithuanian and Moldovan academia and civil society organisations have been involved in scientific research, conferences, exhibitions, presentations of publications, roundtables and a thematic summer camp for Moldovan youth. The aim was to strengthen the civic awareness of the younger generation in Moldova and to increase understanding of the crimes committed by totalitarian and non-democratic regimes. The capacity of the NGO WatchDog.MD to fight malicious disinformation was also enhanced, a glossary of security terms in Romanian was developed, and radio and TV programmes on disinformation resistance were produced.

In 2023, Moldovan environmental authorities benefited from the transfer of Lithuanian expertise in establishing a sustainable beverage packaging management system, alongside the development of comprehensive guidelines for implementing a deposit return system.

In 2023, the Fund financed two bilateral projects aimed at enhancing the capacity of the Moldovan Ombudsman's institution in healthcare and increasing resilience against harmful foreign propaganda in the context of Moldova's integration into the EU. Additionally, three regional projects, launched in 2022, were continued to strengthen resistance to disinformation, enhance dissemination of independent information in the EU's EaP countries, and to transfer Lithuania's expertise in the sectors of fire prevention and agriculture.

Georgia. Lithuania's development cooperation support and expertise in Georgia is visible and highly valued. In 2023, efforts continued in supporting Euro-Atlantic integration, reinforcing civil society, democratic institutions and independent media, as well as fostering resilience against disinformation. Additionally, there was ongoing collaboration in sharing experience on climate change and the environment, promoting small business initiatives in agriculture, and ties between Lithuanian and Georgian municipalities.

In 2023, five bilateral projects were implemented under the Programme.

To reinforce the efforts of Georgia towards EU candidacy and enhance public understanding of European values, a series of public awareness activities were organised in the regions of Kutaisi, Telavi, Gori and elsewhere, involving local activists and journalists (around 40 people). Several virtual seminars featuring well-known EU experts and speakers from Lithuania were held, alongside hiking tours reaching out to around 800 people in the regions.

Expert support was provided to promote and expand the use of alternative energy sources in the livestock sector in Georgia.

Public resilience to Russian disinformation about Abkhazia was enhanced.

In 2023, the Fund financed one bilateral project on reinforcing relations between the municipalities of Plungė and Kvarel, as well as the continuation of four regional projects, that were launched in 2022.

Armenia. In 2023, development cooperation activities continued in the areas where Lithuania has been working consistently for several years – good governance, environmental protection and climate change, resilience to misinformation, economic and social empowerment of rural women. Lithuania's experience in Armenia is highly valued, and efforts are being made to apply it throughout the country.

In 2023, four bilateral projects have been implemented under the Programme.

The focus was on strengthening the capacity of Armenian civil society and its resilience to disinformation, as well as enhancing communication skills. Experts from the Lithuanian NGO "Europe House" shared their experience in dealing with hybrid attacks. Civil servants and experts were introduced to the principles of strategic communication, media representatives increased their information and digital literacy competences. 

The green space of the Yerevan Botanical Garden was renovated with a recreation area and irrigation system.

To promote economic and social activities in the rural areas, a contribution was made to the EU Team Europe initiative supporting the Syunik region in line with local development priorities, the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the region.

In 2023, 1 project was implemented financed by the Fund. In line with the priorities set out in the EU-Armenia CEPA agreement, the Fund provided national funding to an EU project supporting law enforcement and security reforms: modernisation of police management, state border and migration flow management.

The implementation of 2 good governance projects financed by the Fund in 2022 - transport safety and support for the introduction of a deposit system for glass and plastic containers – and 2 regional projects continued.

Belarus. In 2023, the Programme funded 1 bilateral project to support independent Belarusian researchers. The 3-year project (2021-2023) contributed to strengthening the community of independent Belarusian researchers and experts in the humanities and social sciences, through the organisation of international scientific conferences and seminars, and analytical activities. Belarusian researchers were given the opportunity to carry out research and to communicate freely with each other and with foreign partners through informal networks. Belarusian and Lithuanian historians jointly analysed the most common historical narratives in society. 3 scientific articles, 15 articles for the media and 10 articles for a collective monograph were produced.

1 project funded by the Fund was launched in 2023 to support independent Belarusian cinema.

In 2023, the European Humanities University (EHU) in Vilnius continued to receive support. The EHU Trust Fund received an annual financial contribution (€200,000), free visas for students and lecturers were issued, and premises in the Old Town of Vilnius provided. EHU students were provided with excellent study opportunities, and their leadership skills, critical thinking and active citizenship were developed. In addition to Lithuania, EHU is supported by two other major donors: the European Commission and Sweden. The Netherlands and Iceland joined the EHU donors’ team in 2023. 124 students (scholarships and tuition fees) and 3 researchers threatened by the Belarusian authorities were supported by the governments of Norway, Finland, and Estonia. The Nordic Council of Ministers' Office in Lithuania also provided targeted support to the EHU to cover the tuition fees of 20 Belarusian students experiencing political persecution and 20 Ukrainian students affected by the war.

Almost 1 500 students started their studies at EHU in the academic year 2023-2024. 84% of all students are Belarusian citizens. The geography of students from other countries is also expanding, with Moldovan, Kazakh, Georgian and Lithuanian citizens joining the university community. Since the outbreak of the Russian war against Ukraine, Ukrainian students and teachers have been offered the opportunity to study and work at EHU. Currently, about 4% of the university's students have Ukrainian citizenship.

In 2023, 151 students graduated from EHU. Since the University's move to Vilnius in 2006, almost 3000 students have successfully completed their studies at EHU.

The implementation of the Strategic Directions for Development Cooperation 2022-2025 focuses on strengthening civil society, building capacities for strategic communication and countering disinformation. In 2023, 4 bilateral projects funded by the Programme (1 in Armenia, 1 in Georgia and 2 in Moldova) were implemented to build resilience and capacity of the society to fight against malicious disinformation, and to develop strategic communication skills.

In 2023, 2 regional projects funded by the Fund to strengthen disinformation resilience in the EU Eastern Partnership countries were launched, focusing on independent media. The project "Challenges of Modern Disinformation in the Face of Occupation" aims to train the media in Ukraine, Georgia, and Armenia and the wider public to choose reliable sources and create truthful narratives, and to identify and counter disinformation. Another regional project aims to strengthen disinformation resilience and strategic communication capacities by consolidating the dissemination of independent information in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, and Ukraine. 1 bilateral project was implemented in Moldova to improve the public's resilience to harmful foreign propaganda in the context of Moldova's integration into the EU.

In line with the 2022-2025 strategic objective of development cooperation - eliminating the preconditions for illegal migration by implementing projects in the fields of sustainable economy (digitalisation, cybersecurity), vocational education, and creation of new jobs for young people, in 2023, 8 projects were implemented with the support of the Fund - 3 in Kenya, 2 each in Iraq and Uzbekistan, 1 in Palestine. The Programme financed 7 projects - 2 in Palestine, 1 each in Turkey, India, Bhutan, the Maldives, and South Africa.

In 2023, cooperation between Lithuania and Kenya was initiated to implement innovative development cooperation projects in the areas of climate technology, public administration, digital services. Through these projects, both countries are contributing to the shared goals of sustainable development, innovation, and economic growth.

Projects in Palestine and South Africa focused on empowering communities and promoting economic growth, strengthening women's and girls' entrepreneurial skills, and reducing social inequalities. The project "Mastering Artificial Intelligence Skills and Building the Real-Time Economy in Palestine (ART-inTELL)" provided Palestinian students with practical skills in developing artificial intelligence solutions, increased their employability, and stimulated the adoption of new digital technologies and investment attraction. The South Africa project supported technology training programmes for unemployed youth.

In Iraq, the projects aimed to modernise vocational training to create job prospects for Iraqi youth, and to establish a partnership between Iraq and Lithuania for talent development, with a focus on the digital economy. In Uzbekistan, Lithuanian University of Sport transferred good practice in organising and conducting distance sports studies to the University of Physical Culture and Sports in Uzbekistan, introducing the university's doctoral students and young scientists to the processes of scientific activity, helping them to acquire the competences and skills necessary for a scientist to independently carry out scientific research and publish scientific articles.

Lithuania and Turkey implemented a project on renewable energy and climate change. A prototype mobile app and website has been developed with more than 100 useful contacts and a list of partners for further promotion and development of the project and networking. Visits by renewable energy experts to Istanbul, Vilnius and Kaunas have stimulated cooperation between municipalities and climate change experts.

Projects in India, Bhutan and the Maldives contributed to the digital transformation of the countries by sharing best practices in Lithuania's cyber security ecosystem, raising the profile of Lithuanian high-tech in partner countries and introducing EU practices.

Women's rights and equal opportunities

Strategic Directions for Development Cooperation 2022-2025 prioritize the implementation of gender-sensitive programmes and projects. These activities are foreseen in the Law on Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid and the EU's Third Gender Action Plan 2021-2025.

In 2023, Lithuania supported 4 projects - 2 in Palestine and 1 each in Iraq and South Africa. Palestinian women and girls were provided with skills and resources to set up businesses or secure employment. In South Africa, a group of 26 young people from marginalised communities successfully completed coder training, secured employment or accessed further training in the technology industry.

In Iraq, Lithuanian support promoted youth unemployment reduction and gender inclusive practices, contributing to long-term economic and social development, ICT talent development, and the Iraq-Lithuania Mobility Partnership.

Digitisation projects

In 2023, 3 digitisation projects were financed by the Fund in the Republic of Kenya. The projects were designed to support the Kenyan government's efforts to digitise public services efficiently, increase the accessibility, build institutional capacity to deploy modern technologies in public administration. In addition, a feasibility study on the provision of digital government services through post offices was completed, and support to climate technology start-ups provided.

Under the Programme, Lithuanian diplomatic missions supported 7 projects in the field of digitisation in Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Palestine (2), South Africa, and Turkey. Projects in Uzbekistan and Iraq, launched in 2022, were also continued.

European Union programmes

In 2023, Lithuania continued its successful participation in the EU Twinning Programme, providing expert support to partner countries. Lithuanian institutions participated in 6 Twinning project selections and won 5 for a total amount of €6.7 million: in Georgia (market surveillance, €1.2 million, 21/24 months), Palestine (environmental policy, €1.5 million, 24/27 months), Bosnia and Herzegovina (taxation, €1 million, 24/27 months, and anti-corruption, €1 million, 27/30 months), Cambodia (statistics, €2 million, 27/30 months). All projects were won in consortia with partners. In Georgia and Palestine, Lithuania is leading consortia with Austria, Germany and Poland, and the projects are managed by CPVA. In the other three projects, Lithuania is participating as junior Italian partner.

The European Commission's report on the implementation of the Twinning and TAIEX programmes in 2023 identifies Lithuania (with 23 ongoing projects) as the EU Member State with the most Twinning projects.

TAIEX events provide opportunities to establish or maintain inter-institutional contacts and thus start long-term cooperation. In 2023, over 100 Lithuanian experts were involved in TAIEX events. The most active were experts from the Communications Regulation Authority, the Customs and Police Departments, the State Consumer Rights Protection Service, the State Border Guard Service, the Special Investigation Service, the State Food and Veterinary Service, the General Prosecutor's Office, the Bank of Lithuania, and the Lithuanian Transport Safety Administration. They participated in 9 seminars: for the institutions of Ukraine (3), Georgia, Moldova, North Macedonia, Guyana, and Lebanon; 4 expert missions to Kosovo (2), Moldova and Palestine. 8 study visits were organised in Lithuania for guests from Moldova (3), Ukraine (2), Georgia, Palestine, North Macedonia. In September 2023, a multilateral high-level TAIEX seminar on Euro-integration was held in Vilnius, attended by delegations of Euro officials from the Baltic States, Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia, as well as from the Western Balkan countries.

Public awareness

2023 marked the 20th anniversary of Lithuanian development cooperation. In November, an international conference, reflecting on the key achievements and addressing the challenges, – such as reconstruction of Ukraine, digital and green transformation, and building multilateral partnerships, took place. High-level representatives from the European Commission, the European Parliament, the United Nations, the OECD and other international organisations shared their insights on how Lithuania could further strengthen and develop partnerships and become a more active member of the international development cooperation community, drawing on the experience gained.

In April 2023, an international seminar introduced Lithuanian business, public institutions and NGOs to EU development cooperation opportunities and funding instruments for the implementation of the Global Gateway strategy.

Development cooperation activities have been effectively promoted across diverse channels and platforms. A video produced to commemorate the anniversary was broadcasted on Facebook (reaching an audience of 227 000 users) and was also featured during the “Nepatogus Kinas” documentary film festival (seen by more than 15 000 viewers). A colourful publication dedicated to the 20th anniversary of development cooperation was released. Through civil society initiatives, development cooperation activities in the field of environment and climate change mitigation were showcased during the National Environmental Exam campaign (engaging over 126,000 social media users). According to opinion polls, 96% of Lithuanians have a positive view of humanitarian aid to Ukraine.

Improving the effectiveness of development cooperation policy

To strengthen the effectiveness of Lithuanian development cooperation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs initiated and launched a project "Strengthening the Lithuanian Development Cooperation Ecosystem: coherence, partnerships, impact", funded by the European Commission's Technical Assistance Instrument. Under this project, experts from the OECD and other countries help Lithuania to ensure the national coherence of its development cooperation policy, to create the conditions for effective international development cooperation partnerships and new tools to engage the private sector and civil society, and to intensify cooperation with international organisations, development finance institutions and other donor countries.

A launch event was held on 20 September 2023 and a diagnostic mission of OECD and EC experts took place in Vilnius on 2-6 October. A diagnostic report and a follow-up action plan for implementing the changes were launched.

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2022 REPORT ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION AND DEMOCRACY PROMOTION PROGRAMME

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Overview

(Statistical data updated in September 2023)

2022 was an unprecedented year marked by joint and intensive work to help Ukraine to withstand Russia’s military aggression. It involved provision of humanitarian and financial aid, hosting of refugees, dealing with the global consequences of Russia’s war in Ukraine, and highlighting, on the international stage, the need to mobilise resources and coordinate efforts in preparation for Ukraine’s reconstruction.

Lithuania extended an unparallel support to Ukraine in the latter’s struggle for freedom and territorial integrity, as well as efforts to ensure the functioning of the state and public services in 2022. According to updated statistical data, the value of development cooperation, humanitarian aid and financial assistance exceeded EUR 45.8 million. A further EUR 70 million was spent by the state and Lithuanian municipalities to host Ukrainian refugees. Lithuania was also one of the first countries to launch projects to rebuild Ukraine’s infrastructure.

It is important to underline that Lithuania extended its support to Ukraine not at the expense of its commitments towards other partner countries. In 2022, Lithuania’s Official Development Assistance (‘ODA’)  tripled compared to 2021, amounting to EUR 231.31 million, or 0.36% of Gross National Income (GNI). This figure led to achieving Lithuania's international commitment to allocate 0.33% of GNI annually in official aid by 2030. In terms of annual ODA growth, Lithuania ranked fourth among the twenty member countries of the European Union which belong to the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Lithuania has been actively involved in bilateral and multilateral efforts to address the global consequences of the Russia-led war. Lithuania has consistently supported Moldova, which hosted a wave of war refugees from Ukraine, with financial assistance, administrative and institutional capacity building, and other development cooperation projects. On an international stage, in its attempts to help prevent a global food crisis Lithuania has been actively raising the issue of unblocking Ukraine’s ports, supporting the UN Black Sea Grain Initiative, and proposing solutions to ensure the effectiveness of the European Union’s Solidarity Corridor and Ukraine’s grain exports.

In the face of challenges, Lithuania continued its cooperation, strengthened partnerships, actively participated in discussions and contributed constructively to decisions on key development cooperation issues in international organisations and multilateral fora, such as the Council of the European Union, the Commission of the European Union, the OECD, the United Nations, the World Bank and other international organisations.

One example of Lithuania’s international recognition is its successful accession to the OECD’s DAC in autumn 2022. Membership in this committee confirms compliance by Lithuania to the high criteria for development cooperation activities, and its experience and skills recognised by international experts. By becoming a member of the OECD’s DAC and participating in the peer review mechanism Lithuania plans to further strengthen the development cooperation framework.

Lithuania’s contribution to EU development cooperation in 2022 was also significant and successful. Lithuania is one of the leaders of the EU Twinning Programme and has been among the top five most successful countries participating in the EU Twinning Programme for several years.

In 2022, in order to achieve a breakthrough and enhance the impact of its bilateral and multilateral activities, Lithuania completed the systemic reforms thus paving the way for the launch of activities of the Fund for the Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid (the ‘Fund’). Concepts for 11 projects in the areas of innovation, digitalisation, education, environmental protection, administrative capacity building, and fight against disinformation were developed, targeting the EU’s Eastern Partnership countries. The Fund approved 16 bilateral, regional, direct funding and national co-financing projects to be implemented from 2023 in Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Palestine, and Iraq.

Lithuania is also actively looking for innovative solutions to attract private funding to development cooperation activities. In 2022, the Government initiated the reform of the Investment and Business Guarantee Agency (INVEGA), which will provide new financing opportunities for companies seeking to engage in development cooperation activities in partner countries. 

Official development assistance

Lithuanian ODA is financial assistance and humanitarian aid to developing countries and territories financed from budgets of national and municipal authorities and their subordinate institutions. The Development Cooperation and Democracy Promotion Programme (DCDPP) is an integral instrument for the implementation of ODA, financed from target budgetary appropriations allocated to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

According to the National Progress Plan 2021-2030, in order to achieve Strategic Objective No. 9 Strengthening Lithuania’s Influence in the World and Relations with the Diaspora and to Strengthen Participation in Development Cooperation Policy, it is envisaged to implement Lithuania’s international commitment of at least 0.33% of its GNI to be allocated to ODA by 2030. In this respect, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs seeks to ensure a consistent growth in Lithuania’s development aid gradually reaching Lithuania’s international commitments.

According to OECD data, Lithuania’s ODA in 2022 grew three times amounting to EUR 231.31 million, or 0.36% of GNI. In comparison, over the last five years, Lithuania's ODA fluctuated between 0.12 and 0.14% of GNI (in 2021, Lithuania’s ODA amounted to EUR 73.05 million, or 0.14% of GNI). In 2020, it was EUR 63.2 million, or 0.13% of GNI; in 2019 – EUR 60.45 million, or 0.13% of GNI; in 2018 – EUR 55 million, or 0.12% of GNI; and in 2017 – EUR 52.55 million, or 0.13% of GNI).

According to the OECD, most countries allocate most of their ODA to bilateral programmes, with the remainder funding going to multilateral organisations[1]. Until 2021, Lithuania’s bilateral aid accounted for up to one-fifth of total aid. Meanwhile, in 2022, significant additional funding going to Ukraine and state and municipal spending on Ukrainian refugees in Lithuania increased the bilateral aid figures up to 59%.

EU and global development cooperation policymaking

In 2022, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ensured Lithuania’s continued effective engagement in the formation and implementation of development cooperation policy at the international, EU and bilateral levels, thus strengthening Lithuania’s image as a responsible and reliable donor acting in line with its national interests.

In 2022, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was actively involved in the EU and global development cooperation and humanitarian aid policy formation and implementation, focusing on the global consequences of Russia’s war against Ukraine, the global food crisis, the humanitarian and financial response of Team Europe and dealing with the war refugee crisis. Solutions and modalities were discussed on the best ways to ensure safe grain exports through Ukrainian ports under continuous threat of military attacks by Russia, as well as the functioning of the EU Solidarity Corridors. Lithuania actively raised the need to develop a legal mechanism that would allow the use of sanctioned and frozen Russian funds for the reconstruction of Ukraine.

Amidst a rapidly changing geopolitical landscape and growing influence of authoritarian regimes in developing countries, much attention was paid to preparations for the implementation of the EU’s Global Gateway Strategy, announced in December 2021. The aim of this strategy is to build closer ties with partner countries between 2021 and 2027, to promote EU public and private investments into social, economic, green and digital transformation of Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and the Pacific regions, in line with the principles of fundamental democratic values and high standards, good governance and transparency, equal partnership, green and clean energy, and security. The EU plans to spend over EUR 300 billion for the implementation of the Global Gateway strategy.

In 2022, a number of initiatives were actively analysed, and feasibility studies were carried out to identify possible ways of implementation, which formed the basis for the selection of flagship projects.

In 2022, Lithuania continued its successful participation in Team Europe initiatives in the EU Eastern Partnership countries (Moldova, Georgia, Armenia), and sought to expand geography of its activities by engaging in projects in Palestine and the Republic of South Africa. These activities have contributed to digitisation, fight against disinformation, environmental protection, strengthening of economic prosperity in the partner countries and public-private partnerships.

Lithuania’s accession to the OECD’s DAC is a major achievement in international development cooperation. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in accordance with the plan for implementation of provisions of the Governmental Programme of the Republic of Lithuania, initiated the procedures for accession to OECD’s DAC. Following the successful implementation of pre-accession requirements, on 16 November 2022 Lithuania became the 31st member of this important international development cooperation forum. In preparation for membership, Lithuania submitted a comprehensive and detailed review of Lithuania’s development cooperation framework, which OECD experts assessed as meeting the OECD’s DAC criteria. This committee addresses issues, performs analyses and studies, makes recommendations, and sets international standards for development cooperation. By becoming a DAC member, Lithuania can participate in decision-making on international standards for development cooperation, to improve the effectiveness of its policies, to benefit from peer-reviews and to share good practices.

In the area of humanitarian aid Lithuania adheres to the following guiding principle: to deliver aid where it is most needed. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through its participation in multilateral funds, has provided humanitarian aid to Ukraine via the UN Ukraine Humanitarian Fund (UHF), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Lithuania has contributed to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) with humanitarian aid to Ukraine, Moldova and flood-ravaged Pakistan, and bilateral humanitarian aid to hurricane-hit Belize.

Funds and activities

EUR 6,147.63 thousand was allocated and used to finance development cooperation activities from the State budget appropriations of the Republic of Lithuania approved for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The total amount of funds allocated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for development cooperation activities:

6,147.63

Purpose

Funds, in thousands EUR

Voluntary contributions to multilateral funds

865,00

Projects

3,192.89

Humanitarian aid

2,030.00

Participation in activities of the EU, UN and other international organisations and programme monitoring

37,72 (missions)

Other development cooperation activities (project management, events, exhibitions, printed materials, services, etc.)

22,02

Multilateral development assistance

In line with its international commitments, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs provided multilateral development assistance through its mandatory and voluntary contributions to foundations and international organisations involved in or coordinating development cooperation activities and thus contributed to international efforts to reduce poverty, increase the resilience of beneficiary countries and the most vulnerable groups of people, and promote democratic values. In 2022, Lithuania allocated EUR 865 thousand in voluntary contributions from the funds of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Strategic Action Plan measure titled Strengthening Lithuania’s Participation in the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Partner Countries.

Total:

865,0

Voluntary contributions

Funds, in thousands EUR

OECD Eurasian Competitiveness Programme

30

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

20

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Criminal Investigation and Targeting Team (IIT)

30

The UNESCO Initiative for Restoration of Mosul

15

European Humanities University Trust Fund (administered by CPMA)

200

UNESCO International Programme for the Development of Communication

20

OECD DIS/MIS Resource Hub

30

UNICEF

20

The Endowment for Democracy

300

The European Endowment for Democracy (EED)

50

The Lifeline Foundation

20

The Asia-Europe Foundation

20

The Council of Europe Action Plan for Ukraine

15

The Council of Europe Action Plan for Georgia

15

The OSCE Extra-Budgetary Support project

30

The Office of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict (OSRSG-SVC)

50

Humanitarian aid

In 2022, Lithuania allocated EUR 2,030 thousand for humanitarian aid from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Strategic Action Plan Measure Strengthening Lithuania’s Participation in the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Partner Countries.

Total:

2,030

Humanitarian aid from Strategic Action Plan Measure Strengthening Lithuania’s Participation in the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Partner Countries of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania

Funds, in thousands EUR

United Nations Humanitarian Fund for Ukraine (UHF), humanitarian aid to Ukraine

300

United Nations Yemen Humanitarian Fund (YHF), humanitarian aid to Yemen

30

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), humanitarian aid to Ukraine

200

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), humanitarian aid to Pakistan

30

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), humanitarian aid to Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova

100

Humanitarian aid to Belize

20

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), humanitarian aid to Ukraine

100

Humanitarian aid from the Reserve Fund of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, transferred to the measure Strengthening Lithuania’s participation in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Partner Countries under the Strategic Action Plan of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania

Funds, in thousands EUR

Reserve Fund of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (Resolution No 157 of 28 February 2022); for the Government of the Republic of Moldova, humanitarian aid to Ukrainian refugees in Moldova

750

Reserve Fund of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (Resolution No 766 of 20 July 2022); for the Government of the Republic of Moldova, humanitarian aid to Ukrainian refugees in Moldova

500

Bilateral development assistance by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

In line with the Strategic Guidelines for Development Cooperation 2022-2025, priority is given to the EU’s Eastern Partnership countries – Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, and Armenia. Bilateral projects aimed at strengthening administrative and institutional capacities of these countries and transferring Lithuania’s good practices of European integration through reforms in each country of the Council’s 18-month Trio Programme, including further implementation of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement (AA/DCFTA) and the EU–Armenia Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA). Aid was also provided to projects in the areas of strengthening civil society, combating disinformation, environmental protection, sustainable economic development (digitalisation, women’s economic and social empowerment) and gender equality in these countries and in partner countries in the Middle East, Asia and Africa regions. 

In 2022, 37 development cooperation projects (35 bilateral and 2 regional) worth more than EUR 2,26 million were implemented. The Fund approved 16 projects, including 12 bilateral and regional projects for EUR 809,821.52 in Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Belarus, Uzbekistan and Palestine, two directly funded reconstruction projects in Ukraine (EUR 1 mln.) and one in Armenia (EUR 49,882.00), and one co-financing project in Iraq (EUR 19,973.00), to be implemented from 2023.

The diplomatic missions of the Republic of Lithuania accredited to partner countries contributed to the implementation of Lithuania’s development cooperation policy by administering 22 development cooperation projects, helping to identify the needs of beneficiary countries, being actively involved in the search for partners, contributing to the coordination of donors’ activities, including involvement in the EC Team Europe initiatives. The Lithuanian Embassy to Moldova continued to contribute to the Team Europe initiative aimed at combatting disinformation, the Lithuanian Embassies to Georgia and Armenia contributed to the Team Europe initiative in the field of environmental protection, and in Palestine and South Africa – in the field of digitalisation.

Ukraine. The war launched by Russia against Ukraine on 24 February 2022 has caused a humanitarian catastrophe, affected millions of people and caused enormous damage to the Ukrainian economy and infrastructure. To help the country and its people suffering from war, Lithuania has provided Ukraine with full support and aid (humanitarian, financial, civil protection, war refugees).

Amidst on-going Russian aggression, Lithuania was among the first countries to start reconstruction work in Ukraine. On 24 August 2022 the Government of the Republic of Lithuania approved 4 reconstruction projects in Ukraine (construction of a mobile residential camp in Borodyanka; reconstruction of a bridge over the Trubizh River; renovation of a school in Borodyanka; renovation of the Radist kindergarten in Irpin).

By decision of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, the school and kindergarten reconstruction projects are being financed from the budget appropriations through the Fund for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid. The projects are implemented by the Central Project Management Agency. The project Renovation of the Radist kindergarten in the town of Irpin (Myru Str. 1-A, Irpin, Kyiv region) is scheduled for completion by September 2023 and has a funding of EUR 3,704,000. The project Renovation of School No. 1 in Borodyanka (Centralnaya Str. 222, Borodyanka, Kyiv region) is also scheduled for completion by September 2023 and has been allocated EUR 6,119,708 in funding. In 2022, the Fund allocated EUR 1 million for the technical design and conservation works for the Borodyanka school and the Irpin kindergarten.

In 2022, the development cooperation funds allocated to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were used to continue 2 bilateral projects launched in 2021 (in education and media support).

The public enterprise Eastern Europe Studies Centre completed the project Supporting Independent Journalism in Ukrainian Regions. The aim of the project was to improve the competences of Ukrainian journalists, strengthen communication and cooperation between Ukrainian media and civil society organisations, and contribute to the financial stability and independence of individual journalists in Ukraine. Since the outbreak of the war, project funds were contributed to a project ran by its partner, the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine, and provided financial support to three journalists working in the war zone.

As part of an education project, the Lithuanian Children and Youth Centre has developed a 50-academic-hour online upskilling programme for Ukrainian teachers and a distance learning platform for teachers in the Ukrainian language.

In 2022, EUR 185,6 thousand was allocated to Ukraine through the Fund. The aim of 3 bilateral projects is to support internally displaced persons. The projects will be implemented between 2023 and 2024 with the aim of providing opportunities for internally displaced children and youth to participate in non-formal education (NFE) activities to improve their emotional well-being and for teachers to develop inclusive NFE curricula; to improve the socio-economic situation of internally displaced people by organising entrepreneurship courses; and to implement effective measures for mental health promotion.

Moldova. In 2022, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ development cooperation funds supported Moldovan projects aimed at implementing the objectives of the European integration agenda in the areas of good governance, environmental protection, strengthening democratic values, building a culture of historical memory, and civil society’s resilience to disinformation.

The two-year project on strengthening administrative and institutional capacities and governance of the Moldovan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration (MMFAEI) aimed to share the experience of development of the Lithuanian diplomatic service model, to assess the needs for building MMFAEI’s administrative capacities in the areas of European integration, economic diplomacy, hybrid threats, implementation of covert communications, etc.

In the field of environmental protection, 1 project was implemented involving transfer of the Lithuanian expertise in the implementation of a sustainable sorting system for beverage packaging.  

3 projects on historical memory and the fight against disinformation and other contemporary threats were implemented to strengthen Moldovan society’s culture of memory, resilience, and ability to detect propaganda. Research and dissemination of historical knowledge on the Moldovan totalitarian past was implemented by joining efforts of Moldovan and Lithuanian universities, academia, and civil society organisations. The project of the Moldovan Centre of Excellence Pro Memoria helped to foster historical memory and raise awareness of the crimes committed by totalitarian and non-democratic regimes. Conferences, exhibitions, and presentations of publications were organised, targeting the Moldovan youth. The project by the WatchDog.MD public organisation enabled women participating in the organisation’s activities to get involved in fight against propaganda and other disinformation efforts in the country. WatchDog.MD’s institutional capacity to fight disinformation was strengthened and training of local experts was provided. A project was also implemented to strengthen the security culture in the face of the information warfare in Ukraine, through discussions, roundtables, radio, and TV programmes on resilience to disinformation, the compilation and publication of a glossary of defence and security terms in Romanian and Russian, distributed to universities, NGOs, and social media.

In 2022, the Fund supported the implementation of 3 regional projects in Moldova in the areas of administrative capacity building for European integration (fire prevention and agriculture) and strengthening resilience to disinformation. The projects will be implemented as of 2023.

Georgia. In 2022, 5 bilateral projects were implemented with the funds allocated for development cooperation activities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which consistently continued Lithuania’s support for the Euro-Atlantic integration of Georgia, strengthening civil society and democratic institutions, and combating disinformation. Support was also provided to promote environmental protection and small business initiatives in agriculture.

                      In order to raise environmental awareness by teaching the principles of sustainable development to the youth from the four municipalities of the Kwemo Kartli region (Bolnisi, Dmanisi, Gardabani and Marneuli), special waste recycling bins were installed, 150 trees were planted, nest boxes were mounted, environmental clean-up campaigns were organised, 40 environmental assessment visits were organised with the help of volunteers, and 10 video clips were produced.

Two projects were implemented to promote the strengthening of information resilience and political culture among NGOs, civil society, and dissemination of political culture in Georgia: round-table discussions and film screenings were organised for 35 local civil society communities, and representatives of ethnic minorities. Participants were introduced to media assessment tools, fact-checking tools, strategies for combating disinformation; recommendations for local communities and municipalities were developed. A project on working experience with people with disabilities was also implemented.

The cooperation project between agricultural enterprises of Suvalkija and the Georgian Racha region that was launched in 2021 was completed: a virtual platform www.saklit.eu was developed, and a database of Georgian and Lithuanian small agribusinesses was compiled (including 20 businesses from each country).

In 2022, the Fund will be used to implement 4 regional projects in Georgia. Projects aimed at administrative capacity building in European integration (fire prevention and agriculture) and resilience to disinformation will start in 2023.

Armenia. In 2022, activities continued in traditional areas of development cooperation. 7 projects were implemented on good governance (transport safety), environmental protection and climate change, building resilience to disinformation, and developing economic and social participation of rural women.

A two-year cooperation project between Lithuanian and Armenian transport safety authorities was successfully completed, providing support for capacity building of Armenian road, rail and civil aviation professionals.

In the field of environmental protection, project activities on litter and waste sorting were continued. Lithuanian bilateral support was provided for the design and installation of modern waste sorting bins in the botanical gardens of Yerevan, Vanadzor and Sevan, as well as for environmental clean-up campaigns and educational games on sorting of waste for schoolchildren, representatives of youth organisations, volunteers, and environmentalists. The Sarukhan Community School in the Gegharkunik region of Sarukhan was equipped with a working paper recycling facility and students were trained to make new paper products from wastepaper. As part of the ongoing projects, Armenian environmental specialists visited Lithuania and participated in meetings organised for them with environmental activist groups.

Much attention was given to the building of Armenian civil society capacities and resilience to disinformation. Support was provided to the Factor Information Centre, an Armenian media organisation, whose broadcasts and podcasts featured media literacy specialists, editors, journalists, NGO representatives, education experts, historians, and psychologists. 3 information seminars on EU-Armenia cooperation under CEPA and ongoing democratic reforms were organised in Vanadzor, Armavir and Gyumri. Articles on Armenian-EU relations, Eastern Partnership issues and regional reforms were drafted and published. Virtual training was held on how to combat disinformation in real time, identify and prevent disinformation dissemination, and warn others.

In the area of strengthening rural economic and social participation, support was provided to a socially and economically vulnerable segment of society – small-scale beekeepers in the Lori province. A two-month beekeeping training was held for 14 beekeepers from the Lori province, including 7 women, and the equipment for a beekeeping centre was acquired.

In 2022, the Fund was used to implement 2 on-going bilateral projects (good governance, transport safety and sorting of beverage packaging) in Armenia. Lithuania’s experience in these areas is appreciated in Armenia and efforts are made to apply it in practice. There will also be 2 regional projects in the field of combating disinformation. The projects will start in 2023.

Belarus. In 2022, 4 bilateral projects received funding from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs allocated for development cooperation activities. The main focus was on initiatives aimed at supporting the independent Belarusian academic community, civil society, increasing its political activism and solidarity, and strengthening the European identity of Belarusians.

International scientific conferences, seminars and analytical activities were organised to empower and strengthen the community of independent social and political scientists and experts in Belarus. The projects enabled independent top-ranking Belarusian academic and cultural figures to carry out research in the humanities and social sciences, to communicate freely with each other and with foreign partners through informal networks, and to renew cultural and civil cooperation with the free world. Belarusian and Lithuanian historians jointly analysed the most prevalent historical narratives in the media and social networks.

The aim of the History and Cultural Heritage project was to promote the European Heritage Label programme in Belarus and to create preconditions for further integration of Belarus into the European cultural space, and to highlight the importance of European dimension of cultural heritage. The publication CTRL+S. Heritage as a Challenge was issued, which, in addition to scientific articles and interviews, includes a special overview of the impact of the political unrest on the Belarusian cultural heritage sector.

In 2022, the Fund allocated 1 bilateral citizenship project and 1 regional project (fight against disinformation) in Belarus (starting in 2023).

In 2022, the European Humanities University (EHU) in Vilnius received further support for its operation. The EHU received annual financial support (EUR 200,000), as well as free visas for students and lecturers, and premises in the Old Town of Vilnius. In addition to providing students with excellent quality studies, EHU also develops leadership skills, critical thinking, and active citizenship. The three main donors of the university are the European Commission, Sweden, and Lithuania. In 2022, EHU also received support from the Netherlands and Iceland. In 2022, the EHU Trust Fund was set up at the initiative of the European Commission and is managed by the Central Project Management Agency. The establishment of the fund will contribute to the financial stability of the EHU and facilitate estimation of operating costs. The funds for the EHU will come from the EU’s bilateral assistance to Belarus.

In July 2022, EHU launched a new Bachelor programme in Informatics in collaboration with the EPAM School of Digital Engineering. Following the outbreak of the Russian war in Ukraine, the University offered Ukrainian students and faculty the possibilities to study and work at EHU. In the academic year 2022-2023, EHU enrolled 1,180 students, which is almost twice as many compared to the previous academic year. The geography of those who chose to study at EHU has also expanded, with Moldovan, Kazakh, Georgian and Lithuanian citizens joining the university community.

In 2022, 120 students graduated from EHU. Since the foundation in 1992, 3,883 students graduated from the university.

Azerbaijan. 1 bilateral project on women’s empowerment in science, technology and engineering was implemented in 2022 in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Azerbaijan Country Office. Digital skills development providers STEP IT Academy, Technest, Code Academy, Science Baku, Founder of Matrix, ID Tech, Smartnation, Femmes Digitales, Azerbaijan Woman in Science, Sabah.Lab provided opportunities for girls and women to improve their digital skills and apply them in their lives. 8 video podcasts were also produced, and a Welcome2STEM public awareness event was held on successful careers for women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The development of the Strategic Directions for Development Cooperation 2022-2025 focuses on supporting projects aimed at strengthening civil society, strategic communication and capacity building to combat disinformation. In 2022, in addition to the 7 bilateral projects already mentioned, 1 on-going regional project was implemented in the EU’s Eastern Partnership countries to strengthen democracy and civil society and to develop links with the EU by consolidating the dissemination of independent information through interactive means.

272 articles and 104 video reports in Russian were released on political, social and economic issues in the Eastern Partnership countries, 99 articles denouncing aggressive disinformation campaigns by third countries, and informing of Western countries’ measures to combat the spread of fake news.

The Fund selected two regional projects to strengthen resilience to disinformation in the EU’s Eastern Partnership countries focusing on independent media, to be implemented in 2022 and from 2023.

In line with the strategic aim of development cooperation in 2022-2025, namely elimination of preconditions for illegal migration, implementation of projects in the fields of sustainable economy (digitalisation), vocational education, creation of new jobs for young people, in 2022 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ funding for development cooperation activities was used to finance 9 development cooperation projects: 2 in Palestine, 2 in Iraq, and 1 project in Turkey, India, Bhutan, India, Nepal and the Republic of South Africa (hereafter – ‘RSA’) each. These projects aim at strengthening financial literacy among young people, developing vocational education, digital technology, agricultural and environmental skills.

More than 400 Indian and 280 Nepalese women were trained in financial literacy – book-keeping and management skills of personal finances, and the basics in investment.

Academic relations between Lithuania and Bhutan were strengthened, and a student of the Royal University of Bhutan was given the opportunity to study at Vilnius University in the PhD programme in ethnology.

In Palestine, engagement of girls and women studying at colleges or universities or working in technological field or seeking retraining in the technology labour market was strengthened. The Birzeit refugee camp was equipped with a smart greenhouse for sustainable use of natural resources, and sustainable farming training was provided to women and their families living in the refugee camp.

A study on the current state of implementation of sustainable energy solutions in Turkey was made. Visits of Turkish and Lithuanian experts to Lithuania and Turkey were organised, a platform was created for the exchange of ideas between experts, and a Protocol of Intentions and Cooperation was signed between the municipalities of Vilnius and Istanbul.

As part of the on-going education project Middle East Science Programme, 15 students from Iraq were awarded scholarships to study at Klaipėda LCC International University. This project was designed to support Iraqis who, due to difficult conditions in their home country, have no access to education. The project Construction and Equipping of Mahmoudiya Primary School in Karski village, South Sinjar, Iraq was also implemented. Around 200 pupils from the Yazidi community were given the opportunity to receive a good education.

                      RSA has implemented an information programme aimed at selecting young people able to learn coding and to prepare them for careers in the technological industry. The project contributed to reducing youth unemployment and addressed the shortage of skilled programmers needed to develop the technological industry in the RSA.

                      The Fund allocated part of its funds for sustainable development innovations in Palestine and ICT talent development projects in Iraq, starting in 2023.

Women's rights and equal opportunities

The implementation of gender equality programmes and projects is a priority of the Strategic Directions for Development Cooperation in Lithuania 2022-2025. This is foreseen in the Law on the Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid and the EU’s Third Action Plan on Gender Equality 2021-2025.

In 2022, 9 projects were implemented in 8 countries (Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Palestine and Iraq, India and Nepal, as well as RSA) with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Development Cooperation activities, with the aim of strengthening digital and financial literacy of women and girls and contributing to economic and social empowerment.

In Moldova, women’s capacities to engage in countering disinformation and propaganda were strengthened. In Armenia, support was provided for economic and social development of rural areas (small-scale beekeeping businesses in the Lori region). In Azerbaijan, the aim was to reduce gender inequalities by raising awareness of the opportunities for young women living in the regions to pursue successful careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).

In India and Nepal, women’s financial literacy was enhanced, reducing gender inequalities in household and financial matters.

In Palestine, girls and women were trained to enter the digital labour market, women’s agricultural initiatives were supported, training was provided on smart greenhouse technology management.

In Iraq, the support targeted providing educational opportunities for Iraqi Yazidi girls who are victims of ISIS. The Lithuanian funding helped to rebuild a school, furnish classrooms, and equip the school with the necessary educational tools and equipment.

In RSA efforts were aimed at strengthening women empowerment initiatives in information technologies. An information programme was implemented to identify young people, especially girls and women from disadvantaged communities, with a potential to learn programming.

EC programmes

EU Twinning Programme and Technical Assistance and Information Exchange Programme (TAIEX). In 2022 Lithuania continued its successful participation in the EU Twinning Programme, providing expert support to beneficiary countries. In 2022, 45 rounds of EU Twinning Programme project selection were launched. Lithuanian institutions, individually or in consortia with other EU Member States, submitted 11 project proposals and was awarded 8 projects with a total value of EUR 11,7 million.

According to the European Commission, Lithuania remains among the top five EU countries participating in the EU Twinning Programme and fourth among the leading countries (after France, Italy and Germany) with the highest number of awarded Twinning projects in 2021-2022.

In 2022, 4 programme projects were awarded in Azerbaijan, and 1 project in Tunisia, Rwanda, Jordan and Israel each. Lithuania is the leading project partner in two projects in Azerbaijan (in the areas of compulsory health insurance and pension reform implementation), and is participating in the other projects as a junior partner in a consortium of countries.

In 2022, the State Patients’ Fund under the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Social Security and Labour, the State Social Insurance Fund Board (SODRA), the European Social Fund Agency, the Environmental Project Management Agency, the Lithuanian Transport Safety Administration, the Ministry of Transport and Communications, the Transport Competence Agency, the Police Department, the State Medicines Control Agency under the Ministry of Health, the Lithuanian Department of Statistics (now – the State Data Agency), and the State Food and Veterinary Service have won the selection process of the projects under the EU Twinning programme.

The project partner countries of Lithuania are Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Italy, Poland, Finland, France, Germany, and Hungary. Since 2004, a total of 133 EU Twinning programme’s calls for projects have been awarded to Lithuanian institutions.

In 2022, 60 experts from Lithuanian institutions took part in trainings, seminars and expert missions using the EU TAIEX instrument (Lithuania is ranked 13th among EU countries). Most of the expertise was provided to Moldovan, Armenian, Georgian and Kosovo colleagues. Currently, 159 experts from Lithuanian institutions are registered in the EU TAIEX database. In terms of the number of experts registered in the database and the country’s population, Lithuania is ranked 4th among EU countries after Slovenia, Croatia and Malta, and 9th among EU countries in terms of the total number of experts registered. In 2022, Lithuania’s expertise was transferred in the areas of transport policy, environmental protection, public information, rule of law, justice, freedom and security.

In 2022, the Central Project Management Agency implemented EU4Youth (2021-2025), a multiannual EC indirect management programme in the Eastern Partnership countries, which aims to support the active participation and visibility of young people in society, economy, and politics by encouraging them to develop their leadership, entrepreneurship, and other skills, while also building a green economy and expanding digital literacy. The programme was supported from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ funds for development cooperation activities.

Public information

The Eurobarometer opinion poll published in June 2022 showed a moderate increase in public support for aid to developing countries. 89% of Lithuanian respondents understand the importance of helping people in developing countries, but only 46% (4 percentage points more than in 2021) maintain it should be the Government’s priority.

The Lithuanian population believes that the top priorities for addressing the challenges faced by developing countries are as follows: peace and security (46%), health (37%), education (38%), economic growth and employment (35%). These areas are the focus of Lithuania’s development cooperation policy formation, project activities and public information.

To ensure transparency of Lithuania’s development cooperation activities, increase public support, trust and access to information, the Lithuanian Development Cooperation website www.ltaid.lt was launched in 2022. The website features an attractive presentation and a map, allowing visitors to easily find all information on projects implemented in Lithuania’s partner countries, access to policy, legal information, statistics, calls for involvement, applications, and project selection. The design of the website is based on the recommendations of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania and the Guidelines for the Presentation of Lithuania Abroad.

The Lithuanian public is consistently informed about development cooperation activities through the LT AID Facebook account created in 2022 (over 170,000 visitors per year), press releases, various events, meetings, and conferences.

To better engage the target audiences of Lithuania’s private, public sector and non-governmental organisations in development cooperation activities, and to showcase Lithuania’s progress in strengthening development cooperation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs organised an international conference Changes in Lithuania’s Development Cooperation Policy: what progress are we aiming for? on 28 June 2022. The conference was attended by over 100 stakeholders. representatives of Lithuanian and foreign institutions, international organisations, civil society, and business, who discussed, shared experiences and proposals on how to achieve more progressive, transparent, and innovative solutions for development cooperation policy.

Enhancing the effectiveness of development cooperation policy

To increase the effectiveness of development cooperation policy, a systemic reform of development cooperation policy was completed in 2022, based on the adoption of the fundamental law on the development cooperation and humanitarian aid and secondary implementing legislation, to create the conditions and pave the way for the implementation of both qualitative and quantitative changes in the development cooperation policy. The main outcome of the reform is the launch of the Fund for the Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid (hereinafter ‘the Fund’) in 2022, which is not bound by annual budgeting rules, is open to other sources of funding and provides the necessary flexibility for multiannual programming, thus enabling the implementation of larger programmes and projects. The Fund’s Regulations provide for the use of funds for bilateral assistance.

The Orders of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania of 9 June 2022 approved the staff composition of the Council of the Fund for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid and the Description of Activities of the Fund for the Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid, which set out the procedure for the use of the Fund for the Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid for the provision of bilateral assistance and for the provision of national co-financing for programmes and projects financed by international donors, the procedure for the payment of the Fund’s administrator and the Secretariat, the procedure for the evaluation and approval of the Fund’s performance, as well as other matters relating to the Fund’s activities.

In cooperation with the Office of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania and the Central Project Management Agency, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs submitted a project proposal for funding from the European Commission (Technical Assistance Instrument) for the project Strengthening Lithuania’s development cooperation ecosystem: policy coherence, partnerships, impact in 2022. In March 2023, the European Commission’s approval for funding was received for the two-year project, which will analyse the current situation, develop an action plan to strengthen the development cooperation system, drawing on best practices from the OECD and other donor countries, and implement three pilot projects. The focus will be on the use of existing financial instruments or the development of new ones, monitoring and evaluation system, capacity building and the involvement of the private and non-governmental sector in development cooperation.

[1] OECD (2022), Comparing multilateral and bilateral aid: A portfolio similarity analysis, OECD Development Co-operation Directorate, OECD Publishing, Paris.

2021 REPORT ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION AND DEMOCRACY PROMOTION PROGRAMME

Overview

The Development Cooperation and Democracy Promotion Programme (hereinafter – ‘the DCDPP’) is a component of Lithuania’s official development promotion (hereinafter – ‘ODP’) instrument, financed from the budget appropriations allocated to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (hereinafter – ‘MFA’). ODP is provided as assistance and humanitarian aid to developing countries and territories financed from state and municipal budgets. According to preliminary data of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Lithuania’s ODP amounted to EUR 70.47 million or 0.13% of gross national income (GNI) in 2021, to EUR 63.2 million or 0.13% of GNI in 2020, to EUR 60.45 million or 0.13% of GNI in 2019, to EUR 55 million or 0.12% of GNI in 2018, and to EUR 52.55 million or 0.13% of GNI in 2017, respectively. Lithuania is committed to achieving ODP of 0.33% of GNI by 2030, but this rate has remained one of the lowest in the EU in recent years due to static allocations, a rigid and inflexible legal framework not adapted to the international context of development cooperation, as well as the rapid growth of GNI up to 2021. It should be noted that Lithuania’s bilateral aid amounted to EUR 14.53 million, less than 21% of the total aid. Despite some difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2021 the MFA ensured a continuous and effective engagement of Lithuania in the policymaking and implementation of the development cooperation policy in international, EU and bilateral formats in line with its national interests, thus strengthening Lithuania’s image as a responsible and reliable donor. The Lithuanian development cooperation policy has been in line with national foreign policy priorities, with a focus on the Eastern Partnership countries, in particular Moldova, Georgia, Ukraine, Armenia, and Belarus. The implementation of emergency humanitarian aid measures continued to be in the centre of attention.

Considerable attention was given to increasing the engagement of public and municipal authorities, NGOs, and businesses in development cooperation activities, as well as to publicity of these activities aimed at securing the broadest possible public support.

The role of the Central Project Management Agency (hereinafter – ‘CPMA’) was further strengthened, by making better use of the opportunities offered by membership of the EU network of development cooperation agencies.

To increase the effectiveness of development cooperation policy, a systemic reform of the development cooperation policy was completed to a significant extent, based on the adoption of the Law on the Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid and the implementing legislation, to create the conditions for and enable the implementation of both qualitative and quantitative changes in the development cooperation policy.

EU and global policymaking in development cooperation

In 2021, the MFA continued its full engagement in the policymaking and implementation of the EU and global development cooperation and humanitarian aid, supported international efforts aimed at global poverty reduction, long-term sustainable development in developing countries, and made a significant contribution to international efforts addressing the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic and offering an immediate response to urgent humanitarian crises.

International response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been at the heart of all international public discourse formats. At the EU level, the coordination of the EU Team Europe joint response was in the focus of attention during meetings of the EU Foreign Affairs Council, the Directors-General for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid, as well as of the EU Council Working Groups and the European Commission Committees, with the participation of representatives of the Member States in charge of development cooperation.

Negotiations on the new Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) were finalised in 2021. Lithuania made a great deal of effort seeking to include into the NDICI the key provisions on compliance with nuclear safety standards in partner countries.

Considerable attention was devoted to the EU’s relations with the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States after 2020, following the expiry of the Cotonou Agreement. After the failure to conclude the negotiations on time and the delays along the way, transitional measures were adopted twice, extending the validity of the Cotonou provisions until the end of November 2021. Based on the political agreement reached at the end of 2020, the new agreement was signed on 15 April 2021. Throughout the negotiations, Lithuania consistently advocated in favour of inclusion into the new Agreement of the procedures for smooth return and readmission of ACP nationals.

In the area of humanitarian aid, the aim was to maintain the focus on the key principle of humanitarian aid, i.e., to deliver aid where it is needed most.

Lithuania intensified its involvement in activities of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC), where it has held an observer’s status since 2013, and started preparatory work towards membership of the OECD Development Assistance Committee.  

Funds and activities

EUR 3,978.33 thousand was allocated and used for the financing of the Development Cooperation and Democracy Promotion Programme from the state budget appropriations of the Republic of Lithuania allocated to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Purpose

Funds, in thousand EUR

Voluntary contributions to multilateral funds

1,422.42

Projects

1,111.01

Humanitarian aid

1,350.00

Participation in activities of the EU, UN and other international organisations and programme monitoring

4.72

Other development cooperation activities (project administration, events, exhibitions, printed materials, services, etc.)

90.18

Total DCDPP

3,978.33

Multilateral development assistance

As part of its international commitments, MFA contributed to international efforts aimed at poverty reduction, building resilience of beneficiary countries and the most vulnerable groups of population, and promotion of democratic values, by providing multilateral development assistance through mandatory and voluntary contributions and contributions to foundations and international organisations involved in or coordinating development cooperation activities. In 2021, Lithuania allocated EUR 1,422.42 thousand for voluntary contributions from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Strategic Action Plan Measure Strengthening Lithuania's Participation in the Implementation of Activities of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Partner Countries.

Voluntary contributions

Funds, in thousand EUR

Funds allocated to be provided as aid under SIDA programme for the implementation of EHU objective

200

To SIDA Centre for Law and Democracy

50

Support to the Democracy Fund

300

To the National Democratic Institute

247.42

To the European Endowment for Democracy

150

To the OECD Eurasia Competitiveness Programme

30

To the European Endowment for Democracy, the international accountability platform to support Belarus

50

To the OSCE special monitoring mission to Ukraine

30

To BYSOL Charity and Support Foundation

100

To the WTO Doha Development Agenda Global Trust Fund

30

To the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

30

To the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund

20

To the Asia–Europe Foundation

20

To the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF)

20

To the UNESCO Initiative for Restoration of Mosul

45

To the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine

15

To the Anna Lindh Foundation

15

To the UNESCO International Programme for the Development of Communication

10

To the UN Women: the UN Entity for Gender Equality and Women Empowerment

10

To the Foundation of the European Union and Communities of Latin American and Caribbean States

10

To the EU Trust Fund for Columbia

20

To the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (for activities in Georgia)

20

In total:

1,422.42

Humanitarian aid

In 2021, Lithuania allocated EUR 1,350 thousand for humanitarian aid from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Strategic Action Plan measure titled Strengthening Lithuania’s Participation in the Implementation of Activities of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Partner Countries.

Humanitarian aid from the DCDP programme funds

Funds, in thousand EUR

To the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for humanitarian aid to people of Syria

50

To the United Nations Yemen Humanitarian Fund (YHF) for humanitarian aid to Yemen

100

To the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), a voluntary contribution

100

To the United Nations Ukraine Humanitarian Fund (UHF), for humanitarian aid to Ukraine

100

To the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), a voluntary contribution

100

To the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), for humanitarian aid to Venezuelan refugees

50

To the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC), for humanitarian aid to Afghanistan people

100

To the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC), for humanitarian aid to Ukraine

100

To the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), for humanitarian aid to people in Afghanistan

100

To the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), a voluntary contribution for 2022 activities

100

To the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), voluntary contribution for 2022 activities

100

To the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), for humanitarian aid to Ethiopia

100

To the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC), voluntary contribution

100

To the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), voluntary contribution

50

To the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), for humanitarian aid to Mali

100

In total:

1,350

Bilateral development assistance

In 2021, 63 development cooperation projects (57 bilateral, 2 regional, and 4 public awareness) were implemented from the DCDP programme for a value exceeding EUR 1 million. The pandemic caused by the spread of the COVID-19 virus and the deterioration of the political situation in Belarus inevitably had an impact on the implementation of the projects, with some of the planned activities not being implemented.

In line with the development cooperation policy directions for 2019-2021 set out in the Inter-Institutional Action Plan on Development Cooperation, priority was given to the EU’s Eastern Partnership countries: Ukraine, Belarus, Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, and Azerbaijan. The attention was focused on bilateral projects supporting the implementation of the Association Agreements with the EU for Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, the EU-Armenia Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement, as well as projects in the areas of strengthening civil society, fight against disinformation, environment and climate change, promotion of gender equality, the empowerment of women and girls, etc.

The diplomatic missions of the Republic of Lithuania accredited in the partner countries contributed to the implementation of Lithuania’s development cooperation policy: they administered 42 development cooperation projects, helped to identify the needs of beneficiary countries, were actively involved in the search for partners, and contributed to the coordination of donors’ activities. Lithuania was also involved in the Team Europe initiatives, an instrument launched by the European Commission in 2020, which provides for the planning and implementation of development cooperation and humanitarian aid activities through joint efforts at all levels and ensuring effective coordination between the donor and beneficiary countries.

Ukraine. In response to Ukraine’s needs, in 2021 Lithuania provided aid to Ukrainian citizens affected by the annexation of Crimea and the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, supported education reforms, contributed to improvement of mental health and rehabilitation services, and promoted women’s autonomy and entrepreneurship. Lithuanian experts shared their experience in countering disinformation and propaganda, sustainable exports, and energy. In 2021, 15 bilateral and 1 regional project were implemented in Ukraine under the DCDP programme.

Projects aimed at support of educational institutions in Eastern Ukraine continued: distance upskilling and accreditation services for teachers were developed and expanded; school experts were trained in effective prevention of psychoactive substances; teachers in the regions were trained in innovative methods of how to integrate children with special educational needs.

The project Support for the installation of the school and improvement of the school environment of the 2nd school in Avdiivka, in Donetsk region of Ukraine, was completed in 2021. Classrooms of the Avdiivka school (biology, chemistry, mathematics, geography, physics, information science, primary education, history, and languages) were furnished with the latest specialised equipment and modern educational tools necessary for a proper educational and training process. The school was equipped with carpentry and sewing workshops in line with the principle of experiential learning. A catering complex for pupils was also set up in compliance with all hygiene requirements. A multi-purpose sports ground with playgrounds was built on the school premises, which is suitable for physical education classes, training sessions and team sports competitions for children and adults. The project aimed to create a modern educational centre with a comprehensive model of infrastructure, equipment, and organisation of the educational process, and to serve as a region-wide pilot project for the school reform in Ukraine and as a centre of excellence for educational experience.

In 2021, the HOPE Worldwide Charity Fund implemented the project Helping Hand for Ukraine: Psychosocial Support Programme, aimed at contributing to the improvement of mental health and rehabilitation services for children traumatised by the war in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine. School psychologists, social workers and teachers were introduced to the psychosocial support training programme, children received psychosocial therapy.

In 2021, Lithuania continued to consistently assist victims of the annexation of Crimea and the conflict in Eastern Ukraine (mainly women and children) to integrate into their host communities, to develop entrepreneurial and self-employment skills, and to maintain and strengthen the identity of the Crimean Tatars who fled the occupied territories, to empower forcibly displaced children to foster their national culture, and to preserve and deepen the knowledge of the Tatar language.

Lithuanian experts shared their experience on how to improve the export opportunities of small businesses in Eastern Ukraine to the EU by availing of the opportunities offered by clusters.

Contribution was also made to the modernisation and digitalisation of the district heating system. Ukrainian heat and electricity producers, biomass traders and manufacturers learnt how to digitalise and regulate heating and biomass trade and participated in a trial auction of Lithuanian biomass.

In 2021-2022, the Eastern Europe Studies Centre implemented the project Support to Independent Journalism in Ukrainian Regions. The aim of the project was to enhance professional competences of Ukrainian journalists, to strengthen communication and cooperation between Ukrainian media representatives and civil society organisations, and to contribute to the financial stability and independence of individual Ukrainian journalists.

Georgia. In 2021, the DCDP programme funded 8 bilateral projects focussing on environmental, climate change mitigation and sustainable environmental solutions. The projects were implemented through education, public engagement and transfer of EU good practices, promotion of small businesses in the post-pandemic period, promotion of political dialogue and democratisation in the context of the implementation of the Euro-Atlantic objectives of Georgia, and economic development.

A virtual shop was set up as a platform for social and small enterprises to sell their products and ensure their survival during and after the pandemic. Professional virtual business services were provided to start-ups and newly established social and other small enterprises through the continuously operating Virtual Business Incubator (VBI) platform.

A colourful and attractive map presenting inbound and local tourism opportunities was developed, informing about service providers in the municipalities of Ninotsminda and Akhalkalaki.

Internationally recognised capabilities for measuring the melting point of gallium (29,7646° C) were developed in cooperation with the Georgian National Agency for Standards and Metrology. This temperature point is important for environmental measurements, food and health protection, and everyday research activities. Accurate and reliable measurements of the 27°C point contribute to a sustainable environment and provide reliable information for the management of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Enhanced and strengthened partnership between civil society and local government to promote waste management in the municipality of the Mtsckheta-Mtianeti Region. A communication strategy for municipalities and civil society was developed to effectively implement municipal waste management plans and to meet the obligations of Georgia under the EU Association Agreement. Sustainable waste management and recycling promoted in the Racha-Lechkhumi and Lower Svaneti region of Sakartvelo. Public raised its awareness on integrated waste management systems, local communities were encouraged to get involved in addressing local environmental problems.

Political dialogue and democratisation were promoted in the context of the Euro-Atlantic objectives of Georgia, with the aim of contributing to the consolidation of democratic development. Strategic discussions were held with leaders of political parties and representatives of youth branches of political parties in Tbilisi, Batumi, Kutaisi, Zugdidi and Telavi, introducing them to the culture of political compromise, dialogue and negotiation, and their relevance for the country’s interest. The aim was to use Lithuania’s experience for the promotion of consensus-based policymaking in Georgia and competence building of young Georgian politicians.

A virtual platform www.saklit.eu was created to strengthen cooperation between agricultural enterprises in Suvalkija and the Georgian Racha Region. A database of Georgian and Lithuanian small business representatives (20 from each country) was made.

Moldova. In 2021, 5 bilateral projects were implemented aimed at strengthening civil society and transport safety.

Projects on historical memory, fight against disinformation and other contemporary threats were implemented to strengthen the resilience of Moldovan society and boost its ability to identify propaganda. The WatchDog.MD NGO produced and published 10 videos exposing strategic propaganda narratives and debunking falsehoods. To strengthen the culture of memory in Moldovan society, the State University of Moldova, in partnership with the NGO ProMemoria Institute of Social Memory, in an international photo-documentary exhibition presented the story of the children of the Gulag who were deported by the Soviet regime.

The Lithuanian Transport Safety Administration implemented a project for Moldovan maritime, civil aviation, road, and rail transport professionals. The project served as a knowledge transfer of the best Lithuanian practices and experiences in transposing EU legislation in the field of transport and provided recommendations on the proper implementation of the tasks set out in the EU-Moldova Association Agreement related to ensuring the safety and interoperability of all 4 modes of transport.

A Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of the Republic of Moldova on strengthening institutional capacity and governance in the Republic of Moldova was signed in December 2021, on the basis of which a project on strengthening the administrative and institutional capacity and governance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of Moldova will be implemented.

Belarus. In 2021, 8 bilateral projects were funded under the DCDP programme. The projects mainly focused on initiatives to support civil society, build its political activism and solidarity, and strengthen the European identity of Belarusians.

For the purpose of empowering and strengthening the community of independent Belarusian social and political scientists and experts, international scientific conferences and seminars were organised, analytical activities (on democracy, human rights, and future political scenarios in Belarus) were carried out, internships and bilateral visits were organised to exchange best practices and to help young scientists to acquire skills and practice. Belarusian scholars and experts were provided with a platform to act and speak in a democratic and professional environment.

The completed environmental project Understanding, Measuring and Reducing the CO2 Footprint in Belarus raised awareness of the Belarusian youth on environmental protection and climate change. The environmental event was dedicated to exploring new and modern solutions to reduce emissions from organisations, communities, and citizens. Organisations were encouraged to act responsibly in their daily activities.

Historical and cultural heritage projects aimed to promote the European Heritage Label programme in Belarus and to create preconditions for the further integration of Belarus into the European cultural space. The project the Cultural Route of Francis Skorina (Polotsk-Vilnius section) contributed to the preservation and awareness of the tangible and intangible heritage associated with the personality of Francis Skorina.

The MFA continued its cooperation with the Vilnius-based representations of international organisations supporting democratic processes in Belarus (Freedom House, Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House, public institution the National Democratic Institute, etc.).

In 2021, the Vilnius-based European Humanities University (EHU) continued to be supported. The EHU received annual financial support (€200,000), as well as free visas for students and lecturers along with premises in the Old Town of Vilnius. In addition to providing high quality education for EHU students, the EHU develops youth leadership skills, critical thinking, and active citizenship. These activities contribute to building a free and civil Belarusian society. More than 70 members of the EHU community have been detained in Belarus in the aftermath of the 2020 protests. Today, 3 EHU alumni and 2 students are recognised as political prisoners in Belarus. Since its foundation in 1992, 3,764 students graduated from EHU, including 2,693 students who have graduated in Vilnius since 2007. During the 2021-2022 academic year, 811 students studied at EHU. The university receives support from three key donors: the European Commission, Sweden, and Lithuania.

Armenia. In 2021, active cooperation with public authorities and non-governmental organisations continued. 8 bilateral projects were implemented, contributing to improvements in transport safety, protection of environment and combating climate change, development of economic and social activity in rural areas and strengthening resistance to disinformation.

Cooperation between Lithuanian and Armenian transport safety authorities continued. 17 Armenian civil aviation, 14 road transport safety and 4 rail transport specialists received training.

Waste collection and tree planting campaigns were organised in 7 communities involving the participation of almost 500 people, 300 bags of waste were collected, 2,200 seedlings were planted and 800 were left for replanting.

Waste sorting projects are very relevant in Armenia, which is only making its first steps in this direction. During the project the latest EU requirements were introduced, the Lithuanian experience in waste management was shared (from rubbish dumps to modern waste management), Lithuanian experience in the development of a deposit refund system for beverage containers was presented and the needs of Armenia were discussed. A model was developed for the introduction of a deposit refund system in Armenia, drawing on the Lithuanian experience.

Capacities of civil society organisations were strengthened in the fight against disinformation, fact-checking activities were implemented, and critical thinking and literacy of media representatives was developed in 10 regions of Armenia.  A section of a virtual media literacy course on Combating Disinformation was developed to equip people with the necessary skills and tools to identify falsehoods. A campaign was organised to widely explain misleading and false narratives in media and social communication.

25 women (15 from the Martuni community and 10 from Nagorno-Karabakh) received  training in four vocational modules: business planning and starting-up a business, English language, computer skills, and tailoring. 24 women from the Lori region, including those from Nagorno-Karabakh, gained professional skills in beauty services, and 2 winners of the project will run a new beauty parlour in the village of Debet.  

Azerbaijan. 1 bilateral project implemented. Children were taught a responsible approach towards nature and the environment; environmental issues were integrated into the general education system. Ecology and environmental knowledge were conveyed in a children-friendly and inclusive way. An online curriculum was developed to promote recycling and the replacement of plastic bags with more environmentally friendly solutions; a summer school was organised to teach about environmental protection, climate change, efficient use of water resources, and biodiversity conservation.

In the EU Eastern Partnership countries, 1 regional project was implemented to strengthen democracy and civil society and to develop relations with the EU by consolidating the dissemination of independent information through interactive tools.

123 articles and 34 video reports in Russian on political, social, and economic issues in the Eastern Partnership countries were prepared and released along with 39 articles denouncing aggressive disinformation by third countries and introducing Western countries’ tools to combat the spread of fake news.

The Central Project Management Agency implemented the EC’s indirect management programme in the Eastern Partnership countries EU4Youth (2021-2025), aimed at providing support to active participation and visibility of young people in society, the economy and politics by encouraging them to develop their leadership, entrepreneurial and other skills, while fostering the creation of a green economy and building digital literacy. The programme was supported from the funds of the DCDP programme.

In countries of origin and transit of migration, as well as in other OECD beneficiary countries, 12 development cooperation projects were funded by the DCDPP: 3 projects each in Mongolia and Palestine, 2 projects each in Turkey, India, Bhutan, and 1 project each in Vietnam, Sri Lanka, the Ivory Coast, Iraq, and the RSA. These projects promoted youth entrepreneurship, women’s socio-economic empowerment, capacity building in education, digital and financial technologies (the fintech) and agriculture.

More than 700 Indian women received basic-level training in financial literacy - accounting and management of personal finances, investment, and insurance.

Academic ties between Lithuania and Bhutan were strengthened by providing an opportunity for a student of the Royal University of Bhutan to study at Vilnius University in a PhD programme in ethnology. Opportunities for cooperation between Lithuanian and Bhutanese financial institutions were created, Lithuanian best practices in fintech were shared.

Good practices with Sri Lankan financial institutions in building a fintech ecosystem were shared. A foundation for further cooperation and business development between Lithuanian and Sri Lankan financial institutions was laid.

Participation of Mongolian women and girls in high-tech business was strengthened. Mongolian women facing social exclusion were encouraged to participate in local government elections and voice their opinions, and to fight gender stereotypes in social media.

In Vietnam, women and girls were trained to set up and run their own digital businesses.

In the Ivory Coast, a gender equality and women’s empowerment project Creating innovative women’s businesses through aquaponics technology was implemented. The project provided practical training in 4 aquaponics management modules to 80 women who will work in 5 newly installed aquaponics facilities.

In the framework of the educational project Middle East Science Programme, 15 students from Iraq were awarded scholarships to study at Klaipėda LCC International University. This project was designed to support Iraqis who, due to difficult conditions, have no access to education in their home country.

The RSA project provided 2,314 young people from the poorest communities with free access to the African Tikkun Digital Library and other world-class academic and public resources. Their digital skills were improved, giving them a competitive edge in the labour market.

Women's rights and equal opportunities

Contributing to the development of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in partner countries is one of Lithuania’s development cooperation objectives. In 2021, the DCDP programme implemented 13 projects in 8 countries to strengthen the capacity of organisations working in the area of gender equality, and to increase women’s social and economic empowerment.

In Armenia, the support aimed to provide quality education for women in rural areas. A project of the Martuni Women's Community Council was funded, targeting women who had fled Nagorno-Karabakh and experienced domestic violence.

In Ukraine, two projects were developed to train internally displaced women in the basics of entrepreneurship and to promote the social reintegration and economic empowerment of women affected by the occupation of Crimea and the conflict in Eastern Ukraine.

In the Ivory Coast, women were trained in the development of innovative businesses using aquaponics technologies. The women were provided with the knowledge and skills needed to set up such businesses and were provided with the necessary infrastructure.

Projects were also implemented by the Palestinian Centre for Communication and Development Strategies to encourage Palestinian women who are small business owners aged 18-35 in Hebron, as well as women living in refugee camps, to create a sustainable livelihood for themselves through digital marketing.

In Mongolia, 3 projects were carried out to encourage marginalised women to participate in local elections and to make their voices heard, to combat gender stereotypes in social media and to strengthen women’s participation in Mongolian high-tech business.

In Vietnam, a project was funded to train women and girls on how to create and develop their own digital businesses.

In India, projects were implemented aimed at increasing women’s financial literacy and reducing gender inequalities in household finance.

In Turkey, a project was developed in Alanya to promote women’s managerial skills and entrepreneurship.

Through its development cooperation and humanitarian aid Lithuania contributed to the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) on Women and peace and security. In 2021, a voluntary contribution of EUR 20,000 was made to the UN Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund, as well as a EUR 10,000 contribution to UN Women: The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment.

Lithuania actively participated in the discussions on the EU’s Joint Communication – A Union of Equality: Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2025 (GAP III), presented on 25 November 2020, which continues the work on gender equality started in 2010. The GAP III Action Plan aims to ensure that by 2025, 85% of all new EU external actions contribute to gender equality and women’s empowerment, and that at least one action in each partner country is dedicated exclusively to gender equality.  

EU Twinning and TAIEX programmes

In 2021, Lithuania continued its successful participation in the EU Twinning Programme, providing expert support to the beneficiary countries (the EC-funded EU Twinning Programme supports cooperation between counterpart institutions from different countries): 42 calls for project proposals were launched under the EU Twinning Programme, 9 project proposals were submitted by Lithuanian institutions individually or in consortia with other EU Member States, and 6 projects were awarded funding for a total value of EUR 9.6 million.

In total, Lithuania won 125 EU Twinning projects between 2004 and 2021. In terms of the number of projects won in 2021, Lithuania is among the most successful EU countries, together with Italy, France, Germany, Austria, and Poland. 3 projects were awarded funding in the Eastern Partnership countries (Azerbaijan, Moldova, and Georgia). Another 2 project were awarded funding in Serbia and 1 project – in North Macedonia. Of the projects awarded funding in 2021, Lithuania is leading 3 projects (Serbia, North Macedonia, Azerbaijan) as a senior partner in the consortium of countries, and in 3 others (Moldova, Georgia, Serbia) it is a junior partner. In its projects Lithuania partnered with Poland, France, Romania, Slovenia, and the Netherlands. This year, the project proposals drafted by the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport, the Qualifications and Vocational Education and Training Development Centre, the Centre for Quality Assessment in Higher Education, the Ministry of Agriculture and the National Paying Agency, the National Blood Centre, the State Medicines Control Agency, the National Transplant Bureau under the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of the Interior, the Special Investigation Service, the Supreme Court of Lithuania, the Prosecutor General’s Office, the Financial Crime Investigation Service, the Lithuanian Criminal Police Bureau, the State Tax Inspectorate, the Bank of Lithuania, Vilnius Gediminas Technical University, and the CPMA were awarded funding under the Twinning programme.

In 2021, Lithuanian experts participated in 58 TAIEX events (seminars, workshops, fact-finding missions) mainly in Moldova, Armenia, Georgia, and Kosovo. 9 TAIEX events took place in Lithuania. The main areas where Lithuanian experts have shared their expertise are digitisation, connectivity, environment, rule of law, migration and security, sustainable economy. As of 2021, more than 100 experts from various Lithuanian institutions are registered in the TAIEX database of experts.

Public awareness raising

The Eurobarometer’s public opinion survey published in December 2020 showed a moderate increase in public support for aid to developing countries. 88% of Lithuanian respondents think it is important to help people in developing countries, but only 42% of Lithuanians think it should be a priority for their government.

The MFA continued consistently its activities aimed at public awareness raising of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the importance and benefits of development cooperation. In 2021, a new Lithuanian development cooperation logo was designed and presented to the Lithuanian public. It was developed in line with the recommendations of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania on the development of visual identities. At the end of the year, the process of developing a new development cooperation website was launched.

Cooperation was established with Professor Kazimieras Staniškis of Kaunas University of Technology, who was one of the 15 members of the United Nations sustainable development independent group of experts who prepared and presented the Global Sustainable Development Report to the United Nations General Assembly.

 Lithuanian NGOs implemented 4 public education and awareness raising projects.

For the fifteenth year, the MFA contributed to the organisation of the international human rights documentary film festival Uncomfortable Cinema. The festival featured a rich programme of documentary films, meetings with filmmakers, discussions with film protagonists, human rights activists and scholars. One of the most important guests of the festival was O. Sentsov, winner of the Sakharov Prize and a prominent Ukrainian human rights defender.

 The Africa is not a Country competition for young journalists was organised to raise public support for development cooperation policies and the Sustainable Development Goals.

The public entity Global Citizens Academy organised a summer camp for young people, distance learning sessions, a virtual ‘escape room’, interactive talks and intellectual challenges for seniors on the importance of global justice, access to education for children and young people, climate change and other challenges that need to be addressed to ensure the quality of life for future generations.

The Development Cooperation Information Days, the #DVT2030 publicity campaign, capacity-building training for NGO representatives, and a comparative survey of the population’s views on development cooperation and the SDGs were organised as part of the #Agenda2030 project.

In 2021, the MFA worked purposefully with economic and social stakeholders (businesses, NGOs, academia, and researchers) to raise awareness about the importance of development cooperation and the opportunities to engage in the practical implementation of this policy.

Improving the effectiveness of the development cooperation policy

On 15 December 2020, following the adoption by the Seimas of amendments to the Law on the Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid, which introduced major qualitative changes, the 2021 was focused on the development of the implementing rules and regulations. On 15 December 2021, a Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania on the approval of the Regulations on Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid and the institutional composition of the Council of the Fund for the Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid was adopted. The Strategic Directions for Development Cooperation for 2022-2025 were approved by Order of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania of 27 December 2021.

2020 REPORT ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION AND DEMOCRACY PROMOTION PROGRAMME

Overview

The Development Cooperation and Democracy Promotion Programme (hereinafter ‘DCDPP’) is an integral measure of the implementation of the Lithuanian Official Development Assistance (hereinafter ‘ODA’) funded from the targeted budget allocations intended for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (hereinafter ‘MoFA’). The ODA is support and humanitarian aid to developing states and territories funded from state and municipal budgets. According to preliminary data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), in 2020 the Lithuanian ODA amounted to EUR 58.3 million or 0.12% of gross national income (GNI), in 2019 – EUR 60.45 million or 0.13% of GNI, in 2018 – EUR 55 million or 0.12% of GNI, and in 2017 – EUR 52.55 million or 0.13% of GNI. Lithuania is committed to ensuring that the value of ODA reaches 0.33% of GNI by 2030 but due to non-increasing allocations and the rapid growth of GNI until 2020, this rate has been steadily declining and is one of the lowest in the EU. It should be noted that Lithuania’s bilateral support amounted to only EUR 9.2 million, i.e. less than 16% of the whole support. In 2020, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ensured the uninterrupted and effective involvement of Lithuania in the making and implementation of development cooperation policy in international, EU and bilateral formats meeting its national interests, thus strengthening Lithuania’s image as a responsible and reliable donor country. Lithuania’s development cooperation policy reflected its national foreign policy priorities, with the main focus on the Eastern Partnership countries, especially Moldova, Georgia, Ukraine, Armenia and Belarus. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic that broke out at the beginning of the year, special attention was paid to the implementation of emergency humanitarian aid measures.

Much attention has been paid to the greater involvement of state and municipal institutions, non-governmental organisations and business in development cooperation activities as well as to the publicity of these activities in order to ensure as wide public support as possible.

The role of the Central Project Management Agency (hereinafter ‘CPMA’) has been further strengthened, especially by exploiting the opportunities offered by membership in the EU network of development cooperation agencies.

In order to increase the effectiveness of development cooperation policy, a systematic review of development cooperation policy and substantial legislative changes were initiated, which ensured the conditions and prerequisites for the implementation of qualitative and quantitative changes in this policy.

EU and global development cooperation policy making

In 2020, Representatives of the MoFA continued comprehensive involvement in EU and global development cooperation and humanitarian aid policy-making and implementation processes, supported international efforts to reduce poverty at a global level and promote long-term and sustainable development in developing countries, significantly contributed to responding the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and humanitarian crises that require an urgent response.

The topic of the international response to the COVID-19 pandemic dominated all formats of international discussions. At EU level, special attention was paid to the coordination of the EU’s joint response ‘Team Europe’ at meetings of the EU Foreign Affairs Council, Directors General for development and humanitarian aid as well as working groups of the EU Council and committees of the European Commission which were attended by representatives of the Member States responsible for development cooperation.

In 2020, representatives of the MoFA intensively participated in the negotiations on the new Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI). The initiative of Lithuania allowed to reach an agreement in principle, according to which this Instrument will include essential provisions on compliance with nuclear safety standards in partner countries.

Much attention was paid to the EU’s relations with the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of countries after the expiry of the Cotonou Agreement in 2020. As the negotiations could not be completed in time and stalled, transitional period measures were accepted twice to extend the Cotonou provisions until the end of November 2021. At the end of 2020, a political agreement on the text of a compromise agreement was reached. Completion of the agreement by initialling the text and adopting a Council decision on the signing of the agreement will be sought during the Portuguese and Slovenian presidencies. During the negotiations, Lithuania consistently advocated that the new agreement should establish procedures for the smooth return and readmission of ACP nationals.

In the field of humanitarian aid, the aim was to keep focus on the basic principle of humanitarian aid: to provide aid where it is most needed.

Lithuania further accelerated its involvement in the activities of the OECD Development Cooperation Committee (DAC), in which participates as an observer since 2013.

Funds and activities

An amount of EUR 3,210,000 was allocated and used from the state budget appropriations of the Republic of Lithuania approved by the MoFA to finance the Development Cooperation and Democracy Promotion Programme.

Purpose

Funds, ‘000 EUR

Voluntary contributions to multilateral funds

1,137.0

Projects

880.0

Humanitarian aid

1,117.0

Participation in the activities of the EU, the UN and other international organisations and monitoring of the programme

10.0

Other development cooperation activities (project administration, events, exhibitions, publications, etc.)

64.0

Total DCDPP

3,208.0

Multilateral support to development

In performing its international obligations, contributing to international efforts to reduce poverty, increase the resilience of beneficiary states and the most vulnerable groups, and promoting democratic values, the MoFA provided multilateral development assistance by making compulsory and voluntary contributions and payments to funds and international organisations carrying out and coordinating developing cooperation activities. In 2020, Lithuania allocated EUR 1,137,000 for voluntary contributions to the Development Cooperation and Democracy Promotion  Programme.

Voluntary contributions

Funds, ‘000 EUR

Funds to  SIDA  for  the  implementation  of  the  Programme  regarding  the support to the European Humanities University (EHU)

400.0

Democracy Promotion  Fund (support for citizens of the Republic of Belarus who suffered from repressions as well as their relatives, civil society and independent media, provision of legal services)

300.0

The European Endowment for Democracy (provision of support for citizens of the Republic of Belarus who suffered from repressions)

100.0

British and Irish Agencies Afghanistan Group (BAAG)

50.0

The European Endowment for Democracy (EED)

50.0

OECD Eurasia Competitiveness Programme

30.0

OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine

30.0

WTO Doha Development Agenda Global Trust Fund

30.0

Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

30.0

Women’s Peace & Humanitarian Fund

20.0

Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF)

20.0

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)

20.0

Lifeline Embattled CSO Assistance Fund

20.0

Africa Tikkun Foundation (to fight COVID-19)

19.0

Anna Lindh Foundation

15.0

Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (to support the activities of the UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances)

3.0

Total:

1,137.0

Humanitarian aid

In 2020, Lithuania allocated EUR 1,117,000 for humanitarian aid from the funds of the Development Cooperation and Democracy Promotion Programme and the Reserve Fund of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania.

Humanitarian aid from DCDPP funds

Funds, ‘000 EUR

Voluntary contribution to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

50.0

UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA); humanitarian aid for Palestinian refugees to fight against COVID-19

50.0

UN Yemen Humanitarian Fund (YHF); humanitarian aid to fight against COVID-19

100.0

UN World Food Programme (WFP); humanitarian aid to Sudan

25.0

UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF); humanitarian aid to the Syrian people

50.0

World Health Organization (WHO), humanitarian aid to the Republic of Uzbekistan to fight against COVID-19

10.0

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), humanitarian aid to victims of the Beirut explosion

50.0

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), humanitarian aid to Palestine

17.0

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) for humanitarian aid to those affected by the war in the Nagorno-Karabakh region

75.0

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), humanitarian aid to Ukraine

100.0

Humanitarian aid for Montenegro (to fight against COVID-19)

20.0

Humanitarian aid for the Republic of Northern Macedonia (to fight against COVID-19)

20.0

NATO Pandemic Response Trust Fund, a voluntary contribution

30.0

Transportation of a humanitarian consignment to the United States

20.0

Humanitarian aid from the reserve fund of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania

500.0

Reserve Fund of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (Resolution No 155 of 26 February 2020); International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) for humanitarian aid to fight against COVID-19

100.0

Reserve Fund of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (Resolution No 196 of 10 March 2020); humanitarian aid to the Hellenic Republic to manage the effects of the refugee crisis in Europe

50.0

Reserve Fund of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (Resolution No 367 of 8 April 2020); humanitarian aid to the Italian Republic and the Kingdom of Spain to fight against COVID-19

100.0

Reserve Fund of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (Resolution No 399 of 22 April 2020); humanitarian aid to the Republic of Armenia, the Republic of Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine to fight against COVID-19

100.0

Reserve Fund of the Republic of Lithuania (Resolution N. 502 of 20 May 2020); humanitarian aid to the United States to fight against COVID-19

100.0

Reserve Fund of the Republic of Lithuania (Resolution No 565 of 3 June 2020); humanitarian aid to the Republic of Belarus to fight against COVID-19

50.0

Total:

1,117.0

Bilateral support to development

In 2020, the funds of the DCDPP allowed to implement 48 development cooperation projects (including 40 were bilateral, 4 regional, and 4 public information projects), the value of which was about EUR 1 million. The pandemic caused by the spread of the COVID-19 virus and the deterioration of the political situation in Belarus inevitably affected the implementation of the projects – some of the planned activities were not implemented.

In accordance with the development cooperation policies for 2019–2021 set out in the Interinstitutional Development Cooperation Action Plan, the priority is given to the countries of the EU Eastern Partnership: Ukraine, Belarus, Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, and Azerbaijan. The main focus was on Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia and Moldova – Lithuania provided support through bilateral projects promoting political and economic integration with the EU and social and economic reforms. In 2020, Lithuanian experts provided consultations and technical assistance for the proper implementation of the association agreements between the European Union and Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia as well the Partnership Agreement between the EU and Armenia.

Diplomatic missions of the Republic of Lithuania accredited in the partner countries contributed to the implementation of Lithuania’s Development Cooperation Policy by administering 20 development cooperation projects, helping to identify the needs of the beneficiary countries, actively involving in the search for partners, and contributing to donor coordination.

Ukraine. Taking into account the needs of Ukraine, in 2020 Lithuania consistently continued to share good practices and prove assistance to Ukrainian citizens affected by the annexation of Crimea and the conflict in eastern Ukraine, supported the implementation of educational reforms and the promotion of women’s independence and entrepreneurship. Lithuanian experts conveyed their experience in the fields of the fight against disinformation and propaganda, non-formal education and heritage protection. In 2020, 13 bilateral and 2 regional projects in Ukraine were funded by DCDPP.

The MoFA assessed the needs for support to Ukraine, coordinated the support provided by Lithuanian institutions and non-governmental organisations, and provided humanitarian assistance to fight against the spread of COVID-19 virus in the country.

Projects to support education institutions in eastern Ukraine were continued: improvement of teachers’ qualifications and building of abilities to develop students’ social and emotional competencies, introduction of a new civic education programme and a development of distance learning methodology for teachers in eastern Ukraine. In 2020, the EUR 1 million worth project ‘Support to the equipping and improvement of the well-being of the environment of Avdiivka School No 2 in the Donetsk Oblast of Ukraine’ was continued. This project is intended to provide war-torn Avdiivka School No 2 with specialised equipment and modern educational facilities, and to equip a children’s playground and a multifunctional sports field. Successful project implementation will create a modern training centre, whose infrastructure, equipment and organisation of the educational process would become an integral example and could be a pilot project for the reform of the Ukrainian school in the whole region and a centre for the dissemination of educational expertise.

Through the projects, funded by the DCDPP, Lithuania continued to consistently help internally displaced people (mostly women and children) who suffered from the annexation of Crimea and the conflict in eastern Ukraine  to integrate into host communities, develop entrepreneurial skills and also supported the development and maintenance of the activities of the Crimean Tatar Cultural Centre in Lviv.

Lithuania also participated in projects funded by other donors. The Central Project Management Agency, together with the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, Sida (the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency), and the Delegation of the European Commission to Ukraine, implemented the European Commission’s 4-year project ‘Programme for the Support to Public Financial Management in Ukraine’ worth more than EUR 50 million. The purpose of the project is to build a modern, transparent and efficient tax collection system and to strengthen the capacity of public financial management institutions.

In 2020, the DCDPP funded 4 bilateral and 1 regional projects in the fields of economic development, gender equality, regional development, democracy and good governance in Georgia.

With a view to helping the private sector to make use of the opportunities offered by the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) with the European Union, efforts were made to raise awareness of the importance of clusters, which can become strong pillars in accelerating the process of Georgia’s integration into the EU. 12 articles and 5 videos were prepared, in which the relevant clusters and challenges are reviewed. 10 articles dealing with the current situation were prepared, each of which reached about 1,000 users. 7 information videos were prepared to promote the advantage of clusters for entering the EU market. 3 recommendations on formation and development of clusters in the fields of furniture, agriculture, logistics and transportation were prepared (the recommendations on the grouping of the furniture and agriculture sectors were submitted to the Prime Minister of Georgia).

With a view to resolving the systemic issues of women’s empowerment, the capacity of lawyers to defend and promote women’s rights in strategic cases were strengthened and the skills of civil society organisations to engage in international litigation and representation of interests were improved. Gaps in laws were identified in the areas of gender equality, the fight against domestic violence, necessary defence and others. Widespread gender stereotypes, which partly determine the inappropriate investigation of cases, and their negative impact on the case-law of court were discussed. Strategic issues of the consideration of disputes were identified and the need for expert assistance (for lawyers of the participating countries) was discussed. Consultations were provided on two legal cases, mentoring was given in developing in Georgia a legal strategy in a case under the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

In promoting the development of tourism in Khashuri municipality, consultations of representatives of the sister Radviliškis city municipality were organised for Georgian colleagues. A map (4,000 copies) was developed and printed, 30 tourism information stands were prepared in Georgian and English, which will help to promote tourism activities and involve residents and entrepreneurs of Khashuri municipality.

Three week-long trainings for 120 people were organised and one-day training seminars were conducted in four Georgian cities, including Kutaisi, Batumi, Zugdidi, and Telavi (20 participants in each). These activities were designed to develop the capacity of Georgian government agencies, civil society, non-governmental organisations as well as journalists to identify hybrid threats such as disinformation, fake news  or propaganda and to publicise or deny them respectively.

On 14 May 2020, a cargo of Lithuanian-made medical protective  equipment necessary to combat COVID-19 was shipped to Georgia. It was humanitarian aid provided at the request of Georgia and other countries in the Eastern Neighbourhood of the European Union by the resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania of 22 April 2020. The cargo included 10,500 protective shields for medical personnel fighting COVID-19 every day.

In Moldova, 6 bilateral and 1 regional projects in the areas of democracy and civil society strengthening, gender equality, good governance and regional development, and health care system strengthening were implemented in 2020.

Cooperation between Lithuanian and Moldovan transport safety institutions was expanded and maritime transport specialists were trained.

For the fourth year in a row, support was provided to the GirlsGoIT project, in which 67 girls acquired STEM skills and 25 girls undertook internships in private IT companies.

The DCDPP is intended to promote the efforts of the independent media to publicise facts of corruption and public intolerance as well as to support anti-corruption efforts in Moldova. NGO leaders were trained to create blogs, recognize hybrid threats – disinformation, fake news  or propaganda – and combat them.

Contribution was made to the reform of the Moldovan primary health care system, the system’s resilience to crises was strengthened, and access to services for the population was improved. Based on international best practice, recommendations were prepared for the reform of  primary health care in Moldova.

Cooperation with the Institute of History of Moldova, which examines the country’s totalitarian communist past, was continued.

The MoFA concluded an agreement on the use of state budget funds with the Central Project Management Agency and allocated EUR 26,028 as co-financing for the implementation of objective No 3 ‘Enhanced transparency, accountability of and access to judiciary system’ of the European Union’s measure ‘EU4MOLDOVA: Facility to support the health response to the COVID-crisis and Association Agreement related Reforms’.

The Central Project Management Agency, together with the French international cooperation public agency Expertise France, will implement objective No 3 ‘Enhanced transparency, accountability of and access to judiciary system’ of the Measure.

The implementing agency prepared and, in 2020, formally submitted to the Delegation of the European Union to Moldova three annexes to the contribution agreement: the drafts of the Description of the Action, the Budget and the Communication and Visibility Plan, which were prepared jointly with Expertise France.

In Belarus, the DCDPP funded 9 bilateral projects and 1 regional project in 2020. The greatest attention was paid to initiatives aimed at supporting civil society, enhancing its political activism and solidarity, strengthening the national identity of Belarusians, and disseminating European values in the independent Belarusian media. In order to bar the way to Russian propaganda in Belarus and the region, the funds of the DCDPP  were used to support the alternative information website Charter’97.

The project of fostering Litvak culture, which has been implemented for many years, helped to convey Lithuania’s experience related to the preservation and use of the community’s architectural heritage to meet the needs of local people and to develop the city. In 2020, a project to build the capacity of the Belarusian customs was completed, during which a coordination mechanism between the customs and border services of both countries was created, the quality of customs services was improved, and conditions for business and trade were streamlined. The launch of the environmental project ‘Understand, measure and reduce CO2 footprint in Belarus’ increased the knowledge of Belarusian youth about environmental protection and climate change, and promoted the awareness and willingness of organisations to carry out their activities in a responsible way. During a project implemented by the Catholic charity organisation Caritas, children growing up in boarding schools, orphanages and poor families were provided with knowledge about the importance of personal hygiene, and their self-protection skills in the face of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic were developed.

The MoFA continued to cooperate with the Vilnius-based representations of international organisations supporting democratic processes in Belarus (Freedom House, Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House, Public institution Mūsų Namai International Centre for Civic Initiatives, etc.). Participants of the projects, which are aimed at building democracy and an open civil society, carried out by these organisations in Vilnius were issued free visas.

In 2020, the activities of the European Humanities University (EHU) in Vilnius were further supported. The EHU continued its mission to develop critically thinking, creative and responsible personalities, to foster the Western intellectual tradition in the fields of Belarusian humanities, social sciences and arts. These activities contribute to building a free and civil society in Belarus. During the peaceful political protests in Belarus, 37 graduates and 10 students of the EHU were detained, three of whom remain imprisoned and are recognised as political prisoners. In 2020, the MoFA allocated EUR 200,000 as a contribution to support the EHU. As in previous years, support to the EHU was also provided by issuing free visas to Belarusian citizens to attend the EHU’s entrance examinations, open days, conferences and other events.

In 2020, the EHU produced 120 graduates, 176 students (91% of who were Belarusians) were admitted, and 64  students were admitted to the University additionally in response to the repression of higher schools students  by the Belarusian government. Currently, the EHU has 684 students. Since the EHU has moved to Vilnius, the University produced 2,577 graduates. The University is supported by three main donors: The European Commission, Sweden and Lithuania. In 2020, support was also provided by the Swedish Institute as well as Estonia, Norway, and Denmark.

In response to the political developments in Belarus, on 2 September 2020, the Government of the Republic of Lithuania approved a plan of support for  the people of Belarus. The plan provides for the following measures: assistance to victims of repressions, their treatment and rehabilitation, support for science and studies, civil society initiatives, media, high value-added business, legal assistance and consultations, and more flexible procedures for issuing national visas to enter Lithuania. As was provided by the plan, the MoFA allocated an additional EUR 200,000 to the EHU to attract new students and researchers. The MoFA transferred EUR 100,000 to the European Endowment for Democracy (EED) from the funds of the Development Cooperation and Democracy Promotion Programme to provide assistance to Belarusian citizens affected by repressions.

In Armenia, active cooperation with state institutions and non-governmental organisations continued. 7 bilateral projects and 1 regional project were implemented, contribution was made to the improvement of transport safety, gender equality and women’s empowerment, environmental protection and fight against climate change, development of economic and social activity of rural areas, and strengthening of resilience to disinformation.

Cooperation between Lithuanian and Armenian transport safety institutions started, and the capacities of civil servants were enhanced.

With a view to resolving the systemic problems of women’s empowerment and building the capacity of lawyers to defend and promote women’s rights in strategic cases, the skills of civil society organisations to engage in international litigation and representation of interests were improved, and gaps in legislation in the areas of gender equality, domestic violence, necessary defence and others were identified. Widespread gender stereotypes, which partly determine the inadequate investigation of cases, and their negative impact on case-law were discussed. Strategic dispute resolution issues were identified and the need for expert assistance was discussed.

Projects aimed at waste sorting and education on the importance of sorting are very relevant in Armenia, which is only taking the first steps in this area. Two projects were implemented: in the cities of Alaverdi and Armavir and in 5 neighbouring villages, kindergarten educators and teachers, pupils and the community were trained in the importance and basics of sorting; plastic and paper sorting boxes were placed, and collection of waste and its transportation to recycling points was ensured.

In the effort to strengthen resilience to disinformation, the activities of Lithuanian ‘elves’ were presented to representatives of Armenian civil organisations, and the unique experience and methodology of the fight against fake news were conveyed.

As an alternative to traditional media, four podcasts were prepared at the Political Guest website to present various aspects of the implementation of the European Union-Armenia Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA). The topics covered during the podcasts include police reform, implementation of the CEPA, urban planning, and media reform.

The women of Dilijan District of Armenia learned traditional popular crafts – sewing, ceramics, jewellery, gained knowledge about modern methodologies (how to start a business, use Internet tools, and develop e-commerce), which they will be able to use in the future in selling their products.

In response to the educational challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular in ensuring conditions for distance learning, 16 children from the most vulnerable families who learn in School No 8 in the town of Artik were given tablet computers, which enabled them to participate in the distance learning process.

On 14 May 2020, the Spartan transport aircraft of the Lithuanian Air Force brought Lithuanian humanitarian aid to Armenia. This was not only the first humanitarian aid from the European Union, but also the first flight of the Lithuanian and NATO air forces to the territory on this side of Ararat. The Lithuanian humanitarian cargo of 10,500 Lithuania-made face shields was handed over to nine Armenian hospitals, including the Armenian National Infectious Diseases Hospital ‘Nork Marash’, which treats COVID-19-infected patients in the most severe condition.

On 19 June 2020, a team of eleven specialist volunteers flew from Šiauliai Zokniai Airport to Yerevan in Armenia to help the country, which faced especially severe challenges of the pandemic. During two weeks, the Lithuanian specialists shared skills in treating and caring for COVID-19-infected patients and their experience in managing a virus-induced emergency. The healthcare professionals were delegated by the Hospital of Lithuanian University of Health Sciences Kauno Klinikos, Vilnius University Hospital Santaros Klinikos, and Republican Hospital of Panevėžys. The medics participated in doctors’ morning meetings, addressed issues related to artificial pulmonary ventilation, helped to determine the nature of circulatory disorders, consulted on antimicrobial treatment, and assisted in performing interventional procedures. Nurses actively engaged in patient care, performed many procedures, and shared their experience. The Lithuanian medics helped to adapt methodologies to international recommendations and instructed on the most important factors related to the management of the COVID-19 situation. The mission was organised after the Lithuanian Embassy in Yerevan received a request for emergency humanitarian aid from the Ministry of Health of Armenia. The mission was funded by the Lithuanian Government, which allocated funds for the humanitarian aid to Armenia, as well as by the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which decided to provide a financial contribution.

In Azerbaijan, 1 bilateral project and 1 regional project were implemented. A safe play space for children was equipped in the former military conflict zone in the village of Shikhli in Qazakh District as contribution to the promotion of children’s social welfare and  engagement in the regions.

With a view to resolving the systemic problems of women’s empowerment, the capacity of lawyers to defend and promote women’s rights in strategic cases were strengthened. Gaps in laws were identified in the areas of gender equality, domestic violence, necessary defence and others. Widespread gender stereotypes, which partly determine the inadequate investigation of cases, and their negative impact on case-law were discussed. Strategic dispute resolution issues were identified and the need for expert assistance was discussed.

Within the EU Neighbourhood, 4 regional projects aimed at democracy and civil society, gender equality and women’s empowerment were implemented.

The training tool ‘Fake news in media and social environment’ (‘FAKE NEWS’, VU Faculty of Communication) was developed, an informal network of bloggers has been created, and an educational promotional film was created to be used as supplementary training material for video bloggers.

In 2020, Charter’97 Foundation correspondents network prepared 116 articles that provided alternative independent information in Belarus and the region, drafted (translated or reprinted from other sources) a total of 708 articles and made 33 translations.

The DCDPP funds were used to finance 8 development cooperation projects in migration origin and transit countries and other states included on the OECD list of assistance recipients: two projects in Mongolia and one each in Côte d'Ivoire, Myanmar, Nigeria, Iraq, Turkey and Uganda. These projects promoted cooperation between science and business, regional development, economic development, strengthened women’s social and economic independence, and built capacity in the field of education. One project was devoted to support studies of Middle Eastern students in Lithuania who have no opportunities for access to education in their home countries.

Women’s rights and equal opportunities

Contributing to the development of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in the partner countries is one of the objectives of Lithuania’s development cooperation. In 2020, the DCDPP funded 8 projects implemented in five countries with the aim of building the capacity of organisations functioning in the field of gender equality and promoting the social and economic empowerment of women.

In Armenia, Ukraine and Côte d’Ivoire, the capacities of women to create and develop innovative businesses were strengthened. In Mongolia, women were encouraged to participate in local elections local government  processes. Moldovan girls acquired theoretical and practical software development skills.

By implementing the regional project, the skills of civil society organisations in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Ukraine to engage in international litigation and advocacy to address systemic issues affecting the empowerment of women in their countries were improved.

       By development cooperation and humanitarian aid, Lithuania contributed to the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) on women, peace and security. In 2020, a voluntary contribution of EUR 20,000 to the UN Women’s Peace & Humanitarian Fund was allocated. As an observer, Lithuania also continued cooperation with the Development Assistance Committee Network on Gender Equality.

Lithuania took an active part in the formulation of the EU development cooperation policy in the field of gender equality and, by providing development cooperation support, contributed to the implementation of the EU’s Gender Action Plan 2016-2020. Lithuania  also actively participated in the debate on EU’s Joint Communication – the Action Plan on Gender Equality 2021–2025 (GAP II) that continued the work started in 2010 to promote change in the field of gender equality, which was presented on 25 November 2020.

The target of the GAP III Action Plan is to ensure that 85% of all new EU external actions contribute to gender equality and women’s empowerment, and at least one action in each partner country is dedicated exclusively to gender equality.

EU Twinning and TAIEX Programmes

In 2020, Lithuania continued to successfully participate in the EU Twinning Programme by providing expert support to recipient countries (EC-funded EU Twinning Programme supports cooperation between related institutions of different countries): 45 project selection procedures were announced under the EU Twinning Programme, Lithuanian institutions individually or in consortia with other EU Member States submitted 22 project applications and won 13 projects with a total value of EUR 16.8 million. In 2004–2020, Lithuania has won a total of 119 EU Twinning projects. By the number of projects won in 2020, Lithuania is among the most successful EU Member States together with France, Spain, Germany, Austria and Croatia. In the Eastern Partnership countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, and Ukraine), Lithuania won the most projects – as many as 11. Out of the 13 projects won in 2020, Lithuania leads 5 projects (in Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Jordan, Ukraine, and Georgia) as a consortium senior partner of the countries and participates as a junior partner in 8 projects (in Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, and Ukraine). The partners of the projects in which Lithuania participates are Austria, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Italy, Poland, France, Romania, Finland, Sweden, Hungary, and Germany. The Lithuanian institutions that won tenders submitted for Twinning project this year: the Competition Council, the Fire and Rescue Department, the Bank of Lithuania, the Department of Statistics, the Police Department, the Ministry of Social Security and Labour, the ESFA, the Centre for Equality Advancement, the State Food and Veterinary Service, the State Border Guard Service, the SIS, the National Cyber ​​Security Centre, the State Plant Service, and the CPMA.

In 2020, Lithuanian experts participated in 22 events under the TAIEX Programme (seminars, trainings, and expert missions). The main areas in which Lithuanian experts conveyed their expertise include justice and home affairs, internal markets, environment, and transport. According to the data for 2020, there are 100 experts from various Lithuanian institutions registered in the list of TAIEX list, with 14 new experts registered.

Capacity building for participation in development cooperation activities

In 2020, the three-year project ‘Improving the Implementation of Lithuanian Development Cooperation Policy and Strengthening the Capacity of Lithuanian Public Administration Institutions and Their Employees’ financed under Implementation Measure 10.1.1-ESFA-V-912 ‘Promotion of national reform and improvement of the activities of public administration institutions’ of Priority Axis 10 ‘Society-oriented smart public administration’ of the Operational Programme for the EU Funds’ Investments in 2014–2020 was implemented.

Awareness raising

Eurobarometer opinion poll published on 23 October 2019 revealed a steadily declining public support for aid provided to developing countries. Although 8 out of 10 Lithuanian respondents continue to believe that it is important to help people in developing countries, only 27% Lithuanians believe that this should be a priority for the country’s government.

The MoFA continued to consistently pursue activities aimed at informing the public, in particular young people, about the Sustainable Development Goals, about the importance and benefits of development cooperation. In 2020, Lithuanian non-governmental organisations implemented 4 public education and awareness raising projects.

For fourteen consecutive years, the MoFA contributed to organising the international human rights documentary film festival Inconvenient Films. During the festival, which took place in a different format – in a virtual space, a large programme of 50 documentaries was presented, meetings with film makers were held, and discussions with film heroes, human rights activists and experts were organised. The festival focused on the topics of democracy and citizenship.


This year’s festival reached a record number of 17,266 spectators. Partnerships were established with almost 200 Lithuanian libraries (in more than 80 Lithuanian cities, towns and rural areas), where all the films of the festival and the content of the festival could be watched free of charge.

 Informative quizzes on the UN Sustainable Development Goals and development cooperation were prepared jointly with M1 Plus radio station.

In 2020, the MoFA worked purposefully with economic and social partners (business, NGOs, academic and scientific communities), informed them about the importance of development cooperation and opportunities to become involved in the practical implementation of this policy.

The most important meetings and events in Lithuania funded by the Development Cooperation and Democracy Promotion  Programme

On 4 February 2020, the MoFA organised an international conference to discuss the importance of the experience of the public sector in the implementation of projects under the development cooperation programmes of the European Union (EU). The conference was organised within the project ‘Improving the Implementation of Lithuanian Development Cooperation Policy and Strengthening the Capacity of Lithuanian Public Administration Institutions and Their Employees’ funded under the Operational Programme for the EU Funds’ Investments in 2014–2020.

On 27 February 2020, the annual Lithuanian Development Cooperation Conference ‘More Support - More Opportunities - More Results’ was held. The conference was attended by Ingrida Šimonytė and Aušrinė Armonaitė, Members of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, Prof. Jurgis Kazimieras Staniškis, Member at United Nations Independent Group of Scientists for Global Sustainable Development Reporting, and other development cooperation practitioners and experts. The main focus of the conference was on the assessment of the current situation, new ideas and changes that would ensure qualitative and quantitative changes in development cooperation policy.

Improving the effectiveness of development cooperation policy

Taking into account the discussions on the need to achieve qualitative and quantitative changes in development cooperation policy that were started in the National Development Cooperation Commission (NDCC) in 2019, legislative changes based on a comprehensive extended impact assessment were initiated. On 23 September 2020, they were presented and discussed at the extended meeting of the NDCC held in the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, to which representatives of all political fractions were invited. On 15 December 2020, the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania adopted amendments to the Law on Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid, legitimising substantial qualitative changes, the most important of which was the Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid Fund to be non-tied with a the budget year and adapted to the international development cooperation context, which would allow implementing Lithuania’s political and economic interests in the international space more efficiently and also responding to international humanitarian challenges rapidly and flexibly.

At the end of 2020, the MoFA, together with the institution of the President of the Republic of Lithuania, joined the project ‘Create Lithuania’, the main objective of which was to provide recommendations for improving the effectiveness of development cooperation policy.

Prepared by the Development Cooperation Department of the MoFA

2019 REPORT ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION AND DEMOCRACY PROMOTION PROGRAMME

Overview

The Development Cooperation and Democracy Promotion Programme (hereinafter referred to as the ‘Programme’) is an integral implementing measure for the official development assistance (hereinafter referred to as ‘ODA’) of Lithuania, financed from targeted budget appropriations allocated for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (hereinafter referred to as the ‘MFA’). ODA means assistance and humanitarian aid for developing countries and territories funded from the state and municipal budgets. According to preliminary data, in 2019, Lithuania’s ODA constituted about EUR 52 million, i.e. 0.11% of gross national income (GNI), whereas in 2018 it amounted to EUR 55 million or 0.12% of GNI, and in 2017, it made up EUR 52.55 million or 0.13% of GNI. Lithuania is committed to ensure that the value of ODA should reach 0.33% of GNI by 2030 but this indicator is steadily declining due to the non-increasing allocations and the GNI growth and is one of the lowest in the EU. It should be noted that Lithuania’s bilateral assistance amounted to only EUR 11.15 million, i.e. 21% of the total assistance.

The MFA ensured the continuous and effective engagement of Lithuania in the shaping of the development cooperation policy that meets the national interests and the implementation of this policy through international, EU and bilateral arrangements, thereby strengthening the role of Lithuania as a responsible and reliable donor country. Lithuania's development cooperation policy reflected the national priorities of its foreign policy by focusing on the Eastern Partnership countries, in particular Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine.

Great attention was devoted to the increased engagement of state and municipal institutions, non-governmental organizations and business in the development cooperation activities, as well as to the publicity of those activities, for the purpose of ensuring the largest possible public support.

The role of the Central Project Management Agency (hereinafter referred to as the ‘CPMA’) has been further strengthened, in particular by exploiting the opportunities offered by the membership of the network of EU development cooperation agencies.

Taking into account the need to strengthen the role of development cooperation in the foreign policy of the Republic of Lithuania, discussions have been initiated on qualitative and quantitative changes in the development cooperation policy.

Shaping the EU and global development cooperation policy 

In 2019, MFA representatives ensured full engagement in the shaping and implementation of the EU and global policy on development cooperation and humanitarian aid, supported international efforts to reduce global poverty and promote long-term and sustainable development of developing countries, and contributed to international efforts in addressing humanitarian crises and challenges of illegal migration.

During the reporting period, the greatest attention and efforts were devoted to the protection of Lithuania's interests in negotiations launched on financing EU external action under the EU multiannual financial framework for the period 2021-2027. This issue dominated in all discussion formats of negotiations: meetings of the ministers for EU development cooperation, meetings of the Directors General for EU development cooperation, meetings of the Council working parties as well as meetings of the European Commission committees which include representatives of the Member States responsible for development cooperation. 

Much attention was devoted to the EU relations with the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) after 2020. In the negotiations over the future partnership, the EC followed the negotiating mandate approved by the Council in 2018, but no substantial progress has been made on the most sensitive issues, including cooperation on migration and returns. Regular consultations took place between the EC and the MS on the possible relaxation of the negotiating mandate, but Lithuania consistently called for a strong position, even if this could delay the negotiation process.

In the field of humanitarian aid, the focus was retained on the key principle of humanitarian aid: providing aid where it is needed the most.

Lithuania further accelerated its engagement in the activities of the Development Assistance Committee (hereinafter referred to as the ‘DAC’) of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (hereinafter referred to as the ‘OECD’) in which it has been participating as an observer since 2013.

Funds and activities

To finance the Development Cooperation and Democracy Promotion Programme, EUR 3 275 480 was earmarked and used from the state budget allocations of the Republic of Lithuania approved for the MFA. It should be noted that, in 2019, the function of administering Lithuania's contributions to the European Development Fund was transferred to the Ministry of Finance.

Purpose

Funds, thousand euros

Voluntary contributions to multilateral funds

631.0

Projects

2 108.22

Humanitarian aid

400.0

Participation in activities of EU, UN and other international organizations, and programme monitoring

58.31

Other development cooperation activities (project administration, events, exhibitions, publications, etc.)

77.95

Total for the Programme

3 275.48

Multilateral development assistance

As part of fulfilment of its international commitments, contribution to the international efforts for poverty reduction, increase of resilience of aid recipient countries and the most vulnerable society groups and promotion of democratic values, the MFA provided multilateral development assistance as mandatory and voluntary contributions to funds and international organizations that carry out or coordinate development cooperation activities. In 2019, Lithuania assigned EUR 631 000 from the Development Cooperation and Democracy Promotion Programme for voluntary contributions.

Voluntary contributions

Funds, thou.

euros

Funds to SIDA for the implementation of the Programme regarding the support to the European Humanities University (EHU)

200.0

Foundation for Expert Deployment for Governance and Economic Growth in Ukraine to support the Professionals for Reform Support Mechanism

200.0

OECD Eurasia Competitiveness Programme

30.0

The European Endowment for Democracy (EED)

25.0

OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine

20.0

Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund

20.0

Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF)

20.0

WTO Doha Development Agenda Global Trust Fund

20.0

United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)

15.0

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

12.0

EU-Latin America and Caribbean Foundation

10.0

Implementation of the Council of Europe Action Plan for Ukraine 2018-2021

10.0

UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine

10.0

EU Trust Fund for Colombia

10.0

UNESCO International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC)

10.0

Lifeline Embattled CSO Assistance Fund

9.0

UN Women

5.0

Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Georgia

5.0

Total:

631.0

Humanitarian aid

In 2019, Lithuania allocated a total of EUR 2 404 000 for humanitarian aid (of which EUR 1.12 million for support to refugees in Lithuania). Lithuania allocated EUR 460 000 from the Development Cooperation and Democracy Promotion Programme and the budgets of other institutions of the Republic of Lithuania.

Humanitarian aid

Funds, thou.

euros

Humanitarian aid from the Programme

310.0

UN Yemen Humanitarian Fund (YHF), humanitarian aid for Yemen

20.0 

United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), humanitarian aid for Syria

30.0

United Nations Humanitarian Fund for Ukraine (UHF), humanitarian aid for Ukraine

100.0

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), humanitarian aid for Rohingya refugees

50.0

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), humanitarian aid for Ukraine

100.0

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), humanitarian aid for earthquake victims in Albania

10.0

Humanitarian aid from the budget of the institutions of the Republic of Lithuania

150.0

Reserve Fund of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (Resolution No. 387 of 24 April 2019); International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) for humanitarian aid to the people of Venezuela

100.0

Reserve Fund of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (Resolution No. 1202 of 4 December 2019); to the Government of the Republic of Albania for humanitarian aid to earthquake victims in Albania

50.0

Total:

460.0

Bilateral development assistance

In 2019, the Programme funds were used to implement 78 development cooperation projects (of which 70 were bilateral, four regional and four awareness raising projects) for the value of more than EUR 2.1 million.

In accordance with the development cooperation policies set out in the Inter-Institutional Action Plan on Development Cooperation for 2019-2021, Lithuania’s priority in development cooperation in 2019 was the Eastern Partnership countries, including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. Particular attention was devoted to Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine, where Lithuania provided assistance while implementing bilateral projects to promote political and economic integration with the EU, as well as social and economic reforms. In 2019, Lithuanian experts advised and provided technical assistance in support of the appropriate implementation of the European Union Association Agreements with Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia.

The diplomatic missions of the Republic of Lithuania accredited to the partner countries contributed to the implementation of Lithuania's development cooperation policy: they administered 41 development cooperation projects, helped identify the needs of assistance beneficiaries, actively participated in the search for partners and contributed to coordination of the donor activities.

Ukraine. Taking the needs of Ukraine into consideration, Lithuania has consistently continued the transfer of best practices while implementing the EU Association Agreement with Ukraine (AA/DCFTA), provided assistance to Ukrainian citizens affected by the annexation of the Crimea and the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, supported the implementation of educational and health care reforms and the promotion of women’s independence and entrepreneurship. Lithuanian experts transferred their experience in the fields of judicial reform, environmental protection and heritage protection. In 2019, 18 bilateral and two regional projects were implemented from the funds of the Programme in Ukraine.

The MFA coordinated the assistance provided to Ukraine by Lithuanian institutions and non-governmental organizations, assessed the needs for support to Ukraine, provided humanitarian assistance, and maintained regular contacts with partners in Ukraine.

Joint Lithuanian-Swedish support projects for educational institutions in Eastern Ukraine continued, during which teachers’ qualifications and abilities to develop students’ social and emotional competencies were enhanced, and leaders of educational communities were trained. Four visits of teachers and students from Donetsk and Luhansk regions to Lithuania were organized. Teachers in Eastern Ukraine received assistance in developing school violence and bullying prevention, non-formal education, career guidance and career planning programs. The project “Installation of educational and sporting facilities in the Avdiivka School No. 2 in Donetsk Region, Ukraine” with the value of EUR 1 million was launched in 2019. The project aims to create a modern training centre which would become a complex example with its infrastructure, equipment and organization of the educational process and serve as a pilot Ukrainian school reform project and as the centre for the dissemination of educational experience throughout the region.

In 2019, assistance was further continued in reforming the provision of mental health services, in particular psychosocial rehabilitation, in Eastern Ukraine. Mental health specialists from Donetsk, Luhansk, Poltava, Zaporozhye, Kherson and Dnipro regions underwent refresher training in Ukraine and Lithuania, visited the most advanced Lithuanian mental health institutions, namely, crisis intervention and psychosocial rehabilitation centres.

In 2019, Lithuania helped the victims of the annexation of Crimea and the conflict in Eastern Ukraine (especially women and children) to integrate into the host communities, develop entrepreneurial and self-employment skills, and form a positive image of the Crimean Tatars in the public. Summer camps, practical trainings, individual psychotherapy consultations helped to create a system for coping with post-traumatic stress, to restore full participation in public life and the labour market.

Lithuanian municipalities shared their experience in the field of cultural heritage protection and helped to organize summer camps for Ukrainian children.

Lithuania participated in the projects financed by other donors. The Central Project Management Agency, together with the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Swedish Development Cooperation Agency SIDA and the Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine, implemented the European Commission’s 4-year project “Support for Public Finance Management in Ukraine” worth more than EUR 50 million. The aim of the project is to create a modern, fair and efficient tax collection system and to strengthen the capacity of public financial management institutions.

In Georgia, in 2019, the Programme funds were used to finance 13 bilateral and one regional projects in the fields of economic development, gender equality, regional development, democracy and good governance, and environment protection.

Around one million people in Georgia were reached by the information campaign on access to the EU market for small and medium-sized enterprises through the Agreement on the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA). This project was financed by the EC and co-financed with funds under the Programme. A total of 50 Georgian honey and berry producers received consultations from Lithuanian experts on the issues related to the preparation of products for the EU market.

To promote the socio-economic development of the Georgian Highlands, ethnic minority settlements and internally displaced women, training for NGOs and local authorities on gender equality and women’s empowerment and entrepreneurship training for local women was organised.  The Telavi and Tianeti municipalities organized a competition for girls’ career plans and training for schoolgirls and young girls in the district on creating independent lives and self-realization.

Employees of the Alytus District Municipality shared their experience in the field of economic and social inclusion of women with representatives of Ozurgeti region. A workshop on the preparation of regional development strategies was organized for the employees of Georgian municipalities, and it was attended by 21 participants.

The training and international student summer camp improved the knowledge of the Georgian civil society and youth about disinformation and strategic communication. Lithuanian experts also transferred their experience in observing elections to representatives of Georgian NGOs.

In Moldova, in 2019, Lithuania implemented eight bilateral and one regional projects in the fields of gender equality, democracy, good governance and regional development.

For the third year in a row, support was provided for the GirlsGoIT project, in which 60 girls acquired the STEM skills and ten girls served internships in IT companies. The Moldovan regional communities learned from 53 women’s success stories that encouraged women to engage in community development projects, social and cultural activities, business start-ups or social initiatives.

Under the Programme, support was provided to independent media, Black Box and Politica programs of the Moldovan TV channel TV8 which investigated the major cases of corruption. Scientific and educational activities about the country’s totalitarian-communist past caught the interest of young people in the culture of memory and civic consciousness.

In 2019, cooperation between the Lithuanian and Moldovan transport safety institutions further continued, and partnerships were established in the field of science, innovation and technology.

In Belarus, the Programme funds were used to finance 14 projects in 2019. The main focus was placed on initiatives aimed at supporting civil society and public information, conservation of the Litvaks’ cultural heritage and improvement of the social and economic situation of young people with disabilities by developing their entrepreneurship. An important direction of Lithuania’s support in Belarus is projects for Belarusian youth that support the dissemination of European values. Funds under the Programme were allocated to the European Radio for Belarus (Euroradio) and the Charter’97 website.

The year 2019 saw the launch of the project to strengthen the capacities of Belarusian customs and promote international trade.

A joint project of Lithuanian and Belarusian women’s organizations in the field of gender equality, which strengthened the competence of Belarusian women's organizations to protect women's rights and reduce domestic violence, attracted considerable interest among the Belarusian public. In Belarus, the charity and support fund Maisto Bankas handed over the model of rescuing and redistributing food to charity for the needy and developed an action plan for the coming years.

The MFA continued to cooperate with the Vilnius-based representations of international organizations which support democratic processes in Belarus (Freedom House, Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House, International Centre for Civic Initiatives, Our House, etc.), the participants in the projects, implemented by these organisations in Vilnius aimed at building democracy and open civil society, were issued free visas.

In 2019, the activities of the European Humanities University (hereinafter referred to as ‘EHU’) in Vilnius were further supported. EHU further pursued its mission of educating personalities who have critical thinking, creativity and responsibility and fostering the Western intellectual tradition in the fields of humanities, social sciences and arts in Belarus. These activities contribute to the development of a democratic Belarusian society and the strengthening the ties of Lithuania and the whole European Union with Belarus. In 2019, the MFA allocated a contribution of EUR 200 000 to the EHU. Similarly, to the previous years, support to EHU was also provided by issuing free visas to Belarusian citizens arriving at EHU for the entrance examinations, doors open days, conferences and other events.

In 2019, 170 students graduated from EHU and 231 students were admitted (91% of the entrants were Belarusian citizens); the total number of EHU students was 695. Since the relocation of the University to Vilnius, a total of 2 457 students have graduated from EHU. The University is currently supported by its three main donors: the European Commission, Sweden and Lithuania.

In Armenia, the year 2019 was marked by an abundance of economic reforms which actively engaged the Armenian state institutions and non-governmental organizations. In 2019, the Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania in Armenia supported three projects that contributed to the economic and social development of rural areas, with a special focus on women's employment, increasing child safety on the roads and promotion of entrepreneurship in rural communities. The children’s summer camp helped Armenian youth with disabilities and children from socially disadvantaged families integrate into society, and the employment of the rural population in the Sisian region was increased by the region’s beekeepers who acquired the knowledge and skills in marketing, product packaging and branding.

In Azerbaijan, the Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania supported two projects in 2019. In the former military conflict zone, an area was demined and a safe space for children to play was created; the safe playground is used by the students at Sahlabad Village School in the Ter Ter county. The second project helped women to create pre-school care facilities and thus strengthened their independence.

In the EU’s neighbourhood, four regional projects were implemented to develop the regions and strengthen self-government, support civil society and public information.

An international conference (170 participants) was held in Vilnius, where representatives of Ukrainian, Moldovan, Georgian and Lithuanian municipalities addressed the topical issues of sustainable development policy and experience of EU municipalities, signed a cooperation agreement between the Association of Local Authorities in Lithuania (ALAL) and the Association of Ukrainian Cities and discussed the possibilities of cooperation between the ALAL and Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia.

Training was provided to Serbian experts (45 experts trained) on the influence of third countries and interference in the democratic and socio-economic processes, on persuasive ways of providing information to the general public; eight articles analysing the challenges of Euro-Atlantic integration in the Balkans were prepared in English.

In 2019, the network of correspondents of Charter'97 Foundation prepared 109 articles that provided alternative independent information in Belarus and the region, drafted (translated or reprinted from other sources) a total of 822 articles and performed 33 translations.

The Programme funds were used to finance 12 development cooperation projects in migration origin and transit countries and other states included on the OECD list of assistance recipients: two projects in Mongolia and one project in each of Algeria, Bhutan, Côte d'Ivoire, Mali, Myanmar, Nigeria, Palestine, the Republic of South Africa and Turkey. These projects promoted young people's entrepreneurship, strengthened women’s social and economic independence, and built capacities in education and agriculture. One project was devoted to support studies of Middle Eastern students in Lithuania who have no opportunities for access to education in their home countries.

Women's rights and equal opportunities

Contributing to the development of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in the partner countries is one of the ongoing objectives of Lithuanian development cooperation. In 2019, the Programme funds were used to implement 14 projects in eight countries intended for building the capacity of organizations operating in the field of gender equality and increasing the social and economic empowerment of women. In Azerbaijan, Côte d'Ivoire and Palestine, women’s capacities to create and develop innovative businesses were strengthened. In Mongolia, women were encouraged to participate in the self-government and election processes. In Moldova, girls acquired software development skills. In the regions of Moldova and Ukraine, women were involved in community projects, social and cultural activities. In Belarus and Georgia, the capacity of women’s organizations to defend and advise women on human rights, social and economic issues were strengthened. 

The development cooperation assistance and humanitarian aid of Lithuania contributed to the implementation of the United Nations (hereinafter referred to as the UN) Security Council Resolution No. 1325 (2000) on Women, Peace and Security. In 2019, a voluntary contribution of EUR 20 000 was allocated to the UN Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund. Furthermore, the contribution of EUR 5 000 was also made to the UN Women. As an observer Lithuania further continued cooperation with the OECD Development Assistance Committee’s Network on Gender Equality. Lithuania also actively participated in shaping the EU development cooperation policy in the field of gender equality and contributing to the implementation of the EU Gender Action Plan for 2016-2020 with the provided development cooperation assistance.

EU Twinning and TAIEX programmes

In 2019, Lithuania continued its successful participation in the EU Twinning Programme by transferring the expertise to the beneficiary countries (the European Commission funded EU Twinning Programme supports cooperation between related institutions in different countries). Under the EU Twinning Programme, 48 calls for proposals were announced in 2019, and Lithuanian institutions, acting individually or in a consortium with other EU Member States, submitted 15 project applications and won seven projects for a total of EUR 8.4 million. It is noteworthy that in 2004-2019 Lithuania won 106 EU Twinning projects. In terms of the number of projects won in 2019, Lithuania ranks among the top five EU Member States together with France, Spain, Germany, Austria and Croatia. Lithuania won the largest number of projects in the Eastern Partnership countries - 4 projects (Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia and Ukraine).

Of the seven projects won in 2019, Lithuania manages two projects (in Ukraine and Georgia) as a senior partner of the consortium of the parties. Two projects (in Macedonia and Palestine) were won individually, and the role of Lithuania in three projects (in Azerbaijan, Armenia and Belarus) is that of a junior partner. The partners of the projects in which Lithuania participates are Estonia, Latvia, the Netherlands, Italy, Poland and Sweden. The Lithuanian authorities that won the submitted Twinning project proposals this year include the Fire Protection and Rescue Department, the State Border Guard Service, the Ministry of Health, the Communications Regulatory Authority, the National Paying Agency, the State Medicines Control Agency, the National Blood Centre, and the CPMA.

In 2019, the Lithuanian authorities participated in the implementation of 24 projects under the EU Twinning Programme: Macedonia (2), Georgia (2), Moldova (3), Ukraine (4), Azerbaijan (5), Kosovo (1), Turkey (1), Jordan (1), Serbia (3), Belarus (1), and Palestine (1). The geography of Lithuania's participation in the EU Twinning Programme expanded: in 2019, the first EU Twinning project in Palestine was won, and it will be implemented without partners by the State Border Guard Service and the Customs Department.

In 2019, Lithuanian experts attended 61 events of the TAIEX Programme (seminars, training, expert missions), of which 20 took place in Lithuania. Under the EU TAIEX Regio Peer-to-Peer Programme (sharing of expertise among the EU Member States), Lithuanian experts as beneficiaries went abroad for training/traineeship 11 times. Lithuanian experts transferred their experience in the following key areas: justice and internal affairs, internal markets, agriculture and food safety, environment, transport, communications, and support to the Turkish Cypriot Community. In 2019, 88 new experts from various Lithuanian institutions registered in the list of TAIEX experts.

Building capacity to participate in the development cooperation activities

The implementation of the three-year project “Improving the implementation of the development cooperation policy and building capacities of public governance institutions of Lithuania and their employees” financed under Measure No. 10.1.1-ESFA-V-912 'Promotion of national reform and improvement of the activities of public administration institutions' of Priority Axis 10 “Society-Oriented Smart Public Administration” of the Operational Programme for EU Structural Funds Investments for 2014-2020 in 2019 included the following:

  • Training on the preparation of strategic documents was organized by the Swedish experts who have many years of experience working for the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency SIDA. During the training, the process of preparation and implementation of regional and thematic strategies in the development cooperation countries was reviewed, and practical examples and models of strategies relevant to Lithuania were presented.
  • A discussion was held with the participation of Vassilis Maragos, Head of Unit of the DG NEAR (EU Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations). He presented some strategic ideas and suggestions on the further growth of Lithuanian public administration institutions in the field of international development cooperation.
  • The Institute of International Relations and Political Sciences of the Vilnius University hosted a discussion “Lithuania's Development Cooperation: 15 Years of Progress”. During the discussion, Lithuania's experience in providing assistance to developing countries was discussed, and whether the current Lithuanian development cooperation policy is effective and properly financed, how to encourage more active involvement of society and business.
  • Four study visits were organized to the development cooperation agencies of the EU Member States: the German Development Cooperation Agency GIZ, the Luxembourg Development Cooperation Agency LuxDev and the Luxembourg Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, as well as the Czech Development Cooperation Agency CzechAid and the Development Department of the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Danish Development Cooperation Agency DANIDA.
  • The third meeting of the Practitioners’ Club was held to discuss the main challenges and obstacles faced by Lithuanian public administration institutions in participating in international development cooperation activities by placing a major focus on the issues of legal regulation related to the participation of experts in such projects.
  • A representative of the MFA attended the conference “Euroafrica Revisited: Towards a New Agenda Between Europe and Africa in the 21st Century” held in Brussels.
  • A representative of the MFA participated in the training “Managing Journalists and Online Communities” organized by the European Academy in Prague. The training was aimed at developing a communication strategy and improving it.
  • An international conference “Lithuanian Development Cooperation: Contribution to the Africa-EU Partnership” was organized to discuss the possibilities of the Baltic States to engage in mutually beneficial cooperation with African countries.

Awareness raising

A special public opinion survey conducted by Eurobarometer in June-July 2019 showed that, compared to 2018, the opinion of the general public on support for developing countries was less favourable. Despite the fact that 8 out of 10 Lithuanian respondents still believe that helping people in developing countries is important, only 27% of Lithuanians are of the opinion that this should be a priority for the Government of their country.

The MFA consistently pursued activities intended for awareness raising, especially information for young people, on the Sustainable Development Goals and the importance and benefit of development cooperation. In 2019, three public education and awareness raising projects were implemented. The projects were implemented by Lithuanian non-governmental organizations.

For thirteen consecutive years, the MFA has contributed to the organization of the international human rights documentary film festival Inconvenient Films. The festival presented an abundant programme of 70 documentary films in Vilnius and other cities of Lithuania and organised meetings with film producers and discussions with film participants, human rights activists and experts. The key theme of the festival was global migration.

On 6 September 2019, a thematic discussion on the importance of development cooperation was held at the annual discussion festival Būtent in Birštonas.

From the mid-2019, informative quizzes on the UN Sustainable Development Goals and development cooperation were organised on the M1 Plus radio. 

In 2019, the MFA worked purposefully with its economic and social partners (business, NGOs, academic and scientific communities) to inform about the importance of development cooperation and the opportunities to engage in the practical implementation of this policy.

The most important meetings and events in Lithuania funded by the Development Cooperation and Democracy Promotion Programme

On 7 March 2019, the MFA, in cooperation with the CPMA, organized training for development cooperation project implementers which presented the communicational, financial, result sustainability and other aspects of development cooperation projects, and enhanced cooperation among project implementers, the MFA and the CPMA in implementing the Programme.

On 8 October 2019, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in cooperation with the CPMA, organized training for development cooperation project applicants concerning the criteria for project evaluation, the technical requirements for the submission of development cooperation applications and the new electronic application platform.

Amendments to the legal framework

On 23 April 2019, the National Development Cooperation Commission (hereinafter referred to as the ‘NDCC’) decided not to continue the implementation of the Inter-Institutional Action Plan for Development Cooperation (hereinafter referred to as the ‘IAP’) from 2021, when the National Progress Strategy “Lithuania 2030” which will integrate the goals, principles and directions of Lithuania’s development cooperation policy and its thematic and geographical priorities will come into force.

On 28 November 2019, the NDCC meeting focused on the necessary quantitative and qualitative changes in the development cooperation policy. The NDCC instructed the MFA, in cooperation with the Ministry of Finance, to prepare proposals, the implementation of which will require amendments to the legal framework in 2020.

Prepared by the MFA Development Cooperation Department

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