According to the Austrian Foreign Ministry, the new three-year program provides development policy responses to global challenges. Austria’s international solidarity is also demonstrated by the fact that global challenges, as well as crises, are now better taken into account in the thematic orientation.
For example, the Russian war in Ukraine shows how vulnerable the global system is. “Global food insecurity and the growing number of people living in extreme poverty posed immense challenges to the international community even before February 24,” said Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg. Faced with these multiple global challenges, Austria is showing solidarity and spending more money than ever on development cooperation and humanitarian aid.
For example, the budget for bilateral development aid will increase next year from 12 million to 137 million euros and that of humanitarian aid from 20 million to 77.5 million euros. The continuous increase in recent years demonstrates Austria’s clear commitment to solidarity through assistance on the ground. Thus, existing partnerships of the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) can be supported financially. Austria focuses on the poorest developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa as well as in the neighbourhood, particularly in South-East Europe and the South Caucasus, but also in crisis regions and fragile states.
“With this three-year programme, we are bringing help where it is most needed – directly on the ground. Rapid assistance on the ground is also the most effective contribution to providing perspective to the people of their country or region of ‘origin and create a livable environment,’ said Ambassador Peter Huber, Head of Development Section at the Foreign Office, affirming ADA’s role.
As an essential component of Austrian foreign policy, Austrian development cooperation reflects the priorities of the government program through the new three-year programme. Here, the two substantive priorities are economic cooperation and migration. On the one hand, the ReFocus Austria initiative aims to create new entrepreneurial opportunities and possibilities on the ground. On the other hand, a so-called conditionality is now introduced in the three-year program: in the event of a deterioration of cooperation in the field of migration, in particular in the event of repatriation, it is now possible to adjust the allocation of resources funding to partner countries.
With the new three-year programme, the German government continues its previous thematic priorities, such as strengthening women and vulnerable groups, inclusion, education, promotion of the rule of law, support for local civil society and democratization programs.
It is also important to help people to help themselves, emphasizes Ambassador Friedrich Stift, Director General of the Austrian Development Agency, “Austria’s humanitarian aid not only contributes directly to alleviating suffering on the ground, for example by providing food. with seeds and our technology, for example, we can thus ensure sustainable development on the ground.”
Through this new three-year programme, Austria remains committed to reducing poverty, protecting natural resources and promoting peace and security for people in partner countries.