Commitments of the Slovak Republic under Official Development Assistance

Commitments of the Slovak Republic under Official Development Assistance

The financial commitments of European Union (EU) Member States with under Official Development Assistance (ODA) were adopted at the EU Council meeting held in Barcelona on 14 March 2002 as a contribution to the United Nations (UN) International Conference on Financing for Development held in Monterrey on 18-22 March 2002. During the European Council meeting held in March 2002, EU Member States undertook to increase their ODA as a share of Gross National Income (GNI) to the shared EU average of 0.39% by 2006. For the new Member States, a goal was set to increase Official Development Assistance to at least 0.33% of GNI. This goal was then adjusted at the 2005 summit held in Brussels. In Monterrey, developed countries undertook to increase Development Assistance to 0.7% of Gross National Income by 2015.

For the Slovak Republic, a new EU Member State, these commitments were only declarative in nature and their fulfilment was not deemed an obligation ensuing from the Accession Treaty. It was not until the EU summit held on 16-17 June 2005 in Brussels that the European Council acknowledged that the Member States were well on course to meet the commitments adopted in Barcelona. The European Council reiterated its determination to meet these commitments and decided to set a new target for the European Union according to which the average ratio should reach 0.56% by 2010.

In line with the outcome of the Council meeting of 24 May 2005, Member States which are yet to contribute 0.51% of their GNI to ODA have committed themselves to do so by 2010 as part of their budgetary procedures, whereas Member States that have already exceeded this level undertook to continue in their effort. The Member States that joined the EU after 2002 and have not contributed 0.17% of their GNI to ODA will strive to do so by 2010 as part of their budgetary procedures, whereas Member States that have already exceeded this level undertook to continue in their effort. Moreover, as a consequence of the European Council meeting, Member States undertook to reach a GNI to ODA ratio of 0.7% by 2015, whereas Member States that have already met this target committed themselves to remain above this level. Member States that acceded to the EU after 2002 will strive to raise their ODA/GNI ratio to 0.33% by 2015.

Being a member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and European Union, the Slovak Republic shares the responsibility of advanced economies for global development and is committed to provide Official Development Assistance to developing countries. The Slovak Republic unequivocally embraced the important document, the Millennium Development Goals. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were specified in a declaration signed by 189 states at the 2000 UN Millennium Summit. Not only were the eight Millennium Development Goals identified but the declaration also set quantifiable targets to be achieved by 2015. The main idea is to tap the potential of Slovakia as a member of the world’s donor community in tackling global issues.

Development assistance is one of the priorities of the EU’s external relations. At the 2005 Summit, the EU undertook to achieve a common level of ODA spending (0.51% of GNI), with the EU-15 Member States ensuring in their budgets a 0.51% ODA/GNI ratio by 2010 and 0.7% by 2015. Realising that it would be difficult for the new Member States to meet this target, the European Council decided in June 2005 that the new Member States should strive to achieve 0.17% of ODA/GNI by 2010 and 0.33% by 2015. The problems in achieving this target that the Slovak Republic is facing primarily result from high annual growth and budgetary restrictions imposed by the need to comply with the Maastricht criteria so as to ensure swift convergence of the Slovak economy.