Development cooperation is a foreign policy instrument that Estonia has started to implement actively, to contribute securing stability and prosperity in the world through directed activities. The progress of the Estonian community has to date reached a level where the know-how brought from abroad applied to local conditions incites sharing of Estonia’s experience with other countries, i.e. Estonia has become from an aid receiving country to an aid providing country.
Estonia’s development cooperation proceeds from the 20 January 1999 decision of the Riigikogu (Parliament) "Principles of development cooperation for the years 1999-2000". On the basis of that document development and humanitarian aid constitutes a significant part of Estonia’s foreign policy.
As of 1998 separate means are set aside in Estonia’s state budget for the purpose of national development and humanitarian aid. In the year 2000, 7 million Estonian kroons were earmarked for its financing.
Foreign Minister Toomas Hendrik Ilves said in his speech on the main directions of Estonia’s foreign policy in the Riigikogu on 12 October 2000 that the three years of participation in practical development cooperation have gradually turned Estonia into a donor nation acknowledged also by international organisations.
In his speech, the foreign minister underlined among the developments of 2000 the launching of successful trilateral projects that comprise the joint activities of two donor countries – one of them Estonia – in third countries. “Thus, joining resources and sharing responsibilities with other nations, we can be much more effective in reaching our goals,” foreign minister Toomas Hendrik Ilves said.
Estonia welcomes Ukraine’s European choice and has launched several cooperation projects to support Ukraine’s integration into the European structures. During 2000, Estonia has organised six seminars for high-level Ukrainian officials, which mostly covered issues related to the European integration. The aim of Estonia in this process has been to create a framework of trilateral co-operation, embracing also third countries. The first partner country to be included was the United Kingdom and since autumn 2000 also Canada has joined the trilateral co-operation programmes. The lecturers have been 90 per cent Estonian while the seminars and meetings were planned and implemented jointly by the Estonian Foreign and respective Ministries, the Embassy of Ukraine in Tallinn and the Western partner countries (UK and Canada) (see below).
Development and humanitarian aid projects 2000 of the Republic of Estonia
1. Albania, 20.01.2000 – Estonian Government disbursed 820,000 Estonian kroons to the Estonian Border Guard Board for the delegating costs of the Tallinn Passenger Harbour check point deputy director second lieutenant Kalle Kandroo to the Western European Union (WEU) MAPE mission to Albania.
2. Ukraine, 10.05.2000 - 43,320 Estonian kroons were disbursed for organising a certification and veterinary related seminar for Ukrainian civil servants in co-operation with the Ministry of Economic Affairs. Proceeding from Estonia’s political and economic interest in assisting Ukraine in integrating into Europe and deriving from the wish of the Ukrainian government to acquaint itself with Estonia’s experience by conforming legislation with the European Union, many other seminars as well were organised for Ukrainian civil servants in 2000 (see also paragraphs 3, 8 and 9).
3. Ukraine, 25.05.2000 - 24,640 Estonian kroons were disbursed for organising a privatisation related seminar for Ukrainian civil servants in co-operation with the Ministry of Economic Affairs.
4. Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), 20.06.2000 - 370,000 Estonian kroons were disbursed for the OECD Baltic regional programme (BRP). The BRP is a programme approved by OECD in March 1998, the objective of which is the integration of the Baltic States into the world economy and it is an essential cooperation instrument in the regional context.
5. Belarus, 18.07.2000 - 209,810 Estonian kroons were disbursed for organising a summer camp in Estonia for 20 students of the 3rd secondary school of the city of Dobrush in Gomel county of Belarus, who suffered in the Chernobyl catastrophe.
6. Ukraine, 18.10.2000 – 41,400 Estonian kroons were disbursed for covering the expenses of the Canadian, Ukrainian and Baltic States’ joint programme (CUBE) during 2000. CUBE is a three-year programme (lasting 01.10.2000 – 30.09.2003), the objective of which is to support the development of the Ukrainian public services, drawing main attention to the training of middle and senior civil servants in the field of economy and economic policy analysis. Project executioner is the Estonian Institute of Public Administration.
7. Moldova, 14.11.2000 – 160,000 Estonian kroons were disbursed for making a contribution to a fund created by the Organisation of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) for the withdrawal of Russian Federation troops and armament from the Republic of Moldova in accordance with the OSCE decisions of the Istanbul Summit meeting of 1999. The voluntary contribution is a token of Estonia’s political support to Moldova’s independence and the development of democratic processes in the country.
8. Ukraine, 14.11.2000 – 79,200 Estonian kroons were disbursed for organising an integration and language policy related seminar for Ukrainian civil servants in cooperation with the Office of the Minister for Population and Ethnic Affairs.
9. Ukraine, 14.11.2000 – 64,000 Estonian kroons were disbursed for organising a finance reform and banking related seminar for Ukrainian civil servants in the framework of the trilateral co-operation between Estonia, United Kingdom and Ukraine. The seminar was carried out in cooperation with the Ministry of Finance.
10. Russia, 20.12.2000 – 300,000 Estonian kroons were disbursed to the Estonian Foreign Policy Institute for the support of the project of creating the Pskov Regional Development Agency. The Development Agency will comprise both the Pskov region and city authorities and, on the other hand, businessmen of the region. The aim of the project is the training of Russian officials and the third sector in civil society and this will contribute to the development of regional cooperation between border areas of Estonia and Russia.
11. Bosnia and Herzegovina, 20.12.2000 – 195,000 Estonian kroons were disbursed to members of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Press Council for organising a seminar on self-regulating media in the beginning of 2001 in Estonia. The aim of the seminar is to strengthen the democracy in Bosnia and Herzegovina through the self-regulation of the media. This seminar is a continuation of a seminar on the same subject organised by the Independent Media Commission of the UN Special Envoy Office in 1999. The seminar will be organised by the Estonian Press Council.
12. Georgia, 20.12.2000 – 260,000 Estonian kroons were disbursed for supporting the first stage of the Georgian civil society project. The objective of the project to be carried out by the Estonian Council of Civic Organisations is to invite Georgian citizens associations into shaping public policy. During the first stage, necessary information materials will be prepared in conjunction with the Georgian partner, a conference will be organised for representatives of Georgian citizens associations and the State. An analysis will be made, in which the most problematic questions will be mapped out, on the basis of which the scheme of the second stage will be determined.
13. Yugoslavia, 20.12.2000 – 600,000 Estonian kroons were disbursed for assistance the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, primarily for refugees and internally displaced persons in the approaching winter. Basic needs are the arranging of accommodation for refugees (blankets, mattresses, beds, stoves etc.) and food. Contribution was made by the Estonian Government in response to the appeal of the Office of UN Refugees High Commissioner (UNHCR) to donor countries to assist Yugoslavia. Executor of the humanitarian aid project is the representative of the UNHCR residing in Estonia.
14. Georgia, 20.12.2000 – 1,500,000 Estonian kroons were disbursed to the Estonian Red Cross in response to the appeal of the International Red Cross Federation to assist Georgia during 10 months, in order to relieve the famine resulting from drought in the summer.
15. UN, 20.12.2000 – 200,000 Estonian kroons were disbursed for organising the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, scheduled for 31.08-07.09.2001 and being the third anti-racist conference. The basic activities of the conference are centred on finding practical means to abolish racism, whereas attention will be drawn to activities to prevent racism and respective training. Organiser of the conference will be the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR).
16. Voluntary donations to funds, 20.12.2000 – 2,100,000 Estonian kroons were disbursed:
- 600,000 Estonian kroons to funds connected with the UN Human Rights protection: 300,000 Estonian kroons to the UN Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Populations and 300,000 Estonian kroons to the UN Voluntary Fund for the International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People. This particular contribution constitutes a contribution in equal parts for the years 2000 and 2001.
600,000 Estonian kroons to the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF). Of this contribution, 300,000 Estonian kroons is in response to the appeal of the UNICEF regional director to assist the UN special session convening in 2001 where the children’s situation in next decade will be dealt with, and 300,000 Estonian kroons constitutes a contribution for the year 2000.
600,000 Estonian kroons to the International Red Cross Committee. Estonia is a member of the International Red Cross Committee since acceding to respective Geneva conventions and additional protocols in 1993. This particular contribution constitutes a contribution in equal parts for the years 2000 and 2001.
- 300,000 Estonian kroons to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). In 2000, the UNDP closed its representation in Estonia because its activities came to an end, as Estonia become from an aid receiving country to a donor country. Through contributions Estonia is supporting developing countries to improve their situation in the world.
By continuing the execution of development and humanitarian aid projects and making donations to the funds of international organisations, Estonia demonstrates that in addition to its political will, the state also takes concrete steps in order to support those suffering in emergency areas and to improve the living conditions of people where international aid is most needed.
* Projects coordinated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and carried out with the help of means intended for development cooperation in the reserve of the Government of the Republic. Activities of other ministries considered as development cooperation have not been reflected in this overview.