The reason for Hungary won’t be able to contribute 0.33 percent of national income as development aid in two years originates in the country’s financial conditions. In 2011 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs explained the situation by emphasizing the lower disbursements made from the general EU budget for external assistance and the change in the HUF/USD exchange rate.
One year earlier Brigitta Jaksa, the policy consultant of Demnet.org, elaborated on the historical elements, namely most of the EU13 countries that once belonged to the Soviet Union don’t really have experience in international development projects and lack the expertise in the field. However, many of them – including Hungary – have specific experience of dealing with development issues such as post-conflict reconstruction and displacement of people in the Balkans within their own or neighbouring countries.
The European Union is the world’s largest supplier of international development aid.The aim of international development is to reduce poverty and improve living conditions in countries in the 'global South' that were formerly colonized and are less developed economically. Joining the EU every state automatically becomes international development aid donor. By 2015 all states should meet an Official Development Assistance target figure: ‘old’ member states should be donating 0.7 per cent and the EU13 states joined in 2004 aim to donate 0.33 per cent.
In Hungary the level of Official Development Assistance (ODA) / Gross National Income (GNI) decreased from 0,11 % in 2011 to 0,10 % in 2012. Aid also decreased in absolute figures, from € 100 million in 2011 to € 92.5 million in 2012. The majority of the Hungarian aid was provided multilaterally through several countries, the minority of the aid, on the other hand, consisted of bilaterally supplied aid that a country gives to another. Refugee and students costs, the measures of which also decreased, were also included. The economic survey of Hungary 2014, however, revealed that “Hungary has exited from recession in early 2013, but the recovery will be modest”, which hopefully positively influences the degree of development aid.
In Hungary, development cooperation is the responsibility of the Department for International Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The national platform bringing together NGDOs is called HAND that has more than 20 members. Humanitarian faith-based organizations, African organizations and global education organizations work together to shape Hungarian development policy and implement projects. Hungarian aid development NGOs are located in India, Kenya, Moldova, South Korea and Occupied Palestinian Territories among other places.
Some of Hungary’s main preferences are “to preserve and support international peace and security, and to create and sustain regional, political and economic stability; to protect human rights and equal opportunities, to strengthen democracy and civil society structures, and to support local community autonomies; to reduce poverty, and contribute to sustainable economic and social development”.
Written by Barbara Majsa
The article was originally written for the course Minority Realities in the News organized by Minority Rights Group International.