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Being aware of the growing importance of the development cooperation policy in the world, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania focuses on introducing citizens of Lithuania to its related activities.

8
Education, Social welfare, Logistics
Refugees, Children and youth
4
more than € 1,3 mln. between 2004-2012 and € 61,000 in 2012

Scope of involvement

International

On a multilateral basis and with regard to the priorities of the European Union, according to possibilities, support is provided to countries in other regions, particularly in the poorest African countries.

Regional

On a bilateral basis, Lithuania provides support to Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia and Afghanistan.

National

Lithuanian non-governmental organisations are involved in projects related to the welfare of children, women and other vulnerable groups.

Types of stakeholders

NGO in general

There are no strong national NGOs in the country working exclusively on humanitarian assistance projects.

Half of Lithuania’s development cooperation projects were implemented by Lithuanian and foreign NGOs. The main areas of development activities include support for good governance, economic and social development, european integration and regional development, civil society and public awareness.

National Red Cross Society

National Red Cross Society concentrates on youth involvement in volunteerism, works with refugees, provides help for migrants, delivers humanitarian law related seminars and workshops.

Faith-based organisations

Faith- based organizations concentrate on social projects at the national level.

Armed Forces

Armed forces and their transportation means are sometimes used in short-term humanitarian aid projects through logistical support.

State humanitarianism

Ministries and State Agencies involved

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs plays the main role in humanitarian action and developments funds’ main distributor role by selecting projects to be implemented.

The goals of the Lithuanian Development Cooperation Policy is to contribute to the development of democracy, security, and stability in the neighboring regions; to promote political, cultural, economic, and social relationships with the neighbouring countries; and to strengthen the role of Lithuania in shaping and implementing the policy of the international organisations in the region, and, therefore, to strengthen Lithuania's national security.

Lithuania’s development cooperation initiatives in 2012 touched upon various important areas of the everyday life of partner countries – Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine, Afghanistan and Tunisia. 122 projects with a value of 3.9 million LTL have been implemented with funding from Lithuania’s Development Cooperation and Democracy Promotion Programme.

Legal framework

On May 16th 2013 the Lithuanian Parliament passed the Law on Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid, which came into force on October 1st, 2013. This Law lays out the main framework, principles and responsible institutions for the policy drafting, coordination of humanitarian projects, raising public awareness in this field and ensuring a reporting mechanism. This law determines the targets and guidelines of Lithuanian Development Cooperation policy, its formation, implementation, coordination and financing, and ways of providing Humanitarian Aid.

Principles and accountability

Organisations that implement development cooperation projects are responsible through a reporting mechanism managed by The Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Dialogue-coordination

There is lack of information and coordination among institutions. Over the recent years a willingness to involve all stakeholders, including NGOs, in improving the national ODA system and in participating in the new, but crucial, area of public awareness and humanitarian-development education has been noticed.

Specific roles of international organisations

European Commission

During the EU accession process neither humanitarian assistance nor development cooperation was an issue in Lithuania, the experience was only gained under the old international cooperation system of the Soviet area. Accession to the EU has fostered the commitment to provide humanitarian and development assistance even since Lithuania has hence also become a member of the international donor countries' community.

United Nations

In 2012 financial aid reached victims through several international organisations: the United Nations Refugee Agency, the World Food Programme, UN OCHA and the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration.

Specific focus

Civil Protection

The Fire and Rescue Department under the Ministry of the Interior participates in short-term projects related to providing support to civil protection measures in other countries.

 

Humanitarian Education

Higher education

There are no humanitarian education providers in Lithuania that focus only on professional humanitarian education. Vytautas Magnus University holds a Bachelor programme in ‘International politics and development studies’. Other universities, like Vilnius University, provide International law, Geopolitics,and Public health related programmes, but none of them have modules in humanitarian action. Vilnius University’s Law faculty already delivers a module on humanitarian action that is included in the curriculum of Law students and teaching is ongoing.

In-house training

Skills and competences of the humanitarian workers are being acquired through education provided by NGOs themselves and through field experiences.

Seminar/short courses

The National Red Cross Society and Vilnius university Law faculty organise short courses and seminars on humanitarian law and humanitarian action related issues.

References

Law on Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Assistance: National Parliament of Lithuania (2013) [Online]. Available from:
<http://www3.lrs.lt/pls/inter3/dokpaieska.showdoc_l?p_id=438865&p_tr2=2>. [8 April 2014].

Information on development and humanitarian assistance projects prepared by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2008 [Online]. Available from: . [7 May 2014].

AidWatch country report, 2012 [Online]. Available from: <http://www.plan-eu.org/content/uploads/2012/06/AidWatch-report-2012.pdf>. [7 May 2014].

Researchers

Gabija Grigaitė and Renata Vaišvilienė
Vilnius University