On March 4, 2013 the Hungarian Parliament adopted the proposal of the Hungarian Committee on Foreign Affairs calling on the Hungarian MFA to develop an international development framework strategy until June 30, 2013. The Hungarian Association of NGOs for Development and Humanitarian Aid (HAND) welcomed the decision which had been for a long time one of its main policy recommendations.
During May, the MFA finalised the first draft of the proposed strategy document to be submitted to the Committee on Foreign Affairs. HAND, based on the inputs coming from its members, submitted its reaction to the draft. The document in its current form reflects many of the recommendations Hungarian NGDOs repeatedly made during previous years. The proposed strategy, among other things, foresees the decreasing of the number of partner countries, as well it identifies a limited number of development sectors suitable for Hungarian intervention, it makes references to policy coherence and to the fundamental role that human rights should play in the formulation of the Hungarian development policy and practice.
However, in spite of all the positive elements of the proposed strategy - as NGOs expressed - it does not address the unavoidable reform of the current institutional and legal background of Hungary’s development cooperation. Though the draft makes – rather weak - allusions to the need of a stronger coordinating role of the MFA and of the adoption of a separate development law, it fails to project any specific ideas how these should be achieved. The lack of a clear vision and specific objectives in other aspects of the strategy is clearly the weakest point of the draft. Whether the recommendations of civil society have been taken into consideration will only be seen when the Committee on Foreign Affairs discussed the strategy document since there will be no further consultation prior to the meeting of the Committee on 17th June.
According to the plans of the MFA, in the future this general framework will be broken down into specific actions in form of an action plan -a process which of course HAND will closely follow again.
Information provided by Reka Balogh, HAND