On 1st of July 2013 Croatia became the 28th member state of the European Union. After seven years of negotiations and the implementation of numerous political, social and legal reforms, the EU member states have decided that Croatia is ready to join the Union.
This negotiation process has also influenced the field of development cooperation. Since February 2011, Croatia has no longer received Official Development Assistance (ODA) and has become an official donor. However, the full understanding of development cooperation is still lacking within different state institutions as well as within civil society in Croatia.
In 2013, Croatia defined its strategic thematic and geographic goals related to development cooperation. Geographically, Croatia wants to be present primarily in South-East Europe (with a focus on Bosnia and Herzegovina), the Southern Mediterranean (Morocco, Tunisia and Syria) and Afghanistan. Thematically, Croatia wants to focus on education, public health, tourism and the development of civil society.
However, the reality is very different from the political objectives and strategies. Croatia has significantly reduced its budget for development cooperation, reaching only 0.03% of GDP in 2011; around € 15 million.
Finally, Croatian CSOs are also expanding their work towards development cooperation. Today, there are strong independent CSOs focusing mostly on the Croatian transition process. However, the skills and knowledge gained through this process, particularly in the field of peace building and democratisation, give Croatian CSOs huge potential within development cooperation. At the moment, over 30 organisations are working on the establishment of a national platform for development cooperation CSOs.
After more than 30 years’ exposure to the different forms of donor, with positive and negative experiences, the challenge for Croatian CSOs is to implement development cooperation policies and projects in solidarity with people across the globe and avoid making the same mistakes practised in our own surroundings.
The full article is published in the TRIALOG Bulletin 2013 and can be read online: http://www.trialog.or.at/images/doku/trialog_bulletin_2013.pdf
Information provided by Gordan Bosanac, Center for Peace Studies