The first proper development cooperation strategy of Hungary was approved in a government decree on 27th March 2014. Though the strategy itself treats the question of neccessary transformative measures of the current institutional and legal backgroud of development cooperation in a very general manner, the decree itself sets out concrete tasks and deadlines in this regard for the government. These include the creation of the first legal act regulating this policy field, the preparation for establishing a government implementing agency and an intergovernmental coordination body, all leading to a strenghthened role of the MFA.
Not much has been done though since April when there were general elections in Hungary. After a couple of months of uncertainities and constant changes, in the end of September the processes for developing the new law, the new agency and the intergovernmental coordination body have been radically speeded up. Social consultations have been initiated in a more or less timely manner and are taking place in multiple rounds and on top of that numerous NGO proposals have been already incorporated into the text of the draft law, for which NGOs have been pushing for about 10 years.
But these promising developments are happening against the backdrop of the new focus of foreign policy announced by the new minister: promoting trade and investment interests of Hungary, which is reflected in the new name of the ministry as well: Ministry of Foreign Affaires and Trade (in Hungarian Trade comes first...). Therefore NGOs are yet only moderately optimistic and it is still too early to judge whether Hungarian development cooperation is setting out to a new direction NGOs also envisage.
In case of „yes” it will be a proof of the saying: if there is a will there is a way.
For more information please contact Reka Balogh or Peter Rohonyi of the Hungarian development CSO platform HAND.
Information provided by HAND.