Publications of Anna Selmeczi

Different Horizons: Aid, Trade and Official Development Assistance in Hungary

State development assistance is constantly changing. There are new countries involved such as Turkey, Brazil and Venezuela and the central and eastern members of the European Union. Not so long ago, some of these new donors were themselves recipients of grant, cheap loans and technical assistance. Their status as emerging democracies or transition countries gives them an alternative perspective on development co-operation and external support, and for some of the more established international development organizations, this can translate into a different kind of solidarity, less tinged with ambivalent post-colonial relations. Non-state development assistance is also changing in size and importance; in some fields, private philanthropy outspends state programs tenfold; in other cases, lines between business and development are blurred as more and more companies participate in actions that are part profit making but also with a clear social agenda. Although the stress is on partnerships, there are still those involved in development that stress more political agendas, for example, cross border democracy promotion and the different colour revolutions. In this context, it is worthwhile having a clearer idea of just who are these new development actors and how far are they working to traditional models of development assistance and support? What is the actual meaning of partnership within countries and between countries? How does one country get to be a priority partner and what does the general public think of all these efforts to improve living standards abroad? This report represents the Hungarian chapter of a nine country inventory of current development practices in central and eastern Europe. Led by the Center for Economic Development in Sofia, it is the first systematic attempt to provide detailed information and analysis on Official Development Assistance in these countries and the respective roles of the civic and private sector in both policy and practice. We hope that it can make a useful contribution to debates on the future of this emerging sector.

The Role of Civil Society in Development Assistance and Aid Effectiveness

Civil society organizations play a significant role in international development cooperation. As a token of solidarity, a number of European states assisted developing countries’ strive for political and socio-economic development well before establishing the European Union and institutionalizing the European policy for non-governmental sector development. Quite often civil sector assistance provided to developing countries preceded, and in some cases even superseded state aid. Civil organizations operate in various areas and possess diverse competences. In recent years a group of non-governmental organizations specializing in the area of international development and humanitarian aid have been set up in a number of European countries. They allow placing donor-development assistance beneficiary relationship on new grounds. NGDOs conduct a dialog with EU institutions on issues of international development cooperation, participate in EU institutions’ work in their consulting capacity and implement EU funded development assistance programmes and projects. As a result of the cooperation with the civil sector some good practices are developed, thus enriching EU and member states’ agenda on development issues. Along with that civil organizations stir up their activity in international development assistance beneficiary states via enhancing cooperation with partnering NGOs in these countries. In the future it is expected such NGDOs to become the principal actors in development cooperation with the purpose of assisting developing countries in building up civil society foundations.