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Broad support for the new development policy strategy and Act

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In May, the strategy The Right to a Better Life was adopted by all the parties in Folketinget (the Danish parliament) following an inclusive and transparent process. The objective of Denmark’s development cooperation is to combat poverty and promote human rights. With a rights-based approach to development, the new strategy focuses on four priorities: human rights and democracy; green growth; stability and protection; and social progress. The work of transforming the strategy into action was undertaken immediately by, among other things, drawing up the strategic framework for development cooperation with the EU, energy, natural resources and climate, culture and development, and communication.

At the same time Danida has developed various instruments for transforming the rights-based approach to development into practice. This rights-based approach takes its point of departure in the UN’s human rights conventions, standards, norms and instruments and is based on the principles of non-discrimination, participation, transparency and accountability. Human rights constitute a core part of both Danish foreign policy and Danish development policy, and in order to strengthen the Danish focus on human rights Denmark in 2012 appointed a Special Ambassador for Human Rights, whose task it is to strengthen Denmark’s international efforts to protect and implement human rights.

The new Act on International Development Cooperation was also adopted in Folketinget in 2012. It replaces the Act from 1971, and the new Act reflects the changed development policy landscape. It increases the transparency of Danish development cooperation and acknowledges the impact that other policies besides the development policy have on developing countries. In addition, the Act provides the framework for the new Council for Development Policy, which replaced the Danida Council and the Danish Board for International Development Cooperation.

The new Council for Development Policy forms the framework for the ongoing strategic dialogue with and advising of the Minister for Development Cooperation. The new council has a broad composition, consisting of representatives from Danish research institutions, civil society and labour organisations. This ensures broad backing in Danish society and extensive insight into all aspects of international development cooperation.

Finally, a restructuring was begun of the support to Danish civil society organisations. This restructuring will result in more organisations receiving framework agreements and ensure that resources are channelled to funds and networks, where other organisations can apply for support. By far the largest of these funds is the Civil Society Fund.

As of January 2013, new framework agreements had thus been entered into with ADRA Denmark, Disabled Peoples Organisations Denmark, the LO/FTF Council, the Danish trade union 3F and Forests of the World. In addition, in autumn 2012 an evaluation of the Civil Society Strategy was undertaken for the purpose of ensuring the continued restructuring and improvement of the support in the coming years.