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Organisation and glossary

Danida is Denmark’s development cooperation and is placed under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark. Development policy and foreign policy are integrated in the daily work of the Danish Foreign Service, both at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Copenhagen and at the Danish missions in Denmark’s priority countries. Danida is not an independent organisation. The Minister for Development Cooperation is served by the Danish Foreign Service in Denmark and abroad.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Bilateral and multilateral assistance

Bilateral assistance is the type of assistance granted for cooperation with authorities, civil society and institutions in the developing countries. Multilateral assistance, on the other hand, is channelled through international bodies such as UN organisations, the World Bank Group and the EU.

Assistance through NGOs

A considerable part of Danish development assistance is channelled through NGOs. NGOs have some advantages in relation to other actors in development cooperation. For example, they are well qualified to create international understanding and to strengthen popular support for development assistance in both the North and the South. At the same time, NGOs work closely with local organisations in the South.

Budget support and development contracts

In the future, general budget support will be provided in the form of a development contract based on clear common EU criteria. Support channelled to the national budgets is a significant contribution to the central government’s delivery of basic services, such as education, health and clean water. The contracts will have both a component with financial transfers to the national budgets and a component with, for example, capacity building, strengthening of control mechanisms and financial management as well as support for developing a more efficient tax system. The budget support package has been strengthened partly by ensuring closer linkage with the activities under the programme that are designed to promote good governance. In the future development contracts and sector contracts, increased emphasis will be placed on agreements regarding specific results. Depending on the national context, a larger part of the disbursement will be linked to the delivery of the agreed results.
What characterises a development contract is that the financial transactions are tied to the total national budget of the recipient country. In addition, the parties can enter into sector contracts, supporting a specific sector. In this regard, the Danish funds will also be pooled together with the country’s own funds, although the contract and dialogue are targeted at the specific sector. It will also be possible to enter into a state-building contract that supports the budget of a fragile state, typically during a transition period.

Danida Business Finance

The objective of the programme (formerly the Mixed Credits Programme) is to ensure financing for mainly large-scale public infrastructure projects that cannot be financed on market terms. This is achieved by offering interest free loans with a 10-year loan period, where interest, export credit premiums and other financial costs are financed through development assistance funds. By promoting access to financing by involving commercial partners, the programme can facilitate investments in infrastructure, thereby making a contribution to creating a better framework for sustainable economic growth and employment. The programme primarily finances Danish project supplies for development projects in Danida’s priority countries that contribute to ensuring transition to a green economy.

Danida Business Partnerships

Danida Business Partnerships comprises support for establishing commercially oriented partnerships between Danish companies and partners in the recipient countries – most frequently local enterprises but also NGOs, educational institutions and public authorities. Danish Business Partnerships’ objective is to promote inclusive green growth as well as improve working and living conditions in Danida’s priority countries. This takes place through the transfer of knowledge and technology from Danish companies with the aim of strengthening the local partners’ competitiveness, job creation and CSR efforts. Priority is given to the development of innovative partnerships that contribute to the transfer of green technology and capacity building. Creating synergy in relation to the other development assistance activities and commercial activities in priority countries is likewise emphasised. Danish Business Partnerships replaces the former programmes Business-to-Business (B2B) and Innovative Partnerships for Development (IPD).

Danida Grant Committees

The Grant Committees provide advice to the Minister for Development Cooperation and the Minister for Foreign Affairs. The Grant Committees discuss projects above DKK 5 million. The Danida Grant Committees consist of an External Grant Committee and an Internal Grant Committee: The External Grant Committee is responsible for grant proposals above DKK 35 million and is chaired by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ State Secretary for Development Policy. Its members comprise the head of the Centre for Global Development and Cooperation (vice chairman) as well as two other heads of centre at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The External Grant Committee also comprises four external members and two alternate members who are appointed by the Minister for Development Cooperation for a period of three years. A list of the Grant Committee’s external members can be viewed here. The Articles of Association can be found here.

The Internal Grant Committee is responsible for grant proposals between DKK 5 million and DKK 35 million. The Internal Grant Committee comprises the four internal members of the External Grant Committee. It is chaired by the State Secretary for Development Policy, whilst the head of the Centre for Global Development and Cooperation acts as Vice-Chairman.

Green growth and green economy

Green growth is understood as an integral part of sustainable growth that promotes general economic growth and development in a way in which the environment can deliver the resources and environmental services upon which our welfare and prosperity is dependent both now and in the future. Green growth is to act as a driver of investment, innovation and job creation that supports sustainable growth and stimulates new economic opportunities. In the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), green economy is defined as an economy characterised by low emission of greenhouse gases, efficient and sustainable use of the planet’s resources, and social inclusion.

Humanitarian assistance

The Danish contributions to humanitarian assistance include acute assistance in connection with crises and disasters but also more long-term initiatives for the protection and lasting strengthening of living conditions among vulnerable population groups who are afflicted by wars, conflicts or natural disasters, not least refugees and the internally displaced. To a high degree, humanitarian assistance is granted through international relief organisations and Danish NGOs. A number of international humanitarian organisations receive both earmarked contributions and non-earmarked contributions.

Act on International Development Cooperation

Denmark’s development assistance is laid down and administered on the basis of the Act on International Development Cooperation. In May 2012, Folketinget (Danish Parliament) passed a new Act on International Development Cooperation, which entered into force on 1 January 2013. The Act can be found here:

Transition assistance

Transitional assistance may be granted for a period of time to developing countries undergoing a period of radical reorganisation or reconstruction, for example following economic liberalisation or armed conflict. Transitional assistance comprises provisional but multiannual initiatives. Denmark seeks to organise it in such a way that it can be implemented without prolonged Danish assistance.

”The New Deal” – the international engagement in fragile states

”The New Deal” is an international approach aimed at improving the effectiveness of efforts in fragile states. The New Deal is built around five peace-building and state-building goals defined by g7+, an organisation for and by a group of conflict-affected and fragile states. These goals are: legitimate politics, security, justice, economic foundations, and revenues and services.

Personnel assistance

Personnel assistance takes the form of an offer to partners to provide technical assistance for capacity building. Advisers play a central role in sector programme support as contributors to the partner dialogue, as contributors of specific knowledge and experience, and as agents of Danish development assistance.

Project assistance

Project assistance is a temporary, organised effort aimed at achieving a defined goal. This may be, for example, support for building schools in a specific area.

Regional assistance

Efforts take place at regional level to promote regional cooperation and integration. Regional assistance focuses on natural resource management and the environment, economic cooperation and integration, conflict prevention and conflict resolution, human rights and democracy and certain specific functional areas, for example within infrastructure.

Rights-based approach to development

Denmark will apply human rights as a core value in our partnerships and use principles of non-discrimination, participation, transparency and accountability in all phases of our development cooperation. We will work to promote all human rights - economic, social, cultural, civil and political - with a special focus on women’s rights and equal access to decision-making processes, resources, and opportunities. We will systematically strengthen capacity of public authorities, civil societies and rights holders and we will work to strengthen participation of the poorest developing countries in the development of the international legal order.

The rights based approach to development provides a clear framework that facilitates the identification of demands that citizens have the right to make – at economic, social, cultural, civil and political level. The approach elevates the fight against poverty into a system of clearly defined tasks for governments, donor countries and international actors and makes it easier to make demands of the responsible actors. It enhances efforts to enable the poor and socially excluded to fight for their rights themselves. It enhances efforts to enable poor people to gain access to information, appeal mechanisms and fair systems of justice. Lastly, it makes it easier to ensure that the responsible governments and organisations are accountable.

Whole-of-Government approach to stabilisation efforts

Whole-of-Government is an integrated approach where all authorities or parts of an organisation (e.g. UN) contributing to a particular stabilisation process, work in partnership to achieve a commonly defined stabilisation objective. This includes cooperation in relation to planning, implementation and knowledge sharing in connection with political, development and security policy efforts. A Whole-of-Government stabilisation approach can be adopted before, during and after a conflict. There can easily be Whole-of-Government stabilisation efforts which do not have a military element. The military tool is just one of many that can be used in a given situation.

Sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR)

At the core of the SRHR concept is the right to decide over one’s own body. The concept encompasses the right to decide when and with whom one wishes to have sexual intercourse and whether or not and when a woman wants to have children. It is about having access to abortion, about young and unmarried people’s access to sex education, condoms and other forms of contraception as well as about having access to qualified obstetric care.

Sector programme support

Since the mid-1990’s, bilateral assistance has been reorganised from project assistance to sector programme support. Sector programme support for priority countries is typically concentrated in 3-4 sectors per country. Sector support can take many forms. The form depends, for example, on the sector and recipient country involved and how well the country’s administrative system works and whether the necessary capacity is available locally.

This type of assistance most often presupposes that the recipient country either has or is in the process of preparing a national sector strategy. However, this is not always the case for broad sectors with many actors such as good governance or private sector development.

In most cases, sectors are more traditional sectors such as agriculture, health care and education. However, as in Bolivia, the sector approach can also be used on issues such as the status and development potential of the indigenous peoples, or a cross-cutting business sector programme as in Tanzania and Ghana.

Within the framework of a sector programme, Danida normally supports development and capacity building at multiple levels where the possibility exists. At the top level, it can, for example, support the development of national policies, strategies and action plans for activities in the sector.

At the core of a sector programme is the principle that the recipient country gains ownership of development programmes and activities. Ownership means that the recipient country has assumed or can assume responsibility for the organisation of the programmes and the implementation of the activities. It is also the intention that in the long term the recipient country should finance ever-increasing parts of the initiatives.

Cross-cutting initiatives in programme assistance

It is often a precondition for achieving positive, sustainable results through sector programme support that initiatives are implemented in advance or in parallel at macro level or within areas that cut across several sectors. Typical areas will be general budget support, the implementation of public sector reforms including decentralisation, activities for the promotion of democratisation, respect for human rights and good governance and the promotion of a favourable business climate.

Council for Development Policy

According to the Act on International Development Cooperation, the Council for Development Policy is responsible for providing the framework for ongoing strategic dialogue with and advice to the Minister for Development Cooperation in relation to the implementation of the tasks which it is charged with pursuant to the Act. The Council for Development Policy discusses strategic initiatives within the sphere of Danish development policy and development cooperation, including, for example, country policy papers, new thematic strategies, overall cooperation with the multilateral organisations and progress in country programmes. The Council also contributes with independent knowledge sharing through discussions and prioritisation of the annual evaluation programme and the actual evaluations.

The members of the Council for Development Policy are appointed by the Minister for Development Cooperation. The Council is composed of up to 15 members, who are nominated for a period of three years. Click here to view a list of the Council members. Click here to view the Articles of Association of the Council for Development Policy.