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Denmark’s Participation in International Development Cooperation

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Denmark’s Participation in International Development Cooperation


You can read about Danida’s development assistance effort and its results in Danida’s Annual Report 2007. The Annual Report is structured around the Government’s development assistance priorities for 2007, which were established in "A World for All ". In articles, tables and figures, the Annual Report shows the way in which Danish development assistance works within all these priority areas. You can also read about the specific efforts and about targets and performance. In 2007 Denmark’s total development assistance amounted to approximately DKK 13.95 billion.

Danida’s Annual Report is divided into several sections: International Development Cooperation: Danish development cooperation in a global perspective. Here the 2007 Annual Report focuses especially on Danish efforts in the area of gender equality.

Danish development assistance: Concrete bilateral and multilateral development assistance activities in 2006, with a review of the development in Denmark’s programme countries.

This year’s Annual Report contains a report from the Danish Committee for Mixed Credits. The Mixed Credits Scheme grants support to financing supplies of equipment for development projects in a number of developing countries.

In addition, the section on Target and Performance Management is also larger than last year. The degree of goal fulfilment in the activities financed by Danish development assistance funds is discussed in this section.

Just like last year, Program- og Projektorienteringen (PPOen) is available online (in Danish) at It contains targets, results and status for all ongoing, approved bilateral and multilateral programme and projects, humanitarian cases and NGO projects as of the end of 2007.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark

Responsible institution:
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark

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Schultz Grafisk (Print, design and web edition)




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Key subjects:
Development assistance, Poverty, Millennium Development Goals, Programme countries, Africa, Human rights, Democratisation, Emergency aid, Environment, bilateral, multilateral, globalisation, refugees, terrorism, gender equality, mixed credits

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark

Table Of Contents






















Photo: Ulla Tørnæs

In 2007 the Government maintained its focus on Denmark’s global responsibilities and a strong, mutually-binding cooperative engagement with developing countries. The important role development assistance plays in foreign policy was emphasised, and a concentrated effort was targeted at some of the primary challenges and opportunities the poorest people in the world are currently facing.

The OECD’s Development Committee evaluated Danish assistance, resulting in generous praise for the quality of our development cooperation. At the same time, Danish assistance rose by USD 110.2 million to a total of USD 2.6 billion, amounting to an assistance percentage of 0.81 – a concrete increase that is to the advantage of Africa especially.

The Government presented new strategies for Denmark’s cooperation with Africa, Asia and Latin America. Assistance activities play a central role in all of the strategies because, despite explosive growth in many countries in Asia and Latin America, these regions are also struggling with massive poverty-related problems. At the same time, the three strategies emphasise the necessity of ensuring the closest possible collaboration between all our development instruments – assistance, diplomacy, trade, etc. – in order to keep up with the challenges.

The Government continued the work of consolidating Africa as the primary focus of Danish assistance. Despite progress being made, the majority of African countries are experiencing great difficulties in taking part in global economic growth, and it is in Sub-Saharan Africa that the need for Danish development assistance is especially great. In terms of long-term assistance, the recipient countries’ own commitment to development and the countries’ priorities have a key position.

Africa possesses an enormous unutilised driving force for development – women. In 2007 the Government placed special focus on strenghtening women’s rights and economic opportunities in developing countries. For if the poor African countries are to realise their potential and participate in the benefits of globalisation, then women must have the same rights and economic opportunities as the other half of the population. The first part of the annual report focuses on women.

Promoting good governance and fighting corruption, along with fighting HIV/AIDS, constituted two other special priorities for the Government in 2007. At the same time, the climate was moved higher up on the agenda, both internationally and in Denmark. It is now clear that developing countries will be hit the hardest by climate change. If development assistance is to be useful in the long term, then the climate must be an integrated part of the endeavour. Therefore, the Government has, among other things, taken the initiative to climate-proof Danish assistance.

Denmark is a prosperous country. This places a special responsibility on us to contribute towards better opportunities for development in the poor countries of the world. For our own sake as well. Development assistance plays, therefore, an absolutely essential role in Denmark’s collective engagement with the rest of the world.

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Briefly, bilateral assistance can be broken down in this way: (USD million) Of which non-country distributed
Section 06.3 and Section 06.11.19 bilateral assistance 1,534.1 92.6
Administration, including property assets 127.3  
DCISM (Danish Centre for International Studies and Human Rights) 4.1  
Instalment payments on government loans –15.9  
Refugees received 45.1  
International activities involving the Danish Defence Forces and the police 9.1  
(Industrialisation Fund for Developing Countries)/IØ
(Danish Investment Fund for Central and Eastern Europe)/IFV
(International Fund for Emerging Economies) funds
Portion of Danish pools and lottery funds 2.4  
Total bilateral assistance 1,650.5 92.6
Briefly, multilateral assistance can be broken down in this way: Of which other multilateral assistance:
Section 06.3 and Section 06.11.19 multilateral assistance 747.8 114.7
Jointly-financed EU assistance 157.0  
Contributions to international organisations 7.7 0.2
Total multilateral assistance 912.5

*) The assistance amounts represent the disbursements for 2007 that are to be reported to the OECD/DAC as Denmark’s Official Development Assistance. A detailed specification of Denmark’s assistance based on the disbursements included under Sections 06.3 and 06.11.19 as well as those disbursements that fall outside of those Sections can be found on pages 154-160.


Danida’s Annual Report provides information about some of the results of Danish development and environmental assistance to developing countries in 2007. The annual report is divided into two parts: international development cooperation and Danish development cooperation.

This document is a translation from Danish of Danida’s Annual Report from 2007. The text is primarily written for Danish readers. The statistical tables follow definitions used for domestic Danish purposes and do not necessarily conform with definitions used by the Development Assistance Committee of the OECD. The English version of the Annual Report constitutes the Danish 2007 memorandum to DAC.

With a few exceptions all amounts in Danish Kroner have been converted into US dollars at the rate prescribed by DAC: 1 USD = DKK 5.4426. Due to exchange rate fluctuations and the fact that most commitments are made in DKK, the dollar amounts in the report may differ from the amounts actually transferred. Where amounts refer to former years, the DAC rate for that year has been used.

Part one – International development cooperation describes key results and tendencies in international development cooperation, which constitutes the primary framework for fighting poverty.

The Goal 8 Report, which describes the status of Goal 8 of the Millennium Development Goals, is also included in part one. Goal 8 involves creating a global partnership for development through procuring the necessary means for achieving the first seven goals.

Part two – Danish development cooperation focuses on priorities, goals and results in Danish development cooperation, both multilateral assistance and bilateral assistance. In reviewing Denmark’s programme countries, a benchmark has been the countries’ own development goals for combating poverty, and an account is given of the outcomes achieved. A number of different cases from practical development assistance activities are included in order to illustrate Danish development cooperation in the best possible way.

Development processes have complicated causal relations

The objective of the annual report is to document the significance of Danish development cooperation. However, it is important to be aware of the fact that it is often difficult to assess the direct relationship between the effort and the outcome. Danish development assistance is provided under very diverse political and social conditions – and the assistance is never the sole operating factor. The most important motive force for development is the work done by the recipient country, and Denmark typically participates as only one among several donors.

Due to the complicated causal relations behind the development processes and poverty in the Danish programme countries, it is also difficult to demonstrate a direct relationship between, for example, Danish development assistance and progress towards achieveing the UN’s Millennium Development Goals or a country’s own strategies for poverty reduction. As this annual report shows, development cooperation can document a number of positive results where the goals have been achieved or where there has been a positive process in progress in the direction towards goal achievement. These are good indicators that Danish development assistance is contributing to reducing poverty. However, even in the cases where the development indicators have gone in the wrong direction, this does not necessarily mean that the assistance effort is not effective. On the contrary, the development assistance may have contributed to preventing the problems from getting out of control.

New in the annual report

As something new, this year’s annual report contains reportings from the Mixed Credits Scheme, which involves Denmark providing credit to projects in developing countries in which a Danish supplier is involved. Furthermore, Target and Performance Management is included as part of the report. This report analyses the degree of goal achievement in the activities that are financed through Danish development assistance funds on the basis of targt and performance management of bilateral and multilateral development assistance.

Find more information on the net

The Programme and Project Brief (PPO) is not included as a part of the annual report but is, however, available in Danish at The status for all bilateral and multilateral programmes and projects over DKK 5 million is presented here.


Photo: Lunch break, with Nairobi’s (Kenya) skyline in the background. Photo: Sven Torfinn/Panos

Lunch break, with Nairobi’s (Kenya) skyline in the background. Photo: Sven Torfinn/Panos


Timeline: A LOOK BACK AT THE YEAR THAT WAS, 2007 (January-February)
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Timeline: A LOOK BACK AT THE YEAR THAT WAS, 2007 (March-May)
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Timeline: A LOOK BACK AT THE YEAR THAT WAS, 2007 (June-September)
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Timeline: A LOOK BACK AT THE YEAR THAT WAS, 2007 (October- December)
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Photo: Holger Bernt Hansen
CHAIRMAN, 1996-2007

At Nairobi University in the middle of the 1970s the following grafitti could be seen:

Fuck the Danes
- they only come here for holidays.

This remark was probably the result of a massive Danish presence at the university, but still it represented a forewarning of a clash with the slightly romantic/naïve conception that Danes had about Denmark holding a somewhat special position in developing countries because we did not have a colonial history. At the same time, doubt was raised about the extent to which experience from Danish societal development over the last 100 years had universal validity and could be exported to the new developing countries, which was the tendency of development assistance in its first decades.

Denmark’s role as a donor was no longer defined by a spotless past but by the quality and the quantity of our assistance. This development has been significantly increased by the Paris Declaration from 2005 and its goal of donor harmonisation, which allows even less place for donor countries to leave their own special national mark on assistance. Everyone has become a part of the donorcollective. We are seeing a de-nationalisation of Danish assistance activites and no longer work with Danish country strategies or sector policies. By its very nature this approach involves the risk of creating a lack of understanding for development assistance among the general population in Denmark, which creates the special challenge of providing them with sufficient and relevant information.

The role of the donors in terms of their relations with the recipient countries has also changed. To be specific, the recipients have been placed in the driver’s seat of the development cooperation process, which is now based on their plans – their poverty reduction strategies/PRSPs.

The key word for the new role of the donors is ’partnership’, which also provided the name for the Danish strategy from 2000. The changes have eliminated some of the problems of the past, but have not – yet – created an equal partnership between the provider and the receiver, nor have they – despite the change of wording – removed the conditions set by the donor countries in order for countries to receive assistance, the ’conditionalities’.

Even in these times of donor-harmonisation, alignment, joint country strategies and a general de-nationalisation of development assistance, we must still constantly ask ourselves what the Danish comparative advantages are and to what degree they should be the controlling factor for the work of development assistance. This question first became relevant when we went from project assistance to sector assistance. Projects were characterised by a specific and manageable initiative under Danish management. Danes ’stood at the wheel’ – a situation which some still yearn for! The transistion to sector assistance required some choices to be made, where the consideration of those in need out in the countries themselves had to be weighed against the Danish comparative advantages. In recent years the internationalisation of development assistance and the transition to joint country strategies has required actually choosing not to select certain sectors, and the question is whether or not there is even room to consider comparative Danish advantages in the process.

A special problem has been the issue of contral versus flexibility. When I visited the otherwise excellent HIMA agriculture project in Tanzania in 1992, one of the leaders of the village expressed great satisfaction with the Danish initiatives, which had significantly increased their production. However he added thoughtfully,

But we have a slight problem. For more than half of the year, we are not able to sell our products.

The explanation was that the road from the village was not passable during a large part of the year due to rain. When I carefully suggested to the Danish leader that aid should be provided as quickly as possible for improvement of the road, he rejected the idea because funds for roads had not been budgeted and also because Denmark already had a road sector programme in Tanzania – admittedly in completely different areas of the country. This example illustrates how the Danish appropriations system – and the stringent controls of the National Auditors as well – have often limited the alignment given to the changing situations in the programme countries.

Fortunately, however, the strict divisions into ’sector boxes’ and the strict appropriations system have been made more flexible. For example, secondary roads are now included in agriculture sector programmes. The decentralisation of development assistance, with greater responsibility being placed on the embassies in developing countries, has additionally helped to create a certain amount of beneficial sparring concerning the primary development policy priorities and the realities and challenges in the individual programme countries.

Since the first days of development assistance, democracy and human rights have constituted a special Danish priority and have constituted one of the so-called cross-cutting issues. After the end of the Cold War, the emphasis has been on democratic governments with multiparty systems and free elections. However, in the real world, the concept has had to be expanded and focus more broadly on democratic norms and values, the right to influence, and participation. Since then the whole concept has been collected under the broad designation ’good governance’, which includes the aspect of rights as well as placing emphasis on institutions such as election commissions, courts, parliaments etc. As a natural extension of the initiatives towards democracy, during the 1990s the civil society received a greater role, with advocacy activity as the key dimension in the work of Danish NGOs.

The private sector – just like an active civil society – is an invaluable counterweight to the dominant role of the state. However, in the context of development assistance, the private sector was surprisingly slow in taking action. The debate on role of the private sector became deadlocked because, for quite a long time, aid to the private sector in developing countries was seen as being equal to aid to Danish business activities. This was due to the fact that for many years Danish assistance was tied to Danish goods and services, and also to the unfortunate experience from the almost legendary state-guaranteed loans being tied to Danish services during the 1980s. Along with this was the fact that aid to the private sector ran counter to the main principle of Danish assistance, the poverty criterion, because promoting growth in the recipient countries’ private sectors could lead to uneven economic growth and increasing inequlaity.

Two factors eased the situation. In the second half of the 1990s, increasing economic growth was recognised as a necessary means of reducing poverty. At the same time, the understanding of the Danish business sector’s potential role in development assistance underwent a change. The primary concern for assistance was no longer what Denmark could provide but what the actual needs were. In other words, Danish enterprises became a part of the Danish resource base and their participation became predominately based on demand.

In many ways, this development represents the most significant paradigm shift in Danish development assistance in recent years. It has opened the doors to a number of business sector programmes that, in different ways, serve to strengthen the private sector and thereby promote economic growth and have, at the same time, been a catalyst in other sectors, first and foremost in agriculture. At the same time, it has raised the awareness of the need for creating jobs for the rapidly growing generation of young people.

The dilemmas between economic growth and poverty and between the role of the private sector and the state’s maintenance of social needs have, however, not been solved. When the UN General Assembly adopted the eight Millennium Development Goals back in 2000, the perspective of growth in the first draft was almost absent and the pendulum had been swung back. Since then, this aspect has been rectified and the Millennium Development Goals are now an expression of a strategy that focuses on long-term, cross-cutting issues in Danish development policy: the role of women, the problem of HIV/AIDS, the population issue, the situation of children, healthcare, education, the environment, etc. and, that not least commits the international donor community to the same development policy priorities that have characterised Danish assistance for a number of years.

Photo: A female radio host in action for a local radio station in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Photo: Giacomo Pirozzi/ Panos

A female radio host in action for a local radio station in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Photo: Giacomo Pirozzi/ Panos


Women and gender equality came to characterise Danish development cooperation in 2007, and after the Danish general election in November, the Governent initiated a special effort intended to strengthen the third of the eight primary Millennium Development Goals, specifically the goal concerning gender equality.

The effort of transforming both Danish and global strategies concerning gender equality into action was – and is – systematised to lead to actual changes. Improving financial conditions for women is not just necessary in order to ensure gender equality; it is also a prerequisite for development assistance having a broad economic effect and ensuring general poverty reduction in developing countries. The effort targeted at empowering women and achieving gender equality is broad and multifaceted and it represents one of the major themes of this annual report.

2007 was also the year when Denmark developed its first ever strategies for Asia and Latin America. The Africa Strategy was revised as well. A common denominator for all three strategies is cohesion. The strategies do not just concern development assistance but bind together all the various instruments that make up foreign policy: trade, defence, development and security.

The new strategies thus put into practice the thoughts outlined in the Globalisation Strategy from 2006, which laid down that Denmark must play an active role in globalisation, have a presence in the hot spots throughout the world, make a positive difference, and help to ensure that globalisation benefits everyone, including the poor.

Danish development assistance was examined in 2007 and was , once more, found to be sound. The review was undertaken by the DAC, the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee, and it was overwhelmingly poisitive. The review did, however, contain some recommendations for improvements, to a large degree in areas which, it must be added, Denmark is already working on, for example creating clearer guidelines for Denmark’s initiatives in fragile states.

The DAC also encouraged Denmark to undertake an evaluation of the decentralisation of Danish development assistance since 2003. The suggestion was not an expression of criticism but a recognition of the fact that Denmark was one of the first to begin work in this area and has gained experience that many others could benefit from. Work on such an evaluation of Denmark’s experience with decentralisation has also begun.

Decentralisation was, among other things, the result of a desire to provide Danish embassies with better opportunites for conducting the alignment and harmonisation of development assistance in the individual countries that the 2005 Paris Declaration concerning more assistance encouraged. The harmonisation process has gone faster than most people probably expected. It is possible that the process has gone too quickly in some countries and has, to too high a degree, been driven by big donors and at the request of donors, while the countries involved in the process have found it difficult to keep pace. There is reason, in any case, to stop and consider this possibility.


Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Three central-African countries that still bear the violent scars of the 1990’s civil wars and ethnic cleansing. In these countries there is a need for initiatives that can contribute to reconciliation and ensure peace and development, and radio programmes made by and involving women is one such initiative.

Women are especially affected by the wars and conflicts that, most often, men fight. The women are the ones that are left behind with the responsibility of caring for the children and the elderly, farming the land etc., while at the same time, women and girls are easy targets for violence and rape in war-torn areas.

In 2007 the NGO ADRA, Adventist Development and Relief Agency, initiated a project backed by USD 1.6 million from Denmark. The aim of the project is to create 135 radio programmes telling the stories of local women. The programmes are being produced in the local communities and are to be broadcast on national and regional radio stations. A video is also to be produced in each country, and the video programmes will be broadcast on national and regional TV stations and be shown in the local communities.

In order to ensure local public rooting and commitment, no fewer than 50 listener committees are to be established, and that work

is already underway. The listener committees – and 300 women’s groups – will receive radios that are also equipped with recorders, as well as training material so that they can be a part of producing the programmes and use them in local dialogue meetings and cultural activities. The idea behind this is that they are to play a part in initiating discussions and exchanging experience about life as a woman in areas of conflict.

ADRA has been working in Rwanda, Burundi and DR Congo for a number of years and has experienced that women – when they get the right opportunities – have a great potential for commiting to and a desire to take part in the process of creating peace and reconciliation, preventing new conflicts and participating in activities that can create development.

ADRA has had good experience with using the medium of radio in Malawi, where programmes have assisted in placing controversial subjects on the political agenda and creating a lively and, at times, heated dialogue between politicians and the general public. Radio is a medium that is especially well suited in countries where newspapers and TV are not especially widespread or able to reach out into poor and remote areas. For example, in Rwanda 75 per cent of the population have access to a radio in the home while only two per cent have access to TV.

USD 26 million to NGO activities for women in Africa

ADRA’s radio project in Central Africa is just one of many projects that are financed by the special pool of USD 25.7 million that was allocated to empower women in Africa in connection with the 2007 Appropriations Act.

The money was earmarked for four specific areas:

  • USD 7.3 million in the new programme country, Mali, towards a special effort focusing on women’s access to resources and promoting female entrepreneurs as a part of the Danish Business Sector Programme.
  • USD 7.3 million for an initiative concerning combating HIV/AIDS in South Africa, as well as violence against women and children in Southern Africa.
  • USD 3.7 million for a strategic effort aimed at women in conflict and post-conflict situations.
  • And, finally, USD 7.3 million towards strengthening African NGOs work with gender equality.

A great deal of preparatory work went into identifying well-qualified African NGOs working for gender equality. One of the purposes is to enhance the cooperation and the exchange of experience between the African organisations, and therefore the focus is on regional organisations that work in at least three countries. The aim is to build the capacity in the regional organisations so that they can later function in a training capacity for other NGOs that have the potential for conducting similar activities.

The activities are well underway. Seminars have been held for potential cooperation partners in both Africa and Denmark, and it has proved possible to find well-suited networks and organisations that are working for women’s political participation and rights in a broad context. Onthe other hand, it has proved to be more difficult to find regional organisations that are working with promoting women’s economic opportunities.

In all, 15 grants have thus far been provided to two Danish NGOs and a number of African and international NGOs, the majority of which have not previously received Danish assistance.


In November 2007 Niger’s capital, Niamey, hosted an event that few people would think of in connection with the poor West African country: a fashion festival for female African entrepreneurs, “Femmes Entrepreneurs en Vogue”. At the festival, 42 African textile enterprises from 11 different countries presented their widely different collections. 39 of the 42 enterprises are led and/or owned by women.

The festival was one of many attempts to bring female entrepreneurs beyond the local market and put them in contact with customers with buying power in the international market and with top international designers, and it was a part of a pan-African inititiative, “The International Festival of African Fashion”.

The enterprises that participated in the festival were carefully chosen and of the highest quality. Gold, silver and bronze needles were awarded to the three best exhibitors, who also received prize money of between 2,000 and 5,000 euro. The Golden Needle went to a female designer from Mozambique.

Before the festival opened, the female entrepreneurs received good advice regarding promotional material, designing their booths, customer contact etc., and they received assistance in arranging meetings with clients who might be interested in their work. Moreover, already during the festival itself, a Tanzanian firm managed to sign the first contract. They were hired to do the interior design of the hotel in Niamey where the festival was being held.

The festival was organised and financed by the International Trade Centre, ITC, in Geneva and is one of many activities that is covered by an annual Danish grant of USD 2.4 million to the ITC. A share of that amount is what is termed “softly” earmarked to assist African women in creating and running viable enterprises with export possibilities.

The Danish grant has also helped finance women entrepreneurs in Uganda to obtain increased influence on Uganda’s national export strategy. The organisation, Uganda Women Entrepreneurs Association Limited, UWEAL, has nearly 800 businesswomen as members within such fields as agriculture and service, and small production enterprises such as arts and crafts production, and UWEAL works – with support and counselling from ITC – to ensure that Uganda’s future export strategy benefits female entrepreneurs. In a 79-page draft of the export strategy from 2005, special consideration for young people and gender equality issues were only mentioned in three short sections. However, there is good reason to believe that these special considerations will receive considerably higher priority in the final version.

African women get the opportunity to take MBAs in Denmark

Up until now, experience has shown that it is more difficult for African women to become independent business owners than it is for African men. Primarily to ensure better opportunities for more young, talented businesswomen from Africa, the Danish Government decided in 2007 to provide grants to business people in developing countries that enter a Master in Business Administration, MBA, programme at Copenhagen Business School, CBS. The scheme applies for a five-year period, and the goal is to get as many African women as possible to participate. The first woman will receive her degree in the summer of 2008. At the embassies in Denmark’s programme countries, the work of identifying more women for the next round is well under way.

The business people who complete this education improve their possibilities for further developing the enterprises and activities that they are already working on. There is an especially great need for these competencies in the African business sector. The students who enter this programme learn, among other things, how they can best take advantage of the new business conditions associated with globalisation, and about cross-cutting issues such as corporate social responsibility, CSR. At the same time, during the course of their studies they will have the opportunity to establish an international network, which they can also benefit from after they return to their home countries and continue their careers.


Already in 1996 a law was passed outlawing female genital mutilation in Burkino Faso, and the West African country is among 16 countries in Africa that have passed legislation against female genital mutilation. Therefore, many people were shocked when, in September 2007, it became known that a 14-year-old girl had died after having been circumsised in the small town of Pabré, just 15 km outside the capital, Ouagadougou. The girl was just one of 15 girls who had all undergone genital mutilation during the week ending 17 September.

The fatality dramatically illustrates that female genital mutilation is still widespread, despite the law from 1996 and despite the fact that the country had already established a national committee for combating female genital mutilation in 1990. For many years, Denmark has provided aid to this state initiative and also aid to the committee’s five-year plan, “Plan Tolérance Zéro”, which is trying to attack the problem of female genital mutilation on all levels through, for example, information campaigns and research. Apart from this, since April 2007, Denmark has also provided aid to a three-year project intended to intensify the work of a selected group of NGOs in their fight against female genital mutilation.

Seven out of ten Burkinabe women between 15 and 44 have undergone genital mutilation, and the most common form of circumcision in Burkino Faso consists of excising the clitoris or both the clitoris and part of the girls’ labia minora. Apart from the sexual consequences, this procedure involves serious health risks such as problems with pregnancy, blood loss, contracting HIV and infections.

The fact that, despite legislation and the serious consequences involving health, female genital mutilation continues to be so widespread, is due to a number of factors. The girl’s relatives often face social pressure and fear the infertility, infant mortality and loss of the husband’s potency, which according to certain myths, the lack of circumscision can cause.

The person who performs the mutilation – most often an eldery woman for whom the right and the duty to circumsise the girls of the village has been inherited from her ancestors – can also be tempted by the USD 3 -4 that is paid to have the procedure performed. This is not an insignificant amount of money in a country where the official minimum wage is slightly over USD 77 a month.

Finally, the courts rarely exercise the maximum penalty that allows them to sentence those who perform genital mutilation and relatives who are involved to up to three years in prison, and up to 10 years in prison in cases where the genital mutilation results in death. Often it is only those who perform the female genital mutilation who are prosecuted and the sentences are usually suspended.

A survey shows that both Burkinabe men and women are generally willing to combat female genital mutilation. However, the case from Pabré and many other similar cases indicate that there continues to be a long way to go before the change in attitudes has a significant practical effect.

The woman who performed the genital mutilation of the 15 girls in Pabré was arrested and placed in prison, as were the parents of the girl who died and a number of family members who were also implicated, including a couple of aunts and the grandmother.


When a country has an organisation called Women Journalists Without Chains, it is an indication that women’s rights and their freedom of expression are not thriving in that country. And that happens to be the case in Yemen. Therefore, through the Partnership for Progress and Reform Denmark supports both media development and women’s rights organisations in Yemen and thus, among others, the organisation with the very expressive name.

The situation of women in Yemen is far worse than it is for men. There is a widespread understanding that women do not need to be educated to the same degree as men. Men are seen as the natural providers, while a woman’s place is in the home. Morevoer, this attitude does not seem to be under pressure from more modern conceptions of the role of women. On the contrary, many have pointed out that the Wahabi interpretation of Islam from neighbouring Saudi Arabia has strengthened the traditional inequality between men and women in Yemen over the last 10-15 years.

A number of Yemeni women’s rights organisations are working in widely divergent ways to promote gender equality, and many of them receive support from Denmark. For example, during the period between 2004 and 2008, Denmark is granting USD 1.5 million to local women’s rights organisations through the National Women’s Committee in Yemen and through the British NGO Oxfam’s department in Yemen. Among the activities that receive support are a national campaign against early marriages in collaboration with a network of 15 local women’s rights NGOs and a local radio station, microcredits to women, and research into gender-equality-related issues at Sanas University.

Politically sensitive media

The media is a politically sensitive field in Yemen and it has received Danish support since 2004. In the present phase from 2007 to 2009, the support amounts to just over USD 1.5 million. Just as all other actvities that are supported under the Partnership for Progress and Reform, it involves a large number of both Danish and local institutions and organisations in order to promote the breadth and public rooting of the effort.

The Danish participants are the Danish School of Journalism, the Danish Union of Journalists, International Media Support and Danicom. From the Yemini side a number of media organisations are participating such as Women Journalists Without Chains, the schools of journalism from Yemen’s two universities and various radio stations. The Danish support goes to:

  • promoting freedom of the press and access to information
  • the Yemen Syndicate of Journalists establishing and providing training activities involving regional radio stations
  • revising the programme of education for journalists in the country so that it is more practically based and oriented towards critical and investigative journalism
  • continuing training in journalism.

The Danish and Yemini actors have developed a strong and close collaboration, and even though the media and freedom of expression are sensitive subjects in Yemen, there is a clear will to change.

Apart from the media and gender equality issues, Denmark supports democracy, decentralisation and human rights in Yemen through the ’Yemeni-Danish Partnership Programme’, which was signed by Yemen’s Government in December, 2004.


UNIFEM, which is the UN’s Development Fund for Women, was established in 1976 in the wake of the first UN Conference on Women, which was held in 1975 in Mexico. UNIFEM’s purpose is to promote women’s human rights and women’s participation in the political process and economic activities. The organisation has a double mandate: to promote gender equality and women’s human rights in the individual Member States as well as working as a catalyst for involving women in development activities in both Member States and in the UN system of development assistance work as a whole.

Gender equality and women’s rights have received higher priority on both the Danish and the international development agendas. This has, i.a., led to the decision to double the Danish contribution, which has remained constant at USD 0.9 million for years, to USD 1.8 million a year as of 2008.

This will make Denmark UNIFEM’s eighth largest donor in 2008, but Denmark is, however, still not among UNIFEM’s largest donors. In recent years the organisation has experienced a significant general increase in donor contributions, and in 2007 donations amounted to over USD 100 million for the first time. Of this amount, just under half was core contributions, meaning non-earmarked funds for UNIFEM’s general work. The record was due especially to large increases by UNIFEM’s largest donors. For example, both Norway and Spain increased their total contributions to just about USD 21 million in 2007.

In 2007 UNIFEM presented an ambitious strategic plan for the coming years. The plan is based on the supposition that donor contributions will continue to rise. 2007 was also the year when the organisation’s executive director, Noeleen Heyzer from Singapore, stepped down. She had held the post since 1994. Who is to replace her has not yet been decided, but a number of candidates have been mentioned.

UNIFEM prioritises four main areas:

  • reducing poverty among women
  • stopping violence against women
  • halting the spread of HIV/AIDS among women and girls, as well as working with the gender dimensions of HIV/AIDS
  • achieving gender equality in a democratic context, both in times of peace and war.

UNIFEM is directly active in more than 100 countries with various issues from, for example, support to gender equality issues in legislation, initiatives supporting female migrant workers, support to women’s rights and gender equality NGOs and networks, to the media’s coverage of women’s rights and gender equality related issues and much, much more.

More female parliamentarians in Kenya

The election in Kenya 27 December 2007 was not a victory for democracy. However, in one respect it was a sucess: the number of female members of the newly-elected parliament increased by about 70 per cent. Admittedly, the increase was from a modest nine members to a still modest 14 members, but it represented great progress nonetheless.

The increase was not least due to activities financed by a joint fund for gender equality and good governance that UNIFEM in Kenya administers. In 2007 the fund received total contributions of almost USD 10 million and was, therefore, able to carry out a variety of work aimed at promoting women’s participation in the election. The fund supported 35 different NGOs’ work targeting women’s participation in elections and democracy and it supported activities in almost 200 of Kenya’s total of 210 constituencies.


The UNFPA’s executive director, Thoraya Ahmed Obaid

Photo: The UNFPA’s executive director, Thoraya Ahmed Obaid

“Poor access to sexual and reproductive healthcare is the most significant cause of death among young women in developing countries and constitutes a considerable portion of the global burden regarding healthcare and illness.

The Millennium Development Target concerning reproductive healthcare paves the way for improving women’s healthcare, reducing maternal and infant mortality rates, expanding options for contraception and protecting reproductive rights. And this gives us a tremendous boost in our endeavours to monitor the progress of achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Now we can press to ensure that reproductive healthcare is prioritised and monitor the progress made so that we can react immediately in order to make up for lost time in achieving the Millennium Development Goals in this area.

I appreciate the Danish Government’s commitment in the areas of sexual and reproductive healthcare and gender equality. Denmark is a valuable partner of the UNFPA.”

Thoraya Ahmed Obaid has been executive director of the UNFPA since 2001 and is an unusual spokesperson for reproductive healthcare. She is the first Saudi Arabian to lead a UN organisation; she is a woman; and, in 1963, she was also the first Saudi Arabian woman to receive a scholarship to study in the USA.

Strictly speaking, the struggle to make access to sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights a part of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) had been won. This happened at the UN Summit Meeting in 2005. Moreover, in 2006 the goal was even concretised as an official new MDG Target. Both of these developments occured with Denmark among the most outspoken advocates.

And yet it turned out that the victory had not been won after all. In the autumn of 2007, when the UN’s Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, presented his annual report to the UN’s General Assembly, the new target concerning reproductive healthcare and rights and three other new targets – despite having been adopted the previous year – were only mentioned as “suggested” targets.

This difference of opinion shows that reproductive rights continues to be an extremely controversial issue. Among others, the USA has, from the very beginning, been highly sceptical regarding the decision to establish the new targets and the indicators necessary to evaluate the progress being made in meeting them. And, at first, the sceptical forces managed to change the formulation and make the wording more vague.

However, this made Denmark and a number of other like-minded nations such as the other Nordic countries, the Netherlands, France, Belgium and Switzerland take action. They promptly wrote a letter to the Secretary General in order to stop the new targets from being undermined. And the letter worked: the targets and their indicators were adopted as part of the final report of the UN General Assembly on 17 October. Furthermore, all the goals, targets and indicators were numbered so that they are all now fully equal to the original objectives set out in the framework for the Millennium Development Goals.

The affair may appear to be a case of technical teasing, but it is, in actuality, quite serious. The goal of providing everyone with access to reproductive healthcare by 2015 is a target under the fifth MDG that concerns reducing the maternal mortality rate by three quarters between 1990 and 2015. The goal of reducing maternal mortality is one of the MDGs that is proving to be the most difficult to achieve. On a global scale, approximately 500,000 women die every year due to complications in connection with pregnancy and giving birth. Half of these deaths occur in Sub-Saharan Africa.

This is despite the fact that the maternal mortality rate can be reduced by simple, well-known methods: qualified assistance during birth, information on prevention and family planning etc. However, reproductive healthcare is a package that contains elements that are especially controversial for, among others, the USA: sexual education for young people, birth control and access to safe abortions. This is the basis for the American resistance, which is additionally backed up by the Vatican and a number of Catholic and Islamic countries.

Therefore, the fight for universal access to reproductive healthcare and rights still meets with resistance.

Moral support is followed up by financial support

Denmark does not settle for providing moral support to reproductive healthcare and rights. The Danish support to the UN’s Population Fund, UNFPA, rose from USD 31.2 million in 2003 and has, since 2004, amounted to USD 33.0 million a year, and it is expected to rise an additional USD 9.2 million annually from 2008. Moreover, Denmark granted USD
1.7 million to the Global Safe Abortion Fund in 2006. The fund supports NGOs that have lost donor support from, for example, the USA because the USA does not support NGOs that refuse to disassociate themselves from abortion.

Photo: Boys watching fisherman returning after a trip on Lake Tanganyika in Burundi. The boat was bought with a loan from the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) under the UN Photo: Martin Roemers

Boys watching fisherman returning after a trip on Lake Tanganyika in Burundi. The boat was bought with a loan from the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) under the UN Photo: Martin Roemers


Cover: Denmark in Africa - A Continent on It's Way

Denmark places Africa’s women on the international agenda

Denmark, together with Germany, constituted the Western co-chairs when the Africa Partnership Forum convened in May. The Forum gathered together Africa’s most important cooperation partners, and it resulted in a number of recommendations for the G8 Summit Meeting on 6-7 June, which Germany is chairing.

Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Minister for Development Cooperation Ulla Tørnæs did their best to ensure that both the Africa Partnership Forum and the G8 Summit Meeting were reminded of the role that Africa’s women can and should play in the development of the continent.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen used the entirety of his opening address on the subject. “In my opinion, empowering women is the most important motive force for economic growth and reducing poverty,” said the Prime Minister, among other things. And his overall message was that focusing on women in Africa is a decisive prerequisite for achieving the Millennium Development Goals in Africa.

Ulla Tørnæs also emphasised that involving women to a greater degree is a key element for growth and poverty reduction in Africa. She led the Forum’s debate on gender equality for women in Africa, where Liberia’s president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, explained, based on her own experience, how the participation of women can make a concrete difference for the countries’ development possibilities.

Sub-Saharan African is not ’just’ a recipient of Danish development assistance, and a Danish Africa Strategy must not ’just’ be a strategy for how we provide development assistance. This is already evident in the name of the new Africa Strategy that the Danish Government launched in 2007: “Denmark in Africa – A Continent on Its Way”.

The strategy emphasis that fighting poverty must continue to be the foundation for Denmark’s commitment in Africa, and it does not downplay the enormous needs and challenges that the continent faces, such as the fact that Africa is way behind in terms of achieving any of the Millennium Development Goals.

Therefore, one pillar of the strategy does includes more and better Danish assistance to Africa, with a focus on young people, gender equality and, especially, employment. However, the strategy has two additional pillars, and they do not directly involve development assistance. First of all, Africa must take part in the globalisation process, and secondly, increased regional integration must occur, an area in which cooperation between the EU and Africa must also be enhanced.

Africa must take part in the globalisation process

Denmark will work to ensure that Africa receives a share of the world’s growth and prosperity and becomes a more equal partner when it comes to finding solutions to global challenges such as the climate, the environment and integration. Globalisation is bringing Africa in closer touch with the daily life of Danes – also in areas other than development cooperation such as trade, security policy challenges, integration, art and culture. Africa has a lot to gain through globalisation and a lot to contribute to the rest of the world. It is not just the suffering and ’lost’ continent that is so often depicted in the media. Therefore, Denmark must work towards building its relations to Africa in many different areas – just as, in the same way, a number of new actors, not least of all China, Latin America and India, have begun to do.

Increased regional integration and EU-Africa cooperation

The African Union and many other regional and sub-regional organisations have developed over recent years so that they are better able to handle the problems and conflicts of the continent, and this is a development that Denmark wants to support. It also applies to an increased amount of cooperation between the EU and Africa, which can help to increase trade and tackle security-policy challenges and the increasing volume of migration.

More and better assistance

Denmark will increase its development assistance to Africa and put it to more efficient use. In the future, two-thirds of Danish bilateral assistance will go to Africa, and the Danish effort will be concentrated on fewer but larger initiatives.

Efforts aimed at creating jobs for the many young people living in the continent are to be increased. This will both ensure growth and reduce poverty, but it will also reduce the risk of hopelessness, radicalisation and conflict. Growth and employment specifically are key themes of the Africa Commission, which was established through Danish Government legislation in 2007 and in 2009 is to present recommendations for how to improve the effectiveness of international development cooperation.

No new programme countries

The new strategy does not involve establishing any new Danish programme countries in Africa beyond the ten that currently exist – one of which, Egypt, is being phased out. The initiatives in the individual countries – in keeping with the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness will be concentrated on fewer sectors.

The strategy also includes the continuation of the targeted initiatives in Africa’s fragile states such as Sudan and Zimbabwe, where the cooperation opportunities and forms are somewhat different from those in the more well-functioning programme countries.

Finally, as something new, the strategy introduces closer Danish political and economic cooperation with leading African countries such as South Africa, Nigeria and Ethiopia. They are the countries that can impact the development in all of Africa in a positive direction.


Civil war in Sudan. Over 1,000 killed in the rioting after the election in Kenya, where otherwise things were beginning to go so well. Hyperinflation in Zimbabwe, where it seems they will never be rid of the despot, Mugabe.

It is ’news’ such as this that dominates the media image of Africa, and it is true enough that the huge continent continues to face enormous problems. It is Africa that faces the greatest challenges in achieving the Millennium Development Goals. It is Africa that is hit the hardest by climate change and that still attracts an ever-smaller share of total global investment.

But all these negative stories help to keep Africa stuck with a negative image and cast a shadow over the fact that Africa also has made significant progress. If it is difficult to find these positive sides, perhaps then the point of view should be altered and development in Africa should be seen over a longer period of time. The above map compares ’Africa Before’ with ’Africa Now’ in three different areas: economic development, the occurrences of armed conflicts and governance.

Figures from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) document, for example, that a total of 40 per cent of African countries had a negative annual economic growth in 1992. This fact is starkly contrasted by the figure for 2007, which shows that almost four out of five countries had an annual economic growth of over three per cent. The only African country that experienced negative economic growth in 2007 was Mugabe’s Zimbabwe.

There has also been significant progress in terms of the occurrences of armed conflicts. In 1992 West and Central Africa especially were characterised by wars and conflicts. On the other hand, a comparison with 2007 indicates that a large number of countries have, in the meantime, managed to put their differences behind them. A recent example of this is Sierra Leone, which in 2007 conducted a democratic election and thereby put an end to years of unrest and civil war.

The World Bank’s report on governance in 212 countries indicates that the majority of African countries are still facing a huge task in fighting corruption as well as creating transparency, political stability and security for their citizens. However, it can be emphasised that the programme countries Mozambique and Tanzania have improved their rankings on the World Bank’s index regarding governance between 1996 and 2006. None of the Danish programme countries experienced a decline in the period between 1996 and 2006.

Even though far too many African countries continue to be characterised by problematic governance and instability, still the picture of Africa is far more nuanced and the continent is, in many areas, undergoing historic, positive development.


Map: Africa before
View the picture in full size


Map: Africa now
View the picture in full size


When a political strategy needs to be formulated, it often happens that politicians and government officials draw up a draft that is then sent out for hearings within a limited group so that they can comment on it and offer input before the final strategy is then presented.

This was not to be the model when it was decided to begin the process of revising the Danish Africa Strategy in 2006. And it was not the model that was used, either. Instead, people with an interest in Africa, experts, lay people, NGOs, consultants, basically anyone with an idea and an opinion about Africa -were invited to participate in the process already before the first draft was prepared.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in collaboration with invited Danish and international experts, prepared a thorough analysis, but it served only as the solid, academic foundation for the public debate that began in spring 2007. The debate led to the first draft and the final strategy, which was launched in August 2007.

In the debate phase, the many opportunities that modern communication technology has provided were put to the test. A special Africa website was created, where the analysis was made available along with a wealth of background material. A communications bureau was hired to create the website and to use small segments of the abundant information material that the Foreign Ministry has helped to finance over the years in order to clarify the many main themes through the use of, among other things, video clips from a number of African countries.

The website also contained special debate fora on subjects such as trade and development, HIV/AIDS and gender equality. For a time, it was also possible to blog directly with Minister for Foreign Affairs, Per Stig Møller, and Minister for Development Cooperation, Ulla Tørnæs, and the two minister-blogs generated a total of more than 200 entries from the public.

’Operation Openness’ was a success. Quite a lot of people from a broad spectrum of Danish society took part in the debate and provided new and useful ideas and views for the draft strategy and the final strategy.

In connection with the debate on the new strategy, everyone had the opportunity to subscribe to receiving news concerning Africa from the Foreign Ministry, and quite a lot of people took advantage of this opportunity. Moreover, the debate concerning Africa is not over. In the Government’s platform after the election in November 2007, the Government established an Africa Commission, which is to provide recommendations for international development cooperation regarding the African continent. The focus of the Commission’s work is young people and employment – two of the subjects that were identified as most relevant in the Government’s Africa Strategy. The Commission’s recommendations are to be presented in spring 2009. You can follow the work of the Africa Commission at:

Photo: 12-year-old Eustella from Uganda lying with her brothers and sisters in the ’bedroom’ early one morning. Because of holes in the mosquito net, there is an increased risk of malaria. Photo: Mikkel Østergård

12-year-old Eustella from Uganda lying with her brothers and sisters in the ’bedroom’ early one morning. Because of holes in the mosquito net, there is an increased risk of malaria. Photo: Mikkel Østergård


Denmark’s first cohesive Asia Strategy also involves development assistance, but that is far from its only element. The title, “Denmark in Asia – Opportunities for the Future”, is an indication of the primary message, which is additionally emphasised in the foreword: “If Denmark is to succeed in globalisation, we will have to be better at grasping the opportunities offered by Asia. It is about securing our continued economic welfare,” and about “beginning to adjust to Asia’s role as an engine of globalisation.”

A good deal of the strategy is also about how Denmark must be better at increasing trade and improving the broad political and economic cooperation with Asia, whose new, dominant role is emphasised by a number of figures and examples.

In 2020, 95 per cent of the populations of East and Southeast Asia will be living in middle-income countries. Only Burma, Laos and Cambodia will continue to remain among the low-income countries, if the current development trends continue.

Is there, then, even a reason to continue to provide Danish assistance to Asia?, asks the Strategy, and bases its clear, positive answer on a number of reasons.

For despite Asia’s impressive economic leap forward, Asia is still beyond comparison the region of the world where the most people are still living in poverty. 600 million people must continue to manage to live on less than a dollar a day, and 1.9 billion must manage to live on less than two dollars a day. The gap between countries experiencing rapid economic growth, that know how to benefit from globalisation, and poor, fragile states is large and continuing to grow, and there are problems of ensuring a reasonable distribution of the growth in the individual countries. Poverty and inequality may prove to be the Achilles’ heel of Asia, and they create a breeding ground for unrest and instability.

Denmark’s assistance must contribute to ensuring that globalisation benefits the poor and that more people receive a share of the prosperity so that Asia can continue to contribute positively towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. It must help contribute to reducing the challenges that are following in the wake of the high growth: environmental problems, growing emissions of CO2 and the excessive utilisation of natural resources. The efforts towards promoting good governance and fighting corruption must be strengthened and there must be an extra effort aimed at ensuring that women, ethnic groups and indigenous people have the opportunity to take full part in the growth.

Development assistance profiles Denmark’s

The Asia Strategy stresses the fact that development assistance is a vital part of Denmark’s image in Asia. Denmark is known as a reliable and effective partner that Asians can count on, and that plays a role in creating a positive perception of Denmark in Asia.

The interplay between assistance and promoting Danish interests is best expressed in the discussion concerning environmental assistance. Denmark wants to strengthen the activities in Asia designed to improve the environment and combat global warming, and the environmental efforts are to focus on the growth countries – primarily China, Indonesia, Vietnam and Cambodia. Through this type of assistance, a showcase is created for Danish technology and knowledge, and Danish technology must help to demonstrate that economic growth is possible without increasing emissions of CO2.

Vietnam and Bhutan being phased out

In the coming years Danish development assistance to Asia will continue to be focused on the four programme countries – Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Vietnam – along with Afghanistan. However, the development in Vietnam and Bhutan has been so positive that, in the future, they will be able to manage without such a large amount of assistance, and the two countries are to be gradually phased out. To be precise, the strategy dictates that the last commitments to Vietnam and Bhutan will be made in 2011 and 2012.

The strategy does not indicate whether new programme countries in Asia to receive Danish development assistance are to be found, or if the assistance to Asian countries should be organised more flexibly.

Danish Assistance to Asia

Cover: Denmark in Asia - Opportunities for the Future

Danish development assistance to Asia – excluding assistance to the Middle East – constituted around USD 0.3 billion in 2007 and the nucleus of the assistance was – and is – Denmark’s assistance to the four programme countries: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Vietnam. Along with this there is a significant amount of Danish development assistance going to Afghanistan and special environmental assistance going to China, Cambodia, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Asians at Asiatisk Plads

Asiatisk Plads in Copenhagen is the home of the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but 15 June 2007 it was also home to a large number of representatives from a number of Asian countries and anyone else interested in Asian affairs. They had been invited to participate in the launching of the Asia Strategy and provided samples of Asian culture for all the senses and in all shapes and sizes. So, for once, Asiatisk Plads swarmed with Asians.


Latin America is a continent making progress. Democracies are replacing dictatorships and social and economic development are well under way. This is the basis for the first Danish strategy for strengthened engagement in Latin America. It was launched in September 2007 and, in keeping with the Government’s Globalisation Strategy from 2006, includes the entire array of foreign policy instruments: trade, development assistance, political and economic cooperation, and cooperation concerning the environment, art and culture.

Quite fittingly, the strategy was also launched under festive, Latin American-inspired surroundings in the middle of Copenhagen. This took place as a part of the cultural arrangement ’Latin-American September’, which included exhibitions, films, music, food and much more from a number of Latin American countries. The cultural arrangement was a cooperative effort between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Latin American embassies in Copenhagen.

The strategy was the result of dialogue with NGOs, researchers, experts, business people and others with an understanding of and experience from Latin America and it does not try to hide the Danish interests that exist in increasing cooperation: Danish enterprises’ exports to and investments in Latin America are at a lower level than the countries with which we normally compare ourselves. This is something that the new strategy and the opening of a new Danish Embassy in Argentina in 2007 and a Consulate General in São Paola in Brazil are to help rectify.

Denmark also has a strong desire for closer dialogue with, especially, Brazil, which is increasingly taking a leading role as spokesman for the developing countries during global negotiations on trade, the environment and climate change.

However, the strategy also stresses the fact that there is a continued need for assistance in Latin America. For even though the continent in general is experiencing growth and development, there continues to be significant inequality, and despite the high and stable growth rates, it does not appear that Latin America as a whole will achieve the Millennium Development Goal of halving poverty. Today, 40 per cent of the population lives on less than two dollars a day.

Continued Danish assistance

The strategy makes it clear that Denmark will continue its development assistance to two of the poorest countries on the continent, Bolivia and Nicaragua, and continue the regional assistance to Central America. The assistance is to be seen as a part of the comprehensive Danish policy towards Latin America.

The key goals for Danish development assistance in Latin America are:

  • to assist the Latin American countries in reducing poverty and achieving the UN’s Millennium Development Goals
  • to contribute to ensuring that the continent receives a share of the benefits of globalisation such as economic growth and trade
  • to help protect the environment and reduce pollution, climate change and the over-exploitation of natural resources
  • to contribute to the development of a competitive private sector that can be an engine for economic growth
  • to assist in creating economic and political opportunities for everyone by promoting a culture of democracy, which involves ensuring gender equality and the rights of indigenous peoples.

Moreover, development assistance can give Denmark a good image in the region and open doors for cooperation in areas such as the climate and the environment and between the private sector in Denmark and the less affluent of the Latin American countries.

Cover: Denmark in Latin America - Opportunities and Partnerships

Danish assistance to Latin America

Danish development assistance to Latin America amounted to a total of USD 102.7 in 2007. The assistance is concentrated on the programme countries. Bolivia, which is the continent’s poorest country, received Danish assistance totalling USD 34.0 million in 2007. Nicaragua, Central America’s poorest country, received Danish assistance amounting to USD 43.5 million. Moreover, Denmark has two regional programmes for Central America: one for the environment and one for human rights and democracy. The total disbursements to these two programmes amounted to around USD 7.2 million in 2007. Around one-fourth of the bilateral Danish assistance to the region is channelled through Danish NGOs.

Apart from the bilateral assistance, Denmark provides development assistance to Latin America through international organisations.



Photo: Chairman of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee, DAC, Richard Manning

Chairman of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee, DAC, Richard Manning, to the Foreign Ministry’s publication on development “Udvikling” when he was in Copenhagen 14 September to present the OECD’s Peer Review of Danish assistance

High praise for Danish assistance
“If I had to highlight one thing that other donors could learn from Denmark’s example, it would be the clearly-outlined five-year-plans in which the Government presents specific amounts for individual items included in development assistance for the coming years. The plan gives the recipients of Danish development assistance a clear message concerning the future and it provides an opportunity for a beneficial political discussion in Denmark, which helps to spread awareness of assistance. In this area no other donor can measure up to Denmark.”

And some slight criticism
“Danes are a cautious people. You are very careful in ensuring that your assistance is used in the way it is intended. That’s a good thing. However, it can become a problem when you become so cautious that you construct your own monitoring systems instead of contributing to building the capacity of the recipient countries. It was actually surprising to me to learn that Denmark is among the donors that are not very good at aligning assistance with and using the recipient countries’ own systems. It is precisely when the local systems are weak that it’s especially important to strengthen them instead of undermining them.”

Danish development assistance belongs among the world’s elite, both in terms of quality and quantity, and Danish development assistance is generally characterised by its clear focus on poverty and on Africa. This was the conclusion of a peer review of Danish assistance in 2007.

The word “peer” means “equal”, and the review – or evaluation – was also conducted by a group of equals. It was conducted by the DAC, which stands for ’Development Assistance Committee’. The DAC is a division of the OECD, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. Every four years each DAC Member State’s assistance undergoes an evaluation, and the Netherlands and Greece were responsible for reviewing Danish assistance in 2007.

And as with previous DAC reviews, Danish development assistance received an overwhelming amount of praise in the 100-page-long report, which notes that since the last DAC evaluation in 2003, a number of improvements have occurred. Development assistance has been given its own minister again. The rolling five-year-plans, which were suspended after 2001, have been replaced by the Government’s five-year development policy priorities, so that the recipient countries know in good time the amount of assistance they can expect from Denmark. And the decentralisation that has been carried out since 2003 has made it possible for the Danish embassies in the recipient countries to be more flexible and align Danish assistance better to local conditions and participate in donor harmonisation.

Focus on the safe bets

However, the report also contained certain critical reservations. For example, Denmark generally has a tendency to select the most reliable means of ensuring the most assistance for the money invested, and this is done by focusing on certain countries that the donors all flock to, the so-called donor darlings, while Denmark – according to the report – is more cautious in becoming involved in fragile states.

The report also comments on Denmark’s tendency to create its own systems of control instead of contributing to building the capacity of the recipient countries to keep corruption and abuse in check. No doubt this occurs in order to ensure that Danish assistance money is used as has been agreed. However, it can come into conflict with the spirit of the Paris Declaration, which Denmark voted to adopt. Moreover, the report questions the ceiling of 25 per cent that Denmark has instituted as the maximum that budget support in the individual countries may constitute of total Danish assistance. In some countries this figure can be much too high; in others too low.

A classic

Tying Danish assistance to Danish firms is a classic topic in the assistance debate, and in this context, the report contained both praise and criticism for Denmark. Denmark received praise because since 2003 we have continued the untying process and have now untied almost all assistance. However, there remains a little item of criticism in terms of mixed credits. In 2007 they totalled USD 64.3 million, amounting to three per cent of Denmark’s total assistance. In principle, they are tied to Danish suppliers and this is in conflict with the recommendations of the OECD. And yet Denmark continues to maintain these ties.


Development in development assistance for selected OECD countries.
  Disbursements (net)
USD million¹
Proportion of GNI in %
2006 2007* 2006 2007*
Norway 2,954 3,727 0.89 0.95
Sweden 3,955 4,334 1.02 0.93
Luxembourg 291 365 0.84 0.90
Denmark 2,236 2,563 0.80 0.81
The Netherlands 5,452 6,215 0.81 0.81
Ireland 1,022 1,190 0.54 0.54
Austria 1,498 1,798 0.47 0.49
Belgium 1,978 1,953 0.50 0.43
Spain 3,814 5,744 0.32 0.41
Finland 834 973 0.40 0.40
France 10,601 9,940 0.47 0.39
Switzerland 1,646 1,680 0.39 0.37
Germany 10,435 12,267 0.36 0.37
United Kingdom 12,459 9,921 0.51 0.36
Australia 2,123 2,471 0.30 0.30
Canada 3,684 3,922 0.29 0.28
New Zealand 259 315 0.27 0.27
Italy 3,641 3,929 0.20 0.19
Portugal 396 403 0.21 0.19
Japan 11,187 7,691 0.25 0.17
Greece 424 501 0.17 0.16
USA 23,532 21,753 0.18 0.16
The DAC countries in total 104,421 103,655 0.31 0.28
– of which EU countries 59,036 62,096 0.43 0.40

1) Amounts are given in current rates
*) Preliminary figures.


In reality the Millennium Development Goals, which were approved by 189 heads of state at the historic UN Summit Meeting in September 2000, were ’just’ a bringing together of the goals that the international community had already committed to in declarations from various previous summits. However, the adoption of the Millennium Declaration and the eight primary Millennium Development Goals marked an historic turning point that has had enormous impact for several reasons.

Goals from widely divergent areas were collected and given equal weight, and the various goals do not compete with each other. On the contrary, each one is a prerequisite for achieving the other goals. For example, education does not compete with healthcare; education is a precondition for healthcare – and vice versa.

A time limit was set for meeting the goals, far enough out in the future that the goals – with a conscious effort – seemed realistic, yet close enough so as to make it clear there was not any time to waste.

With the Millennium Development Goals the world was given an internationally-recognised yardstick for calculating development. The goals are global and emphasise that the world is interconnected for good and ill and that it is a global obligation to meet them.

At the same time, the Millennium Development Goals ensure an internationally-approved common baseline, which the individual developing countries can use as a starting point for their own national poverty-reduction strategies and which also functions as an indicator of the effort that donors such as Denmark are making.

With the Millennium Development Goals, the goals for the joint effort were defined. With the Paris Declaration in 2005 concerning more effective aid, the means for achieving the goals were described.

Photo: Construction workers on the job in Dhaka, Bangladesh working on the construction of a 22-storey building. Photo: G.M.B. Akash/Panos

Construction workers on the job in Dhaka, Bangladesh working on the construction of a 22-storey building. Photo: G.M.B. Akash/Panos


At the end of 2007, half of the time had gone that the world community had set as the deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals. So, how has it gone up until now? This is something that the annual reports from the Secretary General of the UN and the World Bank tell us a great deal about.

On the whole, both reports from 2007 indicate that on a global scale it seems that many of the Millennium Development Goals can be achieved but also that a significant increase in the development effort is necessary for this and that the progress has been quite unevenly distributed. In general, it will be especially difficult to achieve many of the goals in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Goal 1:
Reduce poverty and hunger

    • Halve the number of people living on less than a dollar a day by 2015.
    • Halve the number of people suffering from hunger by 2015.
  • Status: The positive aspect is that the percentage of the world’s population living in extreme poverty declined from almost one-third in 1990 to less than one-fifth in 2004. If this development continues, then the poverty goal will be achieved, both globally and in most regions of the world. The negative aspect is that sufficient progress is not being made in Sub-Saharan Africa, even though here the number of people living in extreme poverty has fallen by six percentage points since 2000.

Goal 2:
Achieve universal primary education for all before 2015

    • Ensure that all children have access to primary education.
  • Status: Especially in recent years many more children have entered school, and in 2005 the percentage of children receiving a primary education reached 88 per cent. However, in this area also a significant effort – especially in Sub-Saharan Africa – continues to be necessary.

Goal 3:
Promote gender equality and empower women

    • Eradicate gender disparity in primary education by 2005 and at all educational levels by 2015.
  • Status: Everywhere in the world more girls are going to school, and many countries – although not in Sub-Saharan Africa – achieved the goal of eradicating gender disparity in primary schools by 2005.

Women’s participation in political activities has also increased, although slowly.

In its report, the World Bank indicates that a continued increased effort towards gender equality generally will have an extremely positive effect in terms of the other Millennium Development Goals.

Goal 4:
Reduce infant and child mortality

    • Reduce mortality among children under five by two-thirds by 2015.
  • Status: In 1960 over 20 million children in the world died before they reached the age of five. In 2006 for the first time the number was – for the period that we have statistics – under five million. The childhood mortality rate has fallen significantly in places such as East Asia, Latin America and the Eastern and Central European countries. However, this has not been the case in South-East Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Goal 5:
Reduce the mortality rate of pregnant women and women giving birth

    • Reduce the maternal mortality rate by three-fourths by 2015.
  • Status: Globally, the maternal mortality rate fell by less than one per cent a year between 1990 and 2005. This figure is far from the 5.5 per cent annual decline necessary to achieve the Millennium Development Goal. In developing countries, approximately 500,000 women die every year due to complications involved with pregnancy or giving birth. Half of these deaths occur in Sub-Saharan Africa and one-third in Southern Asia.

Goal 6:
Halt the spread of HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases that threaten humanity

    • Halt the spread of HIV/AIDS and other diseases and thus reverse the negative development currently taking place, where the number of people who are infected is increasing day by day.
  • Status: In 2006 the number of deaths due to AIDS rose to 2.6 million on a global scale, and 15 million children lost one or both of their parents because of the disease. The preventive initiatives cannot keep pace with the spread of the disease. However, the rate of the increase in the number of people being infected with the HIV virus seems to have levelled off.

Malaria still kills one million people a year – 80 per cent of them children under five in Sub-Saharan Africa, where, however, there are indications that the initiatives aimed at prevention and treatment of malaria are bearing fruit.

Epidemics of tuberculosis seem to be finally on the decline, though not quickly enough for us to be able to halve the percentage of deaths from TB by 2015.

Goal 7:
Ensure environmentally friendly and sustainable development

    • Halve the number of people living without access to safe drinking water by 2015.
    • Significantly improve the standard of living for the at least 100 million people living in slum conditions by 2020.
  • Status: More than 1.2 billion people obtained improved access to safe drinking water between 1990 and 2004. The percentage of the world’s population with improved access to safe drinking water thus rose from 78 to 83 per cent. At this rate of increase we can just about manage to achieve the goal of halving the percentage of people living without access to safe drinking water by 2015.

The percentage of the world’s population living under proper sanitary conditions rose from 49 per cent in 1990 to 59 per cent in 2004, and that rate of increase must be increased dramatically if the Millennium Development Goal in this area is to be achieved.

Goal 8:
Create a global partnership for development

    • Ensure increased development assistance, fair-trade regulations and debt relief through a global partnership.

Goal 8 involves the rich countries’ commitments. On several occasions the rich countries have committed themselves to increasing their assistance generally and especially to the poorest of the developing countries and to Africa. However, they have not lived up to their promises. Nor does it look good in terms of trade. The negotiations in the World Trade Organisation, WTO, concerning the Doha Round have not made any progress since 2005.

Photo: From Lokichoggio Airport in Kenya, where food aid is on its way from the United Nations World Food Programme. Photo: Fredrik Naumann/Panos

From Lokichoggio Airport in Kenya, where food aid is on its way from the United Nations World Food Programme. Photo: Fredrik Naumann/Panos


At the beginning of the new millennium, the UN’s 191 Member States reached agreement on the Millennium Declaration, which includes eight clear and ambitious development goals for the period up to 2015. The world thereby agreed on a joint development policy agenda and a cohesive vision for the primary goal of reducing poverty and its causes.

These eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are closely related and mutually interdependent. Achieving the MDGs requires, therefore, close cooperation and commitment from all parties. It is, first and foremost, the responsibility of the developing countries themselves that the first seven MDGs are incorporated into their respective national strategies for reducing poverty. Goal 8 concerns creating a global partnership for development through procuring the means necessary for achieving the first seven goals. It is, among other things, Denmark’s duty – as a donor – to assist in providing the necessary economic and technical assistance for achieving the goals that were set in the Millennium Declaration.

In 2007 having reached the halfway point to 2015, due to significant economic growth, good progress had been made globally towards halving the number of people living in extreme poverty. However, the progress has been unequally distributed and the majority of the other MDGs are not going to be achieved at the current rate of development. The Danish Government have approved the British Prime Minister’s initiative to convene a UN summit in 2008 whose objective would be to increase the efforts at achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

Goal 8 commits all donors to establish a global partnership for development, which includes, i.a., providing more and better assistance, promoting trade and debt cancellation. Below is an account of how Denmark has fulfilled its Goal 8 commitments.

Denmark’s development assistance

In compliance with its development policy objective, the Government made it clear in 2007 that Denmark’s development assistance would not fall below 0.80 per cent of the gross national income (GNI). In its new Government Platform from November 2007, “The Society of Opportunities”, the Government aim at increasing assistance from 0.8 per cent of GNI. This maintains Denmark as one of the most prominent development donors in the world and one of the few that live up to the UN’s objective of providing 0.7 per cent of GNI in development assistance. Only four other countries – Sweden, Norway, Luxembourg and the Netherlands – provide proportionally as much or more than Denmark.

In 2007 Danish development assistance rose by USD 110.2 million in relation to 2006, and development assistance thus totalled USD 2.6 billion. This increase was due to the fact that growth in the Danish economy resulted in a greater GNI for 2007. Thus, the total development assistance also increased.

The primary objective for Danish development assistance is combating global poverty, and as a consequence, Denmark provides a major share of its assistance to the poorest countries in the world.

In 2007 long-term sector-focused assistance to programme countries constituted 31 per cent of Denmark’s bilateral assistance. Furthermore, Denmark provided poverty-oriented stability and reconstruction assistance to Afghanistan, Gaza/the West Bank, Iraq and Sudan.

It is the Government’s objective that two-thirds of Denmark’s bilateral assistance should, in the long run, go to Africa. In 2007, 61 per cent of bilateral assistance went to the continent. As a part of consolidating the bulk of the poverty-reduction effort in Sub-Saharan Africa, programme cooperation with Egypt, Bhutan and Vietnam is gradually being phased out.

All donors have pledged to provide at least 0.15 per cent of GNI to the Least Developed Countries (LDC) – the percentage for Denmark is approximately twice that figure. At the same time an increasing percentage of Danish assistance is going to the social sectors, including education, healthcare and water and sanitation. Furthermore, in 2007 Denmark placed special focus on women’s issues, HIV/AIDS and good governance.

Effectiveness in development assistance

Denmark’s bilateral development cooperation is primarily carried out through long-term, close and trusting partnerships with a few chosen programme countries. In order to ensure the most effectiveness possible in Danish initiatives, development assistance is granted in compliance with the recipient country’s own development strategies, with a focus on the country’s own resources and on those sectors that can most directly contribute to reducing poverty. Denmark places crucial emphasis on the countries themselves taking responsibility for ownership and leadership of their development processes, based on principles of good governance, democratisation and human rights. The intention is to ensure that all development activities – both Denmark’s own and those of other donors – pull in the same direction.

Denmark places a high priority on the principles concerning development effectiveness in the 2005 Paris Declaration and actively seeks to promote them through concrete harmonisation and alignment initiatives integrated into the assistance. This applies to, among other things, the initiative aimed at making the assistance visible in national budgets and utilising the programme country’s own systems to a higher degree, and it applies to the initiative of focusing assistance on fewer sectors and ensuring better division of labour between donors, including joint country strategies in those countries where it is possible. Denmark has also played an active role in the preparations for the Third High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, taking place in Accra, Ghana, in September 2008, where stock will be taken of the progress being made in the implementation of the Paris Declaration.

International cooperation regarding development assistance

Taking as a point of departure its own position as a leader, Denmark works on an international level to get more donor countries to meet the UN’s objective of providing at least 0.7 per cent of GNI in development assistance. Only four EU countries including Denmark met that objective in 2007.

One of the results of the consistent Danish pressure is that the EU countries have committed themselves to increasing development assistance such that the EU as a whole will reach 0.56 per cent of GNI in 2010 – an increase of more than EUR 20 billion a year. Moreover, the original 15 EU Member States are individually to reach 0.7 per cent by 2015. At least half of the collective increase in development assistance will go to Sub-Saharan Africa.

At the same time, Denmark has helped give aid effectiveness a central place on the EU agenda and is one of the most outspoken advocates among the EU countries of the core principles set out in the Paris Declaration. Thus, Denmark also played an active role in the adoption of the EU’s ’Code of Conduct’ from May 2007 concerning work distribution and harmonisation of development assistance.

Within the Nordic+ cooperation (the Nordic countries, the Netherlands, Ireland and Great Britain), Denmark has committed itself to a joint action plan that sets standards for donor cooperation and includes a number of initiatives. In 2007 a group of like-minded donors entered into a cooperative effort with the official American assistance organisation, USAID.

Other sources of financing

In 2006 the economies in the developing countries grew on average by over seven per cent and thus reached a growth rate of over five per cent for the fourth year in a row. However, the growth was greatest in China and India but applied to all development regions. The developing countries experienced a capital influx of USD 571 billion, which was an increase of around 20 per cent in relation to 2005.

Another source of capital for the developing countries is the remittances sent to developing countries from relatives and friends who work abroad. This money constitutes the largest external source of income in many developing countries, even though the actual amounts are difficult to ascertain. It is estimated that remittances totalling not less than USD 206 billion were sent in 2006, which is twice the amount sent in 2001. At international meetings Denmark has supported initiatives designed to increase the development potential of remittances sent to developing countries, such as reducing the costs involved in international transfers of money.

A number of various innovative suggestions for alternative financing of development assistance have been put forward in recent years. Taxes on plane fares and diverse funds can be mentioned as examples. Denmark supports the intentions behind initiatives that are designed to identify new sources of financing assistance. However, these intentions must be evaluated in terms of their relevance for countries that do not yet meet the UN’s objective of providing 0.7 per cent of GNI in development assistance. It is important that alternative sources of financing are considered a supplementary source of assistance and not a replacement for actual development assistance. At the same time, it is crucial that the question of alternative sources of financing does not draw attention away from the overall and central objective of providing 0.7 per cent of GNI.

The issues relating to debt continue to be a challenge for developing countries. It has therefore been feared that the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Debt Initiative would not be sufficient to bring the debt in developing countries down to a manageable level. It was on this basis that the G8 Countries decided at their High Level meeting in Gleneagles in 2005 to cancel the HIPC’s debt to the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the African Development Bank. A precondition for this debt cancellation was that the countries had completed the HIPC Process. In order to ensure that the development banks continue to be able to provide loans to developing countries on extremely favourable conditions, it is necessary that bilateral donors assist with the financing. Traditionally, Denmark has supported debt-relief initiatives and has borne its share of the expenses as a part of an international agreement.

The HIPC Initiative is based on the countries living up to a number of requirements for reform, which are to contribute to ensuring that the funds that are freed through debt relief are used with a focus on combating poverty. In 2006 the World Bank’s evaluation unit undertook an evaluation of the HIPC Initiative The report concluded that the initiative has been a general success. It has succeeded in reducing the countries’ debt, and expenses targeted at poverty reducing activities have increased by approximately one-third.

These new initiatives have accelerated debt relief. Far more debt relief has been carried out than previously, and the debt relief has also included many more countries. In recognition of the fact that debt relief in itself cannot ensure sustainable debt, in recent years there has been increased focus on establishing a framework that supports sustainable debt management in poor developing countries. The initiative involves guidelines for loans given by development banks and capacity support to debt management in developing countries.

At the present time 41 developing countries are classified as HIPC, 23 of which have completed the process. Liberia has just recently attained financing for its outstanding debt to the IMF and the development banks, and the country expects, thereby, to be able to begin the debt relief programme through the HIPC Initiative. Denmark has stressed the importance of avoiding delays in Liberia’s progress towards debt relief and has, i.a., contributed to the IMF’s expenses in connection with the clarification of Liberia’s arrears.

In recent years there has been a clear desire on the part of the Government to strengthen the public anchoring and self-financing among, especially, the NGOs that have entered into framework agreements with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In connection with the adoption of the Appropriations Act for 2006, the Government therefore introduced a requirement regarding self-financing for the six framework organisations. These organisations were required to raise private funding in Denmark amounting to at least five per cent of the framework allocation they received from the Ministry. From 2007 this figure was raised to 10 per cent. The intention of this initiative has been to promote Danish NGOs’ incentive to engage new private actors in order to enhance their public anchoring as well as to make the NGOs more responsible to their members and to private contributors. In both 2006 and 2007 all six framework organisations met the self-financing requirement.

Indicators for Denmark’s development assistance (all numbers in percentages)
  1990 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
Development assistance as % of GNI 0.94 0.96 0.84 0.85 0.81 0.80
Development assistance to LDCs as a % of GNI 0.37 0.33 0.32 0.31 0.31 0.31
Percentage of bilateral assistance going to social sectors1) (education, healthcare, nutrition and water) - 8.7 14.3 23.6 18.5 15.8
Percentage of assistance to countries lacking access to the sea 16.6 18.6 20.2 19.3 20.8 20.7
Percentage of assistance to small island states 1.4 0.9 0.8 1.0 1.0 1.1
Percentage of multilateral assistance (% of total)2) 36.6 32.5 36.1 35.9 35.6 34.5
Percentage of untied bilateral assistance1) - 82.1 71.5 88.8 94.5 95.3

1) These percentages are based on appropriations reported to the DAC’s CRS system.
2) The percentage distribution for 1990, 2002, 2003 and 2004 has been calculated so that it is aligned with the reporting method that has been used since 2005.
Source: Most recently available statistics from the OECD. Note*: LDC (Least Developed Countries) are the 50 poorest countries in the world.

Indicators of energy and CO2 emissions and depletion of ozone
  1990 1995 2000 2003 2004 2005 2006
Energy intensity, final energy consumption in thousand tonnes oil equivalent pr. GNP* 5.246 3.655 1.018 0.599 0.013 9.594 9.845
Emission of CO2 (tonnes pr. capita)* 11.8 11.3 10.2 9.6 9.4 9.4 9.7
Consumption of ozone-depleting CFC gasses (tonnes)*** 3,520** 3 5 0.1 0.001 0.0001 0

Notes: * Source: the Danish Energy Agency’s “Energy Statistics 2006”,
** The figures used are from 1989,
*** Source: The Danish Environmental Protection Agency.

Private transfers to developing countries
  1990 2000 2004 2005 2006
Remittances sent from Denmark by foreign citizens (USD million) - 30.0 56.3 - -
Direct Danish investments in developing countries (USD million) 92.6 1,801.9 382.0 - -
Direct Danish investments in developing countries as a % of GNI 0.07 1.15 0.16 - 0.13
Assistance from voluntary organisations (NGOs and Funds) as a % of GNI 0.02 0.02 0.03 0.03 0.03

Source: IMF, OECD, Statistics Denmark

Debt-related indicators
  1990 2000 2003 2004 2005 2006*
Debt cancellation as a % of assistance 1.7 1.6 0.6 1.8 1.4 5.1
HIPC debt cancellation as a % of assistance - 1.2 0.4 1.7 1.0 0.5

Source: OECD.
Note*: In the absence of the final figures for 2006, preliminary figures have been used.

Danish NGO’s self-financing
(USD million)
2005 % of
total revenue
(USD million)
2006 % of
total revenue
(USD million)
2007 % of
total revenue
MS Danish Association for International Cooperation 0.4 1 % 1.3 3.5 % 1.5 3.8 %
DanChurchAid 30.7 42 % 21.1 32.0 % 25.6 32.0 %
Danish Red Cross 45.9 44 % 20.1 30.0 % 20.9 29.0 %
IBIS 0.8 3 % 2.3 7.4 % 1.7 5.2 %
Save the Children – Denmark 11.3 46 % 7.8 30.0 % 10.1 31.5 %
Care Denmark 2.2 18 % 2.6 21.5 % 3.2 22.0 %
Total 92.5   55.2   62.9  

Trade and development

The increased liberalisation of international trade – based on clear rules – benefits all the countries in the world, and therefore Denmark constantly works to increase the developing countries’ access to markets in the rest of the world. This effort is combined with the necessary transitional schemes and assistance in financial restructuring so that the weakest countries can also enjoy the full benefits of liberalised trade.

On this basis, in 2005 the Danish Government launched a new strategy for trade and development with special focus on Sub-Saharan Africa, agriculture, women’s issues and sustainability. Danish assistance continues to be based on this strategy for trade and development that the Government presented in 2005. Danish assistance is provided both bilaterally and within the frameworks of a number of international organisations such as the WTO, as well as through the EU’s development assistance.

In the EU, Denmark has contributed to the preparation of the new strategy for trade and development of the European Community and its Member States. In the WTO, all the donor countries have confirmed that they will provide trade-related assistance to developing countries. During the WTO Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong in 2005, the EU, Japan and the USA made concrete pledges regarding future assistance in the area of trade. The EU’s pledge will be honoured independent of the result of the Doha Round. Moreover, at the end of 2007 the EU entered into an economic partnership agreement with the ACP countries in order to promote their development, not least of all through increased trade-policy cooperation with the EU and closer economic integration among the six ACP regions.

Denmark prioritises increased economic growth and trade through development assistance in a number of ways: through incorporating the trade-related conditions in the developing country’s own poverty reduction strategies (PRSPs); through a higher degree of cohesion among all the actors’ trade and development policy priorities; by strengthening the countries’ economic and financial infrastructures (for example: transport, energy, water, communication and financing); as well as through a greater focus on product quality.

The private sector plays a key role in development work, and Denmark supports the development of the private sector in the programme countries both directly as well as indirectly through the individual sector programmes.

Denmark has a variety of instruments that support private-sector-driven growth and development. This applies to the Business-to-Business programme, the IFU (the Industrialisation Fund for Developing Countries) as well as the Mixed Credits Scheme. Apart from these initiatives, the programme for Public-Private Partnerships strengthens activities that promote the social responsibility of enterprises in developing countries.

The environment

All countries have a responsibility to contribute to achieving Goal 7 concerning ensuring environmentally-friendly and sustainable development, and in this area Denmark has contributed to the objective by making its energy consumption more efficient. In the period from 1990 to 2006 the energy consumption share percentage of Denmark’s GNP was reduced by approximately 26 per cent, making Denmark one of the most energy efficient countries in the world.

Denmark has ratified the Kyoto Protocol and negotiated about a reduction in the emission of greenhouse gases with the other EU countries. In keeping with these negotiations, Denmark has committed itself to reducing the total emissions of greenhouse gases by 21 per cent between 2008 and 2012 in relation to 1990 levels. This constitutes a very significant challenge.

In 1990 Denmark presented the first CO2 action plan. Since then a number of initiatives have been implemented designed to reduce CO2 emissions. These include, among other things, initiatives that are to promote greater energy efficiency and increase the use of CHP and sustainable energy sources.

With regard to achieving the goal set in the Kyoto Protocol in the most efficient way, Denmark makes use of the Protocol’s opportunity for purchasing CO2 reductions that developing countries and countries in Eastern Europe have achieved through investments in energy-efficient technology. Denmark can deduct the purchase of these emission reductions, which can be undertaken by the state or by enterprises that are covered by the Danish quotas, from its own CO2 account. Denmark provides development assistance intended to build the capacity in the developing countries to improve this type of investment in “Clean Development” – thus the term in the Kyoto Protocol, “Clean Development Mechanism”. The purchase of emission reductions is not financed through development assistance.


Photo: Woman from the village of Bhaktapur, outside of Kathmandu in Nepal, working in her rice field. Photo: Dieter Telemans

Woman from the village of Bhaktapur, outside of Kathmandu in Nepal, working in her rice field. Photo: Dieter Telemans


Priorities of the Danish Government’s policy for development assistance

Covers: Commitment to Development and A World for All

The priorities of the Government’s policy for development assistance and the long-term economic framework for Danish assistance for the period 2007-2011 were set out in the plan “Commitment to Development”.

“Commitment to Development” provides an overall picture of the framework for how Danish development policy can support the developing countries’ own efforts towards combating poverty and securing a better future.

In the Appropriations Act for 2007, the Government allocated over half a billion more in additional development assistance compared to the Appropriations Act for 2006. Greater international responsibility also follows with the increasing level of Danish development assistance. The Government will take action where the need is greatest. In this regard, the challenges of sustainable development are far and away greatest in Africa, which is therefore at the heart of the Government’s development policy priorities. The Government will increase assistance to Africa in the coming years – which will take place through a long-term effort aimed at supporting the African countries’ own determination to combat poverty and secure a better future for themselves. Furthermore, Denmark will strengthen its involvement in relation to the Arab world. The focal point of the Government’s development policy will be to contribute actively to the fulfilment of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals.

In 2007 the Government assigned high priority to three focus areas:

  • Good governance – a fundamental prerequisite for development. Good governance and respect for human rights are the keys to development – without good governance, other development initiatives and efforts will have only limited impact
  • Women – a driving force for development. Danish development assistance should actively contribute to strengthening women’s rights – at work, in the political arena and in family life
  • HIV/AIDS – focus on Africa and vulnerable groups. The spread of HIV/AIDS represents a serious threat to sustainable development – especially in Africa.

Information regarding activities within these areas can be found in the annual report.

In August 2007 the Government presented “A World for All”, which outlined the development policy priorities for 2008-2012.

The geographical focal point for Danish assistance is Africa. It is here that the challenges are greatest.

The focus of the assistance is the previously-stated policy objectives regarding women’s rights, HIV/AIDS and good governance. At the same time, the plan addresses a number of themes that appear on the international agenda to an increasing degree:

  • The climate, energy and the environment
  • Migration and development
  • Stability and democracy.


In each annual report we focus on one of Denmark’s programme countries. In 2007 the focus is on Nepal.

In 1989 Nepal was chosen as a Danish programme country, among other reasons because of the ongoing democratisation process that was taking place at that time and the extremely widespread poverty in the country. Nepal was then – and still is – the poorest country in Southern Asia and one of the poorest countries in the world. It is estimated that approximately 32 per cent of the total population of the country lives below the poverty line.

At the end of 2006, Nepal’s Government and the Maoists signed a peace agreement, formally ending more than 10 years of violent conflict. The country now finds itself in a positive but challenging situation that, with international support, has the possibility of leading to peace, democracy and stability. A successful resolution to the peace process can pave the way for sustainable growth, development and poverty reduction.

Combating poverty continues to be the most important overall goal of Denmark’s involvement in Nepal. However, in light of the need for reforming the public sector and long-term political stability, there will be increased focus on the development of a political environment that can promote a national poverty reduction strategy. This approach involves increasing the focus on human rights and good governance and places special emphasis on initiatives aimed at peaceful and sustainable solutions to the conflict between Nepal’s Government and the Maoists.

In 2007 Nepal received USD 49.6 million in Danish bilateral development assistance. The assistance was concentrated around four areas: education, the environment and renewable energy, democracy and good governance as well as the peace process and conflict prevention.

  Map: Denmark
Map: Nepal
Total area 43,094 km² 147,200 km²
Coastline 7,314 km 0 km
Capital Copenhagen Kathmandu
Highest point Yding skovhøj 173 m Mount Everest 8,848 m
Number of inhabitants 5,427,000 28,676,547
Percentage of population under 14 years of age 18.44 % 39 %
Annual population growth 0.53 % 2.20 %
Childhood mortality per 1000
(under 5 years old)
5 74
Fertility 1.8 children per woman 3.5 children per woman
HIV/AIDS-infected pr. 100,000 inhabitants 125 447
Tuberculosis-infected pr. 100,000 inhabitants 5.8 243.8
Life expectancy 78 years 63 years
Percentage with reading skills
(over 15 years old)
98 % 54 %
Percentage of population living on less than USD 2/day 0 % 32 %
Primary religion Christianity Hinduism
GNI pr. inhabitant USD 49,098 USD 290
GNP (USD million) 258,714 7,391
GNP distributed by sectors Agriculture: 2 %
Industry: 25 %
Service: 73 %
Agriculture: 38 %
Industry: 21 %
Service: 41 %
Public revenue as a % of GNP 36 % 12.8 %
Public expenditures as a % of GNP 34.70 % 16.6 %
Export as a % of GNP 49 % 16 %
Import as a % of GNP 44 % 33 %
Rate of inflation 2.4 % 2.3 %
Total energy consumption
(million tonnes oil equivalent)
20.1 9.1
Electricity consumption
(kWh per inhabitant)
6,631 69
CO2 emissions
(million tonnes)
54.5 2.9
Fixed-line network telephones
(pr. 1000 inhabitants)
619 17
Mobile telephones
(pr. 1000 inhabitants)
1,010 9
Internet users
(pr. 1000 inhabitants)
527 4
Railroads 2,212 km 59 km
Major roads
Of which are paved roads
71,847 km
100 %
17,380 km
30.30 %

Sources: World Development Indicators 2007, Statistics Denmark, and the Danish Energy Agency


Photo: Nepal. Two girls enjoying a Sunday swing. Photo: Mikkel Østergaard

Nepal. Two girls enjoying a Sunday swing. Photo: Mikkel Østergaard

The Danish Government intends to prioritise very highly efforts and initiatives that promote democracy and human rights – internationally as well as through bilateral development assistance. The Government will strengthen the Partnership for Progress and Reform and the efforts designed to allow the populations in poor countries to live in peace and dignity in open societies with responsible governments. An important aspect of the Danish initiatives concerning good governance will be to strengthen the consistent Danish policy of combating corruption in developing countries.


Denmark supports human rights, democracy and good governance in all its programme countries and in a number of other developing countries as well. This is due to ethical reasons and because of plain common sense. For if people living in poverty-stricken countries are to have the opportunity to live in freedom and dignity and contribute to the development of society, then it requires that they have genuine influence on the decisions that affect their lives and regarding the management of the society’s resources and that they live in a democratic society based on the rule of law, where the rights of the individual are respected. It also requires that they have the ability to ensure that their governments administer their mandates in a responsible way and that they – if the need should arise – have the ability to get rid of incompetent and corrupt politicians and government officials.

In other words, a reasonably well-functioning state based on the rule of law is a prerequisite for development, for private investment to occur and for donors to be willing to surrender a greater amount of ownership and control of the donor funding to the recipient country.

In 2007 a Danish-supported effort against corruption in Zambia contributed to Zambia’s former president, Chiluba, being found guilty of corruption. This is an illustration of the fact that Denmark’s support to fighting corruption is not just meant to ensure that there is no misuse of Danish assistance, but also to make the recipient countries better able to monitor and prosecute corruption in general.

Support to good governance may sound bureaucratic. However, in reality it is often aimed at achieving less bureaucracy, or ’red tape’, meaning unnecessary, bureaucratic systems that can kill initiatives of any kind. A well-functioning public sector without unnecessary red tape is absolutely crucial for the private sector to be able to thrive and for the country to be capable of providing its citizens with basic services such as healthcare, education, water and infrastructure.

The Danish efforts and activities are wide-ranging. Denmark supports the preparation for and holding of elections, parliaments that are to function with multiple parties, ombudsman institutions, free press activities, improvements of the judicial system etc. Denmark also supports reforms in the public sector intended to enhance efficiency and transparency.


Five Danish election observers closely followed the election in Kenya 27 December 2007, an election that has since caused much violent conflict and unrest. The Danish observers were a part of the EU’s Election Commission and had been recruited from Denmark’s International Humanitarian Service (IHB).

Many EU election observers closely followed the election itself, the preparations for the election and – especially – the subsequent vote count. This meant that the EU had clear and reliable documentation for declaring that the election had not been conducted in a free and fair manner and that fraud had taken place during the vote count.

For example, many of the EU’s more than 100 election observers were refused access to the locations where the vote counts took place, which was in violation of the regulations that Kenya had committed itself to following. Other observers noted that the results that they had themselves recorded at the locations where the vote count took place had been altered when they were later presented as the official results.

The election in Kenya illustrates the importance of having international observers present when elections are held in new and still fragile democracies, and Denmark sends out election observers through both the EU and the OSCE, the Organisation for Security Cooperation in Europe.

82 election observers were sent out in 2007

In 2007 alone Denmark sent out observers through the OSCE to elections in 11 countries: Albania, Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan, Kosovo, Croatia, Moldova, Serbia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.

In 2007 Denmark sent observers through the EU to elections in nine countries: Ecuador, Guatemala, Kenya, Mauritania, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Togo, Indonesia and Pakistan.

Photo: During the violence in Kenya in January 2008. Thieves fleeing from the Kenyan police after looting.Photo: Frederic Courbet/Panos

During the violence in Kenya in January 2008. Thieves fleeing from the Kenyan police after looting.Photo: Frederic Courbet/Panos

82 Danes in all were sent out as election observers through the IHB. 28 of these were stationed as long-term observers, a post lasting typically between 4 and 12 weeks, and they thus had a good opportunity to follow the preparations up to the elections as well as the subsequent vote count. 54 of the observers were stationed as short-term observers and were typically posted for up to two weeks.

Ceasefires and conflict management

The IHB handles many other assignments besides election missions. IHB staff assist in monitoring ceasefires and human rights, provide advice on conflict management, handle civilian police tasks and assist with war crimes tribunals.

In 2007, 23 staff members from the IHB were posted on assignments in Hebron, Afghanistan, Sudan, Uganda, Somaliland and Kosovo. Their tasks varied greatly in nature. For example, four civilian advisers were sent to Afghanistan as a part of the Provincial Reconstruction Teams. The assignments were later taken over by actual Danida advisers, but members of the IHB can typically be recruited at short notice and take care of the necessary acute activities in a post-conflict area. Moreover, the IHB has sent an adviser to the EU’s programme for promoting the rule of law in Afghanistan.

The IHB’s staff has also assisted the African Union Mission that is monitoring the cease-fire in Darfur in Sudan, an IHB staff member was in Somaliland as a technical expert in voter registration, and two were in Kosovo as consultants in connection with the examination of mentally ill and traumatised refugees who had been returned to the country. The IHB adviser in Uganda was part of an initiative launched by the government of Southern Sudan to establish a process of mediation between the Ugandan government and the Lord’s Resistance Army rebel movement.

The IHB since 1994

In 1994 a broad majority in the Folketing (Danish Parliament)et, approved the establishment of the International Humanitarian Service, IHB, with the stated purpose of contributing to conflict prevention and assisting to ensure peace and stability.

Since that time, the IHB has had its own entry in the Appropriations Act so that there are always funds available to send members of the IHB out at short notice without first having to wait for a special appropriation. The IHB unit has approximately 300 Danes with experience in international work in its database and, moreover, makes use of the Danish police and the Danish Emergency Management Agency (DEMA).

USD 10.1 million is allocated to the IHB annually. The appropriation also covers dispatches on behalf of the Danish Red Cross’s Delegate Programme, the Danish Refugee Council’s secondings to UN organisations and Médecins sans Frontières’ posting of personnel.

Increased focus on human rights and democracy

Graph: Increased focus on human rights and democracy

¹ Appropriation Act frames
² As of the financial year 2006, the frames have been reorganised from disbursement management to commitment management

MRD assistance to non-programme countries 2007

Graph: MRD assistance to non-programme countries 2007

*Includes, i.a, grants to the Danish Institute for Human Rights, the Danish Parliament’s Ombudsman and the RCT (Rehabilitation and Research Centre for Torture Victims).
**Repayment of unused funds.


It is a far cry from Vietnam’s one-party system to the Danish multi-party system. Nevertheless, there are several elements of Danish democracy that have inspired the Vietnamese, for example the Danish ombudsman institution. The Vietnamese became aware of this institution in 2006 when a representative of the office of the Danish Ombudsman visited Vietnam as a part of the preparation for a unified Danish support programme for good governance in Vietnam.

Vietnam’s Parliament has a sub-committee responsible for handling complaints from citizens, but the committee has neither many resources nor much influence. Moreover, it is drowning in cases, especially cases involving property rights. Vietnam is undergoing rapid economic development, and a large amount of land is needed for new factories, roads and towns. Many citizens feel that their right to land – or at least their right to use the land – has been infringed and have lodged complaints involving the lack of compensation.

The committee, therefore, wanted to learn more about how the Danish ombudsman institution functions, and the Danish embassy in Vietnam granted approximately USD 0.2 million to the project. Among other things, this has meant that officials from the Vietnamese Parliament have visited Denmark and other European countries in order to study different models for handling complaints. Three seminars have been held in Vietnam concerning the subject, the most recent taking place in November 2007, at which the Danish Ombudsman, Hans Gammeltoft-Hansen, was present.

Among other things, he emphasised that the Danish ombudsman can only provide recommendations which the government is under no obligation to follow. However, simply bringing errors and shortcomings in administrative practice to the public’s attention is in itself a very powerful tool.

Among the participants at the seminar were more than 40 members of the Vietnamese Parliament, and there was significant interest in developing a more efficient body for managing complaints. This does not mean that Vietnam immediately intends to create an ombudsman institution like Denmark’s, but inspiration from Denmark can be used to make Vietnam’s complaints body more efficient and powerful. Continuing work in this area is being supported by Denmark as a part of the unified programme for support to good governance in Vietnam. The programme was approved in 2007 and was allocated a total of USD 12.9 million for the 2008-11 period.


The World Bank should only take economic, not political, issues into consideration. This is made clear by the statutes that have applied to the Bank since its inception in 1944, and therefore, human rights considerations have not exactly been at the top of the agenda for the Bank’s work. However, the subject will now receive greater attention thanks to several years of Danish and Nordic lobbying.

Getting the World Bank to place greater focus on human rights aspects has long been a special priority for Denmark. This is not to imply that complying with human rights should be a condition for granting loans or assistance, but should instead be seen as positive promotion of human rights.

The former president of the World Bank, James Wolfensohn, shared this interest and he asked the group of Scandinavian and Baltic countries to present a discussion paper on the topic. The paper was ready in the autumn of 2005 when Denmark also seconded an experienced Danish human rights expert to a newly-established position as senior adviser at the Bank’s headquarters.

The work quickly led to a proposal to establish a special trust fund for projects involving human rights and good governance, and the Scandinavian countries made it clear that they were willing to provide USD 22.0 million to the fund over three years.

In the meantime, the World Bank had also appointed a new president, Paul Wolfowitz, and he welcomed the initiative. At the annual meeting of the World Bank in Singapore in 2006, his own controversial proposal regarding corruption and good governance was, unexpectedly, not adopted and this made Wolfowitz cautious about promoting the trust fund.

Almost all work at the World Bank came to a halt in the spring of 2007 when charges of abuse of office were made against Paul Wolfowitz. It was only when a new president, Robert Zoellick, took office in the summer of 2007 that action was again taken towards establishing the trust fund. It is now expected that the trust fund will finally be created in the middle of 2008. In 2007 a Danish contribution of USD 4.6 million to the trust fund was approved.

This story is also a good example of how the Danish opportunities for influencing large international institutions such as the World Bank have improved since the responsibility for contact to these international organisations was decentralised and moved away from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Denmark and placed in the Danish missions throughout the world. It is after all significantly easier to establish close ties and networks to people in the World Bank’s headquarters in Washington through the Danish embassy in Washington than from the ministry in Copenhagen. However, the story also exemplifies how a sustained effort is still required and it continues to be a long, tough haul when a country like Denmark wants to influence large organisations such as the World Bank.



Photo: The Danish Ombudsman since 1987, Hans Gammeltoft-Hansen

The Danish Ombudsman since 1987, Hans Gammeltoft-Hansen:

“When we enter into cooperation to establish or further develop an ombudsman office, we place a lot of emphasis on equality. Our Danish model has been operating now for more than 50 years, but that doesn’t mean that we necessarily have solutions to all the extreme challenges that ombudsmen face in the countries we are now talking about. What we can do, however, is be professional, equal partners in the dialogue concerning finding the best solution.

We also learn a great deal through this dialogue about what it takes to get a good and correct idea to function under pressure and under difficult, sometimes almost impossible, conditions.”

The ombudsman of the Folketing (Danish Parliament) plays a key role in the Danish democratic system. Citizen’s can lodge complaints with the ombudsman if they feel that authorities have committed errors and the ombudsman can open cases on his or her own initiative. While it is true that the authorities are not legally bound to follow the recommendations of the ombudsman, still the simple fact that complaints are given serious and professional attention and enter the public arena make the office an important element in terms of democratic checks.

Many new democracies in developing countries have a definite need for such a function, and the Danish ombudsman institution has also been involved in international cooperation ever since its inception in 1955.

In order to enhance Danish efforts at promoting democracy and good governance, a framework agreement between the ombudsman institution and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was entered into in 2001. This agreement ensures a permanent appropriation that enables the institution to make commitments involving international development work and thereby support Denmark’s efforts to promote human rights and democracy. The most recent framework agreement amounts to DKK 2.64 million and covers the period 2007-09. Moreover, the ombudsman can be involved in specific projects through, for example, appropriations from embassies, as has been the case in, among other places, Vietnam and Ghana.

To call the arrangement systematic export of a well-proven Danish model is, however, a slight exaggeration, almost misleading. For Denmark insists that individual countries must find the model that is best suited to their specific, local conditions. Other models for institutions designed for dealing with complaints exist in many other older and established democracies. However, developing countries are more than welcome to find inspiration and receive advice in Denmark.


Two decades of violence, conflict and social, political and economic exclusion have had serious and comprehensive consequences for the women and girls of Afghanistan. Throughout this entire period, girls and women have been subject to severe attacks on their basic human rights.

A good deal of progress has been made since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. However, violence against women is still widespread. Studies show that more than half of the women in Afghanistan are subject to violence in the home, and forced marriages are extremely common. Many women suffer from trauma and depression, and suicide by self-immolation is a frighteningly widespread phenomenon.

Denmark supports the organisation called “Women’s Voices”, which has opened a shelter in Herat for women who have been victims of violence or who have been forced into marriages. The shelter provides women with a secure place to stay, legal and medical assistance and help to move on with their lives. The shelter focuses as much as possible on finding solutions to the conflict so that the woman – or girl – can return home to her family, and they monitor the women for at least six months after they leave the shelter.

The organisation produces information material that reaches several thousand people, and the shelter specifically helps approximately 100 women and girls a year. One of them is an 11-year-old girl who was forced into marriage with a 45-year-old man when she was nine because her brothers needed money for drugs. The girl attempted to burn herself to death and now suffers from severe burns and internal injuries as a result of the burning and general abuse. She has been at the shelter for six months and is to remain there until her operations have been successfully completed.

Photo: A young Roma girl from Bangladesh on her way home with water. Photo: G.M.B. Akash/Panos

A young Roma girl from Bangladesh on her way home with water. Photo: G.M.B. Akash/Panos


There is seldom much help or understanding from the police or the courts in Bangladesh for girls and women who have been subject to violence, rape or other forms of assault. Only eight per cent of the judges in the country and less than one per cent of police officers are women, and the general understanding of women’s rights is limited.

This is part of the background for why Denmark has, since 2000, supported an inter-departmental programme whose primary goal is to combat and prevent violence against women and provide support to women who have been victims of violence. Danish support to this programme totals DKK 17.7 million in its present phase, which applies to the period from 2004 to 2008.

Six crisis centres, which cover the entire country, have been established as a part of the programme. At the centres there are doctors, nurses, police officers and daily visits from lawyers, social counsellors and psychologists. The idea behind these centres is that women have a single place that they can go and be properly and professionally treated and can receive medical treatment and legal counselling as well as assistance to report assaults. This makes it easier and more manageable for the women than if they had to contact both the police and the medical authorities, where they would risk being rejected or might receive inadequate help.

For the women and the crisis centres are up against deeply-imbedded traditions and attitudes. The authorities lack the awareness and the resources, but also in some instances the will, to help women and girls who have been assaulted.

The efforts of the centres have led to concrete results: from the start in 2000 and up until 2007 more than 4,000 victims of violence had received help, and 1,278 cases had been reported, leading to 121 convictions. But the preventative role of the centres is just as important. They cooperate with NGOs, the media and government officials in order to make people aware of the rights of women and girls and to prevent violence against women and girls.


A well-functioning public sector is crucial for development and for reducing poverty. The public sector must create the best possible conditions for economic growth and ensure that services provided by the government reach the poor people of society.

It was on this basis that, in 2007, the Danish Government launched a strategy for how Denmark can best contribute to promoting “good governance” in developing countries.

The strategy involves focusing the Danish effort on the Danish programme countries and on specific areas within public administration. Denmark is a small country and cannot do it all. It is also in keeping with the efforts at delegating the work between the donors that Denmark concentrates its activities.

Denmark has selected three fokus areas: corruption, local administration and services as well as the management of public funds. Denmark will make special efforts to enhance its competences within these three areas so as to be a competent and relevant partner for developing countries.

Denmark already has a great deal of experience, especially in terms of fighting corruption as well as with the decentralisation and strengthening of local authorities. Management of public funds and budgets has been chosen as a special focus area because the responsible management to public funds is absolutely fundamental to establishing confidence in the public sector and making the most of a society’s resources. Additionally, it is an absolute prerequisite for the type of assistance that is becoming more and more common: general budget support.

The civil society needs to be active

Responsible and efficient public administration is ensured through, among other things, an active local civil society that can draw attention to the needs of poor and marginalised groups and cry out when there is misuse and poor management of the shared resources of a society. Therefore, in 2007 Denmark appropriated USD 9.2 million for enhancing the participation of civil society in promoting good governance.

The appropriation is targeted at the countries where Denmark initiated new programmes or new phases of programmes for good governance in 2007: Benin, Bolivia, Kenya, Mozambique, Uganda and Vietnam.

For example, in Kenya, MS, the Danish Association for International Cooperation, has received USD 0.9 million for enhancing the capacity of local citizens and civil society organisations to effectively influence local authorities’ budgetary planning, and in Vietnam the Danish NGO, Agricultural Development Denmark Asia, has received approximately DKK 4 million to provide legal assistance and counselling to the rural population so that it can develop methods of influencing local development planning.

Photo: From the courthouse in Jinja, Uganda, where Denmark has sponsored all the furniture and fixtures and renovated the old buildings. A prison guard locks the door to a cell. Photo: Mikkel Østergaard

From the courthouse in Jinja, Uganda, where Denmark has sponsored all the furniture and fixtures and renovated the old buildings. A prison guard locks the door to a cell. Photo: Mikkel Østergaard


It is extremely seldom that a former head of state in Africa is convicted of corruption. That is precisely why the case where Zambia’s former president, Frederick Chiluba, was convicted of corruption and ordered to repay up to USD 40 million to the Zambian state has attracted so much attention.

The ruling was announced in May 2007 by an English court. Chiluba was president of Zambia from 1991 to 2001 and was well known for his almost extravagant lifestyle, which stood in stark contrast to Zambia’s first president, Kenneth Kaunda’s, more Spartan way of life.

Chiluba’s massive spending led to early suspicions of corruption, but it was only six years after he had left office that the ruling was announced, revealing how Chiluba, in close collaboration with the then permanent secretary of the Office of the President, set up an account in a Zambian bank in London. Officially, the account was used for ’secret operations’, but in practice it financed Chiluba’s children’s education abroad, expensive hotel and restaurant bills, jewellery, motorbikes and the purchase of properties abroad.

One of the more serious examples was Chiluba’s purchase of USD 1.2 million worth of clothes from a Swiss tailor. This took place, in the words of the ruling, “at a time when the majority of Zambians were living on less than one dollar a day and when many could not afford more than one meal a day.”

In Zambia, the corruption case against Chiluba was investigated by the Task Force on Corruption, which was created by the incumbent president of Zambia, Mwanawasa, and is supported by a range of donors, including Denmark.

The special Task Force has also provided the majority of the evidence that is being used in a criminal case currently under way in a Zambian high court. It is not known when a ruling will be given in that case, but if the Zambian court also finds Chiluba guilty he risks a prison sentence.

Chiluba is not in jail at present, but he spends a great deal of time at court hearings involving the case. There is no doubt that many Zambians would like to see their former president behind bars, but what is just as important is that Chiluba is actually made to repay the funds that he has embezzled. For, in contrast to the majority of Zambians, Chiluba is still living an exclusive and extravagant life.


There was relief and great joy – especially among the many representatives for indigenous peoples present, among them representatives from Greenland – when the UN’s General Assembly finally adopted a declaration that clearly stated the rights of indigenous peoples.

The rights of indigenous peoples have been a special cause for Denmark for many years, with strong backing from Greenland’s Home Rule government. On the international scene, Denmark has worked for the rights of indigenous peoples through support to the UN’s Permanent Forum for Indigenous Peoples as well as by supporting the participation of indigenous peoples in international work. Among other things, Denmark has supported the highly acknowledged work that the IWGIA, the International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (with headquarters in Copenhagen) conducts globally through the UN and other international organisations as well as in collaboration with partners in developing countries.

The fight for the UN declaration has been long and hard and has been met with resistance, especially from four countries: the USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. These four countries also voted against the declaration, which Denmark co-authored. However, a surprising majority of 143 countries voted to adopt the declaration, while 11 countries abstained from voting.

Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, chair of the UN’s Permanent Forum for Indigenous Peoples, called the adoption of the declaration historic. She expressed the desire that the declaration will signify that indigenous peoples can now put their painful histories behind them and instead begin to look forward to an existence where their special ways of life and rights are also recognised.

The adoption of the declaration means that countries with indigenous peoples will be obliged to involve them in important decision-making processes. For example, with the declaration in hand, indigenous peoples’ organisations will be able to demand to have influence in how the consequences of climate change should be managed. The declaration can also act as a starting point for Denmark’s efforts to get other donors to assist actively in improving the conditions of indigenous peoples.

In Bolivia support to indigenous peoples is a primary initiative area for Danish bilateral assistance. In other countries such as Nicaragua and Tanzania, there have been special initiatives targeting indigenous peoples, while indigenous peoples in Vietnam and Bangladesh are an important part of the target group for a number of sector programmes. Danish NGOs also cooperate with indigenous peoples’ organisations.


The brutal side of the military junta in Burma was seen once again when it reacted severely to halt a wave of demonstrations and protests led by Buddhist monks in September 2007, and the hope for change only lasted for a short time.

The military junta also shut down telephone, mobile telephone and Internet connections to other countries so that the world would receive as little information as possible about the disturbances. The Danish Ambassador to Thailand, Michael Sternberg, who is also responsible for Burma, immediately travelled to Burma’s new capital, Naypyidaw, and lodged an official Danish protest about the junta’s reaction to the demonstrations and the lack of commitment to dialogue and democracy. He was able to provide information about the situation in Burma to several Danish media via satellite.

Burma has been a Danish priority for many years, and the important thing is to be there when trouble occurs and make the junta aware of the fact that Denmark is keeping an eye on developments in the country. The active Danish line was confirmed in 2006 with a new initiative that makes it possible to work around the regime in Burma. Previously Denmark had concentrated its efforts in Burma on the approximately 1 million refugees living in the border area to Thailand. The new initiative allows for Denmark also to provide support to the approximately 52 million people living in Burma.

A carrot and a stick

The aim of Denmark’s work in relation to Burma is to set in motion democratisation and national reconciliation processes. The Danish line consists of three pillars: a tough and consistent line towards the generals through the use of sanctions; assistance to the people of Burma; and close cooperation concerning Burma with the Asian countries.

The sanctions are run through the EU, where Denmark actively presses to strengthen the sanctions. As a result of, i.a., active Danish efforts, the EU’s Foreign Ministers voted in 2007 to tighten the sanctions that are directed against sectors that are significant to the generals economically, specifically lumber, minerals, metals and gems. Despite strong pressure from Denmark, it was not, however, possible to get the other EU countries to agree to apply the sanctions to oil and gas as well. At the same time, the EU’s Foreign Ministers decided to increase the humanitarian assistance to the Burmese civilian population.

In spite of the increased pressure, the junta has so far managed to ride out the storm. This is primarily due the fact that Burma’s dominant trading partners are its large neighbouring countries China, Thailand and India, which have not introduced sanctions against Burma.

Assistance is increased

In the autumn of 2007, Denmark decided to increase assistance to Burma by an additional USD 9.2 million for the period 2007-2008. Denmark’s assistance is to continue to go to the Burmese exile community and refugees and to the Burmese population. Danish assistance targets, i.a., education, combating malnutrition in children, HIV, malaria and tuberculosis, as well as providing support to the development of a civil society and to strengthening the media internally in Burma.

There is good reason for Denmark to stress initiatives aimed at children and, especially, the most vulnerable of them. Children in Burma are among the most malnourished and poorly educated in the world. Danish assistance is channelled through UNICEF, which has been working in Burma for a long time and has the ability move throughout the country, as well as through NGOs. UNICEF conducts its activities outside of the government apparatus and is in the process of creating a programme involving education and nutrition that will reach the poorest children in the country.

Denmark does not have a governmental agreement on development assistance with the regime in Burma, and Denmark does not place any funds in programmes that the Burmese government has control over. However, the regime does allow the Danish efforts in the country. The Danish-supported activities in the border areas include, i.a., an NGO that supplies independent news from Burma and trains Burmese journalists.


Photo: School day in the village of Navabad near Kabul in Afghanistan. Approximately 1,000 refugee children go to school here. Photo: Yannis Kontos/Panos

School day in the village of Navabad near Kabul in Afghanistan. Approximately 1,000 refugee children go to school here. Photo: Yannis Kontos/Panos

Denmark will continue to contribute actively to resolving violent conflicts and promoting peaceful democratic processes in the hot spots of the world. Denmark has been one of the most active countries in the UN’s new Peacebuilding Commission, which is to enhance the international community’s capacity for preventing countries from relapsing into conflicts. Sustainable peaceful solutions are to be ensured through better coordination between military and humanitarian initiatives and more long-term reconstruction assistance, and Denmark will especially focus on contributing to conflict resolution in Africa.


Peace and stability are preconditions for social and economic development and to eliminate poverty and achieve the Millennium Development Goals. When wars and conflicts rage, development is put on hold or actually loses ground and this almost always primarily affects the poor and the vulnerable. They also suffer when fragile states do not have the ability to ensure basic rights for their citizens or provide opportunities for development.

Violent conflict and instability give rise to enormous human, social and environmental costs, create widespread and long-lasting refugee disasters and create barriers for achieving political, social and economic development, both in the countries involved as well as in neighbouring countries.

Through development assistance, Denmark makes a significant effort at preventing and resolving conflicts and at stabilising and consolidating peace in developing countries as well as keeping radicalisation and terrorism in check. This is done through Denmark’s direct cooperation with developing countries and through support to the UN and other international and regional organisations.

Danish initiatives are first and foremost concentrated on combating one of the primary causes of conflicts and instability, namely poverty. However, Denmark also supports democratisation and work to establish civil societies and helps developing countries to establish efficient and democratic states so that they can manage the processes of change and resolve conflicts through negotiation and dialogue.


Danish development assistance has previously been criticised for placing too much focus on stable and secure countries at the expense of fragile or even failed states. The latest criticism came in 2007 from the DAC review of Danish assistance, which also recommended that Denmark should prepare a strategic foundation for its efforts in fragile states.

In fact, the Government was already thinking along the same lines and in the report on its priorities for Danish development assistance for the period 2008-2012, “A World for Everyone”, from 2007, the Government announced that guiding principles would be established for Denmark’s commitments in fragile states. The work has already begun and is to be completed in 2008.

But is it actually the case that Denmark avoids working in high-risk countries? The truth is that Denmark is more active in fragile states than many probably think. On average, the OECD countries gave 25 per cent of their assistance to fragile states in 2006, while 23 per cent of Danish assistance in 2006 went to fragile states, and this figure has been growing over recent years.

Denmark provides significant contributions in fragile states such as Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and in the Palestinian Self Rule areas. Moreover, Denmark provides support to, for example, Liberia, primarily through international organisations, and to Burma and Zimbabwe, primarily through NGOs.

Stable countries experience setbacks

Unfortunately, experience shows that also countries, including Danish programme countries, that are otherwise stable can suddenly experience periods of instability and fragility.

For example, before the election in December 2007, many saw Kenya as a country in the midst of a stable economic and political development. However, since then, the country has gone through a serious crisis.

Nepal is another Danish programme country that has experienced a period of crisis and civil war. Denmark has been involved in the efforts that led to a peace agreement in 2006. This stabilised the country and meant that Denmark could resume cooperation with Nepal’s government in 2007. Denmark now supports a comprehensive peace programme with the opportunity for the embassy to react quickly and locally. Denmark supports, i.a., voter registration and the demobilisation of the Maoist rebel movement.

Also in violence-ravaged Northern Uganda, Denmark plays an active role with the embassy acting as the driving force which can provide support to the peace process on short notice when it becomes necessary.


Education is a key element of the Danish assistance to Afghanistan. In 2007 Denmark provided USD 9.2 million to the education sector. Education must also be a Danish priority in violence-plagued Helmand Province, and there is definitely enough work to be done. A paltry 3 per cent of the population in the area can read and write, but there is enormous interest in sending children to school. Many people have returned home after having been refugees in Pakistan and Iran where they experienced first hand how much difference it can make to be able to read and write and that education can provide alternative opportunities to the traditional opium farming.

Afghanistan’s central government also agrees that this should be a primary area of focus. In December 2007 the Afghan Minister for Education held, with Danish support, a very successful “education jiirga” in Helmand. The Minister promised that the Government was ready to build 100 new schools within Helmand with Danish financing if the population would themselves take responsibility for reopening the existing schools.

The Danish ambassador emphasised that Denmark works directly through the Ministry of Education and does not have its own agenda for education in Helmand, and that Denmark expects the population actively to prevent attacks on the schools, protect teachers against threats and violence and, most importantly, ensure that children can feel safe in attending school.

The “jiirga”, which is a local assembly, gave unanimous backing to the vision, but at the same time emphasised the need for ensuring the close involvement of the local community. Mobilisation of the districts is crucial for creating security in relation to the content of the education and for removing the area of education from the immediate conflict between the Taliban and the central government.

It is on this background that more initiatives will be launched in 2008.

Quick educational drive in Musa Qala

Within 24 hours after the town of Musa Qala in Helmand Province officially fell and came under the control of the government, the Afghan Minister for Education, with Danish support, launched an extensive education campaign in the area. Through a prompt and visible civil effort, the Afghan Government was able to build further on their military success and thereby enhance the process of reconciliation in the area. Musa Qala has been shifting between Taliban and government control throughout 2007 and it was, therefore, especially important to mobilise the people in the area to support the central government now.

The model for support lies in extension of the education jiirga that was carried out for the rest of Helmand. Thus the Minister on Education made commitments to the local population to carry out school construction etc. in the areas reclaimed from the Taliban in exchange for the local people’s support for the initiative. The Danish embassy has given commitments to support the initiative with USD 0.46 million in 2008. The money will especially go to financing the reopening of schools and construction of new schools in the area.


Denmark has a massive presence in Helmand Province in south-western Afghanistan, which is one of the breeding grounds for radicalisation and extremism in the country. The Danish activities are both military and civilian, based on the concept “as civilian as possible, as military as necessary”.

The military effort in Helmand involved approximately 500 soldiers in 2007. Coordinating the civilian and military effort in Helmand is important for creating stability and laying the foundation for long-term reconstruction and development. In 2007 Denmark took part in the reconstruction effort in Helmand with three civilian advisers who helped Danish soldiers with identifying and setting in motion stabilisation activities in Helmand.

In December 2007 the Ministries of Defence and Foreign Affairs produced a joint plan for Danish activities in the province. The plan sets very specific goals and clear guidelines for the civilian-military cooperation.

The job of the military, in terms of development activities, is both to protect the civilian advisers and to create the security that is the prerequisite for allowing both short-term reconstruction and more long-term development to take place. Moreover, the Danish units carry out quick and visible development projects in the areas where it is still not possible to conduct development activities with civilian actors.

The military also conducts small projects and activities that aim solely at contributing to ensuring the safety of the units. The projects are to create support for the presence of the military units. These projects are financed through the Ministry of Defence’s budget and are not included in the figures for Danish development assistance. Additionally, the amounts are typically small and isolated but hopefully used for visible initiatives.

Photo: A homeless boy from Kabul has taken up residence in the ruins of Kabul’s National Theatre. Photo: Moises Saman/Panos

A homeless boy from Kabul has taken up residence in the ruins of Kabul’s National Theatre. Photo: Moises Saman/Panos


Iraq is not a poor country. The country has the third largest oil reserves in the world and there are many well-educated Iraqis. However, the Iraqis are suffering from the after-effects of years of war and conflict that have forced approximately 4 million people out of a total population of 26 million to flee, and with the fall of the Saddam regime in 2003, basically the entire structure that had been supporting the Iraqi administration for decades collapsed.

The goals of Denmark’s activities in Iraq are to assist the Iraqis in assuming responsibility for their own security and to support the popularly-elected government with the reconstruction of the country, including supporting a sustainable democracy. Up to the end of 2007 Denmark had granted a total of almost USD 55.1 million in humanitarian aid to Iraq, of which USD 23.9 million in 2007. Additionally, Denmark provided USD 48.5 million for reconstruction, of which USD 7.9 million was granted in 2007.

In February 2007 the Danish Government decided to bring the Danish battalion in the Basra area in southern Iraq home in August 2007. The battalion was replaced by a helicopter unit, which was stationed in the Basra area until December 2007. At the same time it was decided to reorganise the Danish reconstruction assistance in the country. Up until then, the assistance had been concentrated specifically on southern Iraq. In the future the Danish efforts are to be aimed at capacity building on the national level in Baghdad.

Goodbye to Basra

At the end of 2007 the majority of assistance activities were completed in the region around Basra where Danish assistance, despite extremely difficult conditions due especially to the problematic security situation, has made a difference:

  • Danish support to irrigation has assisted in recreating opportunities for agriculture in arid areas and created improved earning opportunities for 220,000 Iraqis.
  • Danish support to the transport sector has assisted in hastening the reopening of the essential transport corridor from the harbour town of Uhm Qasr in the south and the 600 kilometres to Baghdad.
  • A buoy boat that assists in ensuring the safety of sailing in Iraq’s most important harbour has been renovated and modernised.
  • Schools, a healthcare clinic and a water plant have been built and secondary roads etc. have been renovated with funds from a special local reconstruction fund.

The Danish-supported activities in the south have now been handed over to the Iraqis. In March 2007 Denmark established a Technical Advisory Office in Baghdad, attached to the Danish embassy, whose function is to assist in building the capacity of the central authorities. The Advisory Office is run by a private consultancy firm. Four advisers are stationed at the Office, where there are to be up to 10 Danish-financed advisers during 2008. In August 2007 a Danish-Iraqi seminar took place regarding Danish assistance to the central authorities. At the seminar, consensus was reached on focusing Danish capacity-building activities on agriculture, human rights, transport, migration, strategic planning and donor coordination.


The Peacebuilding Commission has been described as the most concrete result of Denmark’s membership of the UN Security Council in 2005-2006. It was adopted in 2005 after Denmark had actively laid the groundwork, and began its operations in 2006, in part with a support commitment from Denmark totalling USD 9.2 million.

The aim of the Commission was and is to maintain the international community’s spotlight on post-conflict countries, assist in bringing conflicting parties together and ensuring a more stable and lasting peace. The Commission is, i.a., to advise the Security Council and contribute to ensuring responsible exit strategies for peacekeeping operations.

However, as with so many other UN bodies, there are many Member States that must agree on procedures and much else, and this has caused the Commission to get off to such a slow start that some are already describing it as a flop.

The Peacebuilding Commission brings a wide range of actors together: military, civilian, governments, NGOs, the UN and the World Bank/IMF, multilateral and bilateral donors. From the very beginning, no one thought that getting all these various institutions to commit to working together would be easy.

However, there has also been a great deal that has worked, and there are now signs that the Commission has finally found its place and is ready to play the more active role that was originally envisaged. For example, it is encouraging that the Office for Peacebuilding, which is attached to the Commission, has under the leadership of the UN’s Assistant Secretary-General, Carolyn McAskie, received a permanent budget and the desired number of positions, and that the Peacebuilding Fund has achieved its goal of donor contributions totalling USD 250 million in 2007. This secures both the personnel and money with which to carry out the intended work.

The Peace Commission chose Burundi and Sierra Leone as the first initiative countries and since then Guinea-Bissau has been added. It was a deliberate choice for the Commission not to begin its work with the world’s largest and most complicated conflicts. Experience must be gained before they can be tackled.

In both Burundi and Sierra Leone the Commission has been successful in involving all conflicting parties in strategies for peace-building; now they must be implemented. Moreover, in Burundi an extremely detailed and specific plan for monitoring the strategy has been adopted. It concerns, i.a., good governance, human rights, the right to land and socio-economic conditions, and it thus moves a long way towards what, in a UN context, normally would be considered interference in internal matters.

The UN system plays a role throughout the entire process from conflict prevention, emergency aid, peacekeeping and reconstruction to development and human rights. This gives hope and promise that the Commission can help pave the way for the UN and the international community to assume a more active peacebuilding role in conflicts throughout the world.

Denmark has taken the initiative to and is financing an external evaluation of the Peace-building Commission’s work in the first two years with the aim of gathering experience and contributing to ensuring that the good intentions become a reality

Photo: Boys playing football on the outskirts of the Tuaregs’ capital, Timbuktu, Mali, which lies at the edge of the Sahara. Photo: Klaus Holsting

Boys playing football on the outskirts of the Tuaregs’ capital, Timbuktu, Mali, which lies at the edge of the Sahara. Photo: Klaus Holsting


Sudan is not a weak state in the traditional sense. Government authority, which is dominated by people from Northern Sudan, is actually quite strong, and the country has large earnings from oil and other natural resources. However, the many internally displaced people in Sudan and the refugees in the neighbouring countries are in need of humanitarian assistance. Assistance is also needed to consolidate the peace accord that was agreed to between the North and the South in 2005, and there is especially a need for reconstruction assistance that can help to ensure that the country’s resources also reach the large population groups in the many marginalised areas in Southern Sudan, Darfur and Eastern Sudan.

In 2005 Denmark initiated a comprehensive humanitarian and reconstruction programme in Sudan totalling USD 91.9 million, which is to run up to 2009. Half of this amount is to go to humanitarian assistance and region of origin initiatives; the other half is earmarked for reconstruction projects. In 2006 Denmark established a Mission Office in the capital, Khartoum, and in Southern Sudan, Denmark entered into a cooperative effort with five other donors (Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, the United Kingdom and Sweden) and established a joint office that is to promote the Millennium Development Goals through donor harmonisation and capacity building of selected public offices. Moreover, Denmark supports a multi-donor trust fund that is administered by the World Bank. All Danish support to Sudan takes place through international organisations and NGOs.

Danish assistance has contributed to, among other things, 700,000 children in Southern Sudan, especially girls, being able to attend school. Additionally, 200,000 more receive some other form of basic instruction. During the long civil war between the South and the North, education and other areas were neglected by the government officials in the North, and it is estimated that only around 300,000 children in all of Southern Sudan attended school. This was the background for UNICEF, the UN’s Children’s Fund, launching the “Go to School” initiative in Southern Sudan in 2006. A Danish contribution totalling DKK 61 million to phase one of the programme made Denmark one of the largest donors to the initiative. To this must be added the fact that the Danish region of origin support to primary education programmes in Southern Sudan amounted to an additional more than DKK 30 million, which is channelled through Danish and international NGOs that work closely with UNICEF. By the middle of 2007, the international efforts had increased the number of children attending school by around 700,000 so that it passed the one million mark. The programme has continued into 2008 with Danish support amounting to USD 2.2 million.

The government of Southern Sudan considers this education initiative to be the most significant “peace dividend” to date since the peace agreement in 2005.

Another pressing problem is ensuring that the two million people that fled from the South to the North during the civil war are able to return to the extent that they wish. In 2007 Denmark contributed USD 3.7 million through the Region of Origin Initiative towards reintegration support to the local communities in Southern Sudan, where the returning refugees and internally displaced people settled. This support is part of the multi-year region of origin effort in Sudan. Additionally, Denmark has granted USD 3.6 million to a three-year support package for a land commission that is to mediate in conflicts concerning ownership and access to land as well as advise the government regarding a new land policy. However, the legislation that is to form the foundation for the Commission has, unfortunately, not been passed by the parliament as yet, so the Danish support has not been disbursed.

Photo: Girls in a refugee camp in Sudan in West Darfur. Photo: Shehzad Noorani

Girls in a refugee camp in Sudan in West Darfur. Photo: Shehzad Noorani

Census as a prerequisite for democracy

The peace agreement from 2005 includes a roadmap leading to democratic elections and a referendum where the citizens in Southern Sudan are to decide whether they wish to remain as a part of a unified Sudan or prefer independence. Democratic elections at all levels – presidential, parliamentary and locally – are scheduled to take place in 2009, and the referendum in the South in 2011.

However, democratic elections and referendums require that there is certainty in terms of how many voters there are in Sudan. And rational planning of schools, healthcare clinics and many other institutions also require that there is reasonable knowledge of how many people live where.

The most recent census was conducted ten years ago but only included Northern Sudan. In the south, it has been more than 20 years since a census was carried out. Furthermore, many people have either died or fled the area during the many years of conflict. So, the first step towards a reliable election is a thorough and country-wide census.

The UN’s Population Fund, UNFPA, is supporting the preparations for the census that is planned to start on 22 April 2008 and last two weeks. The support includes counselling and technical assistance to the authorities, but also to a high degree information for the citizens through NGOs. Many people, especially those in the refugee camps, are extremely sceptical regarding public officials and allowing themselves to be registered, and a successful census requires, therefore, a solid information campaign. Denmark is providing support to the census through the UNFPA amounting to USD 7.1 million.


Somalia! Just the name can cause a deep sigh in anyone with even a slight knowledge of Africa and international policy and development. The difficult and conflict-ridden country was formed in 1960 when an attempt was made to unite a British protectorate and a former Italian colony into one country. The attempt never really succeeded. Somalia has been characterised by internal conflict and war ever since.

Since the brutal dictator Siad Barre was overthrown in 1991, Somalia has not had an actual government that controlled the entire country. Somalia is not just a fragile state but has become the epitome of a failed or collapsed state. It is estimated that the many years of war have cost a million lives in a country that has a population of only nine million. Between one and two million Somalis are estimated to have fled throughout the world. In Kenya alone there are more than 150,000.

Just how poor Somalia really is, is not known. A gross national product cannot be established due to the anarchy in the country.

Despite the difficult conditions, many countries, Denmark among them, support the tentatire attempts to improve conditions for the Somalis and create peace and reconciliation.

In 2004 the leading warlords and politicians signed a peace agreement in Kenya, and for the 14th time since 1991 an attempt was made to get an interim government up and running. It lasted until 2006 when it was overturned by Islamic militias, who were, however, quickly driven out by Ethiopian forces. The Ethiopian forces reinstated the interim government, but it controls far from the entire country. The government does not even maintain control over the capital, Mogadishu.

In the spring of 2007 another attempt was made to reunite the many conflicting parties at a reconciliation conference with the participation of representatives from a broad range of the Somali population. The conference, which was financed by Denmark, among others, did not lead to an actual peace agreement, but it did result in reduced fighting for a short time and many of the goals that were set at the conference have been reached. For instance, the unpopular prime minister has been replaced by Nur Adde, who is more respected. He has also replaced a number of other ministers with more qualified people who are not tarnished by the many years of internal conflict. Many of them are well-educated representatives of Somalia’s enormous diaspora.

Danish support

For many years Denmark has supported Somalia, out of consideration for the Somalis as well as in order to put a damper on the conflict that represents a latent security threat for the entire region. Denmark does not have a mission in Somalia. There are not very many countries that do. Danish support is channelled through international organisations and NGOs.

Denmark’s support to Somalia includes such things as:

  • Support to the process of democratisation in “Somaliland” since 2004 and in “Puntland” since 2007
  • At the end of 2007 an appropriation was approved that meant that Denmark can support the capacity building of central and local authorities and the crucial constitutional process that is to be completed before the end of 2009. The hope is that this will enable the new government to receive and administer assistance so that the population can experience and see that the state is beginning to function
  • Through a UNDP programme for rule of law, Denmark has supported education of police and in the judicial sector
  • Through the international organisation, Interpeace, support is being provided for women’s opportunities to participate in reconciliation and democratisation processes
  • Through the Danish Refugee Council, clan elders are supported in their work of reforming traditional methods of enforcing justice.

In 2007 USD 9.4 million in Danish bilateral assistance was disbursed to Somalia.

A small contingent of soldiers from the African Union secures the airport and the harbour in Mogadishu so that emergency aid supplies can reach the troubled country. But it is not enough. Pirates lie in wait along the coast to capture ships, and Denmark therefore sent a naval vessel in 2008 to protect ships with emergency aid on their way to and from Mogadishu.

In addition to the assistance in Somalia, Denmark also provides support to Somalis in Kenya through the region of origin initiative. In 2007 this support totalled USD 3.0 million.


Sierra Leone, Liberia and the Ivory Coast are three West African countries that just a few years ago were ravaged by civil wars and conflicts and that are now all in the process of fragile but promising peace processes.

On the whole, West Africa is no longer characterised by wars and conflicts, and this is due to the regional organisation ECOWAS, Economic Community of West African States, which has committed itself intensively over recent years to initiatives aimed at creating peace and preventing conflicts and, for example, has sent peacekeeping forces to Liberia.

In 2007 ECOWAS went a step further and, with Danish assistance, prepared a framework agreement for how ECOWAS is to react if a conflict threatens in one of the member countries.

The Danish support was provided as a part of the Africa Programme for Peace, which was adopted to run for the period from 2004 to 2009 in order to support peace and stability in Africa with USD 45.6 million through four organisations.

First and foremost is the AU, the African Union, which was formed in 2002 as a more active replacement for its somewhat toothless predecessor, the Organisation for African Unity. At the time the AU was created, the African countries did away with the principle of non-involvement in internal matters and switched to a principle of “non-indifference” to internal matters, especially conflicts. This has paved the way for the AU to be able to play a much more active role in Africa’s conflicts, for example in Sudan and Somalia.

Moreover, Denmark supports the three regional organisations, ECOWAS in West Africa, SADC, the Southern African Development Community, in Southern Africa, and finally IGAD, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, a cooperative organisation for the countries ioin the Horn of Africa.

IGAD survives in a plagued by violence region

The IGAD was formed in 1986 in connection with a drought disaster and originally consisted of Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Sudan and Somalia. These are countries that are characterised by both internal and mutual conflicts, and the organisation was inactive from 1994 to 1996. From that point on, however, it was revived by the member countries in an attempt to put an end to the conflicts in the region and initiate regional cooperative projects involving, i.a., environmental cooperation, food safety and infrastructure. Since that time, however, Eritrea has left the IGAD.

The IGAD has recently played a constructive role in terms of the difficult peace process in Somalia, and simply the fact that the organisation has managed to stay somewhat intact is considered by many to be an accomplishment in itself for a regional organisation in the Horn of Africa.

The Africa Programme for Peace also supports the African cooperative organisations in creating joint African military standby forces. The organisations cooperate with the Danish defence forces and SHIRBRIG regarding expert assistance to the African Standby Forces, Africa’s own peacekeeping forces, which are in place, for example, in Sudan. SHIRBRIG is a UN peacekeeping standby brigade to which Denmark contributes specialised planning experts and is the host country for SHIRBRIG’s planning unit.

The other main elements in the African Programme for Peace are conflict prevention in cooperation with political, military, economic and civil society actors as well as strengthening the civil society’s role in conflict management, including cooperation between regional inter-governmental organisations and civil society organisations.


It is often difficult to document the effect of development assistance in concrete figures. But that is not the case with the years of Danish support that have gone to mine clearing in Nicaragua. This work began in 1997 and was completed in 2007. In total, Denmark has contributed USD 12.5 million to mine clearing and is by far the largest and most consistent donor in this area.

The mine clearing has been done by Nicaragua’s armed forces and they have kept track of the figures. Exactly 82,893 mines were removed and destroyed in this period, financed through Danish assistance. This represents over half of the approximately 157,000 mines that were destroyed during this time.

The mines have lain there as an uncomfortable reminder of the civil-war-like conflict between the Sandinista Government and the “contras” between 1981 and 1990. They were laid in the border areas in particular and have thus severely curbed traffic to neighbouring countries. Mines were also placed around electricity masts, power plants and other significant strategic locations in the country.

It is estimated that around 1 million people out of the country’s total population of approximately 5 million have been either directly or indirectly affected by mines. Large areas have been unavailable for agriculture and the border trade, especially with Honduras in the north, has suffered due to the risk from mines.

It was the army itself and the “contras” that were responsible for laying the mines at that time and this has made the work of clearing them somewhat easier. But clearing the mines has also helped to heal the traumatic wounds that the civil war left in its wake. And the Nicaraguans in the affected areas are no longer constantly reminded of the conflict.

The long-term Danish support for mine clearing activities is highly appreciated by the Nicaraguan government, which in the start of 2008 sent out an invitation to a ceremony to mark the round-off of Denmark’s effort and celebrate the fact that Nicaragua can now be declared largely free of mines.


Back in the year 2000 the UNs Security Council adopted Resolution number 1325 regarding women, peace and security. The resolution was considered a milestone in the efforts to ensure women and children better conflict and post-conflict conditions. However, at the same time it was also clear that the actual significance of the resolution was completely dependent on the political will in the UN system, among the Member States and other relevant actors to live up to the objectives and recommendations of the resolution in the harsh reality of peace negotiations in the midst of wars and conflicts.

Northern Uganda is the home of one of the longest lasting conflicts in Africa, which is being played out between the Ugandan government and the rebel group, Lord’s Resistance Army, LRA. In July 2006 the parties entered into peace negotiations in Juba in Southern Sudan under the leadership of the Sudanese vice president, Riek Machar. The negotiations continued and showed good, though slow, progress throughout 2007 and into 2008.

With Danish financing of negotioation expertise for the chief negotiotor, Rieck Machea, Resolution 1325 specifically and its consideration for women and children received a place in earnest on the agenda in May and June 2007, when the parties reached an agreement on a set of principles for judicial settlements and reconciliation. The Danish support involved, i.a., the financing of visits and consultations with the LRA in order to ensure that the draft of the agreement text would be realistic to the rebel group. In the agreement the parties commit to showing special consideration for women and children, to considering the points of view of women and children and their experience during the work of rebuilding and reconciliation, and to protecting the dignity, personal integrity and safety of women and children.

Denmark on the mine clearers top 10

Denmark was one of the first countries in the world to develop an actual policy for mine clearing. This took place in 2001 and it was revised in 2006 following an evaluation that documented the positive outcomes achieved. The revised strategy made mine clearing an integrated part of Danish development assistance.

Denmark has supported mine-clearing activities in various poor countries with more than DKK one billion since 1992. On average, Denmark provides approximately DKK 80 million annually, thus placing Denmark among the world’s ten largest donors in the area.

Apart from Nicaragua, Denmark contributes to mine clearing in, among other places, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Iraq, Angola, DR Congo, the northern Caucasus, Sudan and Uganda. In Nicaragua the national army have cleared the mines themselves, but often it is Danish NGOs such as the Danish De-mining Group and DanChurchAid that are responsible for the Danish-financed work in the field. The UN organisation UNMAS, United Nations Mine Action Service, also receives support from Denmark.

The areas affected by conflict are strongly marked by the fact that up to 2 million people either have lived in camps for the internally displaced or have been forced to flee to the larger cities and hospitals in order to avoid the LRA’s nightly raids and kidnappings of children.

The area is heavily burdened by the many years of conflict. Up to 70 per cent of the people in the area live below the poverty line – that is twice the national average in Uganda. Violence and sexual assaults against women and children are daily occurrences. Young girls get pregnant far too early and become ’child mothers’; some because poverty has driven them into prostitution, while others have been kidnapped by the LRA and have been forced to live as the rebels’ ’wives’. A huge rebuilding task still remains, to which Denmark contributes.

Photo: UNICEF has donated tents to a refugee camp in Gulu, Uganda. The tents provide, among other things, shelter to children who are afraid of being kidnapped by the Lord’s Resistance Army rebel group. Photo: Martin Roemers

UNICEF has donated tents to a refugee camp in Gulu, Uganda. The tents provide, among other things, shelter to children who are afraid of being kidnapped by the Lord’s Resistance Army rebel group. Photo: Martin Roemers


Photo: Approximately 13,500 people live in the Red Cross refugee camp in Eldoret in Kenya. Photo: Frederic Courbet/Panos

Approximately 13,500 people live in the Red Cross refugee camp in Eldoret in Kenya. Photo: Frederic Courbet/Panos

The Government will continue to prioritise assistance to disaster areas very highly, and it has given greater priority to its region of origin assistance on a continual basis through active collaboration with international organisations and the Danish NGOs that have experience in working in regions of origin. In new programmes, emphasis will be placed on building the capacity to manage the many refugees that are found in many developing countries such that it is done in accordance with international conventions. A regional approach to solving the problems will be sought in order for the refugee problem to be managed on both sides of the border.


2007 was characterised by an unusually high number of weather-related disasters in the form of floods, hurricanes and droughts, and this resulted in the largest number of UN flash appeals (appeals for acutely occurring crises) ever. 14 of the 15 flash appeals were issued as a consequence of climate-related incidents or extreme weather conditions.

This means that the global capacity for managing and reacting to humanitarian disasters is under increasing pressure, despite the fact that today there are more actors and more funds than previously. The pressure is increasing additionally due to rising food and oil prices and increased expenses involved in protecting humanitarian aid workers.

More countries and people than ever before are being affected by natural disasters. In the period between 1975 and 2005 there was a six-fold increase in the number of natural disasters, and since 1990 three times as many people have been affected by the disasters. Many experts consider the many weather-related disasters to be conneced with climate change.

And yet the numbers of dead and wounded as a result of these disasters have fallen dramatically. This decrease is first and foremost due to the fact that many countries have become better at preparing for natural disasters and integrating disaster preparedness into their policies. Local capacity for preparing for natural disasters is increasing in many countries and the cyclone Sidr in November 2007 in Bangladesh is a good example of the fact that these efforts do work. In Bangladesh more than 3,000 people died. However, similar disasters in 1991 and 1970 cost 35 times and 125 times as many lives, respectively.

Denmark bilaterally contributed USD 2.8 million to the humanitarian effort after cyclone Sidr, and DKK 16.5 million to the humanitarian effort after the flooding in Africa in 2007.

Facts about Denmark’s humanitarian assistance

In 2007 Denmark granted – just as in previous years – more than USD 0.2 billion in humanitarian assistance:

  • USD 58.8 million was given as non-earmarked contributions to seven international humanitarian organisations and funds: UNHCR, UNWRA, OCHA, WFP, ICRC, OHCHR, CERF
  • Approximately USD 57.0 million as region of origin assistance to refugees and internally displaced people
  • Approximately USD 1.8 million went to sending Danish experts as part of the International Humanitarian Service
  • Just under USD 94.6 million in “extraordinary humanitarian contributions” was earmarked for Danish NGOs’ and international organisations’ activities during specific crises and disasters
  • In geographical terms, the primary recipients were:
    • Sudan/Darfur with USD 26.3 million
    • Iraqi refugees and internally displaced people with approximately USD 23.9 million
    • Afghanistan with USD 11.4 million

Many conflicts continued

Unfortunately, many of the long-lasting conflicts continued in 2007. This applied to, among others, the conflicts in Darfur in Sudan, Somalia and the Democratic Republic Congo, all conflicts that are having a destabilising effect on their neighbouring countries as well.

Another unfortunate development in 2007 was that the number of refugees rose again after having fallen in recent years. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR, the number of refugees in 2007 was just under 10 million, the highest number in four years. The cause of the increase was primarily the very large number of Iraqi refugees who sought shelter in Jordan and Syria, numbering in all more than two million. Because of this, the Danish region of origin initiatives directed at the Iraqi refugee crisis were increased in 2007, while a special focus on Africa, where around 2/3 of the initiatives are conducted, was maintained in Sudan, Somali, Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Angola and Liberia. Initiatives are also being conducted in Afghanistan with the aim of assisting Afghans who have returned home to reintegrate. It is estimated that at the end of 2007 there were around 25 million internally displaced peopled due to conflicts.


The new humanitarian disaster fund that the UN General Assembly voted to establish and which was launched in March 2006 has really risen to the occasion and begun to function. In 2007 the fund channelled USD 68 million through the UN’s flash appeals for suddenly occurring disasters and was thus responsible for financing 40 per cent of the initiatives involving these disasters, as opposed to 11 per cent in 2006. So the fund is truly living up to its purpose of ensuring faster and more efficient international disaster response.

The fund channelled USD 164 million to long-lasting and forgotten crises in 2007 and thus contributed not only to enhancing the efforts but also to improved coordination of the initiatives and a stronger role for the UN’s humanitarian coordinator. The fund has also helped in ensuring that the positive development of meeting the UN’s appeals has continued over recent years. The degree of financing has gradually risen from 55 per cent in 2005, to 63 per cent in 2006 and 66 per cent in 2007.

The fund, the Central Emergency Response Fund, CERF, was created as a result of, among other things, strong Danish pressure to answer the criticism that the international community is too slow to get the money out of their pockets when disaster strikes and that the “quiet and forgotten” crises are overlooked. Denmark’s annual contribution to the fund amounts to USD 9.2 million.


Protecting civilians is an important challenge in armed conflicts, but rarely has this been so massive a challenge as it is in Darfur in Sudan. Regardless of how desperate people were for food and water, the residents of numerous camps and villages begged aid workers not to come with emergency aid. Quite simply, the refugees feared that supplies of food, blankets and medicine would attract even more brutal attacks from the Janjaweed militia, which kept a constant eye on everything and everybody from just a couple of hundred metres away.

Therefore it became “protection first, then emergency aid” that characterised much of the aid work in Darfur. Experienced people in the organisations and among the larger donors have always known that actual, effective protection will only come through a lasting political solution and peace agreement. However, at the same time they also knew that it will take a long time to achieve a peace agreement, just as they knew that there can be a great distance between discussions and decisions taken in the African Union and the UN Security Council and action that can be felt on the ground in a place like Darfur.

The protection of civilians in conflicts has moved higher up on the international agenda in recent years. However, unfortunately, the figures regarding assaults on civilians, including women and children, show that there is still a long way to go in providing the necessary protection.

In order to encourage additional debate, to gather together the lessons learned from Darfur and to come up with concrete recommendations for how civilians can be better protected in conflict situations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark held, in conjunction with DanChurchAid, an international seminar in Copenhagen in 2007, “Protection of Civilians – Learning from Darfur”, with around 150 participants. The seminar resulted in an 18-page report with a number of recommendations both specifically concerning the situation in Darfur and more generally about protecting civilians during armed conflicts.

The UN’s acute appeals in 2007*
Per region
Southern Africa: 5
South America: 3
East Africa: 2
West Africa: 2
Asia: 2
The Caribbean: 1
Total: 15
Type of disaster
Hurricanes and cyclones: 4
Floods: 8
Droughts: 2
Earthquakes: 1
Total: 15

* The flash appeals


A broad belt of Africa, from Ethiopia in the east to Ghana in the west, was hit by extreme flooding in 2007. In Uganda alone approximately 300,000 people were affected. Fertile and green areas were hit by such massive downpours that crops that had been planted earlier in the year were flooded or simply washed away. In many places the water supply was destroyed and worsened sanitary conditions led to dramatic increases in the occurrences of contagious diseases.

Denmark supported the disaster relief effort in Uganda with a total of USD 2 million, in Sudan with USD 0.9 million and with smaller amounts in Ghana and Ethiopia.

Also further south, in Mozambique, there was flooding and up to 300,000 people were affected by the violent downpours which, among other things, caused the Zambezi River to rise. Mozambique’s government reacted to the disaster both quickly and efficiently. Since the great floods in 2000 and again in 2001, the country has established a better disaster response system, which makes it possible to predict disasters earlier and respond to them more effectively. This has been done with, i.a. Danish support. Lessons learned meant that in 2007 many people were relocated in time and a temporary centre was quickly set up for those affected by the flooding. Through the Danish Red Cross, Denmark provided USD 137,802 to the victims.

Humanitarian assistance distributed by countries and regions

Graph: Humanitarian assistance distributed by countries and regions

Humanitarian assistance consists of the sum of the humanitarian assistance that is reported as bilateral (Appropriations Act, Section 06.39.02) and the humanitarian assistance that is reported as multilateral (Appropriations Act, Section 06.39.01.

Humanitarian assistance distributed by organisations, 2007
Organisation USD.
UNHCR – United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees 53,346,772
Danish Refugee Council 21,750,873
UNRWA – United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestine Refugees 15,735,127
Danish Red Cross 15,071,475
UNICEF – The United Nations Children’s Fund 14,310,180
WFP – World Food Programme 11,965,801
DanChurchAid 11,865,862
OCHA – Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 11,677,382
Save the Children Denmark 5,583,533
Médecins sans Frontières 5,236,468
Danish De-mining Group 5.107,288
ADRA Denmark – Adventist Development and Relief Agency 4.329,629
ICRC – International Committee of Red Cross 3,674,714
UNMAS – United Nations Mine Action Service 2,873,627
Caritas Denmark 2,565,677
OHCHR – UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights 2,388,564
Danish Ministry of Defence 1,286,150
UNDP – United Nations Development Programme 1,258,634
Norwegian Refugee Council 1,240,216
Mission East 1,234,705
IOM – International Organisation for Migration 1,102,414
World Bank 1.010,546
AU – African Union 642,518
Joint Secretariat for the Danish-Ethiopian Joint Initiative 557,087
Danish Mission Council Development Department 551,207
Ibis 477,713
ILO – International Labour Organisation 413,405
FAO – Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations 413,405
Danish Emergency Management Agency 384,717
UNFVT – United Nations Fund for Victims of Torture 367,471
MS – Danish Association for International Cooperation 275,604
International Aid Services Denmark 183,736
Other *) 8,349,119
I alt 207,231,566

*) Lowest limit USD 0.2 million

The humanitarian assistance in this table consists of the sum of the humanitarian assistance that is reported as bilateral (Appropriations Act, Section 06.39.02) and the humanitarian assistance that is reported as multilateral (Appropriations Act, Section 06.39.01.


In the period between February 2006 and October 2007, 30-60,000 Iraqi refugees flooded into the neighbouring country Syria – every month. Since then the numbers have fallen to a couple of thousand, partly due to the improved security situation in parts of Iraq and partly because Syria instituted tougher requirements for visas. The refugees have also begun to return home. Nevertheless, the flow of Iraqi refugees into Syria at the end of 2007 was still larger than those leaving.

The Iraqi refugees are at one and the same time both easy and difficult to manage in Syria because they fit in so well with the local population. They look like Syrians and they speak the same language. Many of them have jobs or run businesses, and an increasing number of the children are attending school. But at the same time, there are more and more refugee families who have used up the savings they brought with them and are having a difficult time managing financially in Syrian society. Syria has treated the many refugees well and given them the same access as Syrian citizens to public services such as schools and healthcare.

The Iraqi refugees do not live in refugee camps, but many of them have gathered in specific neighbourhoods in Syria’s larger cities – especially in Damascus. And the enormous numbers of refugees are creating a burden on Syria’s infrastructure and are beginning to create tension with the Syrian population, which totals just under 20 million people. While many of the Iraqis who fled in the period right after 2003 were well educated and socio-economically advantaged, the new wave of refugees are typically badly educated and poor. Many of them have been forced to work illegally in Syria and the country has also experienced an increase in crime.

Up to now only approximately 150,000 of the estimated 1.5 million Iraqi refugees in Syria have been registered by the UN High Commission for Refugees, UNHCR. Many of them are definitely in need of food aid and other support, but at the same time they are reluctant to be registered out of fear of being sent home.

With its support of over USD 23.9 million in 2007 to internally displaced people and refugees from Iraq, Denmark is the third largest donor in the area, and an important part of the Danish support goes to initiatives in Syria, especially through the UNHCR’s wide variety of programmes for refugees.

Apart from the humanitarian initiatives, Denmark is also providing support totalling USD 91,868 to conduct a thorough evaluation of the socio-economic impact on Syria of the presence of the many refugees. The analysis will help to determine the number of refugees and establish where they are living. The analysis will also examine Syria’s capacity for handling the many refugees and how the donor community can best be of assistance.

Every tenth person in Jordan is an Iraqi

Jordan is also feeling the strain of Iraqi refugees. It is estimated that around 500,000 Iraqis are staying in Jordan, which has a population of just slightly more than 5 million people. Denmark also provides support in Jordan to UNHCR, UNICEF as well a number of NGOs that, together with the Jordanian government, are doing a great amount of work to help the refugees. Iraqi refugee children have been given access to the Jordanian school system, and – despite the country’s limited resources – Jordan is also attempting to offer the Iraqi refugees access to the public healthcare system on an equal footing with the country’s own citizens. However, Jordan and the Jordanian people continue to be dependent on outside support in order to handle the pressure on the Jordanian infrastructure resulting from the many refugees.


Photo: Cyclone Sidr caused massive destruction in the coastal areas in Bangladesh in November 2007. In the district of Bagerhat various relief organisations arrived with, among other things, rice, water and clothes for the local people. Photo: StillPictures

Cyclone Sidr caused massive destruction in the coastal areas in Bangladesh in November 2007. In the district of Bagerhat various relief organisations arrived with, among other things, rice, water and clothes for the local people. Photo: StillPictures

On 15 November 2007 a severe cyclone struck southern Bangladesh. Cyclone Sidr was the second most powerful cyclone to hit Bangladesh in the last 20 years. All coastal areas, and they include 31 of Bangladesh’s 64 districts, were hit by floods that directly affected almost 7 million people. The disaster cost somewhere between 3 and 4,000 human lives. One million houses were destroyed; 87,000 km of roads and more than 1,000 bridges were washed away; and hundreds of thousands of people lost their livestock and crops.

And yet it could have been much worse. When a similar disaster hit Bangladesh in 1991, approximately 140,000 people died and in 1970 more than half a million people lost their lives. The explanation lies partly in the fact that Bangladesh has become better at predicting these types of disasters and preventing the consequences, and partly in the fact that the international community – in cooperation with Bangladesh – has become better at providing swift and coordinated aid when such disasters strike. And finally, the centre of the cyclone hit one of the world’s largest areas of mangroves.

Immediately following the disaster Denmark provided USD 0.9 million in emergency aid through the Danish Red Cross and Save the Children Denmark, as well as USD 1.8 million through the World Bank’s Global Facility for Disaster Risk Reduction (GFDRR). After Minister for Development Cooperation Ulla Tørnæs had visited the disaster area in December, she decided to grant an additional USD 0.9 million to the work of the local aid organisation, Action Aid, among the poorest segment of the population in districts that were especially hard hit.

This was done not least because the Minister was especially impressed by both the local authorities’ and the local population’s enormous commitment to reconstruction. The Danish assistance was given in order to help ensure that the government and the civil society in Bangladesh could reach the areas affected quickly and in order to ensure the local population a foundation for existence through support to business and agriculture. The Danish funds are also being used for the reconstruction of roads and bridges and strengthening the existing emergency aid service.

Climate change as cause

Even though it cannot be proved that the cyclone was the result of climate change, there is no doubt that these powerful storms have increased in strength and intensity. Sidr showed that it pays to be prepared. And Bangladesh was prepared, partly through Danish assistance. Denmark has supported disaster preparedness through the many years of support to the transport and agriculture sectors, just as Denmark has assisted in financing early-warning systems, so that warnings of the risk of flooding are sent out on a weekly basis.

Moreover, disaster-preparedness can be many things. For example, it can include saving mangrove areas, which can reduce the impact of disasters. Sidr actually struck one of the largest areas of mangroves in the world, Sundarban, which took some of the power out of the tidal wave and acted thereby as a natural protective barrier for the housing lying behind this area. If the mangroves had not been there, or if Sidr had struck in a different location, the destruction would have been much worse.

But things can be done even better through, for example, disaster-preparedness and by integrating it into bilateral development assistance. Denmark has now begun working on this through pilot-projects in five of the Danish programme countries: Vietnam, Bangladesh, Kenya, Mozambique and Niger.

The World Bank’s disaster management agency did its job

The World Bank’s Global Facility for Disaster Risk Reduction, GFDRR, got a baptism of fire in connection with the flooding resulting from cyclone Sidr in Bangladesh in November 2007 and it lived up to the challenge. On 26 November 2007, for the first time the GFDRR issued an appeal for funds for swift reconstruction and re-housing. Denmark led the way with a contribution of USD 1.8 million.

The GFDRR was formed in 2005 in order to support the implementation of the UN’s international agreement on disaster-preparedness and in order to assist low and middle-income countries in integrating disaster-preparedness into their national development policies. Denmark was one of the driving forces behind the formation of the GFDRR and in October 2007 was selected as the first chair of this global facility.


It was the crushing criticism of the international community’s all-too-late and all-too-uncoordinated response in the 1990s to the civil war in Rwanda, to the genocide and the humanitarian disaster and the subsequent Danish-led evaluation of events that really set in motion the efforts to define and promote the principles for ”good humanitarian donorship”, GHD.

A special GHD Initiative was created, which until the summer of 2007, Denmark, together with the United Kingdom, was responsible for chairing. In 2007 the group continued working on promoting donor coordination at country level. This requires, i.a., new mechanisms for joint financing and more predictability and transparency regarding the individual donors’ contributions.

Humanitarian donors are ranked

The international NGO, Development Assistance Research Associates, is also working to improve humanitarian efforts, and in November 2007 published for the first time a “Humanitarian Response Index” 2007. The Index measures how well the donor countries fulfil the principles for good humanitarian practice. Denmark was well placed, coming in third after Sweden and Norway.

Despite the respectable placement, Denmark and a number of other countries are sceptical of the methodology of the Index and are concerned that mixing data from different sources can produce misleading results.

Humanitarian consensus in the EU

At the EU level as well, work is being done to improve the coordination of the humanitarian effort. In December 2007 the EU adopted a “European Consensus on Humanitarian Assistance” as a natural extension of the European Consensus on Development from 2005. The goal is to promote interaction between the Member States and the Commission’s efforts and make the EU better able to tackle future challenges in the humanitarian area.

Photo: American soldiers passing local shepherds on their way to Baghdad from Kalak, Iraq. Photo: Frits Meyst/Panos

 American soldiers passing local shepherds on their way to Baghdad from Kalak, Iraq. Photo: Frits Meyst/Panos


Photo: A boy collects safe drinking water during a flood in Bangladesh. Photo: G.M.B. Akash/Panos

A boy collects safe drinking water during a flood in Bangladesh. Photo: G.M.B. Akash/Panos

Poverty and an impoverished environment are closely entwined, and poverty cannot be eradicated without action being taken to address the environmental problems. In its development assistance, the Government will maintain its high priority of a stronger global environment and carry out targeted efforts to contribute to sustainable management of the environment and natural resources. At the same time as the developing countries must be helped to adapt to the climate changes that are inevitable, the efforts to prevent climate change must be intensified. Increased use of sustainable energy plays a crucial role in climate change prevention, and it is important that developing countries are also afforded access to clean and sustainable energy forms.


2007 was the year when climate change firmly emerged as the number one item on the global environment agenda. But it was also the year when it became widely recognised that global warming is – or at least partially is – man-made, and it requires action now to mitigate the warming and its consequences. Furthermore, it became crystal clear during 2007 that the climate change hits the world’s poorest people hardest. Climate change is not “just” a climate issue, but also a serious threat to development and growth capable of blocking the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

Therefore, climate change – as well as other climate-related challenges – must be taken seriously. Denmark continues its long-standing efforts in the environmental field, but it also supplements them with a wide range of initiatives in the climate field. The goal is the same: to integrate climate and environment considerations into the efforts to eradicate poverty.

A number of events in 2007 illustrate how climate change within an incredibly short time has become an issue that occupies not just climatologists and environmentalists, but which is taken extremely seriously by politicians and all those engaged in development and poverty reduction work.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its fourth report, which stated that global warming is fully underway and that there was a 90 per cent certainty that it was partially caused by human behaviour. The report also stated that global greenhouse gas emissions would need to peak by 2020 at the latest if the world is to avoid the most severe consequences of climate change.

The report and the IPCC’s long-standing work on climate change led the IPCC to win the Nobel Prize in 2007, which was jointly awarded to the long-standing American climate change activist and former vice-president, Al Gore. It was very indicative that they were not awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics, but instead the prestigious Nobel Prize for Peace.

Climate change and the poor

In its annual Human Development Report in November, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) emphasised the link between climate change and poverty. The theme of the traditional report was: “Fighting climate change: Human solidarity in a divided world.”

The report’s messages were absolutely clear: It is the world’s poor who will suffer most from the climate change that the world’s rich have primarily been responsible for causing. Many developing countries are already experiencing more extreme weather conditions, floods and longer periods of drought. In Africa, up to 250 million people will experience even greater difficulties in finding and collecting water, and the harvest yield for crops that are reliant on rainfall will fall by up to 50 per cent.

Solely in order for the poor countries to adapt to the climate change, the UNDP estimates that USD 86 billion annually will be required in development assistance. According to the UNDP, this is, on the one hand, a modest amount, referring to the fact that this figure “only” corresponds to 0.2 per cent of the gross national product (GNP) of OECD countries and that the UK in 2004-2005 spent USD 1.4 billion alone on flood management and coastal erosion.

But, on the other hand, the enormity of the amount is illustrated by the fact that the world’s total development assistance is around USD 100 billion per year. The funds for climate change adaptation must, the UNDP emphasises, be above the “normal” level of development assistance. Whilst it may seem totally unrealistic to obtain such a large amount alongside the normal level of assistance, the majority of the funds are expected to come also from private investments.

Room for development

The UNDP figures relate only to what it will cost the world’s poorest countries to adapt to the impacts of climate change, i.e. to preserve the status quo in a time of global warming. On top of this challenge is the need for development and growth; the need to secure access to electricity for the 1.6 billion people on the planet who do not enjoy this amenity; the need to ensure that investment in energy is sustainable, so that the sins of the past committed by the rich countries are not repeated in the poor countries; and the need to create employment, development and decent living conditions for the almost three billion people who each must survive on less than two dollars a day.

These are the challenges facing the global climate change negotiations, which in 2007 culminated at the 13th UN Climate Change Conference in Bali, Indonesia, in December. At this conference, it proved possible – on a dramatic extra conference day – to get all countries to endorse a so-called roadmap leading up to the 15th UN Climate Change Conference due to be held in Copenhagen in 2009. Here, the goal will be to reach a global agreement on how greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced and on how the efforts in the world’s poorest countries to combat climate change can be enhanced.

Photo: A young woman at a polluted waterhole in the village of Dambas in Kenya. Diarrhoea is the greatest health risk posed by polluted drinking water. Photo: Ami Vitale/Panos

A young woman at a polluted waterhole in the village of Dambas in Kenya. Diarrhoea is the greatest health risk posed by polluted drinking water. Photo: Ami Vitale/Panos


Indonesia was without doubt the country that was hardest hit by the tsunami on 26 December 2004. The western point of Sumatra was the populated area that was closest to the epicentre of the earthquake that caused the tidal wave which resulted in the death of 130,000 people and made 500,000 people homeless. In the worst-hit province, Aceh, large sections of the population make their living from fishing and agriculture, and almost half of them lost their livelihood at one single stroke.

Whilst the tsunami led to the world’s largest humanitarian relief effort ever, there was a need for more than emergency disaster relief, and the tsunami led Denmark to accelerate its planned environmental support to Indonesia, which became especially targeted at the Aceh province.

In 2005, a total of USD 16.5 million was allocated to the programme, of which USD 11.0 million was earmarked for reconstruction in Aceh. The funds were awarded through a multi-donor trust fund and used to finance the Indonesian government’s reconstruction plan. Denmark participated actively in the efforts to establish the trust fund and secured a seat on the board. The trust fund received a total of almost USD 70 million from a wide range of donors, and Denmark’s seat on the board gave good opportunities to strengthen the environmental focus in the reconstruction efforts.

The Danish contribution has gone to, among other things, coastal zone management, mangrove planting, environmentally sound urban development and also to the trust fund secretariat’s work on launching pro-environment projects in the Aceh province in general. The reconstruction work in the Aceh province has made considerable progress, but the multi-donor trust fund will run until 2010.

The environment must be protected at decentralised level

The environment in Indonesia is threatened from many quarters, and illegal felling activities in particular are a huge problem. If the natural resources are to be protected in such a vast and extensive island kingdom as Indonesia, it must be achieved locally. Indonesia comprises 17,000 islands! This explains why the remaining USD 5.5 million from the 2005 grant was earmarked for environmental management.

Initially, Denmark has, to be sure, supported programmes that provide essential, basic skills training to environmental officers working in the three central Indonesian government ministries, i.e. the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Planning and the Ministry of Home Affairs. An environment status for Indonesia has been drawn up, whilst standards, legislation and certifications have been developed within the environmental field aimed at enhancing the general quality of the environmental work and supervisory control. However, the support at centralised level is awarded with a view to decentralising responsibility for the environmental work.

The support given to promoting more efficient and decentralised environmental management will continue in the second phase of the Danish environmental assistance that was awarded at the end of 2007, amounting to USD 40.4 million in the period 2008-2012. Energy savings and energy efficiency in industry and new construction are also supported. Lastly, USD 16.5 million goes to a multi-donor trust fund administered by the World Bank. Although the trust fund’s goal is to reduce poverty, the Danish funds will primarily be allocated to “green” projects, such as local mini-hydropower plants that can ensure the supply of sustainable energy to up to 200 households.



Photo: Nguyen Hong Toan, Secretary General of the Vietnam National Mekong Committee

Nguyen Hong Toan, Secretary General of the Vietnam National Mekong Committee

“The international conference of the Mekong River Commission offered a unique opportunity to mobilise political support for MRC. The MRC member countries, their partners further up the river, and the donor circle jointly committed themselves to strengthening MRC, both politically and technologically. We are now working on systematically translating these commitments into concrete action, whereby we can ensure the sustainability of the Mekong River’s environment and resource base for the more than 60 million people living in the area. The strong partnership between Vietnam and Denmark proved crucial to securing a successful outcome to the conference.”

The Mekong is South-east Asia’s longest river and runs through some of the world’s most densely populated areas and countries like Thailand and Vietnam, where economic growth is speeding ahead at full throttle. The combination of large numbers of people and strong economic growth requires enormous water resources – for drinking water, agriculture, industry, hydropower, etc. Much of the region’s water comes from the Mekong River, but even the resources here are limited and threatened. This is felt directly by the 60 million people who live alongside the Mekong River basin in Laos, Vietnam and Thailand.

To address the situation, the four countries signed an intergovernmental agreement in 1995 to establish the Mekong River Commission (MRC). The agreement was far-reaching and unusual in that the countries would discuss and decide on sustainable utilisation of the water from the Mekong River. An intergovernmental political council and a secretariat were established, which were originally located in Cambodia, but have since moved to Laos.

Denmark supported the establishment of the Commission from the outset and throughout has been the largest bilateral donor to the work of the Commission.

Denmark co-host of conference

However, the Commission has not had the central role that was envisaged from the beginning. Water is a strategically important resource where there are great economic and political interests at stake, and this has become clear, for example, when the countries in the region have planned and designed dam facilities and hydropower plants. These facilities and plants can kick-start the economy in the host country, but can have destructive consequences in other countries that are dependent on the river water. For this reason, such projects were to be discussed and planned in the Commission and common rules were to be drawn up governing the utilisation of the Mekong River. However, this has failed to happen in many cases. The result is that the Commission has to a certain extent been reduced to a coordination body for various donor-financed programmes within river management, fisheries, environment, etc.

Both the member countries themselves and Denmark wished to change this situation, which is why the Danish Minister for Development Cooperation, Ulla Tørnæs, and Vietnam’s Minister of Agriculture, Cao Duc Phat, took the initiative to hold an international conference in Hanoi in April 2007.

The conference was attended by high-political representatives of all the member countries, as well as by representatives from China and Burma, through which the Mekong River runs, and from the Commission’s many donors. The conference resulted in the adoption of a joint declaration together with a number of specific measures designed to strengthen the Commission’s work. The conference has also generated renewed momentum in getting the Commission to play the role envisaged for it when it was created in 1995.

Denmark is the largest bilateral donor to the Mekong River Commission and covers approximately one third of the costs of the MRC programmes. Denmark supports programmes within:

  • Fisheries – with USD 5.5 million in the period 2005-2008
  • Flood prevention – with USD 0.7 million in the period 2004-2009
  • The Basin Development Plan (BDP) – with USD 8.3 million in the period 2006-2010
  • Environment – with USD 1.4 million in the period 2006-2010
  • Capacity building in MRC – with USD 0.6 million in the period 2007-2008.

Photo: A staff member of the Mekong River Commission measures the water level at Phnom Penh in Cambodia. Photo: Mikkel Østergaard

A staff member of the Mekong River Commission measures the water level at Phnom Penh in Cambodia. Photo: Mikkel Østergaard


160 km of Egypt’s Mediterranean coast faces a somewhat more secure future after Denmark granted USD 4.2 million in the period 2006-2007 to the formulation of an extensive coastal management plan.

But the plan is not just a plan. The process of formulating the plan has been one large exercise in getting all relevant parties actively involved in securing the vulnerable coast, so that also in the future there is space for turtles, tourist hotels, fishing and many other things. A 120-1,200 metre wide conservation zone contributes to preserving the beautiful white chalk cliffs, the wide beaches and the unique sand dune landscape along the coast. The local authorities, the tourist industry and other business interests, private home owners, government institutions and many more have all been involved in the planning process in order to balance business and environmental interests. The active involvement enhances the likelihood of the plan being actually adhered to and respected, in contrast to plans that have simply been dictated from above.

Denmark has also supported specific activities, such as the establishment of groynes designed to halt the erosion of the coast.

The Danish support to coastal management in Egypt has now come to an end. It has been decided to phase out Egypt as a Danish programme country by the end of 2008. But the Danish model for coastal management will live on, as Egypt has decided to formulate management plans for all coastal stretches in Egypt within the next ten years using the Danish-financed plan as a model.


Inca ruins, fossilised dinosaur footprints, untouched rainforest, underground caves, glaciers and vast salt plains; these are just some of the natural and cultural phenomena that Bolivia has to offer – at least for the time being. For Bolivia’s nature is becoming increasingly threatened by climate change, unregulated commercial felling, oil and mineral extraction, pollution and non-sustainable agriculture, and tourism.

Bolivia is one of the few countries in the world that harbours a vast number of different animal and plant species in many different types of eco-systems. These natural areas must be protected in order to preserve the biodiversity, in order to counter the impacts of global climate change, and in order to secure the economic potential that the natural phenomena offer in the form of tourism.

Therefore, the Bolivian government has created 22 national parks, which together cover 15 per cent of the country. In 2007, Denmark decided to contribute to the work with support to the national park authorities and four national parks in the highland area in the poorest part of Bolivia. If it had not been for the Danish support, these four parks would have been national parks in name but not in nature.

The Danish support of USD 4.6 million in the period 2007-10 goes to, among other things, the day-to-day management and development of the four parks and also to the provision of park rangers. Denmark also supports management plans aimed at ensuring that the preservation of the most vulnerable natural areas and the utilisation of the surrounding areas are carried out in a sustainable manner.

This is achieved not least by involving the local Indian population and in general ensuring broad popular participation in the development of the protected areas. If the exercise is to succeed, the local population must benefit from the national parks and be helped to exploit the huge financial potential that the parks have to offer.

Consequently, Denmark supports, among other things, specific tourist and agricultural projects that create alternative income-generating opportunities without destroying the natural resources. This applies, for example, to local tourist hostels, creation of nature paths, establishment of honey production, and marketing of local products.

Photo: Indian women herding llamas together for the night in the Bolivian highland. Photo: Mike Kollofel

Indian women herding llamas together for the night in the Bolivian highland. Photo: Mike Kollofel


The idea is simple: the rich countries have both the capital for investments that can help to reduce CO2 emissions as well as the necessary expertise. The poor countries, in contrast, lack both technology and capital. In order to stimulate the rich countries’ energy-efficient investments in poor countries and the transfer of modern technology, the so-called “Clean Development Mechanism” (CDM) was established under the Kyoto Protocol.

Even though the idea appears simple, there are a number of procedures that each CDM project must fulfil. The procedures must ensure that the project genuinely leads to an extra – or additional – and measurable CO2 saving that would not occur without the additional investment in the project provided through the CDM.

If a country like Denmark, for example, invests in a biomass-based power plant in China, then China obtains new and clean technology, and the atmosphere is spared the CO2 emission that, for example, a coal-based power plant would have occasioned. In return, the CO2 saving can be used by Denmark to balance its national CO2 accounts. This is because the Danish-financed CO2 emission saving in China counts towards the CO2 savings that Denmark has committed itself to achieving.

It is no coincidence that China has been chosen as an example. China especially has attracted CDM projects to such an extent that some would go so far as to say that CDM could almost be called the “China Development Mechanism.”

Market mechanisms do not work in Africa

CDM is based on the market mechanisms. Countries like China and Thailand have no difficulties in attracting foreign investors in general or investors for CDM projects. The situation is very different in Sub-Saharan Africa. In October 2007, a total of 2,551 CDM projects were registered globally. Of these projects, only 33 were in Sub-Saharan Africa, corresponding to 1.3 per cent. Moreover, within the region, there was a great difference in the distribution of the projects: 21 of the 33 projects were in South Africa, which is a middle-income country; Kenya was well represented with three projects; Nigeria, Uganda and Tanzania each had two; the Ivory Coast, Senegal and Mauritius each had one project. In the rest of the altogether 45 African countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, there were no CDM projects whatsoever.

At the same time, the need for sustainable production of electricity is enormous. For example, somewhere between only 5 and 13 per cent of households in the East African countries have access to electricity.

In February 2007, two Danish ministries - the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Climate and Energy - launched a joint Danish strategy on CO2 credits. The strategy states that Denmark must make active use of the CDM system and another system under the Kyoto Protocol, “Joint Implementation”, which is primarily used in relation to Eastern Europe.

Since 2003, Denmark has, through its development assistance, supported the creation of projects in developing countries that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions or increase CO2 sequestration. In 2007, approx. USD 3.7 million was used for this purpose. The strategy states that Denmark, as a part of its development assistance, must continue these efforts and assist African countries especially in attracting CDM projects. Denmark has therefore launched a “green environment facility”. Here, Denmark will, in collaboration with the UNEP Risø Centre on Energy, Climate and Sustainable Development, initially help six countries to build their capacity to attract and manage CDM projects. These six countries are Mali, Ghana, Niger, Zambia, Burkina Faso and Benin.

Denmark also supports a project designed to examine whether the use of micro-credits can contribute to establishing local projects (e.g. biomass-based electricity production) that can attract CDM investors.


When Burkina Faso, Kenya or another African country succeed in stimulating export of cut flowers, fresh fruit and vegetables or organic sesame seeds – perhaps even helped on the way by Danish development assistance – it helps create economic growth and new jobs as well as reduce poverty. But the production process requires water, masses of it, in areas where water resources are often already scarce.

And there is no prospect of this scarcity decreasing. On the contrary, global warming increases the pressure on the water resources precisely in many of the world’s poorest countries, where the populations are growing and the need for economic growth – and thus more water – is greatest.

A total of 1.2 billion people on the planet today already live in areas where the threshold for sustainable utilisation of the available water resources has been reached or exceeded, and the UNDP estimates that the figure will rise to three billion people by 2025. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that the yield from the crops that are reliant on rainfall will fall by up to 50 per cent in Africa in the period up to 2020 due to climate change.

These are just some of the facts that underline that there is good reason to take action to address global warming as well as protect the scarce water resources of the planet and manage them in a proper and sustainable manner. This is called integrated water resource management and is designed to ensure that water resources are protected and that water is used in places where it most benefits the economy, poverty reduction and the environment.

Integrated water resource management has been a key Danish priority for many years. In order to promote the development of the management plans, Denmark played a part in, for example, securing the adoption of a target at the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development whereby all countries no later than 2005 were to have formulated a national plan for integrated water resource management and water efficiency. Denmark contributes to the development of such plans in a number of countries.

But these are not achieved simply by setting targets. They must also be followed up, and in April 2007 Denmark was host for an international conference that aimed to set focus on the implementation of these plans. The formulation of water resource management and water efficiency plans is moving slowly, but in the right direction. In 2006, 25 per cent of the countries had finalised their national plans, and 50 per cent were well into the process. These countries are now ready to focus on the implementation of the plans. However, there are still 25 per cent of the world’s countries that have not yet begun the formulation process and which continue to need support for the planning.

At the meeting, representatives of the developing countries, international organisations and financial institutions agreed to speed up the process of implementing the integrated water resource management and water efficiency plans, and, for use in connection with the national efforts, a roadmap model was developed at the meeting for how these plans can be implemented.


It began in Nairobi, Kenya in November 2006. At the UN Climate Change Conference, the Danish Minister for the Environment, Connie Hedegaard, put Denmark’s name forward as host country and Copenhagen as host city for the 15th Conference of the Parties behind the UN Climate Change Agreement from 1992, the so-called COP 15, which is due to be held in December 2009.

In March 2007, Denmark was assigned the role of host country, and the preparations were immediately initiated for the important conference, where Copenhagen is expected to act as host to far more than 10,000 ministers, politicians, officials, experts, business executives, NGO representatives, journalists and other interested parties.

The conference in Copenhagen – or COP 15 – which we are already getting used to saying – is particularly important because the 191 countries that have signed the UN Climate Change Convention must no later than 2009 agree on a replacement for the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.

The link between climate and development has been a Danish priority for several years. In 2005, Denmark, as one of the first countries in the world to do so, formulated a Climate and Development Action Programme, and Denmark began a process of climate-proofing its development assistance in all programme countries. Climate proofing does not solely look at the Danish assistance, but also at how climate change in general will affect the beneficiary countries, and how Denmark most effectively can help the countries to adapt to the impacts of global warming.

Denmark steps up climate diplomacy

There are enormous interests at stake, and many obstacles must be swept aside in order to secure a satisfactory global climate agreement in Copenhagen in 2009. Therefore, the Danish Government has, among other things, established an inter-ministerial climate secretariat in the Prime Minister’s Office - the Climate Division for the Cabinet Committee on the Preparation for the UN Climate Change Conference in 2009 - and dramatically stepped up its climate diplomacy efforts. The Government will, for example, post climate attachés to some of the countries that are key to ensuring a successful conference in Copenhagen, and Denmark has on several occasions highlighted the climate change issue.

In connection with the UN General Assembly in New York in the autumn, the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, took the initiative to organise a special climate summit on 24 September. The aim of the summit was to get the entire UN system – and not just the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), whose headquarters are in Bonn – to take the climate change issue more seriously. Denmark used the opportunity to convene an event with Al Gore as the keynote speaker. The event aimed at gathering support for a lasting agreement at the Climate Change Conference in Bali and was co-organised by the host countries of the climate change conferences in 2006-2008, namely Kenya, Indonesia and Poland.

Denmark was also co-organiser of a seminar on 1 November at Columbia University in New York, which placed focus on the new challenges that climate change had created for the efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. The Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and former Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General on the Millennium Development Goals, Jeffrey Sachs, was keynote speaker. He emphasised once more in a persuasive manner that climate change is most serious for the developing countries and can be a serious obstacle to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, which the international community committed itself to in 2000.

Drama in Bali

Despite the huge focus on climate change, the events at the Climate Change Conference in Bali in December 2007 underlined that there are many obstacles on the road towards a satisfactory global climate agreement in Copenhagen in 2009, as the Danish Minister for Climate and Energy, Connie Hedegaard, subsequently expressed it. She herself played an active role during the conference, where Denmark was well represented in the negotiations.

The conference had to be extended by a day, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had to be flown in to make a special appeal, and the negotiators had to endure a dramatic plenary session in full public view before an action plan could be adopted.

In several respects, Denmark would have wished for a more ambitious action plan. But it was still a plan that all countries could endorse and which, among other things, makes reference to the assessments presented in the latest report of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as a basis for a more extensive climate agreement in Copenhagen in 2009.

Denmark’s development assistance in the climate field

  • USD 14.7 million in the period 2005-08 to an international trust fund for helping the least developed countries to adapt to climate change.
  • USD 9.2 million in the period to an international trust fund for promoting technology transfer and climate change adaptation, etc.
  • USD 57.0 million in the period 2006-10 to the Global Environment Facility (GEF), one-third of which goes to climate change adaptation initiatives.
  • Since 2003, Denmark has supported the development of projects in developing countries that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions or increase CO2 sequestration. Since 2006, USD 7.3 million has been used annually for this purpose.
  • Climate proofing of Danish development assistance in all programme countries.
  • In cooperation with UNEP and UNDP, efforts have been launched to integrate climate change adaptation into the development plans of developing countries.
  • Assistance is provided to capacity building in developing countries, so as to enable them to participate more effectively in the international climate change negotiations.


Wood delivers more than 80 per cent of the total energy consumption in Burkina Faso, and the high population growth is causing a steady rise in this consumption. It is not sustainable in the long term, because the utilisation of wood to date has not been environmentally sustainable. The forest resources have been completely depleted around the large towns and cities in particular.

Danida has supported the Burkinian energy sector since 1973, but this is now coming to an end. The present energy sector programme amounting to USD 66.1 million was approved in 1999. Of this amount, USD 4.0 million has been allocated to sustainable forest operations. In consultation with the Burkinian government, it has been decided to phase out the Danish support to the energy sector. This will take place over a period of three years, comprising a total grant of USD 7.7 million. Of this grant, USD 2.8 million will go to sustainable forestry.

For over ten years, Denmark has awarded support to the organising of both female and male woodcutters, and the key challenge has been to get the woodcutters to also replant and protect the forests. The goal is that the number of trees planted at least corresponds to the number of trees felled. This is essential for preventing desertification, which is an increasingly urgent problem in the region. Desertification impacts on the production of food and thus hits the poorest hardest of all.

Financial carrot

The Danish support has already contributed to ensuring that 71,000 acres of forest have come under sustainable administration under local steering committees. The support has at the same time contributed to improving the living standards of woodcutters. In the phasing-out programme, the goal is for a further 100,000 acres of forest to be made sustainable. The expected result of this is that sustainably produced firewood will account for half of the fuel supply in the towns and cities.

The means to achieving sustainable firewood production is a regulatory system that is based on a combination of financial incentives and market mechanisms. Whilst a tax is levied on all firewood, a lower tax is levied on wood derived from the regulated areas. This means that suppliers from the regulated areas obtain a larger share of the sales price for themselves and thus earn extra, which enables them to plan how to utilise the forest area and how to replant.

The tax is so much lower that the wood can also be sold at a lower price than wood from unregulated areas. This attracts buyers and means that the population in the unregulated areas develop a natural wish to have their woodcutting activities brought under regulatory control.

The support given to firewood is not just about promoting sustainability and preventing desertification, but it is also about reducing poverty. The village inhabitants, who constitute the poorest part of the Burkinian population – and especially the female village inhabitants – get the opportunity to participate in regulated woodcutting and thus earn a reasonable income. In addition, a training programme on sustainable development of secondary wood products such as honey, berries and resins has contributed to increasing the earnings of female woodcutters.


Is it not absolute lunacy to send a baby elephant on a long-haul flight in an attempt to ensure it a new life after its mother has been shot by poachers? Maybe. But this is exactly what the Zambian voluntary organisation, Conservation Lower Zambezi (CLZ), did in November 2007.

The rescue operation was a success. Zamma regained her strength on a diet of soya milk and was flown to Zambia’s largest national park, Kafue, where effort was made to persuade a herd of wild elephants to accept Zamma as one of their own.

The objective was not just to rescue the little baby elephant, which had been found alone and dehydrated in the Lower Zambezi Valley National Park, where CLZ has worked to protect the animal kingdom since 1995. The action to rescue the only five-week-old elephant, which was quickly christened Zamma, was also a huge event in Zambia and helped set increased focus on the growing problem of poachers, a problem which is threatening animal life – especially the elephants in Zambia – and thus also one of the country’s and the population’s most important sources of income, i.e. tourism.

As part of the Danish environmental support to Zambia, Denmark has for several years supported wildlife management and the fight against poaching, partly through support to CLZ, the organisation which took care of Zamma.

The Zambian authorities are attempting to tackle the problem, but have few resources.

Furthermore, elephants are not equally popular among all people in Zambia, especially when they turn up in large numbers and in a short space of time destroy the crops that the local farmers have painstakingly cultivated. It is for this reason that organisations such as CLZ do much to improve peaceful coexistence between animals and people.

CLZ is involved in projects aimed at ensuring that all the local population can financially benefit from the tourism that the numerous elephants and the national parks with rich animal life attract to the area. CLZ has a mobile unit that pays visits to schools and villages nearby the park and informs about not just wildlife protection but also about HIV/AIDS, malaria, hygiene and other issues.

And there is need for a massive effort. Poaching in Zambia has increased in the last two to three years, and trade in ivory has become even more organised. For example, poachers have begun to systematically target very young elephants, whose tusks are so small that they can be easily smuggled across the border in a handbag.

In this respect, the Danish Minister for Development Cooperation, Ulla Tørnæs, gained a first-hand impression of poaching when she visited Zambia in March 2007. Shortly before she arrived in Lower Zambezi in order to visit CLZ, the park rangers had discovered three elephants that poachers had shot and sawn the tusks off.


Photo: In Tanzania, the poorest people undertake the work of cutting stone into crushed rock, which is used for road building and housing construction. Photo: Mikkel Østergaard

In Tanzania, the poorest people undertake the work of cutting stone into crushed rock, which is used for road building and housing construction. Photo: Mikkel Østergaard

The Government will step up its efforts to foster economic growth in developing countries – with particular focus on Africa. Without stronger economic growth, the UN Millennium Development Goal of halving poverty will not be achieved in Africa. It is through private initiative and endeavour that Africa’s women and men must generate the economic growth and the social dynamism necessary for eradicating the continent’s poverty. With the intensified efforts, the Government will strengthen the opportunities for the private sector to act as an engine for economic development – and thereby pave the way for Africa to establish itself as an active player in the global economy.


Is it possible to imagine that Danish companies could prosper if the road network collapsed, if the energy supply was unstable, if there was no decent education system to educate and train future employees, or if there was no healthcare system to take care of the employees when they became ill?

Is it possible to imagine a publicly financed road network, health service and education system if there was no efficient private sector that could help finance them?

Hardly. Things are interconnected. Social development presupposes economic development – and vice-versa.

Nonetheless, development strategies and development cooperation have over the years had a tendency to prioritise specific yet changing areas. And this has to a certain degree taken place at the expense of the entirety. In different periods, there has been changing focus on agriculture, industry and the social welfare sectors – most recently inspired by the launch of the Millennium Development Goals in 2000.

The fact that things are interconnected and that it can be difficult to develop a single sector without having the other sectors on board is not a new discovery. Many donors/development partners have attempted to implement integrated development projects, but these have been limited to certain geographical areas. Denmark has, for example, attempted to implement such projects in Noakhali in Bangladesh, in Rakai in Uganda and in connection with the HIMA (Hifadhi ya Mazingira (Protection of the Environment)) programme in Tanzania.

The results were generally positive – but mostly in the short term, for a small section of the population, and with dubious economic sustainability. And for these reasons the district development projects were stopped. It makes no sense to divide a country up into regions and for donors to each proceed with their own model for development.

It is not just sectors and regions, but also countries that are interconnected – or preferably should be. Poverty reduction as well as economic and social development constitute a single entirety.

This is the ultra-short and grossly simplified rationale for the attempts today - as far as it is possible at all – to tie development cooperation to broad, national poverty reduction strategies in the particular countries, Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSP). This is also the rationale why, for example, Danish support to road development does not “just” comprise action by a Danish company to lay and roll a couple of hundred kilometres of asphalt in Africa, but that the support very much goes towards building capacity in the developing countries with the aim of enhancing and maintaining secondary roads, and that the support also goes to the responsible public authorities, at central and local level, as well as to local small construction firms. This is also the reason the Danish support to agriculture is now defined far more broadly as support to growth and development in the country and is viewed in the context of urban development.


Universal primary education for all children in the world by 2015 - this is Goal 2 of the eight Millennium Development Goals. If they are to be reached, more money is needed, considerably more money. Therefore, the World Bank and a number of other donors and developing countries took the initiative in 2002 to establish a new global partnership, the Fast-Track Initiative (FTI).

The aim of FTI is first and foremost to ensure increased donor support to education and training and thus to speed up the process of ensuring universal primary education for all children in the countries that are ready for it. Even though there has since been a very considerable mobilisation of assistance to education, there is still need for additional funds. The latest figures from 2007 show that USD 11 billion in external financing is needed annually if the goal of Education for All is to be achieved. For comparison, the total global assistance to education in 2005 was USD 3.7 billion.

Denmark initiated its support to FTI with a sum of USD 4.6 million in 2007. The Danish contribution will rise to USD 15.6 million in 2008 and to USD 24.8 million in 2009. In total, 28 countries have to date received between USD 8 million and USD 121 million dollars from FTI for the purpose of financing their education sector plans. Three programme countries with Danish support to education have received support, namely Benin, Mozambique and Nicaragua. During 2008-09, a further 14 countries are expected to receive support.

Money not enough by itself

All low-income countries that have formulated a poverty reduction strategy and a realistic and coherent plan for the education sector are eligible for FTI endorsement and support.

But increased external assistance to education is enough to ensure that all children in developing countries receive primary school education. FTI, therefore, works on the premise that the countries themselves must contribute approx. 20 per cent of their national budget to education, and half of this amount must go to primary school education.

FTI has contributed to strengthening harmonisation and adaptation among the donors at country level and has also had considerable influence on the development and content of education sector plans in developing countries. This has led to, among other things, the inclusion of important issues such as quality, girls’ access to education, capacity building and HIV/AIDS in the plans to a greater degree than before. With the increasing Danish support to FTI, Denmark will be in an even stronger position to influence international development in these areas.


  • Poverty reduction of 25 per cent in Uganda!

Uganda was the first country in the world to formulate a broad, national poverty reduction strategy, the Poverty Eradication Action Plan (PEAP). It materialised in 1996 well before poverty reduction strategy papers (PRSP) became fashionable. The plan is precisely a comprehensive and massive frontal attack on poverty and addresses everything from social development, macro-economic management, production and competitiveness to growth and security and good governance.

The plan – and the integrated approach to poverty reduction that it expresses – has played a key role in the fact that Uganda in recent years has experienced an exceptional reduction of poverty. The proportion of the population that lives below the

 poverty line has fallen from 56 per cent in 1992/93 to 38 per cent in 2002/03 and to 31 per cent in 2005/06. Uganda is thus close to achieving its goal of reducing the country’s poverty to 28 per cent by 2013/14. The impressive fall is substantiated by studies that show that the people who still belong to the category of “the poorest” have experienced improvement in their standard of living in the same period.

Uganda is one of the largest Danish programme countries. Denmark was involved in supporting the first PEAP, which also serves as the basis for Denmark’s present assistance to good governance, agriculture, transport, health, water and sanitation.

Facts about poverty in Uganda
Proportion of population below the poverty line 56 % in 1992/93 31 % in 2005/06
Proportion of persons below the poverty line in Uganda within
Rural/urban area (2005/06): Rural area 34 % Urban area 14 %
Profession (2005/06): Agriculture 37 %
Self-employed 34 %
Private employee 24 %
Public employee 7 %
Households (1997): Families over 6 persons 72 %  
Geographical distribution (2005/06): Northern Uganda
(conflict zone) up to 70 %
Eastern Uganda 35 %
National average 31 %
Children (1997) 0-18 years 59 %  
Women in poverty: Households with M/F head Women 38.9 % Men 32.8 %
Labour in the agricultural sector Women 80 %  
Unpaid work Women 30 % Men 13 %
Access to credit Women 9 % Men 91 %


Over the last few years, Nepal has been hit by violent internal disturbances and virtually civil war, where a Maoist rebel movement in practice had taken control of large parts of the country. A peace agreement has since been reached and a transition to peace and democracy agreed.

Even during those years when the conflict raged in Nepal, it was actually possible in general terms to continue the education activities in the country, partly with Danish support, and success was achieved, for example, through targeted efforts to get many more girls into school.

Development assistance to the education sector in Nepal is awarded by Denmark and other donors in the form of sector budget support. It is Nepal’s government itself that prioritises, plans and budgets the activities that are to be implemented with the aim of ensuring schooling for all children in the country. The sector budget support co-finances the country’s own plans and facilitates a higher activity level than would otherwise be affordable.

Nepal’s education system is highly decentralised, and this is a major reason for the system being able to function at all whilst the conflict raged. Admittedly, the school principals are employed by the state, but they have the authority together with the locally elected school councils to take the necessary decisions to keep the schools open. Furthermore, the school councils have in many cases representatives from the rebel movement as members. The continuity is also ensured by the uninterrupted allocation of support by Denmark and other donors to the education sector throughout the conflict, and this has ensured a reasonably predictable and stable level of resources.

Nepal has chosen to prioritise the provision of primary school education for marginalised groups and indigenous people and to reduce the unequal access to education for girls and boys, which has traditionally been the practice, especially in many of the country’s difficult-to-access regions. Special strategies and activities have been developed to get more girls into school. Some schools offer, for example, free meals; some have introduced special scholarships for girls; and some schools in difficult-to-reach areas allow girls to stay overnight.

And the efforts have worked. The number of girls attending school has risen sharply in recent years, and approx. 48 per cent of children in 1st-5th grade are now girls. Overall, however, there are still not equally as many girls as boys attending school. Nepal also prioritises efforts to recruit more female teachers, who can act as role models and attract more girls into the school system. However, this has shown to be a more slow-moving process. Only around 30 per cent of teachers in Nepal in 1st-5th grade are women.

Even though there is still a long way to go before Nepal can deliver education of high quality to all its children, the country is an example of how a political prioritisation of equality for girls that is integrated in national policy and strategies can be implemented over a number of years – even in fragile states under difficult circumstances.

The Danish support to education in Nepal amounts to USD 36.7 million in the period 2004-2009.


  • New ways to health for everyone

13 dollars a year - is what a Ghanaian has to pay to the national health insurance scheme in order to get an insurance card that offers free access to treatment at health clinics and hospitals and to other healthcare services. If both parents pay into the scheme, their children under the age of 18 will also be covered. If people do not pay into the scheme, they must continue to pay for healthcare services on a ’cash and carry’ basis, except for vaccinations and other preventive measures, which continue to be free for everyone.

The scheme was adopted in 2003 and properly entered into force in 2005. Before then, Ghanaians had to pay cash for the particular healthcare service and for medicine, and even though the payment was relatively low, it meant that many people refrained from seeking help, despite having a need for it.

The new scheme is financed primarily through subsidies from income corresponding to VAT in Denmark, and it has generated significant extra resources for the health system. Including contributions from donors, the total health budget in Ghana now corresponds to approx. USD 36.7 per inhabitant and to 15 per cent of the total national budget. This is considerably more than other countries in the region.

However, there is also need for capital. Ghana has a shortage of healthcare staff in general and doctors in particular. For this reason, the government decided in 2006 to raise the salaries of public sector doctors, nurses and other healthcare staff in order to halt the exodus of qualified healthcare practitioners from Ghana.

Developments indicate that the efforts to retain more healthcare staff in the country have succeeded, but this is probably due both to the salary increases and the fact that it has become more difficult for healthcare-trained Ghanaians to practise in western countries. Whether the salary increases have also contributed to retaining healthcare staff in rural areas and in the poorest districts is, on the other hand, more difficult to say.

What does it mean to be poor enough?

The new health insurance scheme serves the dual purpose of ensuring adequate funding for Ghana’s health system and ensuring the population equal access to healthcare services. The scheme comprises therefore a statutory regulation that the core poor (indigent) are covered by the scheme without having to pay. However, the core poor have officially been defined very narrowly as the rather small percentage of Ghana’s population that has no fixed address and no source of income whatsoever. This means that many of the 18 per cent of Ghana’s population who according to the official statistics are “very poor” are required to pay.

At the end of June 2007, 38 per cent of the population was registered in the scheme and 32 per cent had progressed so far that they had been issued with an insurance card. However, much suggests that wealthier Ghanaians are registering into the system to a greater degree than the poor.

As part of its support to the health service in Ghana, Denmark has contributed to supporting active efforts to identify the large number of poor people that have no real opportunity to pay for the insurance card themselves.

Denmark has supported the health sector in Ghana for 13 years, and a new phase of the health sector programme support amounting USD 78.1 million in the period 2008-2012 was approved in 2007. A total of 70 per cent of the Danish support is given in the form of budget support.

Facts about Danish support to health

Denmark’s bilateral support to health in developing countries totals approx. USD 101.1 million per year. The support is awarded as sector programme support and goes to five countries in Africa and one country in Asia:

  • Tanzania
  • Kenya
  • Uganda
  • Mozambique
  • Ghana
  • Bhutan

This is supplemented by bilateral support to combat HIV/AIDS, which in 2007 was primarily distributed to six countries in Africa, namely Kenya, Mozambique and Tanzania, as well as Burkina Faso, Ghana, and Uganda. For the last three countries mentioned, new HIV/AIDS programmes were launched or approved in 2007.

Denmark supports the implementation of the national HIV/AIDS plans and also national NGOs. Likewise, the capacity building of health systems in developing countries is a Danish priority. Many countries lack both trained healthcare staff and infrastructure to undertake the many new tasks arising from the HIV/AIDS activities. In Kenya, Denmark provides support through the Clinton Foundation to, for example, the employment of 1,120 nurses and healthcare assistants in rural areas.

Photo: Modhupur in Bangladesh. A woman is vaccinated against tetanus. Photo: G.M.B. Akash/Panos

Modhupur in Bangladesh. A woman is vaccinated against tetanus. Photo: G.M.B. Akash/Panos


  • Better healthcare assistance saves lives

Cover: The Health Sector in Tanzania, 1999-2006

In the 1990s, one in six children in Tanzania died before reaching the age of five. Today, “only” one in nine children in Tanzania dies before their fifth birthday. In the 1990s, Tanzania’s health sector was characterised by stagnation, demotivated staff, a shortage of medicine and a diversity of donors that tended to work individually rather than in collaboration. Today, donors no longer carry out just their “own” projects, but have to a greater extent joined forces with the government and with other donors in order to strengthen Tanzania’s overall health system.

This is evidenced by a large joint evaluation in 2007 of the health sector in Tanzania. In contrast to previous evaluations of development assistance, this evaluation did not just examine individual donors’ efforts, but analysed the overall health system and the role and contributions of the many different actors: the many donors, Tanzania’s own government, and private sector providers of health-care services in Tanzania.

The evaluation shows that the donors can get more development assistance for money if they are prepared to lower their individual profile and refrain from earmarking their assistance to the extent they did earlier. Tanzania gets more health for the money injected into the new Health Basket Fund to finance the overall health system than for money that donors, for example, use to build “their own” health clinics.

In contrast, the new global trust funds that precisely earmark their support to specific diseases are heavily criticised. These funds spend money in a good cause, but channel enormous sums outside of Tanzania’s own health system, which is thereby undermined. New buildings for HIV/AIDS treatment shoot up whilst half of the existing health clinics in rural areas are in such poor condition that they cannot be used. And the health system as a whole loses badly needed healthcare staff to these targeted programmes, which have far more funds at their disposal.

Despite this, the evaluation concludes that Tanzania’s health sector is in a healthy state of development, but also that quite a lot still needs to be done if Tanzania is to have any hope of reaching the Millennium Development Goals for health. Maternal mortality continues to be disturbingly high, and slow progress is being made with the implementation of reforms designed to get the hospitals and the cooperation with the many important private sector healthcare providers to function more efficiently.

There is need for even more money, for even more cooperation, and for follow-up of the numerous reforms implemented in recent years, so as to ensure that they do in fact work.

The Danish support to health in Tanzania is not subjected to any special analysis in the evaluation. However, Denmark is among the largest donors to the Health Basket Fund, which the evaluation highlights in particular. Denmark has supported the health sector in Tanzania for many years, and in the period 2004-09 the Danish support totalled DKK 605 million. Of this amount, 63 per cent – USD 62.7 million – is allocated to the Health Basket Fund.


Denmark is regarded as a strong, leading and professional partner in the water and sanitation sector in Benin. This was the conclusion of an extensive evaluation in 2007 of Denmark’s support to water and sanitation in Benin and other countries. The evaluation praised especially Denmark for its very active efforts in relation to increased donor harmonisation and for having played a positive and innovative role in the development of sector budget support as well as support to national water resource planning and local capacity building.

The enhanced cooperation is now beginning to show real results. It is estimated that almost 900,000 people – out of a rural population of around six million –gained better access to safe drinking water from 2003 to 2007. This is due not least to the Danish Water Initiative, which involved close collaboration between several donors and local authorities.

The cooperation has meant that Benin today has a multi-year budget in the area – with contributions from several donors – that makes it possible to plan from a long-term perspective. The donors have granted support to building up the capacity of national and local public authorities to handle contracts and tender procedures. The procurement of contracts is made systematic, and the expansion of the water supply system in rural areas is carried out using the same simple model adopted throughout Benin. NGOs, private consultants and entrepreneurs have also received training. And it can be felt. Earlier, many of the private companies were unable to handle the tasks they took on and went bankrupt before they could finish the job. That happens very rarely today.

The pace of development means that there is now the prospect that Benin – in contrast to Sub-Saharan Africa – will achieve the Millennium Development Goal of halving the number of people without access to safe drinking water. In order to reach the goal, 67 per cent of the rural population must have access to safe drinking water. In 2002, this coverage was 40 per cent. Today, the coverage is almost 50 per cent and if development continues to increase at the same rate, it will be well over 70 per cent by 2015. But it requires that the present efforts are maintained, so that a further three million people gain access to safe drinking water.

Within the sanitation field, reasonable progress is also being made in Benin. However, as in so many other countries, the improvements regarding sanitation lag behind improvements regarding water supply. Thus, there is no prospect of Benin reaching the Millennium Development Goal for sanitation. One of the reasons is that there are many donors operating in the sanitation field, each having their own approach, and they are only just beginning to find common ground. However, there has been a strong development in recent years – primarily with the help of Danish support – in one particular area, namely the construction of institutional latrines, i.e. latrines at schools, health clinics, markets and so on.

So far, Denmark – like the majority of donors – has concentrated its water supply and sanitation support in Benin in rural areas. This is partly due to the fact that the institutional framework around water and sanitation supply in urban areas has not been very transparent. The lack of funding has meant that the pace of improvement in the towns and cities has been significantly weaker than in rural areas. But the institutional aspects have now been put in order, and several donors – including Denmark – are also considering supporting urban water and sanitation development in the future.


Water is not only important for household purposes. Indeed, agriculture accounts for 70 per cent of global consumption of freshwater. So without water, the conditions for agriculture would be poor. The situation is the same in Zambia. The country is among the most water-rich in Africa, yet the water resources are utilised very badly. Large parts of these resources flow out of the country unused and on out into the Indian Ocean.

Denmark has supported two projects in southern Zambia as part of the broad Danish support to the water and sanitation sector. In the towns of Bbilili and in Kabwe Kaslala, the establishment of irrigation facilities has helped local farmers, enabling them to cultivate sales crops also during the drought season between May and October. This ensures them a real income and thus a better standard of living.

And it has produced results. The farmers are now typically able to sell crops in the dry season for between USD 330.1 and USD 680.0,

which is a considerable sum of money for ordinary Zambian farmers, who have been generally used to only being able to cultivate crops for their family’s own consumption. The increased harvest yield has meant that a greater number of smallholder farmers today can afford to invest in irrigation facilities for their fields and send their children to school. Moreover, over half of the land plots are owned and cultivated by women, who have traditionally not had access to land ownership. This has resulted in the increase of women’s status and independence. The success of these two projects is followed up with Danish support to similar projects in several districts.

Denmark has also financed a simple chemical-free water filtration system, which both ensures the local population safe drinking water and supplies the farmers with clean water to rinse the vegetables after the harvest, making them easier to sell.


  • Water and sanitation to millions of poor people

Cover: Evaluation of Danish Support to Water Supply and Sanitation (1999-2005)

In the period 1999-2005, 5.8 million people in seven of the world’s poor countries gained access to safe drinking water thanks to Danish support. This support also secured 3.8 million people access to better sanitation conditions. The figures stem from an evaluation published in 2007 of Denmark’s support to water and sanitation in Bangladesh, Benin, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Ghana, Uganda and Vietnam between 1999 and 2005.

Besides documenting the impact of Denmark’s support to the seven countries, the evaluation also commends Denmark’s efforts to ensure strong international attention to the issue of poor people’s access to water and sanitation. There is definitely a strong need for such attention. Even though positive progress has been achieved in the seven countries that Denmark has supported, this progress needs to speed up much faster if the countries are to reach the Millennium Development Goals of halving the number of people without access to safe drinking water and to improved sanitation.

There are problems particularly within the sanitation field. Donors – including Denmark – are more inclined to support initiatives to improve water supply than the construction of latrines and sewers. And the same applies to the governments in developing countries, despite the clear need, especially in poor countries, to step up efforts to improve the awful sanitary conditions, which seriously affect public health.

The efforts to improve sanitation also suffer from the fact that no one body has overall responsibility for sanitation in some of the countries, with responsibility instead being scattered between several different authorities. This applies also to water supply to a certain extent. This situation needs to be changed if the development assistance to the sector is to become more effective.

The evaluation recommends that in the sector support greater focus should be placed on maintenance and operation and relatively less on building new facilities. Many new water pumps and latrines have far too short a life span, because no thought is given at the beginning to their operation and maintenance. It should be underlined that this is a general observation that is not directed especially at Danida efforts.

Another significant problem is the shortage of reliable data and comparable indicators. For example, there exist no internationally recognised criteria for determining what is required to “have access to decent sanitation”. This makes it difficult to prioritise efforts in the sector and measure their results.

Denmark is recognised in recipient countries for its sustained, long-term support to water and sanitation and for at an early stage working to implement the new principles in development assistance which in 2005 were enshrined in the Paris Declaration on aid effectiveness. In all the countries, Denmark has campaigned actively for increased cooperation and coordination in the water and sanitation sector.

Nevertheless, the vast majority of the support in the evaluation period was awarded more or less as traditional project support, because the recipient countries were still mostly geared to receiving project support in this sector. Since then, Denmark has come further in its compliance with the Paris Declaration principles that donors should adapt their activities to the recipient country’s national policy, strategy and action plan. However, this requires that such national plans, etc. actually exist, and that there is local capacity to assume ownership of them. These requirements still cause problems in several of the countries.


Agriculture in Bolivia is practised in virtually two vastly different worlds. In the eastern lowlands, agriculture is based on economies of scale and is efficient, mechanised and export-oriented. In this area, soya beans, sugar cane and wheat are grown and large cattle herds are the norm. It is these types of farming that enable agriculture to provide Bolivia with approx. 30 per cent of the country’s export income.

The rest of the agricultural sector is based around small-scale farming, which is rarely adequate to feed a family. Small-scale farming is most predominant in the highlands, and even though this is where four out of five farming families live, they only have 23 per cent of the total cultivated area at their disposal. Important crops are potatoes, other root crops and quinoa – a particularly robust highland crop in the Andes region.

The agricultural sector represents more than 40 per cent of all jobs in Bolivia, and Denmark is supporting the sector with USD 42.9 million in the period 2005-2010. The Danish support focuses on the development of the small-scale farms on the highland plateau. By improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers, the goal is to reduce poverty and counter migration to the capital, La Paz, and the neighbouring countries.

The support goes to, among other things, farmers’ local organisations and to establishing small businesses and producers’ organisations that are to contribute to increasing both the quality and quantity of agricultural production, to improving processing and to increasing the sales of agricultural products.

The Danish support goes especially to the counties of Chuquisaca and Potosi, where it has produced excellent results. Through processing and quality control, several producers have, for example, gained access to high-price markets, leading to higher prices and higher earnings.

The support has resulted in, for example, a far greater rise in the sales price on a number of the products supplied by the producer organisations in Potosi compared to other agricultural products from the area. In 2006, the price rose by 13 per cent above the average increase on agricultural products and in 2007 by 7 per cent.

In Chuquisaca, the programme’s activities have contributed to such dramatic increases in production that the families that have been involved since 2005 have experienced an average rise in income of 16 per cent. The agricultural programme’s goal that the farming families involved must achieve an income rise of 20 per cent by the end of the programme in 2010 is therefore within sight.


Photo: Tomato farmer from Zambia

Tomato farmer from Zambia:

Transporting the tomato harvest to town now cheaper

“Back when the road was in an awful state, we gave USD 2.2 to have a crate of tomatoes transported to town. With the new road, we now only need to pay USD 0.9, and more cars come past here. The new gravel road provides a good connection to the asphalt road and further on to Lusaka.

The road building project brought a great change. Many people here in the village made their living from poaching. When the road building began, they got a paid job and their wage was paid out on time almost every month.

How people spent their salary varied. My son bought fertiliser, which has enabled him to cultivate the land on his farm more successfully.”

Francis Muzondiwas is a farmer in the village of Kaosha in western Zambia. Just past the village runs one of the gravel roads that with the help of money and advice from Denmark have been transformed from something that resembled a moonscape with deep craters and eroded gullies to a solid gravel road which even large trucks can use without tipping over or breaking the front axle.

Denmark has supported the road sector in Zambia since 1996, and in 2007 a new phase amounting to DKK 400 million was approved. The new phase continues the principle followed to date in which rehabilitation of main roads goes hand in hand with improvements made to the smaller gravel roads that connect the remote rural areas with Zambia’s main arterial routes. The rehabilitation of smaller gravel roads is to a large extent being carried out by small local construction firms that employ labour-intensive construction methods and provide paid employment to many poor men and women. The finished road also has a lasting effect on the local area’s economy, for example in terms of improving the opportunities to market and sell agricultural products.


  • Mozambique is reforming agriculture

Cover: Joint evaluation of PROAGRI’s first phase from 1999 to 2005

In 1992, decades of civil war ended in Mozambique, which at that time was one of the world’s absolutely poorest countries. A total of 80 per cent of the population lived in rural areas, the vast majority as poor subsistence farmers, despite the fact that the country is rich in diverse natural resources.

The first government that took office after the civil war decided to reform the whole agricultural sector. The sector was to operate according to market principles, and the main focus was to be on sales crops and processed goods. In the mid-1990s, the Mozambique government developed its very ambitious Agricultural Sector Public Expenditure Programme (PROAGRI) in close cooperation with Denmark and other donors that at that time jointly financed around 90 per cent of all public expenditure on agriculture and natural resources in Mozambique. This was done through a complex web of 350 different, single projects that had no common goal or direction.

In 2006, it was decided to conduct a joint evaluation of PROAGRI’s first phase from 1999 to 2005. It was completed in 2007 and concluded that the majority of the preset goals had been achieved: The Ministry of Agriculture had been strengthened both centrally and locally, and it had contributed to the decentralisation in the sector. Success had been achieved in improving the coordination between the Ministry of Agriculture and the many donors by bringing together the previously countless number of single projects under one umbrella. The fragmentation that previously characterised the agricultural sector has been replaced by a common vision for how agricultural development should take place.

So far so good. However, the same cannot be said about the smallholder farmers, who have not yet felt any great effect of the changes. An improvement in their conditions was the real goal of the reforms. They have been left in a vacuum by the transition from state control to market principles. Previously, the Ministry of Agriculture ensured provision of, for example, free advice, cheap fertiliser and seed grain. This provided a safety net for the small-holder farmers, enabling them to take risks, for example by trying new crops and expanding production.

This safety net has now disappeared, and has not been replaced by other forms of security or insurance.

In reality, the smallholder farmers did not experience any great immediate benefit from the changes that PROAGRIC entailed, such as institutional reforms. They would rather preserve the specific services that the “old system” provided: the free agricultural advice, cheap fertiliser and seed grain. The farmers are a very complex group in Mozambique. They are either badly organised or not organised at all, and this has made it difficult to consult them.

The evaluation criticises the failure to implement quickly the decentralisation of responsibility for economy and planning in order to replace the support that previously came from centralised quarters. The evaluation recommends that a plan be formulated immediately to ensure smallholder farmers access to basic services until the decentralisation system functions as planned. It also recommends that the donors to a greater extent live up to good donor practice by announcing more clearly and at an earlier stage their long-term contributions to the sector.

Lastly, the evaluation warns that the consideration for smallholder farmers may be gradually jeopardised in step with the growth of commercial agriculture and the absorption of land, forests and other natural resources for other purposes. This places increased demands on the authorities’ ability to manage the natural resources.


Photo: Phyllis Kissa

Phyllis earns a good income from cheap malaria medicine

It is a rare situation when 40-year-old Phyllis Kissa sits with her hands in her lap. She is a mother of six children and together with her husband owns an eight-hectare farm in the Kapchorwa district in eastern Uganda. And she is a sparkling proof of the benefits of cultivating varied crops.

Recently, she began to cultivate the plant, Artemesia Annua, which is a relative of our domestic schnapps herb, wormwood. Artemisia is an effective remedy against malaria - something which the Chinese have known for many years - but now the malaria medicine, which is manufactured from locally produced Artemesia, can be bought from chemists everywhere. In Uganda, the cost of a full malaria treatment package using this preparation is 8 kroner.

Phyllis also earns a good income from this new crop: maize-growing yields around USD 312.4 in profit per hectare. But cultivating and selling the dried Artemesia plants offers three times more than selling maize.

Phyllis Kissa is a member of the local agricultural association, which is supported through the Danish-sponsored agricultural sector programme partly with help to produce and market Artemesia and to establish a nursery. Phyllis Kissa is one of the farmers that have attended a training course, and now she is personally able to organise similar courses for the farmers in the region. The courses provide training in how to cultivate something else than the traditional maize, such as barley, Artemesia or Aloe Vera.

These courses could help stimulate a virtuous circle: varied crops can provide better earnings; better earnings provide the possibility of saving up; and savings can be used to invest in agricultural machinery, fertiliser, products for plant disease control, etc.


  • Smallholder farmers were helped, but the effect on institutions failed to materialise

Cover: Impact Evaluation of Hima Iringa Region Tanzania

Is there a measurable long-term effect of the extensive and very specific development assistance that Denmark provided in five districts in Tanzania between 1995 and 2002? An evaluation of the HIMA programme in 2007 analysed this question.

HIMA is an acronym for Hifadhi ya Mazingira – which means ’protection of the environment’ in Swahili. The programme indeed began as an environmental protection programme, but several other spin-offs developed en route, so that in reality it turned into a broad agricultural and local development programme. During the programme period, Denmark awarded a total of USD 21.7 million in support to the five districts in the Iringa region in Tanzania’s southern highland.

The evaluation was conducted by, among other things, comparing some of the more than 200 villages that were included in the programme with villages in the area that were not. And the farmers, who were the primary focus of the programme, continue to benefit from its long-term effects.

For example, the yield from the four most important crops in the area – maize, beans, wheat and potatoes – has risen, in some places by up to 100 per cent. The villagers have also embraced a number of the methods that HIMA introduced to improve management of natural resources such as forests and water. Several local nurseries and self-managed forest areas continue to bring in income and make people less dependent on natural resources as a source of firewood.

In general, the programme has led to better living conditions, increased income and a more stable food situation, as well as access to water throughout the year in many of the villages that HIMA was active in. In addition, women’s influence in political work, in local organisations and in the family has been strengthened. On the other hand, there has been no real visible success achieved in getting women to start their own companies and businesses.

The programme is praised on the one hand for a great willingness to throw itself into new experiments, but criticised on the other hand for not gathering up lessons and learning from mistakes and successes.

The evaluation concludes also that the HIMA programme has primarily strengthened individuals rather than institutions – which is precisely the reverse effect of Denmark’s support to the agricultural sector reform programme, PROAGRI, in Mozambique. Few of the organisational changes introduced by the HIMA programme exist today. The government’s advisory services came to an abrupt halt, for example, when Danida’s grant support to transport disappeared. This has impacted on sustainability and the multiplier effect that the HIMA programme could have had.

The evaluation also criticises the phasing out of HIMA. It was poorly planned and implemented over far too short a period. In many villages, HIMA had almost just begun its support by the time of the closure, whereas in others they were deep in the process of planning future new activities. This meant a shadow was, quite unnecessarily, cast over many of the results that HIMA had actually achieved. The gradual incorporation of HIMA into the general Danish agricultural sector programme support to Tanzania did not benefit the majority of the former HIMA villages.


Danish assistance to Ghana’s transport sector has contributed to almost doubling the average Ghanaian’s income. The story is actually true, although the doubling of Ghanaians’ income is not solely due to the Danish assistance. The increase has been observed as a direct but derived effect of Danish assistance to Ghana’s transport sector. This will be explained below.

For a number of years, Denmark has supported the transport sector in Ghana via investments in the road network. A new phase of the sector programme was launched in 2003, with special focus on the road network in rural areas. In order to illustrate the effect of investments in the transport sector, it was decided to construct a so-called Social Accounting Matrix (SAM) for Ghana. This task was assigned to Ghana’s national statistics office -Ghana Statistical Service (GSS). However, the office did not have the necessary capacity, and thus in 2006 an economist from the University of Copenhagen was contacted to provide technical assistance.

The consequences of the Ghana Statistical Service’s longstanding lack of adequate resources became quickly apparent to the economist. It has meant, among other things, that the existing data material is outdated and that a number of key national accounting figures are no longer calculated. Since 1999, the GSS has not published official figures for Ghana’s gross national product (GNP)!

It was therefore necessary to recalculate the economic key figures, and this led to the surprising conclusion that Ghana’s official GNP was underestimated. The calculations showed that official per capita GNP of USD 400 needed to be written up by more than 90 per cent to USD 758. In one single stroke, Ghana had both come up to the level of oil-rich Nigeria and achieved Millennium Development Goal 1 of halving poverty by 2015.

The recalculation has not only clarified Ghana’s true economic development level and the role of the transport sector; the new and updated knowledge can also be used to project national accounting figures for the next five to ten years. In addition, the new models can be used to draw up far more precise calculations of the derived effects of investments in new and better roads.


Africa constitutes the fastest growing market for mobile phones. At the same time, micro-credit programmes are sprouting up everywhere in developing countries and can, for example, offer poor farmers a chance to expand their production of sales crops. These are just two examples that illustrate the existence of both a potential and a market among the world’s poor, or as someone has so poetically put it: among those at the “bottom of the pyramid”. This expression has led to the creation of another of the numerous acronyms used by the development cooperation community, namely BOP.

In general, there is an increasing awareness of the business opportunities at the bottom of the pyramid, among the almost three billion people who live on under two dollars a day. But penetrating the market is not so straightforward.

For this reason, Denmark has entered a partnership with the Confederation of Danish Industries (DI) to hold Learning Labs. Here, Danish companies find inspiration about how their products can be adapted to, for example, the African markets in a way that benefits both the company and the consumers that many companies up to now have devoted little attention to. The Danish business community can meet the demand of the poor for, for example, clean water and basic healthcare services and thus contribute to making normal everyday life easier for people in developing countries.

PPP focus on Africa

The Learning Labs project has been allocated USD 0.9 million in support through the Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) Programme. The PPP Programme was launched in 2004 for the purpose of supporting the establishment of partnerships between Danish companies and local companies, organisations and public institutions. The partnerships aim at contributing to improving working and living conditions in developing countries through socially directed initiatives and sustainable investments.

Since the launch, approx. DKK 140 million has been awarded under the PPP Programme, and a total of 33 projects, primarily in Asia and Africa, have received support. In the first year of the programme, the projects were typically targeted at helping companies enhance their social responsibility, whereas in recent years the projects have focused more on identifying ways to ensure that Danish companies’ suppliers in developing countries also adhere to the principle of corporate social responsibility (CSR).

In 2007 alone, USD 8.3 million was awarded under the PPP Programme, and interest in the programme is rapidly increasing. 12 projects in all received support in 2007, with an increasing number of them being implemented in Africa. Denmark continues to work at enhancing the programme’s focus on Africa.

CSR must be strategic

The PPP Programme can provide development assistance to private companies that through specific activities promote human and labour rights, improve the environment and fight corruption, i.e. practise corporate social responsibility (CSR).

In 2007, the PPP Programme focused on strategic CSR. For example, a brewery that supports the local football club should not expect to be awarded support. The activities that are supported under the PPP Programme must have a clear connection with the companies’ core business activity.

The most important benefit of strategic CSR is that the company’s special knowledge and core expertise are actively used to benefit both society and the company. Companies can simultaneously help to solve social problems and create new growth opportunities.

For example, in 2007 the Danish company, Eurotex, and the Indian textile company, Sree Santhosh Garments (SSG), received support from the PPP Programme to, for example, establish a training centre where poor Indians aged 15-18 could receive training in textile processing with a view to taking up later employment in SSG. Other local textile companies have also shown interest in employing trainees from the training centre.

The partnership between Eurotex, SSG and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark thus ensures a stable and well-trained labour force for the local company, whilst at the same time offering poor Indians training and improved living conditions.


An unusual collaboration between a Bolivian producer of llama textiles and two Danish design firms with support from Danida’s Business-to-Business (B2B) Programme is to introduce exclusive llama knitwear in the Danish and international market and create jobs in Bolivia.

The Bolivian enterprise, Altifibers, was established in 1990 in order to export raw natural wool, especially llama, which is quite unique. Approx. 1,000 tonnes of llama are produced annually in Bolivia, and the fibres are over 50cm long and very strong. Furthermore, the fibres are hollow, making them super-light and giving them an insulating quality.

But the business concept did not properly catch on. The spinning of the raw llama was done in Europe, where there was advanced technology but also high transport costs and high wages, which made the finished product too expensive. Altifibers therefore decided to move the processing activities back home to Bolivia, but even then the enterprise still had difficulty selling its design abroad.

This was one of the reasons that Altifibers initiated a partnership in 2005 with the Danish design firms, Aymara and Creme de la Creme de la Edgar, with the help of support from the B2B Programme. The collaboration has resulted in the development of an exclusive design line called Aymara, producing fashion clothes for the Danish, Scandinavian and later the rest of the European market.

A total of USD 0.9 million has been awarded through the B2B Programme to support the partnership. This support has gone to, among other things, capacity building of the Bolivian partner and improvement of the work environment, such as a new ventilation system and wastewater treatment.

This means that Aymara can be marketed as a fashion clothes item that is produced in a socially and environmentally responsible way.

The collaboration aims at tripling the proportion of Altifibers’ total production of processed products over the five-year period that the project is scheduled to run – from the current 9 per cent to 27 per cent. If successful, it will create more than 200 new jobs at Altifibers.

Altifibers currently employs approx. 170-180 seamstresses. The company is situated in El Alto, a satellite town of over 800,000 inhabitants outside Bolivia’s capital, La Paz. The majority of the inhabitants – and the seam-stresses that Altifibers employs – are Aymara Indians who came to the city in search of work, and unemployment is high.

USD 36.7 million to B2B projects

In 2007, the B2B Programme awarded approx. USD 36.7 million to projects in Denmark’s programme countries. Interest in the programme had previously been greatest in countries like Vietnam, India and Bangladesh, but several years’ persistent efforts to generate greater interest in using the B2B Programme in Africa are now beginning to pay off. In 2007, 65 per cent of the total grant allocation went to collaboration projects between African and Danish enterprises. In particular Kenya, Uganda and Egypt accounted for the increased activity in Africa, where more and more projects involve female entrepreneurs and focus on the social responsibility of enterprises.


Lightweight kettles, pans, pots, mugs and other kitchen utensils made of aluminium are popular in many African countries, especially among the poor. In the industrial district, Nakawa, in Uganda’s capital, Kampala, lies the company, Shumuk Industries, which each year produces 3-4 million aluminium items of kitchen equipment. The company has an annual turnover of approx. USD 2.8 million and 270 employees. It is 50 years old and its products, embossed with the trademark SAIL, are known throughout the eastern and central African region.

The production is based on recycling of aluminium. This is done not out of consideration for the environment, but because it has been shown that purchasing aluminium scrap from the entire region and recycling it makes good business sense. But in other areas, the environmental behaviour of the company needed careful scrutiny, which is why it was put into contact with the Danish Technological Institute in 2004 through the Private Sector Development (PSD) Programme, which was later renamed the Business-to-Business (B2B) Programme.

The initial contact was promising, and in 2005 the collaboration was awarded USD 0.9 million in support under the PSD Programme. The funds were to go to training, consultancy support, new technology, environmental improvements and equipment.

As a result of the collaboration, the production at Shumuk Industries has now been completely reorganised. The entire company has been gone through with a fine toothcomb, the handling and treatment of aluminium scrap has been improved, and production has been made more efficient. This has resulted in more environmentally friendly and safer production. For example, the quantity of aluminium dust has been reduced, the ground has been reinforced so that chemicals do not seep into the sub-soil, and energy consumption has been cut tremendously.

Shumuk Industries now lives up to international environmental standards. At the same time, its products and efficiency have improved, and therefore the changes made have also led to increased sales and earnings. And they have also meant that the company each year spares the atmosphere 264 tonnes of CO2 compared to earlier. Shumuk Industries is now considering going one step further and making the company completely CO2-neutral.

Photo: From the Shumuk Industries, which is located in the industrial area of Nakawa in Kampala, Uganda. Photo: Mikkel Østergaard

From the Shumuk Industries, which is located in the industrial area of Nakawa in Kampala, Uganda. Photo: Mikkel Østergaard


Even if you make fantastically beautiful necklaces of home-made beads manufactured from recycled paper, the Danish consumers with strong buying power are far from reach when you are a woman who has had to flee from the troubled northern Uganda to the capital, Kampala.

Nonetheless, contact is being forged between Danish consumers and the BIDWA group (Banda Internally Displaced Women’s Association), which comprises 800 women, many of whom are single mothers and HIV-positive.

It requires a highly targeted effort, and this is what DIPP (Danish Import Promotion Programme) provides. In 2007, DIPP carried out a special promotion drive in Uganda, a Targeted Marketing Campaign, in collaboration with a local organisation for female entrepreneurs comprising approx. 800 members. As part of the campaign, DIPP held a workshop in Kampala with the theme, ’export of art crafts’. Around 30 women participated and were trained in the basic skills of running a business, product development, marketing, freight and the opportunities on the European market. This led to contact with women who made necklaces in BIDWA. These necklaces are now in the process of being Fair Trade Certified and contact has been established with an importer of Fair Trade products.

Also another group of women have been brought into contact with the same Danish importer, who has shown interest in the bags of palm and banana fibres that the women produce.

Kenya vegetables to COOP

The success of DIPP’s campaigns is evidenced by a corresponding campaign in 2006. Here, the objective was to market fresh fruit and vegetables from East Africa to Denmark. In collaboration with a regional organisation for businesswomen, DIPP selected six enterprises from Uganda and Kenya, all owned by women.

These enterprises were invited to visit Denmark and Sweden, where they visited ’Grønttorvet’ (Copenhagen Wholesale Market) and the largest importers of fresh fruit and vegetables, partly in order to gain an idea of the standards of quality that consumers in our part of the world demand.

And it worked: A Kenyan enterprise signed an agreement to supply sugar peas to COOP Danmark A/S and Coop Norge A/S. In 2007, the two COOP organisations received their first deliveries and declared themselves highly satisfied with the quality. Another Kenyan company has subsequently started export to a Swedish importer.


  • About DIPP

Net dating for exporters and importers

DIPP (Danish Import Promotion Programme) operates under contract between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark and the Danish Chamber of Commerce, who are to be used to establish contacts between exporters in developing countries and importers in Denmark.

DIPP does a lot more than conduct the annual targeted campaigns and has, among other things, established a kind of net dating agency, an electronic marketplace where exporters from developing countries and importers from Denmark can meet. In this way, DIPP has begun in earnest to exploit the new opportunities presented by globalisation and IT developments.

The time for taking phone calls and letters from often slightly desperate producers of art craft, T-shirts and much else from Africa, Latin America and Asia is over. Potential exporters can now post their profiles in the electronic marketplace. Danish importers can complete a company profile on DIPP’s website, after which the profile is placed in DIPP’s database of the Danish enterprises interested in imports from developing countries. DIPP also cooperates with corresponding initiatives in Norway and Sweden, and thus the contact opportunities are increasing even more.

DIPP produces also detailed but brief market guides on Denmark and Scandinavia within different sectors, enabling potential suppliers in distant countries to obtain concrete information about contacts, opportunities and requirements in the Scandinavian markets.


In 2007, Danish pension funds invested a total of USD 45.4 million in six Vietnamese companies and one Egyptian enterprise. This is the result so far of a collaboration that was initiated in 2005 between Danish pension funds and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark.

The partnership aims at securing the business community in developing countries the risk-venture capital it is crying out for, and at the same time offers pension savers the opportunity to invest their money according to ethical and social considerations.

More pension funds would like to do the same, but hesitate because the risk is great and the market is new and unknown. For this reason, the investments require preliminary studies, which even well endowed pension funds may have difficulty justifying to their members.

But equipped with USD 8.6 million in development assistance to cover the extra costs incurred from investing in developing countries, the Danish pension funds PKA and PBU have chosen to place USD 86.4 of their millions in a fund that has plans to invest in developing countries.

PKA stands for Pensionskassernes Administration A/S, a joint administration company for eight independent pension funds within the social and health sector. PBU stands for Pensionskassen for Børne- og Ungdomspædagoger (Pension Fund for Children and Youth Care Educators).

The project is supported by the Programme for Public-Private Partnerships (PPP), and the support has financed extensive preliminary work prior to the initial investments that took place in 2007. Over 1,000 enterprises have been screened and around 75 visited by the investment team from the fund.

The fund is particularly on the lookout for local, non-listed enterprises that are seeking investors for capital investments and increased production. The duration period for investments is five to eight years. The individual investments are normally between USD 3.7 and USD 9.2 million and constitute a maximum ownership percentage in the company of 20-40 per cent.

The objective of the support is also to contribute to strengthening the ethical, social and environmental conduct of the enterprises, and plans are being made to run training programmes and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities in the seven enterprises that the pension funds have provisionally targeted for investment.


  • TechChange from Herning to Managua

The B2B Programme has for several years invited enterprises from developing countries to attend the so-called TechChange events at trade fairs in Denmark. The idea is to prepare the ground for establishing partnerships between the invited parties and Danish enterprises. The first TechChange event was held at the HI Industry Trade Fair in Herning, Denmark during the 1990s. Since then, TechChange events have been held at Danish fashion, agricultural, fisheries and food trade fairs. In 2007, 15 enterprises from ten different developing countries were invited to an IT trade fair in Øksnehallen in Copenhagen. Nine of the 15 enterprises secured good contacts with Danish enterprises, which could lead to long-term partnerships.

In recent years, the focus has been on holding so-called reverse TechChange events, where Danish enterprises are invited to participate in delegations to developing countries with a view to matchmaking with local partners. In 2007, Danish enterprises participated in TechChange delegations to five developing countries, namely Egypt, Kenya, Nicaragua, South Africa and Vietnam, where the focus was on the IT, dairy and energy sectors.


Photo: From Cotonou Port - a major centre for the transit trade in Benin. Photo: Jørgen Schytte

From Cotonou Port - a major centre for the transit trade in Benin. Photo: Jørgen Schytte


The year’s gearing rate

The annual gearing rate is an expression of the scale of the Danish deliveries that each Danish development krone generates. In 2007, the rate was 2.3 and was calculated on the basis of projects that had been already approved and which had in 2007 received final commitments after having been subjected to a competitive tender procedure.

In 2007, altogether seven projects with a Danish supplier received final commitments for support amounting to USD 34.5 million. The combined contract sum of the seven projects was USD 79.7 million. This means that Danish assistance amounting to USD 34.5 million triggers contracts of Danish deliveries for a total of USD 79.7 million, which produces a gearing rate of 2.3.

The gearing rate is lower than in 2006, when it was 2.5. The lower gearing rate in 2007 is due primarily to the fact that a final commitment was given for an untied wind energy project in Egypt, in which the contract was awarded to a Spanish enterprise.

It has been decided that the Report from the Danish Committee for Mixed Credits is to be included in Danida’s Annual Report. This chapter therefore replaces the Committee’s Report from 2007.

2007 was a record year for the Mixed Credits Programme. In total, gross interest support was disbursed amounting to USD 74.2 million, the highest amount ever. In contrast, the number of new grants was modest. In 2007, support was awarded to ten projects, which is the same number as in 2006. The total grants amounted to USD 70.7 million, which was 16 per cent higher than in 2006, when the grants totalled USD 60.8 million.

With the full utilisation of the frame also in 2007, it is clearly evident that the adopted restraint in the size of grants awarded in conjunction with the use of tightened development assistance screening has been necessary. Projects that have only had a few outstanding items or which have demonstrated good progress have been assigned high priority in the strategic goals for 2007. The Committee’s priorities can be summarised in the following main areas:

  • Assignment of higher priority to business sector development in programme countries.
  • Integration of development assistance instruments – grant aid and business support instruments – with the aim of maximising synergies.
  • Support to projects that increase production of sustainable energy and improvement of the recipient countries’ environment.

The countries in Africa were previously only sporadically represented among the recipient countries of projects under the Mixed Credits Programme. As late as 2003, all grant-approved projects were located in Asia. However, in 2003 the Mixed Credits Programme launched a targeted strategy with a view to realising more projects in Denmark’s programme countries in Africa. And the efforts have produced results. Already in 2005, Africa became the main recipient of mixed credits, and this position was consolidated in 2006, when as much as 71 per cent of the grants was awarded to Mozambique and Zambia. In 2007, Africa accounted for almost 44 per cent of the total grants.

And it looks as though Africa will strengthen its position further in the years ahead. Among the 15 projects that were screened at the end of 2007, seven were in Africa, and together they accounted for 59 per cent of the total grant sum expected.

Read more: Appendices/Tables containing all data about approved and screened projects can be downloaded at:

Disbursed interest support, etc. 2003-2007 (in USD millions)
Year Gross interest support, etc.
2003 15.9
2004 40.7
2005 51.4
2006 63.5
2007 74.3

Projects awarded support in 2007 (in USD millions)
Country Sector Contract Grant
Armenia Renewable energy 3.0 1.2
Egypt Drinking water and sanitation 12.6 5.7
Indonesia Transport 17.3 8.3
China Education 3.3 1.3
China Drinking water and sanitation 12.7 5.1
China Other energy forms 8.1 3.4
Maldives Electrification 33.8 18.4
Sri Lanka Agriculture 3.1 1.3
Vietnam Education 1.5 0.7
Zambia Road facilities and road transport 41.6 25.3
Total: 137.1 70.7


A mixed credit is a combination of a loan and grant aid. With a mixed credit, Denmark can support development projects that cannot be financed either according to normal market principles or by pure grant aid. In this way, mixed credits can help mobilise capital to finance development projects and at the same time they can involve the Danish business community actively in development cooperation.

The Mixed Credits Programme - like the rest of the Danish development assistance – has the overall aim of contributing to poverty reduction in developing countries.

A mixed credit can be described as an ordinary, interest-bearing export credit, in which the interest, export credit premium and other financial costs are paid by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark over the development assistance budget framework. The advantage for the developing country lies in the fact that it can finance the necessary import of capital equipment and services for a development project with an interest-free loan typically with a duration of ten years. The name “mixed credit” comes from mixing development assistance with a commercial bank loan.

Subsidy element of 35-50 per cent

The subsidy element in a mixed credit consists of the interest, export credit premium and other financial costs that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark pays in connection with a project. Often, the financial support is supplemented by technical assistance for, among other things, producing tender materials. The subsidy element in a mixed credit must be at least 35 per cent in low and middle-income countries, and at least 50 per cent in the least developed countries.

In order to avoid distortion of competition, projects that are supported with a mixed credit may not be commercially viable.

Small projects with a contract sum of under SDR 2 million (the so-called Special Drawing Rate), corresponding to around USD 3.1 million, as well as projects in the least developed countries are exempted from this rule, which means that small industrial projects are eligible for mixed credit support.

Tied or untied

Projects that are financed with a mixed credit can be offered out to tender under the tied scheme, where only Danish firms can participate, or under the untied scheme, where all enterprises in OECD countries can submit bids. The untied scheme, however, only applies to Denmark’s programme countries.

As a rule, projects are conducted under the tied scheme. Each project is closely examined to see whether there are an adequate number of potential Danish suppliers available to ensure the required competition regarding quality and price. If there are not deemed to be an adequate number of Danish suppliers to ensure this, the projects can be conducted under the untied scheme.

The annual disbursement framework

In 2007, USD 64.3 million was earmarked by Danish development assistance to mixed credits. The framework covers disbursements to projects that were approved and launched in 2007. Interest support totalling USD 74.2 million was disbursed, and this was possible due to the simultaneous repayment of reserve funds amounting to approx. USD 9.2 million. Each year, funds are placed in reserve to cover future losses, and they are repaid in step with the repayment of the loans.

Photo: Imported maize being unloaded at Tema Port in Ghana. Photo: Klaus Holsting

Imported maize being unloaded at Tema Port in Ghana. Photo: Klaus Holsting


Zambia is one of the world’s poorest countries, and Western Province is one of the poorest and most underdeveloped provinces in Zambia. Here, only 8 per cent of the adult population is engaged in formal employment, and only 9 per cent has access to safe drinking water. The region lies far from the capital, Lusaka, and far from Zambia’s economic power centre, the Copper Belt in the northeast. Western Province has by and large been disconnected from the economic development that Zambia, despite everything, has experienced, partly because the roads to and inside the province are in a miserable state.

But now things are beginning to happen. Denmark has supported the road sector in Zambia for many years and has, among other things, financed the rehabilitation of the main road from Mongu, one of the larger towns in the province, to Lusaka. In an upcoming phase of the Danish support to the road sector, the western transport corridor will be further developed, in order to facilitate the transportation of copper from the copper mine along the shortest route to the sea, namely to the large port town of Walvis Bay in Namibia.

However, there is also need for better connections across the River Zambezi, Africa’s fourth longest river, which flows through the region over a stretch of 800 km. Here, there are only three formal connections across the river, which are also unstable and often flooded each year during the three to four-month-long rainy season.

Two new bridges across the river and better feeder roads will give far better conditions for traffic, which is one of the preconditions for development in Western Province.

This project will amount to more than USD 36.7 million and can therefore not come under Danish sector programme support. Nor does Zambia itself have the finances for investment, but this can be realised, however, through the combination of a commercial loan and grant aid, i.e. a mixed credit. This is thus an example of how a mixed credit can supplement Danish grant aid and enhance its effect.

The project was approved for funding in 2007 with an expected contract sum totalling USD 41.6 million. The subsidy from mixed credits amounts to almost USD 25.4 million, which goes to, among other things, interest repayment, export credit premium and technical assistance.


Uganda is Africa’s third largest exporter of tea. A total of 70 per cent of the country’s total tea production comes from large, privately owned tea plantations with their own tea factories. The rest of the production is distributed between no fewer than 13,000 tea-growers, who together own four tea factories. The factories were privatised at the end of the 1990s and are severely short of capital for investment and expansion activities that can benefit the many small tea-growers.

One of the factories, Igara, lies in the southwestern part of Uganda and is owned by approx. 2000 small tea-growers but receives tea from up to 5,000 growers. The annual production amounts to around 3,000 tonnes of tea. The potential for tea-growing in the area is huge, but the factory’s capacity is at full stretch. There have long been plans to build a new factory in an area approx. 60 km from the existing factory. The area is higher above ground, and the tea grown there is therefore of better quality.

A new factory could generate income for thousands of small farmers, but the funds for investment have not been available.

Denmark supports the agricultural sector in Uganda and is therefore aware of projects that can help generate increased income for small farmers. And the Mixed Credits Programme is precisely on the lookout for projects that through production can improve the living standards of the many poor people living in rural areas in Africa.

This combination led a new tea factory in Buhweju in south-western Uganda with an annual tea production capacity of 1,620 tonnes to be prepared and screened as a mixed credit project in 2007. The overall project is expected to cost up to almost USD 4.2 million. Danida will provide approx. USD 1.8 million in support towards covering interest costs, etc. The factory is planned to be ready in 2010.


In Jiamusi, a town in northern China, the weather is cold in winter, bitingly cold. The average temperature during the heating season is minus ten degrees, but the temperature can drop right down to minus 41. Jiamusi is situated in the poor part of China, which has not yet been much affected by the country’s economic boom, and therefore people have little money. For this reason, the Heilongjiang province, in which Jiamusi is situated, has been chosen as one of the areas in China where Denmark by means of mixed credits supports projects that seek to reduce poverty and at the same time benefit the environment.

In this regard, district heating is on its way to a good section of the population in Jiamusi. In 2007, a district-heating project totalling USD 8.1 million was approved as a mixed credit project. The project will benefit the poorest part of the population, which will have access to stable and climate-friendly low-cost heating. The project will also ensure that the surplus heat produced by the power plant in the town is utilised in a brand new district-heating system that can replace around 100 small – heavily polluting – coal-fired power plants.


Projects that can improve the environment and reduce greenhouse gas emissions enjoy special attention under the Mixed Credits Programme – due to their beneficial environmental effect in the recipient countries, and because Danish enterprises operating in the climate and environmental field possess considerable experience, technology and know-how.

The Republic of Armenia was formerly a part of the Soviet Union and was often referred to as the Soviet Union’s “Silicon Valley”. However, the economy collapsed completely after the country became independent in 1991.

Armenia is heavily dependent on energy imports from Russia and endeavours in various ways to become more self-sufficient. This can be achieved by, for example, utilising biogas, which is the case with a mixed credit project approved in 2007. The project, to which Denmark is contracted to deliver USD 3.0 million, focuses on establishing a biogas facility at an existing poultry farm. The facility is designed to utilise animal manure and waste from the farm’s 400,000 sitting hens, 400,000 egg-laying hens and 1.7 million broilers, producing a total of 250 tonnes of waste each day. The facility has the capacity to produce 6.3< MWh of electricity per year, and this will convert the manure and waste that was previously a burden on the environment into 80,000 tonnes of organic manure a year. The poultry farm is run by a limited company that is owned partly by the Danish enterprise, Bigadan, which also delivers the biogas facility, and partly by the Industrialisation Fund for Developing Countries (IFU). The project is an example of how IFU and the Mixed Credits Programme can supplement each other.

Denmark purchases CO2 quotas

The biogas facility will reduce the emission of harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The electricity production is CO2-neutral and the facility will especially reduce the emission of methane, a greenhouse gas that is 20 times more potent than CO2. For this reason, the project has been approved as a so-called CDM project. This stands for Clean Development Mechanism and means that the project can sell its greenhouse gas saving as CER (Certified Emission Reduction) quotas, in accordance with the Kyoto Protocol. Agreement has been reached with the Danish Environmental Protection Agency to purchase initially around half of the CER quotas that the project generates in the period 2008-2012.


At present, there are 15 screened projects. Screened projects are projects that the Committee for Mixed Credits has deemed suitable for financing with a mixed credit. The screened projects are distributed between ten countries.

In Africa, there are two communication projects in Mozambique and Ghana, respectively; two projects focusing on renewable energy in Kenya; an energy project in South Africa; an agricultural project in Uganda, which has been discussed earlier; and an electrification project in Uganda. In Asia, the projects focus on safe drinking water and sanitation. Two are in Vietnam and two are in China, with one in Indonesia. In Sri Lanka, there is a project relating to education, and in Latin America a project focuses on the health-care sector in Honduras.


Photo: A woman from north-eastern Kenya transports a barrel of water by kicking it along. Photo: Dieter Telemans

A woman from north-eastern Kenya transports a barrel of water by kicking it along. Photo: Dieter Telemans


Flag: Bangladesh

Bangladesh stands at a decisive crossroads. The direction it takes depends on the political developments.

Map: Bangladesh


Key figures  
  Area 144,000 km²
  Population 156.0 million
  Annual population growth 1.8 %
  GNI per capita USD 450
  Foreign assistance
  per capita
USD 7.7
  Life expectancy 63.7 years
  Danish bilateral
  assistance 2007*
USD 42.3 million
  * Disbursements  

Danish bilateral assistance programmes
  Water and sanitation
  Human rights and good governance


2007 started dramatically in Bangladesh. After constant disturbances in autumn 2006 with intense power struggles between the outgoing government, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, and the opposition led by the Awami League, the country was on the brink of chaos. The situation reached a peak on 11 January with the declaration of a state of emergency and the appointment of an interim government supported by the military.

Since then, things have been calm, and the interim government has made concerted efforts to implement institutional reforms. The Election Commission and the Anti-Corruption Commission have been restructured and now function efficiently. The interim government has also declared that it intends to establish a long-awaited National Human Rights Commission.

In the middle of the year, it was decided that elections were to be held in 2008, with the aim of giving Bangladesh a fresh start.

The interim government has taken important steps to separate the executive from the judiciary. However, this is a slow process. The same applies to the fight against corruption, which is absolutely essential in order for Bangladesh to proceed with the implementation of necessary reforms. And progress has been made. Both business executives and politicians, including the leaders of the two largest parties, are facing prosecution for alleged corruption, something which would have been unthinkable under the former government.


Despite the chaotic conditions, Bangladesh achieved a growth of 6.7 per cent in 2007. This is due primarily to the private sector.

The great concern is inflation, which in 2007 was over 10 per cent. Also rises in food prices of over 11 per cent have affected very large sections of the population. The textile sector is the locomotive that is keeping Bangladesh going, with the sector accounting for 75 per cent of exports.

In August, the country was hit by two violent floods, affecting 40 per cent of the country. Around 500 people died, and there was considerable destruction of crops and infrastructure. In the middle of November, a cyclone struck the country’s coastal areas. However, a new warning system did prove to work, and three million people were successfully evacuated. Nevertheless, over 3,000 people lost their lives and more than five million were affected by the devastation. The Danish Minister for Development Cooperation visited Bangladesh after the cyclone and provided an extra grant of USD 0.9 million to relief work and USD 1.8 million to reconstruction.

Perspectives in the donor support

During 2007, the formulation of a joint strategy for development assistance was firmly put on the agenda in Bangladesh. Denmark’s support is provided within the framework of the country’s national poverty reduction strategy, and Denmark also contributes through a joint donor initiative to increase harmonisation and alignment of development assistance.

In 2007, the support awarded by Denmark through the programme to promote human rights and good governance contributed to reform efforts within, for example, anti-corruption and the separation of the courts from the administrative control of the executive.

Climate-proofing is high on the agenda of both the interim government and the donors. Together with, among others, the UK, Denmark supports efforts to secure a review of the most important sectors, so as to facilitate an assessment of how these sectors can best be protected against climate change, which hits Bangladesh especially hard. In addition, the Danish embassy has taken the initiative to launch two new, small-scale climate change adaptation projects.

With support for more than 55 long-term, commercial partnerships, the B2B Programme continues to develop in a positive direction.

Poverty indicators

  1990 Most recent figures
Mortality of children under 5, per 1000 149 73 (2005)
Percentage of children enrolled in primary school 93 (1999) 97.6 (2004)
Percentage of population with access to safe drinking water 72 74 (2004)



Flag: Benin

Administrative reforms are necessary if the Danish-supported programmes are to be implemented successfully.

Map: Benin


Key figures  
  Area 112,600 km²
  Population 8.8 million.
  Annual population growth 3.1 %
  GNI per capita USD 530
  Foreign assistance
  per capita
USD 42.6
  Life expectancy 56.2 years
  Danish bilateral
  assistance 2007*
USD 44.6 million
  * Disbursements  

Danish bilateral assistance programmes
  Water and sanitation
  Human rights and good governance


In 2006, Benin held presidential elections in which a new president was elected by an overwhelming majority on an agenda of good governance and a showdown with corruption. At the parliamentary elections in 2007, the parties behind the president secured a modest majority. The government acknowledges that extensive reforms of the public sector are absolutely crucial for implementing the programmes that are incorporated into the government’s ambitious strategy for growth and poverty reduction.

There were great expectations of the new president, and the government also began its term of office strongly with an anti-corruption campaign, in which all government institutions had their accounts reviewed and scrutinised. However, the anti-corruption efforts have been met by resistance in many parts of the administrative system. The anti-corruption campaign continues – e.g. more internal inspection bodies have been strengthened -but the campaign is also now being used by the president himself and his political support parties to send a political message.

The government’s reform programme is very radical and places great demands on the governmental institutions. But in general there is resistance – not just in the government machinery, but also in civil society, in trade unions, and especially in the public sector employee associations.


The private sector is the driving force in the government’s poverty reduction strategy, and it is therefore extremely critical that the necessary framework for the development of the private sector has not been put in place. A number of important elements for Benin’s economy are pulling in a downward direction – including a low dollar rate, high energy prices and an unfavourable price for cotton, which is Benin’s key export product. The lack of reforms and unfavourable external conditions has resulted in a rise in poverty in Benin: 36 per cent of the population lived under the official poverty line in 2006, whereas in 2002 it was 28 per cent.

Perspectives in the donor support

The administrative reforms in Benin are important in order for the Danish-financed programmes to be implemented successfully. However, the development cooperation with Benin is characterised by weak capacity in the partner organisations that implement the programmes. Danida supports national plans and engages actively in capacity building of administration at all levels.

Despite an inadequate achievement of goals in the overall national poverty reduction strategy, there was satisfactory progress and momentum in the individual Danish-supported programmes in 2007. In the agricultural sector programme, however, no major progress was made within the components targeted at the public sector, and the efforts are too dispersed to have an immediate effect on poverty. Denmark wishes to develop the economy in the rural districts, for example - based on the existing agricultural and transport sector programmes – by placing emphasis on the private sector and market access. Agriculture is the only sector in Benin where it would be possible to increase employment in the short and medium term.

Since January 2007, Denmark has been the lead donor in the education sector. The first phase of the Danish education sector programme began in December 2005. However, due to organisational changes in the Benin Ministry of Education after the change of government in April 2006, the implementation rate in 2006 was relatively low. This improved in 2007, although there are still serious capacity problems. In December 2006, construction commenced to build a Danish-supported centre for apprentices and tradesmen, and in December 2007 a new teacher training college was opened.

In 2008, Denmark expects to launch a new programme for good governance and general budget support, which was approved in November 2007.

Poverty indicators

  1990 Most recent figures
Mortality of children under 5, per 1000 185 150 (2005)
Percentage of children enrolled in primary school 41 (1991) 80.3 (2005)
Percentage of population with access to safe drinking water 63 67 (2004)



Flag: Bhutan

Bhutan is currently making its transition from monarchy to parliamentary democracy after a year when the political democratisation process was finally set in motion.

Map: Bhutan


Key figures  
  Area 38,816 km²
  Population 0.649 million
  Annual population growth 1.8 %
  GNI per capita USD 1,430
  Foreign assistance
  per capita
USD 145
  Life expectancy 65.3 years
  Danish bilateral
  assistance 2007*
USD 12.5 million
  * Disbursements  

Danish bilateral assistance programmes
  Environment and urban development Good governance


Bhutan’s historical transition from monarchy to parliamentary democracy gathered pace in earnest in 2007. The democratic process is now ready to be implemented on the basis of a draft constitution, which Denmark, among others, has commented on.

Fundamental principles and electoral law governing the parties that stand for election to the National Assembly (lower house) on 24 March 2008 have been formulated. Among other things, the parties may not be based on religion, ethnicity, gender or regions. Two parties have been approved, and the names of a total of 94 candidates have been put forward, ten of them women, to the 47 seats in the National Assembly.

The democratic process was set in motion by the previous National Assembly, which passed a number of laws in 2007 – including a municipal reform programme, a skeleton law for civil society (NGOs) and an environmental protection law. The process has been made ready for the next stage and has been driven by Bhutan’s former 4th king and the present 28-year-old 5th king, Jigme Khesar Wangchuck, who took over the throne in 2006.

The process, however, is not without challenges and entails, among other things, that the voters themselves must actively register themselves as such. For the election to the National Council (upper house) in December 2007, 80 per cent of the electorate was registered. A relatively broad section of the population participated, with a slight predominance of female election participants. Four of the female candidates were elected directly to the Council’s 20 seats in total, and the king appointed a further five members, two of whom were women.


Bhutan continues the excellent growth rates that over the last five years have stood at 7-8 per cent, and the country is on the way to becoming a middle-income state. Bhutan enjoys success as a tourist destination and earned solid income from the 21,000 tourists that visited the country in 2007. Efforts are being made to control tourism, for example by demanding pre-payment of ’travel packages’ that cost a minimum of USD 200 a day. The main income, however, is derived from hydropower plants that produce electricity and which have been built with Indian assistance. A total of 95 per cent of the energy produced is exported to India.

Bhutan faces a major challenge in building up a private sector. To date, all investments and production have been public-sectorbased, and there are very few industrial enterprises. Today, all young Bhutanese attend 10th-11th grade in school. However, the relatively well-educated young people cannot expect to find a job in the public sector, and their future in Bhutan is therefore dependent on the development of a private sector.

Perspectives in the donor support

In Bhutan, Denmark supports the social sectors of health and education, environmental and urban development, as well as good governance. Over the next five years, sector budget support amounting to USD 19.7 million will be awarded to the social sectors, with USD 2.8 million, for example, being earmarked to upgrade academic and professional standards at the country’s technical colleges.

The present urban development and environmental sector support runs until 2009. Here, Danida has provided support to water purification facilities, waste management and environmental issues in rural areas. A total of 70 per cent of Bhutan is covered by forest, and it has been written into the constitution that the country’s forest area must never be allowed to fall below 60 per cent.

In Denmark’s support to good governance, a new joint programme amounting to USD 9.2 million over a five-year period is being planned in collaboration with the UN and other development partners. Here, support will be awarded to programmes relating to, among other things, the judicial system, municipal reform and civil society.

In 2007, a new country strategy for the cooperation between Denmark and Bhutan for 2008-2013 was prepared. Before the country strategy is launched on 1 July 2008, it must be aligned with Bhutan’s 10th five-year plan, which will be adopted by the new parliament. The development cooperation with Bhutan will be phased out gradually in order to concentrate the efforts on the poorest countries.

Poverty indicators

  1990 Most recent figures
Mortality of children under 5, per 1000 166 75
Percentage of children enrolled in primary school
Percentage of population with access to safe drinking water 62 (2004)



Map: Bolivia

In 2007, Bolivia embarked on a vision for the country’s future.

Map: Bolivia


Key figures  
  Area 1,099,000 km²
  Population 9.4 million
  Annual population growth 1.9 %
  GNI per capita USD 1,100
  Foreign assistance
  per capita
USD 61.8
  Life expectancy 65.2 years
  Danish bilateral
  assistance 2007*
USD 34.0
  * Disbursements  

Danish bilateral assistance programmes
  Good governance


In 2006, a Constituent Assembly was elected for the purpose of drafting a new constitution that can promote broader political participation in Bolivia and ensure that the indigenous population feels more represented.

It has proved difficult in the constitution-drafting process to build bridges across disagreements among government supporters and the opposition, and this led to a polarisation in society during 2007. The government parties wish to promote a constitution with expanded autonomy for indigenous people and with centralised control of important natural resources. The opposition and the departments in the low country desire extensive autonomy that gives the departments a considerable right of disposal over natural resources. In December, the Constituent Assembly approved a draft constitution without the participation of the opposition’s representatives. At the end of the year, the situation had therefore reached a deadlock.


Bolivia continues to experience economic growth and show a surplus on state finances, and in 2007 an economic growth of 3.8 per cent was reached. This was due not least to the increased export of natural gas and rising prices on the international market. In 2006, the government succeeded in renegotiating a number of contracts with the foreign enterprises responsible for natural gas extraction, the result of which was a considerable rise in the tax and duty levied on gas extraction. In 2007, this led to a substantial increase in fund transfers to the municipalities. The increased revenues have thus already begun to contribute considerably to Bolivia’s economic and social development.

Perspectives in the donor support

The government has strengthened cooperation with the donors and takes the Paris Declaration seriously. In this regard, the government issued a decree in 2007 in which it was stated that development assistance was to be aligned with Bolivia’s national policies and structures. The great challenge that needs to be overcome, however, is that the capacity of the administration to carry out the good intentions remains low.

Danish-Bolivian development cooperation focuses on the agricultural sector, the education sector, the environmental sector and the promotion of the rights of indigenous people. At the same time, Denmark also supports cross-cutting reforms in the public sector, such as anti-corruption and the promotion of democracy and human rights.

In general, the development cooperation with Bolivia in 2007 proceeded more smoothly than for many years, where the cooperation was characterized by many replacements in the public institutions and unclear policies. In order to address this type of problem, Denmark supports a new programme that aims to modernise the public sector – both in the central administration and in the counties and municipalities.

In the agricultural sector, Denmark has with great success provided support towards improving the cultivation methods of smallholder farmers and to the processing and marketing of their products. For example, small-scale production sites and dairies have been established with the help of local producer organisations. Support also played a role in ensuring that the income of farmers rose by 11 per cent in 2007 in areas where the Danish support is provided.

As part of the support to indigenous people, a total of 36 deeds to collective land for the indigenous people were issued in 2007, which provides legal security for approx. 15,000 families.

In the education sector, Denmark supported activities that provided poor children in rural areas with access to new technology. Here, the government has – with Denmark’s support – introduced, for example, teaching centres, where children from the nearby schools can come and learn how to use computers and the internet.

Poverty indicators

  1990 Most recent figures
Mortality of children under 5, per 1000 125 65 (2005)
Percentage of children enrolled in primary school 95.9 (1999) 96.5 (2004)
Percentage of population with access to safe drinking water 72 85 (2004)



Flag: Burkina Faso

After the elections in May, President Blaise Compaoré continues to sit comfortably in power for the 20th year in a row.

Map: Burkina Faso


Key figures  
  Area 274,000 km²
  Population 14.4 million
  Annual population growth 3.0 %
  GNI per capita USD 440
  Foreign assistance
  per capita
USD 60.5
  Life expectancy 51.9 years
  Danish bilateral
  assistance 2007*
42.4 million
  * Disbursements  

Danish bilateral assistance programmes
  Human rights and good governance HIV/AIDS
  Water and sanitation


Burkina Faso held parliamentary elections in May 2007, where President Blaise Compaoré’s party secured a comfortable majority with 73 out of 111 seats in the parliament. The other seats in the parliament went to the opposition, which, however, due to internal discord has diminished its chances of playing a larger role in the legislative work.

Electoral participation was under 50 per cent, which was partly due to a shortage of identity cards for many adults, who thus were unable to vote. In this connection, Denmark supports information campaigns via a Burkinian NGO about the importance of voting. Politically, there is great stability, with the same president having been in office for 20 years. However, there are still problems with governance, primarily due to a poorly functioning judicial system and considerable corruption.

In general, however, the political debate in Burkina Faso is vibrant and open, even though parts of the opposition criticise the government for abuse of power as well as the lack of rule of law in the country.


Burkina Faso’s economic situation has been characterised by stability and growth since the beginning of the 1990s, although fundamental changes to the Burkinian economic structure have yet to be made. Growth thus continues to be driven by the agricultural sector, where cotton production accounts for around 60 per cent of exports.

The country’s economy continues to be extremely vulnerable to extreme conditions, such as climate and global market prices for raw materials. In this respect, 2007 was characterised by heavy floods, which caused farmers major problems. The rising oil prices and falling export revenues from cotton due to low prices on the world market also contributed to a 4 per cent drop in GNI growth in 2007, or what corresponded to real growth per capita of around 1 per cent.

Perspectives in the donor support

The government has formulated a national plan to increase the effectiveness of the assistance, which fits in well with the action taken by Denmark over the last three to four years to reorganise its approach to development assistance from project support to programme support. The main elements in the Danish cooperation with Burkina Faso are the sector programmes for water and sanitation, agricultural development, education, and energy. In addition, Denmark provides general budget support as well as support to the decentralisation process and the promotion of human rights and gender equality.

In the agricultural sector programme, the present phase was launched in January 2006 and runs for a period of six years. The programme supports increased economic growth and greater food security. The programme is an important contribution to the national poverty reduction strategy. In connection with the increasing risk of floods, partly resulting from climate change, Denmark supports activities within the programme, where an attempt is made, for example, to expand the tradition of building small earth dikes in the fields to protect the soil from erosion.

Within the water sector, Denmark financed a total of 364 well drillings in 2007, which led almost 111,000 more people in rural areas to gain access to safe drinking water.

Denmark supports Burkina Faso’s Ten-Year Basic Education Sector Development Programme (PDDEB), which aims to address the fact that only 45.5 per cent of children in Burkina Faso attend school and only 28 per cent of the population is able to read and write. Denmark devotes particular attention to girls’ schooling, which is important for the general development in the country – e.g. as regards health. In 2007, Denmark, together with other donors, supported a programme where 165,000 more children began to attend school, 68,000 of whom were girls. This occurred within the framework of a common basket fund that supports the country’s education sector development programme. Another important result in 2007 was the unprecedented achievement of the goal that all schoolchildren should have at least one textbook.

Poverty indicators

  1990 Most recent figures
Mortality of children under 5, per 1000 210 191 (2005)
Percentage of children enrolled in primary school 29.3 (1991) 45.5 (2005)
Percentage of population with access to safe drinking water 38 61 (2004)



Flag: Egypt

Economic reforms and a positive development in the world market gave excellent key figures for Egypt, which in 2007 experienced healthy increases in both exports and foreign investments.

Map: Egypt


Key figures  
  Area 1,000,000 km²
  Population 74.2 million
  Annual population growth 1.8 %
  GNI per capita USD 1,360
  Foreign assistance
  per capita
USD 11.76
  Life expectancy 71 years
  Danish bilateral
  assistance 2007*
USD 58.5** million
  * Disbursements
  ** Debt relief totalling USD 3.3 million was also disbursed

Danish bilateral assistance programmes
  Water and sanitation


Politically, there were no major upheavals in Egypt in 2007. In spring, 34 articles in the constitution were amended – the majority of an uncontroversial nature. However, many observers draw attention to the fact that Egypt’s relatively free press and a number of civil society organisations have been subjected to increasing pressure by the authorities. In 2007, the Egyptian authorities would appear to have taken the allegations of police use of torture more seriously. Several police officers were convicted of having used torture during interrogations.


Economically, Egypt performed excellently in 2007, which saw real growth of 7 per cent, rapidly increasing foreign investments, increases in exports and the current reserves, as well as a positive balance of payments. At the same time, inflation was kept under control.

The positive figures are the result of sensible reforms implemented by the government as well as a positive development in the world market, where rising energy prices, substantial growth in tourism and stronger trade links have had a positive impact on the Egyptian economy.

However, major challenges continue to exist. Poverty is widespread, and large sections of the population have not felt the benefits of the economic growth. On the other hand, the sharply increasing food prices are something they do feel. Unemployment is high and it is difficult to create jobs for the new, big generations of young people entering the labour market each year. In addition, the public budgets are burdened by large subsidies on energy and food products.

Perspectives in the donor support

As one of its major focus areas, Denmark provides sector programme support to Egypt’s environmental sector. The Ministry of the Environment’s efficient implementation of the Environment Act is achieved, for example, through inspecting production enterprises and issuing fines to environmental sinners. This work is carried out by the counties’ environment departments, which have been given measuring equipment and training in a wide range of tasks relating to environmental management. For use in the overall supervision of the environmental management, the Ministry of the Environment receives data from the regional environment offices, which Denmark also supports.

The cooperation with Egypt’s General Authority for Industrial Development has been particularly successful. Against payment, the organisation advises enterprises on the use of cleaner technology, enabling them to save electricity and water in their production process. This advice is in heavy demand. Denmark has contributed USD 12.7 million to a fund that provides favourable loans to enterprises wishing to invest in environmental improvements. The loans are repaid and taken out again.

Together with Germany, Denmark awards support to a regional centre for renewable energy and energy efficiency, where ten North African and Middle Eastern countries can obtain assistance in developing technology, formulating energy policy, and disseminating knowledge about better utilisation of energy. The centre has its headquarters in Egypt.

Through the Mixed Credits Programme, Danida has also provided interest-free loans to the Egyptian government for the purpose of building a wind farm with a capacity of 120 MW.

The activity level in the B2B Programme in Egypt is satisfactory, with approval of new partnerships totalling USD 4.4 million. In 2007, the B2B Programme organised a visit by an ICT delegation with 13 Danish enterprises. Egypt has a highly skilled labour force in the field of ICT, which is attractive to Danish ICT companies.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is increasingly becoming an integral element of B2B partnerships. In this connection, support was awarded in 2007 to numerous improvements of both the outdoor and indoor work environment, such as investments in water treatment installations, drinking water installations and solar energy installations.

Development cooperation with Egypt is now gradually being phased out.

Poverty indicators

  1990 Most recent figures
Mortality of children under 5, per 1000 104 33 (2005)
Percentage of children enrolled in primary school 86.1 (1991) 97.2 (2005)
Percentage of population with access to safe drinking water 94 98 (2004)



Flag: Ghana

In 2007, many Ghanaians enjoyed a slightly better standard of living, and the country has a goal of becoming a middle-income country by 2015. Recent oil discoveries will help achieve this goal.

Map: Ghana


Key figures  
  Area 238,500 km²
  Population 23.0 million
  Annual population growth 2.1 %
  GNI per capita USD 510
  Foreign assistance
  per capita
USD 59.7
  Life expectancy 57.2 years
  Danish bilateral
  assistance 2007*
USD 72.1 million
  * Disbursements  

Danish bilateral assistance programmes
  Water and sanitation
  Democracy and good governance


In 2007, Ghana was also a politically stable and relatively peaceful country. Democracy is functioning reasonably well, and the parliamentary situation is stable with a real and effective opposition to the government. However, democracy may be put to the test in connection with the parliamentary and presidential elections in 2008, when the sitting president, Kufour, is not eligible to stand for re-election.

Little progress has been made in implementing the public reforms. Major challenges in particular are presented by a reform of the public administration, which is partly aimed at helping to privatise some of the public sector enterprises in Ghana.

Corruption remains a major problem in Ghana, although the country improved its ranking in the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index in 2007 by scoring a ranking of 69. Denmark emphasised the importance of continuing the zero tolerance policy during the annual high-level negotiations.

In January 2007, Ghana took over the presidency of the African Union for 12 months, which helped draw positive attention to Ghana. 2007 was also the year when Ghana, as the first African country, was able to celebrate 50 years of independence.


Economically, 2007 was also a good year for Ghana, with a growth rate of 6.3 per cent, but an inflation rate of 10.5 per cent. The economy was driven by healthy growth in the export of gold and cocoa. Large remittances from Ghanaians abroad also contributed to the economic growth. In 2007, the country borrowed USD 750 million on the international loan market, which will be spent on building new roads and railway lines as well as improving energy supply. Energy supply was particularly problematic in 2007 and had a negative impact on economic growth.

The government continues the process of strengthening the financial systems. In 2007, the parliament’s audit committee summoned a number of ministers and high-level officials, and the issue of dereliction of duty in the ministries was discussed in public.

Ghana has great expectations that the revenues from oil discoveries off the coast will help to secure continued growth and benefit the population in the form of increased prosperity. The revenues are expected to begin flowing into the treasury within the next three to five years. In this regard, Ghana plans, for example, to make use of Norwegian expertise in the efforts to optimise the use of the revenues.

Heavy downpours in the summer flooded and destroyed a number of agricultural crops in the northern part of Ghana. On the other hand, the heavy rain had a positive effect in filling Lake Volta with considerable quantities of water, enabling the hydropower plant to once again operate at full capacity and deliver a somewhat stable supply of electricity to industry. A new gas pipeline from Nigeria to Ghana will mean a gradual conversion of the oil-based power plants in Ghana to gas and thus save the country from large-scale expenditure on oil.

Perspectives in the donor support

The Danish bilateral assistance to Ghana totalled USD 72.2 million in 2007, of which around USD 6.4 million is budget support arising from the government’s poverty reduction strategy. Denmark works to strengthen the country’s decentralisation efforts, with the aim of enabling the municipal councils to take responsibility themselves for deciding where, for example, water and road projects should be placed. In 2007, the Danish support to the repairing and resurfacing of 35 km of a 250 km total stretch of main road from Accra to Kumasi ended, where the focus has been on improving traffic safety. In addition, Denmark supports activities within water and sanitation, the private sector, the health sector and good governance.

Poverty indicators

  1990 Most recent figures
Mortality of children under 5, per 1000 122 112 (2005)
Percentage of children enrolled in primary school 53.7 (1991) 70.4 (2006)
Percentage of population with access to safe drinking water 55 75 (2004)



Flag: Kenya

The outcome of the presidential and parliamentary elections on 27 December was decided amid allegations of fraud, and only a few days later Kenya was thrown into a serious political and security crisis.

Map: Kenya


Key figures  
  Area 580,400 km²
  Population 36.6 million
  Annual population growth 2.6 %
  GNI per capita USD 580
  Foreign assistance
  per capita
USD 25.78
  Life expectancy 53.4 years
  Danish bilateral
  assistance 2007*
USD 49.7 million
  * Disbursements  

Danish bilateral assistance programmes
  Water and sanitation
  Good governance


The presidential and parliamentary elections that were held on 27 December dominated the political landscape in 2007. The election campaign began already during the first half of the year, where various political groupings announced their involvement. The three parties that ended up dominating the picture were PNU, which is an alliance around the sitting president, Kibaki; the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), which had been at the forefront of the campaign against the rejected draft constitution in 2005; and ODM Kenya, which is a faction of ODM. The result was the re-election of President Kibaki, amidst loudly voiced allegations of electoral fraud from both the opposition and electoral observers. By the end of the year, Kenya had been thrown into a serious political and security crisis that led to bloody confrontations and raised serious questions about the political stability that for decades had characterised Kenya.


In 2007, the growth rate was 6 per cent, and a large proportion of this growth was export-based. Kenya continued its large export of flowers, tea and coffee, and tourism also generated large revenues of foreign currency. In general, several business sectors experienced solid growth in 2007 – e.g. mobile telephony/IT, tourism and construction. Nairobi in particular experienced a veritable building boom in 2007.

Kenya is a regional centre that supplies a large part of Central Africa with industrial goods and services. The economy is strongly market-based, and development assistance accounts for only a modest 8 per cent of the budget. In 2007, inflation (excl. food products) lay at an acceptable 6-8 per cent.

The national poverty reduction strategy - Economic Recovery Strategy for Wealth and Employment Creation (ERS) – expired in 2007, and was replaced in 2008 by Vision 2030. It is the assessment that ERS has delivered the goods in relation to economic growth, job creation and, to a certain extent, poverty reduction. The number of Kenyans living below the poverty line fell from over 55 per cent in 2002 to 46 per cent in 2007.

Perspectives in the donor support

In order to ensure better coordination of the development assistance, in 2007 the donors, chaired by Denmark, joined forces with the government on a project, the Kenya Joint Assistance Strategy (KJAS), which saw a partnership agreement signed in September. The government and the 17 international donors have agreed on the framework for the development assistance in the period 2007-2012, where efforts will be made to ensure a more effective division of labour that in the long term sees donor countries limit their activities to three or four sectors. Denmark will phase out its support to the water sector and the agricultural sector, but remain active in the sectors for health, environment, business and good governance.

Denmark’s largest programme is within health, and here in 2007 Denmark supported programmes for medicine supply as well as maintenance and running of the local medical clinics. In addition, Denmark covered the costs of employing 1,200 district nurses out in the clinics, where they focus particularly on fighting HIV/AIDS.

In the business sector programme, Denmark supports the development of small and medium-sized enterprises through, for example, favourable credit schemes and “a business development service”, in which advice and consultancy support is given on how to start a business. In 2007, Denmark also provided advice and support to the labour market parties as well as the Ministry of Labour. In its B2B Programme, Denmark collaborates with, among others, IFU, and in November organised and ran a business conference attended by 30 Danish and 70 Kenyan enterprises that were interested in establishing partnerships and which acquired valuable contacts.

With a point of departure in the environmental sector programme, Denmark launched a process at the end of 2007 that is designed to ensure integration of climate considerations in the Danish support to selected sectors. Climate-proofing of development assistance takes place in close collaboration with other donors.

Poverty indicators

  1990 Most recent figures
Mortality of children under 5, per 1000 97 120 (2005)
Percentage of children enrolled in primary school 64.3 (1999) 79.3 (2005)
Percentage of population with access to safe drinking water 45 61 (2004)



Flag: Mali

Development cooperation between Denmark and Mali began in 2007 with a sector programme for natural resources, water and sanitation as a first step.

Map: Mali


Key figures  
  Area 1,200,000 km²
  Population 12.0 million
  Annual population growth 3.0 %
  GNI per capita USD 460
  Foreign assistance
  per capita
USD 68.78
  Life expectancy 53.6 years
  Danish bilateral
  assistance 2007*
8.6 million
  * Calculated according to expenditure  

Danish bilateral assistance programmes
  Natural resources and water


2007 was a year of becoming established for the Danish mission in Mali. The embassy is the first Nordic embassy in Mali, and it has been an immense job building up the foundation for the future work in the country. First and foremost, relations to the government, civil society and the population were developed, whilst contact was established to other international cooperation partners.

Mali held presidential elections in April and parliamentary elections in July. The country has already begun preparations for municipal elections in 2009, which will be an important event, as Mali has an extensive system of decentralisation out to the municipalities. However, there is still a huge need for resources and capacity building in the municipalities before the decentralisation becomes properly embedded.


In 2007, economic growth was 5-6 per cent. This growth was very much dependent on gold mining operations, which in 2007 accounted for a total of 60 per cent of Mali’s export revenues. Also cotton and, to a certain extent, cattle exports are important sources of income for Mali.

With the country’s rich culture and history, tourism represents a great potential for Mali, which already attracts many musicians, in that the capital, Bamako, has these last few years been regarded as one of the world’s centres of music.

Mali is the world’s fifth poorest country, and its economic development is heavily dependent on external factors, such as oil prices. However, climate-related factors, such as rainfall, also play a role due to the country’s dependence on its natural resources.

Perspectives in the donor support

The process of building up the development cooperation between Denmark and Mali is conducted in accordance with the agreement and plans that were established in connection with the opening of the Danish embassy in Bamako. The intergovernmental agreement regarding the first sector programme concerning natural resources, water and sanitation was signed in November 2006. The first phase, which amounts to USD 11.9 million, runs for three years until the end of 2009. The goal is to ensure access to safe drinking water for approx. 200,000 people in rural areas. In addition, the programme provides capacity building support for planning and administration of drinking water supply in Mali at both centralised and local level. Denmark is in the process of preparing the second phase of the drinking water programme that will also address the drinking water supply in the large towns.

During 2007, Denmark also prepared two programmes in, respectively, the agricultural sector amounting to USD 27.6 million and the business sector amounting to USD 34.0 million. Both programmes run for a five-year period and agreements were signed with Mali’s authorities in November 2007.

The Danish agricultural sector programme focuses on modernising Mali’s agriculture, which entails that Denmark supports improvement of production and processing methods. The business sector programme focuses on developing the private sector in Mali, so that it can both create more jobs and generate greater economic growth. Particular focus is targeted at women and young people.

The two programmes dedicate strong focus to improving the position of women, and the gender equality aspect permeates all Danish development cooperation currently under preparation in Mali. In this regard, in connection with the presidential and parliamentary elections in 2007, Denmark supported a massive information campaign directed at women. The campaign sought to encourage women to stand as candidates in the parliamentary elections and to encourage women to participate actively by voting on election day.

In addition, activities have been established within the environmental field. In this respect, the Risø DTU National Laboratory for Sustainable Energy is in the process of establishing an energy atlas for Mali, which is to be used to identify potential areas for wind energy, solar energy and bio-fuel. Denmark also supports the formulation of a national strategy and action plan for bio-fuel.

Poverty indicators

  1990 Most recent figures
Mortality of children under 5, per 1000 250 218 (2005)
Percentage of children enrolled in primary school 21.1 (1991) 50.9 (2005)
Percentage of population with access to safe drinking water 34 50 (2004)



Flag: Mozambique

In connection with the extensive floods in February-March, Mozambique demonstrated that the country could tackle its problems by itself.

Map: Mozambique


Key figures  
  Area 801,600 km²
  Population 21.6 million
  Annual population growth 2.1 %
  GNI per capita USD 310
  Foreign assistance
  per capita
USD 76.2
  Life expectancy 42.5 years
  Danish bilateral
  assistance 2007*
USD 92.4 million
  * Disbursements  

Danish bilateral assistance programmes
  Good governance


2007 was characterised by preparations for the elections to the provincial assemblies, which began so late that the government and the opposition were forced to pass a constitutional amendment that postponed the elections until the end of 2008 at the latest.

There was considerable activity in the Constitutional Council, which has often been asked by the opposition to evaluate the validity of administrative decisions and decrees. The Constitutional Council in several cases found decisions regarding the establishment of public units and administrative measures unconstitutional, and the government has subsequently annulled the decisions and closed the respective units.

In August, a new public prosecutor was appointed. The expectations regarding the new public prosecutor are high, particularly in relation to the fight against corruption.

In March, an arms depot exploded in Maputo. More than 100 died, around 500 were injured and there was extensive material damage. It was apparently an accident, but the explosion shook the government, exposing apparent poor management of its weapons stockpile. However, demands from the opposition and a large section of the country’s press and civil society that the country’s defence minister should resign were not met.


Since 1992, Mozambique has with a few exceptions had average real annual growth of 7-8 per cent. The positive development continued in 2007 with a growth rate of 7.5 per cent. On 1 January 2008, new and lower tariff rates entered into force in SADC. This means that a number of goods will become cheaper for Mozambique, but it also means that it will become even more difficult for producers particularly in southern Mozambique to compete with goods coming from South Africa.

In 2007, there have been a handful of major investments in the mining and energy sector.

However, these investments are very capital-intensive, have little direct linkage to the rest of Mozambique’s economy, and do not increase employment to any significant degree.

In December, Mozambique bought a share majority in Africa’s second-largest hydropower plant, Cabora Bassa, from the old colonial power, Portugal. The purchase of the hydro-power plants was not least a symbol of true independence from the former colonial power. Economically, it will have great importance for Mozambique, which in the long term will be able to considerably increase revenues from the sale of hydropower. There are also plans to expand the National Electricity Transmission Grid in Mozambique, which at the beginning only supplied electricity to 35 of Mozambique’s 128 district capitals.

Perspectives in the donor support

In February-March, there were extensive floods in central parts of Mozambique, resulting in the displacement of 65-70,000 people. Mozambique tackled the problems and issued no international appeal for emergency relief. The episode demonstrates that Mozambique today is less dependent on emergency relief from other countries than previously.

A number of key reforms have continued to be implemented in Mozambique, and expectations of future reforms have risen – also among donors. A large and increasing proportion of the development assistance is awarded as budget support and through basket funds. In step with the positive general development in Mozambique, Denmark has also raised its demands on and expectations of Mozambique’s government. Denmark focuses on macro-economic support and programmes that promote the environment, democracy, human rights and good governance.

In 2007, Mozambique received approx. 30 per cent of its external assistance in the form of budget support. Half of the state budget, corresponding to 13 per cent of GNI, was financed from external sources.

Poverty indicators

  1990 Most recent figures
Mortality of children under 5, per 1000 235 145 (2005)
Percentage of children enrolled in primary school 42.9 (1991) 77.2 (2005)
Percentage of population with access to safe drinking water 36 43 (2004)



Flag: Nepal

On 10 April 2008, an election will be held for a Constituent Assembly that is to draw up a constitution for a new Nepal.

Map: Nepal


Key figures  
  Area 147,200 km²
  Population 27.6 million
  Annual population growth 2.0 %
  GNI per capita USD 320
  Foreign assistance
  per capita
USD 15.01
  Life expectancy 63.2 years
  Danish bilateral
  assistance 2007*
USD 49.6 million
  * Disbursements  

Danish bilateral assistance programmes
  Environment and renewable energy
  Democracy, human rights and good governance
  Peace process and conflict prevention
  Good governance


The peace agreement between the seven democratic parties (Seven-Party Alliance) that was signed in November 2006 proved difficult to implement in 2007. The planned elections that are an important precondition for the peace process were postponed twice. The lack of progress in Nepal’s peace process stems from the fact that the year was characterised by the polarisation between Maoists on the one side and the Nepali Congress on the other side. On 18 September 2007, the Maoists resigned from the government after demanding that a republic be pronounced before the election to the Constituent Assembly. The Maoists’ demand led to a political deadlock in Nepal, leading the government to cancel the planned election on 22 November.

However, at the beginning of 2008 the Seven-Party Alliance reached agreement regarding a joint platform for the election, which, among other things, entailed an adjustment of the electoral system, whereby a larger number of candidates were to be elected using a system of proportional representation. Agreement was also reached to abolish the monarchy at the first meeting of the Constituent Assembly.

On 11 January 2008, the Nepalese government announced that an election for the Constituent Assembly would be held on 10 April 2008. It is important to ensure an inclusive process in the formulation of a new constitution, where all – including the marginalised groups – participate. The challenges for the continued peace process will first and foremost be to ensure that the election is implemented and that the results are accepted by the entire Nepalese people. The EU will send a full election mission to observe the election, and Denmark provides economic and technical support to the Election Commission of Nepal.

The human rights situation in Nepal continues to require considerable attention, and there is need for a considerable effort to strengthen the will and ability of the Nepalese state and government institutions to improve the population’s protection. The National Human Rights Commission has for a longer period of time been without leadership, but new commissioners have now been appointed.


Politically, Nepal finds itself in mid-stream, and the population to a great extent carries the burden of this, as the uncertain situation has a negative effect on the economy. Economic growth is stagnant and there are virtually no investments. Peace and political stability are a necessary precondition if foreign investors are to be attracted to the country. Corruption also continues to permeate Nepal’s political and economic life, which impacts negatively on sustainable economic growth.

There is need for considerable reforms in the economic sphere. Nepal’s population is very young and extremely hard hit by unemployment.

A total of 35 per cent of Nepal’s revenue comes from the agricultural sector, where 80 per cent of the population is employed. There is great potential in tourism for Nepal, which in 2007 had 500,000 foreign visitors. Also in the energy sector there is huge potential in hydropower production.

The development of the private sector at the present moment is highly dependent on cooperation with the surrounding countries, where India in particular is a natural partner.

Perspectives in the donor support

Denmark has granted USD 9.2 million in support to the peace process in Nepal. Of this amount, USD 4.6 million was spent in 2007 on supporting the preparations for the upcoming election.

When the new government is appointed after the election in April, it is expected that a Nepal Development Forum will be convened to secure donor support for the building up of sustainable institutions that can create the basis for growth and development that benefits all sections of the population in Nepal.

Poverty indicators

  1990 Most recent figures
Mortality of children under 5, per 1000 145 74 (2005)
Percentage of children enrolled in primary school 66.9 (1999) 80.1 (2004)
Percentage of population with access to safe drinking water 70 90 (2004)



Flag: Nicaragua

Hurricane Felix struck Nicaragua. The rescue efforts confirmed the new government’s focus on the poor.

Map:  Nicaragua


Key figures  
  Area 130,000 km²
  Population 5.5 million
  Annual population growth 1.3 %
  GNI per capita USD 930
  Foreign assistance
  per capita
USD 133.2
  Life expectancy 72.5 years
  Danish bilateral
  assistance 2007*
USD 43.5 million
  * Disbursements  

Danish bilateral assistance programmes
  Good governance


The new government for national reunion and unity under the leadership of Sandinist Party leader, Daniel Ortega, took office in January 2007 after having won the election with 38 per cent of the vote. Despite being a minority government, its position is relatively stable, as the opposition parties have difficulty in finding common ground.

Ortega has established a number of Citizen Power Councils whose task is to ensure more influence and power to citizens. The Citizen Power Councils are to function as advisory bodies for municipal boards, ministries and the president. There has been concern among leading Sandinists and Liberals that these councils might have the capability to create a structure that bypasses the parliament and which in the long term might undermine the democratic system.

The new government continues the previous government’s economic line, which prioritises open markets and cooperation with the IMF. Daniel Ortega fought the election on the promise of a zero hunger programme and has a clear focus on the poor. Initiatives such as free education and free healthcare began to emerge in 2007.


Ortega’s anti-USA rhetoric has given Nicaragua problems in attracting foreign investments to the country, which has also resulted in a modest rate of growth in the private sector. In 2007, an increase of 18 per cent of the minimum wage was approved by the National Assembly, but with the rate of inflation at 17 per cent and a rise in food prices, this increase was in reality a wage decrease for the majority of the population.

One of the top sources of income for Nicaragua is remittances from immigrants in the USA. However, the growth in this form of income fell in 2007 due to the economic downturn in the USA. These remittances exceed the total donor support figure to Nicaragua of USD 650 million.

Hurricane Felix struck Nicaragua’s north-eastern part as a Category 5 storm. It is a poor area, where the hurricane destroyed 500,000 hectares of forest and devastated the entire fishing community. At the same time, the North Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAN) was hit hard by the hurricane. Together with Nicaragua’s government, Denmark engaged in immediate relief efforts in the area to rebuild the infrastructure. The cooperation confirmed the new government’s focus on the more vulnerable section of the population.

Perspectives in the Danish support

In connection with the Danish-Nicaraguan high-level negotiations in June 2007, it was decided that the Danish assistance should be concentrated in fewer sectors, but within an unchanged financial framework. The aim is by 2010 to channel the Danish assistance through four programmes that support education, rural district development, public sector reforms and business sector development.

Education is an important sector for Denmark, and the support is provided in the form of sector budget support and based on constructive dialogue with the government. In 2007, Denmark, for example, contributed to building new schools and financed a school meals scheme that helps keep children in school.

During 2007, the new government formulated a national transport strategy, which – based on the lessons learned from the cooperation with Denmark – aims to secure the development and maintenance of the local road network in the municipalities. Denmark has been asked to act as coordinator for the donors operating in the sector.

Denmark has been witness to strong commitment among those businesses taking part in its B2B Programme, where developments are moving in a positive direction and where efforts are being made, for example, to seriously tackle CSR issues, such as labour rights, work environment and environmental protection. A large number of projects have received considerable attention from Danish enterprises. In the B2B Programme, work has been carried out, for example, with IT companies and processing of food products.

Poverty indicators

  1990 Most recent figures
Mortality of children under 5, per 1000 68 37 (2005)
Percentage of children enrolled in primary school 74.4 (1991) 93.7 (2005)
Percentage of population with access to safe drinking water 70 79 (2004)



Flag: Tazania

Private sector growth needs to accelerate, but problems such as high transport costs and absence of security of electricity supply present a barrier to increased private investments.

Map: Tanzania


GNI per capita Foreign assistance
per capita Life expectancy


Danish bilateral assistance programmes

Key figures  
  Area 945,100 km²
  Population 39.5 million
  Annual population growth 2.5 %
  GNI per capita USD 350
  Foreign assistance
  per capita
USD 45.6
  Life expectancy 51.9 years
  Danish bilateral
  assistance 2007*
DKK 90.1 million
  * Disbursements  

Danish bilateral assistance programmes
  Human rights and good governance


2007 was characterised by a consolidation of the parliamentary situation and by modest progress in the implementation of economic and administrative reforms. The modest progress made in implementing reforms is due partly to the internal elections in the ruling CCM (Chama Cha Mapinduzi) party that took place in autumn.

There were several lively debates in parliament in 2007, and the media began to play a more critical role. They made greater use of their rights than before and asked questions about several potential cases of power abuse, financial crime and corruption. In this context, it was positive that the revised Anti-Corruption Law entered into force at the beginning of 2007. The law was a central issue in Denmark’s dialogue with the government, in which it was made a condition for the award of development assistance directly through Tanzania’s state budget in 2006 and 2007.

The media continued to have a less critical profile on Zanzibar, where negotiations between the ruling CCM party and the largest opposition party, CUF, regarding a power-sharing agreement continued in 2007.


Tanzania’s economy maintained a solid economic growth of around 7 per cent in 2007, and inflation continues to remain under control, despite rising upward pressure. Approx. 37 per cent of the state budget of USD 4.8 billion is donor-financed. It is a priority that Tanzania in the long term, in step with economic growth, becomes more capable of financing public expenditure itself.

Perspectives in the donor support

The economic growth in recent years has primarily been generated by means of increased investments in the public sector. At the same time, there has been a certain degree of growth in the private sector, but this growth will need to be increased if the private sector is to be Tanzania’s growth locomotive.

The development assistance to Tanzania can contribute to achieving this, but increased growth in the private sector will require the involvement of public authorities, private organisations and enterprises as well as foreign donors and investors.

The Danish support to the business sector has precisely the aim of fostering private sector growth through the provision of better framework conditions, market access, credit access and consultancy support for the private sector. A new phase of the programme will be launched in 2008.

An important prerequisite for increased growth is also improvement of Tanzania’s infrastructure. The transport costs of the private sector are higher than in a number of comparable countries, and the absence of security of electricity supply is a barrier to increased private investments in Tanzania. In partnership with 13 other donors, Denmark supports the reforms that Tanzania plans to implement in the energy and transport sector. This support is provided directly to Tanzania’s state budget. In addition, the Danish support to the transport sector will continue up to 2011, where the focus is on maintenance and traffic safety in the national and local road network, partly with a view to reducing the transport costs of enterprises.

In 2007, Denmark initiated a comprehensive programme of support to the environmental sector that will benefit both the public and the private sector. The programme focuses on implementation of the environmental legislation, investments in Tanzania’s towns, as well as better management of Tanzania’s forest resources. Furthermore, since 2006 Denmark has supported climate change adaptation in Tanzania through climate-screening of the agricultural, health and water sectors, which contributed to the formulation of Tanzania’s National Action Plan on Adaptation (NAPA) to climate change in 2007.

In addition, work is being done to prepare a new health sector programme that, among other things, focuses on the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Poverty indicators

  1990 Most recent figures
Mortality of children under 5, per 1000 161 122 (2005)
Percentage of children enrolled in primary school 49.4 (1991) 98.2 (2006)
Percentage of population with access to safe drinking water 46 60 (2004)



Flag: Uganda

Uganda has begun to reap the fruits of the peace negotiations. In 2007, the country experienced increased GNP growth of 6.2 per cent.

Map: Uganda


Key figures  
  Area 241,000 km²
  Population 29.9 million
  Annual population growth 3.2 %
  GNI per capita USD 300
  Foreign assistance
  per capita
USD 53.5
  Life expectancy 50.7 years
  Danish bilateral
  assistance 2007*
USD 109.9 million
  * Disbursements  

Danish bilateral assistance programmes
  Water and sanitation
  Good governance


After 20 years of conflict in northern Uganda, peace negotiations began on 14 July 2006 in Juba, South Sudan. An agreement on the first point of a five-point agenda was signed as early as August 2006. In 2007, an agreement was signed on a further two agenda points. The second agenda point addresses the question of political division of power and rebuilding of the country, while the third agenda point establishes the framework for judicial settlement and reconciliation. Following pressure and advice from the Danish authorities, the third agenda point includes the demand for special consideration to be shown for women and children.

The peace negotiations have led to a significantly improved security situation in the northern part of the country, and on 15 October 2007 President Museveni launched a rebuilding plan for the region, the so-called Peace, Recovery and Development Plan (PRDP) for Northern Uganda.


Economically, the situation is marked by the long conflict, in which up to two million people have been living in camps for internally displaced persons. They have therefore been unable to contribute significantly to the country’s general development. The peace negotiations have led the population in northern Uganda to begin farming their plots of land in large numbers. The negotiations have also resulted in increased trade in the region – particularly between Uganda, South Sudan and DR Congo.

The increased trade also contributed to an expected growth of 6.2 per cent (GNP) in 2007. Real growth, however, was significantly lower, as Uganda had a population growth of approx. 3.4 per cent in 2007. However, poverty has fallen in Uganda – from 56 per cent of the population in 1992 to 31 per cent by the end of 2006. This progress in relation to poverty reduction means that Uganda is on the way to achieving its own poverty reduction target of 28 per cent by 2013/14.

Development cooperation

In 2007, Denmark took the initiative to formulate a strategy that supports the democratic process up to 2011. More than 12 bilateral development partners and the UN stand behind the work. The strategy focuses on six areas which include support to, among other things, the parliament, the Electoral Commission of Uganda and a free press. It will be crucial that the initiatives are implemented with broad Ugandan support that cuts across party lines and contributes to building bridges between the northern and southern part of the country’s current geopolitical division between an opposition majority in the north and a government majority in the south.

Denmark pursues a balanced poverty-oriented development strategy in Uganda, in which focus is directed at economic growth in the private sector – particularly agriculture – and support to social welfare development within healthcare, water supply and sanitation. Similarly, good governance and respect for human rights are key areas. Despite the conflict in northern Uganda, Denmark implemented a number of reconstruction activities in 2007, which include, among other things, the rebuilding of roads and hospitals.

Overall agricultural production fell by 0.4 per cent compared with 2006. This is due primarily to extensive floods in autumn 2007. Within agro-business, success was achieved 2007 with respect to the support focused on production and sale of coffee and maize. The Danish efforts to rebuild the agricultural sector in northern Uganda have shown impressive results.

Poverty indicators

  1990 Most recent figures
Mortality of children under 5, per 1000 160 136 (2005)
Percentage of children enrolled in primary school
Percentage of population with access to safe drinking water 44 62 (2004)



Flag: Vietnam

Vietnam has uniquely succeeded in combining high growth with effective poverty reduction.

Map: Vietnam


Key figures  
  Area 329,300 km²
  Population 84.1 million
  Annual population growth 1.2 %
  GNI per capita USD 700
  Foreign assistance
  per capita
USD 21.4
  Life expectancy 70.8 years
  Danish bilateral
  assistance 2007*
USD 82.2 million**
  * Disbursements  

Danish bilateral assistance programmes
  Water and sanitation
  Good governance

** Debt relief totalling USD 0.6 million was also disbursed in 2007


Vietnam is a country undergoing rapid change, and a number of events in 2007 contributed to the change processes also in the political sphere. Vietnam became a member of the WTO in January 2007, which, among other things, entails an obligation to ensure a level playing field between state-owned and private companies and to establish an arbitration system that conforms to international standards. In the parliamentary election in May 2007, there was more lively debate than earlier, and several of the candidates that the party had nominated did not win election. Vietnam has been elected to the UN Security Council for 2008-09, which means that the country’s compliance with UN conventions, for example, in the human rights field, will come under increased scrutiny.

Denmark contributes to strengthening good governance, and in 2007 a new programme was launched that, among other things, involves cooperation between the parliament and the Danish Ombudsman and supports training of parliamentarians and their secretariat. The programme also contains support to reforms of the public administration in four provinces.

Corruption remains a major problem in Vietnam, which lies number 123 on the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index. In 2005, a rather far-reaching anti-corruption law was passed, and corruption today is no longer a taboo issue. Officials and ministers speak openly about it, and it was a major theme in the election campaign in the runup to the parliamentary election. Together with other donors, Denmark contributes to strengthening an inspectorate system that is responsible for enforcing the law on anti-corruption.


Vietnam continues to experience high economic growth, which has been uninterrupted since the mid-1990s. Growth in 2007 lay at 8.5 per cent, and the country has succeeded in combining high growth with effective action to combat poverty. While 58 per cent of the population lived below the poverty line in 1993, the figure today is 16 per cent. The economic growth, however, has not been equally distributed, and Denmark has therefore chosen to focus its assistance in five of the poorest provinces, where support is given, for example, to agricultural development and improvements within water and sanitation.

The privatisation process is fully underway, and it is the private sector that drives the economic growth. Even though the investment climate could be better, foreign enterprises invested USD 16 billion in the country in 2007. The private sector’s contribution to export has risen and in 2007 accounted for 75 per cent compared with 35 per cent in 1997. Particularly in urban areas, rapid industrialisation is taking place within fields such as the textile, metal, food, furniture and shipbuilding industries as well as within the IT sector.

Among Denmark’s programme countries, Vietnam was the preferred investment country for Danish enterprises in 2007. After 71 initial study visits in the B2B Programme in 2007, 11 pilot projects have already been approved and a further 34 pilot projects are under preparation. At the end of the year, 100 pilot projects had been launched between Danish and Vietnamese enterprises.

Perspectives in the donor support

In 2007, the government became aware in earnest of the importance of focusing on climate issues in the country, which has a very long coastline and which is estimated to be the fifth most vulnerable country in the world in relation to climate change. In 2007, with Denmark’s support, work began on establishing a national target programme to address climate change.

Gender equality plays an important role in all Danish-supported programmes, and Denmark also had a number of more targeted programmes that in particular aim at ensuring gender equality. In 2007, a domestic violence prevention law was introduced that makes it possible to prosecute violent husbands. Denmark has helped the law come into being and also supported an information campaign.

Poverty indicators

  1990 Most recent figures
Mortality of children under 5, per 1000 53 19 (2005)
Percentage of children enrolled in primary school 90.2 (1991) 87.8 (2005)
Percentage of population with access to safe drinking water 65 85 (2004)



Flag: Zambia

In 2007, a process began to revise the constitution, in which 500 members from parliament, political parties, ministries, churches and civil society must agree on a draft for a new constitution.

Map: Zambia


Key figures  
  Area 752,600 km²
  Population 11.7 million
  Annual population growth 1.9 %
  GNI per capita USD 630
  Foreign assistance
  per capita
USD 119.66
  Life expectancy 41.7 years
  Danish bilateral
  assistance 2007*
USD 49.9 million
  * Disbursements  

Danish bilateral assistance programmes
  Water and sanitation
  Good governance


In May, an English court convicted the former president, Chiluba, of large-scale corruption and ordered him to pay up to USD 40 million back to the Zambian government. The judgment is historic and sends a strong message of warning, because it is the first time that a contemporary African leader has been convicted of large-scale corruption. The corresponding case at the Zambian court has, however, yet to be concluded.

In 2007, a process was launched to revise Zambia’s constitution, where one of the main items will be to examine the distribution of power in the country. The process began in earnest in December with the establishment of the so-called National Constitutional Conference (NCC). In the next one and a half years, a total of 500 members from parliament, political parties, ministries, churches and civil society will endeavour to reach agreement on a draft for a new constitution that is to be approved in a referendum before 2011.

Although the largest opposition party (Patriotic Front) has chosen to boycott the NCC, 28 of its members (MPs) have defied party discipline and registered for the NCC. This has given rise to internal discord in the party and one MP has been assaulted by party supporters.

In connection with the summit in Lusaka in August, Zambia took over the presidency of the regional cooperation organisation, SADC.


Zambia’s economy continues its progress and in 2007 experienced a GNP growth of over 6 per cent, while inflation was kept below 10 per cent. The positive figures are first and foremost the result of a stringent economic policy and steadily rising raw material prices, especially for copper. Copper mining is an important source of revenue for Zambia, which expects a planned taxation of copper mining in 2008 to yield revenue of approx. USD 400 million. This corresponds to two-thirds of the total development assistance to the country.

Political stability and an investment-attracting policy offering tax exemption have also resulted in increased foreign investments in the country. The government has chosen the following focus areas in order to foster economic growth: mining, agriculture, tourism and private sector development. However, increased electricity production is necessary in order to ensure continued industrial and agricultural development. In this connection, there exist good opportunities to expand and develop hydropower plants.

In general, there was a reduction in poverty in 2007, but it was unequally distributed and was primarily confined to the people living in the large towns.

Perspectives in the donor support

The Danish development cooperation with Zambia is in a focusing process where Denmark has focus on water supply, infrastructure and education. Denmark is not involved in the general budget support cooperation, but participates instead in, among other things, a multi-donor collaboration designed to improve public financial management.

In the road sector, support amounting to USD
73.5 million is being provided over five years. The programme supports the National Road Fund and, as an extension of the Paris Agreement, incorporates the possibility for sector budget support. Also in the education sector, new commitments of support have been granted totalling USD 28.5 million over three years. In the water and sanitation sector, the first joint donor review was conducted upon Danish initiative.

The Danish Minister for Development Cooperation visited Zambia in March and had political talks with the Minister of Finance, the Minister for Local Administration and the Minister of Trade. Together with the vice-president, the Minister for Development Cooperation opened the first landfill site in the capital, Lusaka. In addition, the Minister for Development Cooperation visited, among other things, a prison in Lusaka, a teacher training college, a children’s home, a centre for natural resource management and a boarding school for orphans. The Zambian Minister of Foreign Affairs visited Denmark in October and had political talks with both the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister for Development Cooperation.

Poverty indicators

  1990 Most recent figures
Mortality of children under 5, per 1000 180 182 (2005)
Percentage of children enrolled in primary school 63.4 (1999) 90.1 (2005)
Percentage of population with access to safe drinking water 50 58 (2004)



Photo: Refugees getting ready to transport water containers issued to them by Doctors without Borders in Darfur, Sudan. Photo: Sven Torfinn/Panos

Refugees getting ready to transport water containers issued to them by Doctors without Borders in Darfur, Sudan. Photo: Sven Torfinn/Panos


With the global climate in the process of running amok, and with global poverty needing to be halved, it is not sufficient for countries to take individual action. In this situation, the international community must step forward and act. It is for this reason that international organisations are important. However, their strength and power to act are totally dependent on the support and backing they receive from the member states.

Denmark has traditionally been one of the strongest proponents of the UN system and of strong international organisations in general. Both in absolute terms and in terms of its size, Denmark is one of the largest financial contributors to the international organisations. Almost 40 per cent of Danish development assistance goes to UN organisations, the World Bank, the EU and other multilateral actors.

Indeed, in its 2007 review of Danish development assistance, OECD-DAC commended Denmark’s multilateral assistance, but at the same time remarking that there was room for improvement. The multilateral assistance could be more targeted, and action should be taken to ensure better coordination with Denmark’s bilateral assistance.

Peace Prize to UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

2007 was the year when the most of the world fully recognised that global warming is one of the greatest and most worrying challenges facing the world, a fact which was confirmed by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which won high praise its fourth report and – together with Al Gore – was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. It was also encouraging that countries throughout the world were in agreement that the response to the challenge had to be global and negotiated into place at COP15 (15th Conference of the Parties) in Copenhagen in 2009. The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, flew especially to Bali when the negotiations looked on the verge of collapsing and contributed to the pressure that ensured an agreement was reached. Ban Ki-moon, who took over as Kofi Annan’s successor as Secretary General at the beginning of 2007, personally regards the agreement in Bali as the UN system’s greatest success in 2007.

In 2007, the UN and the World Bank conducted a mid-term progress review of the Millennium Development Goals. They observed that, on the global level, several of the MDGs looked to be within reach, but that the progress was very unevenly distributed. In general, there was particular difficulty in reaching several of the goals in Sub-Saharan Africa. If the goals were to be reached, significantly increased development efforts would be needed.


The EU contributes over half of the world’s total development assistance. EU assistance comprises both the individual assistance awarded by EU Member States and Community assistance, which is administered by the EU Commission and constitutes around 10 per cent of the total assistance. The Community’s development cooperation comprises a total of more than 100 countries and is an integral part of the political and economic relations between the individual Member States and the EU. In 2007, Denmark’s contribution to the Community assistance was USD 241.3 million. Through this assistance, Denmark is indirectly, but actively and positively, present also in the many developing countries and activities that Denmark supports through bilateral assistance.

The difficulty of coherence

Coherence or interconnection is a key Danish priority in the EU. Coherence entails that there must be interconnection between the EU’s development policy goals and the policy pursued in other areas, such as trade, agriculture, migration and climate change. Over the years, the EU has established different procedures for monitoring coherence. In 2007, the EU presented an extensive report on coherence between development policy and other policies, at both national and EU level. It showed that the EU, despite the monitoring and consultation mechanisms that had been introduced, still has considerable work ahead of it to ensure that EU policies that have an impact on developing countries are not conflicting. The report identified 12 policy areas, such as trade, environment, migration and agriculture, where development policy should be integrated further. Interestingly enough, the report also showed that the EU has actually has made more progress in ensuring coherence than the majority of Member States have achieved at national level.


Since 2005, the number of EU Member States has risen from 15 to 27. Ten Eastern European countries as well as Malta and Cyprus have joined the EU. The majority of them have not previously awarded development assistance, and some, in fact, have formerly been beneficiaries. However, with their entry into the EU, they have all become donors by virtue of Member State contributions to, for example, the development assistance component of the EU budget.

At the same time, they have also committed themselves to allowing their own development assistance to rise in the coming years, albeit not as much as the old EU Member States.

In 2005, the old 15 EU Member States committed themselves to reaching the UN goal of providing 0.7 per cent of their GNI in development assistance by 2015. At the same time, the new EU Member States committed themselves to providing 0.17 per cent by 2010 and 0.33 per cent by 2015. The rise cannot and must not only be achieved by new EU Member States’ contributions to EU development activities. The Member States must also act as donors themselves, and some of them are in the process of building up a system for administering development assistance.

Inspiration from Denmark

But for several of the Member States, the role of donor is still relatively new and untried, and therefore the 12 new Member States seek inspiration and guidance from the 15 old Member States, including Denmark. In December 2007, Slovenia hosted an EU12 roundtable meeting with development assistance as the theme, where the Danish Minister for Development Cooperation was invited to attend as an external speaker and moderator in order to tell about Denmark’s long experience with development cooperation.

The new EU Member States face major challenges in explaining to their population that development assistance must be increased to 0.33 per cent by 2015 and in ensuring that development cooperation is placed higher than the domestic policy agenda.

The meeting also revealed that several of the new EU Member States wish to revise the existing priorities in the EU assistance. Many of them have few or no diplomatic missions at all in Africa, which is the continent that receives the most funding from the European Development Fund. The new EU Member States would prefer to see the EU upgrade its assistance to developing countries in Central Asia, in the Western Balkans, and to Ukraine and Belarus.


The second summit at head of state and government level between the EU and Africa took place on 8-9 December 2007 in Lisbon. Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Danish Minister for Development Cooperation Ulla Tørnæs both attended the summit. In the many speeches given at the meeting, it was underlined that relations between the EU and Africa had entered a new era. The positive developments in Africa were highlighted, and it was stated that a paradigm shift had occurred in the relations between the EU and Africa and a new partnership between equal continents.

Climate change, trade and African migration were dominant themes at the meeting. The Danish Prime Minister played a special role by virtue of holding a keynote speech on climate change. Here, he highlighted that Africa had been hard hit by climate change and that a future replacement for the Kyoto Agreement must therefore also take into consideration Africa’s special needs.

There was strong focus on Zimbabwe, although the Zimbabwe issue was not allowed to cast a shadow on the meeting’s positive and forward-looking results. The critical situation in Zimbabwe was, among other things, forcefully referred to in German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s keynote speech and also in the speech given by the High Representative, Javier Solana, on behalf of the EU Member States.

The heads of state and government adopted a new Joint Africa-EU Strategy that strengthens cooperation in a large number of areas, such as peace and security, democratic governance, human rights, gender equality, migration and employment, as well as sustainable economic development and regional integration in Africa. An Action Plan (2008-2010) for implementing the strategy was also adopted.


Throughout 2007, there were intense negotiations regarding trade agreements between the EU and the ACP countries, which comprise 78 countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific region. At the end of 2007, the existing trade arrangement in the Cotonou Agreement expired and with it the WTO exception that has ensured ACP countries differential and more favourable access to the EU market. The WTO rules require that trade agreements are mutually binding. This means that ACP countries must open their markets to EU goods, as the EU has already opened its market for goods from ACP countries.

As early as 2002, the EU and the ACP countries began negotiations regarding so-called economic partnership agreements (EPAs), which are designed not just to meet WTO requirements but also to help stimulate regional trade between ACP countries. The negotiations have been tough, partly because several ACP countries have been concerned at the idea of having to open their markets to EU goods and the prospect of losing tariff revenues.

By the time of the WTO deadline of 31 December 2007, new trade agreements had been successfully negotiated with 35 ACP countries. The agreements ensure the respective ACP countries tariff and quota-free market access to the EU for all their goods, with the exception of arms, and transitional arrangements for rice and sugar. With the agreements, the ACP countries are also required to abolish tariffs on goods from the EU. However, the ACP countries will not need to abolish tariffs on a number of EU goods that they fear could out-compete their own production, not least agricultural products. In addition, the abolition of tariffs will in most cases entail long transitional arrangements, up to 15-25 years for certain goods.

The vast majority of the ACP countries that have signed an agreement belong to the category of least developed countries, and thus have free market access to the EU for their goods in accordance with the “Everything But Arms” tariff preference arrangement without also having to open their markets to EU goods.

Denmark has engaged in constant efforts to maximise the pro-development dimension of the signed EPAs and has called for ACP countries to be supported in their efforts not only to overcome potential transitional problems that the agreements might cause but also to exploit the opportunities afforded by the agreements to differentiate the trade and thus enable many developing countries to escape their dependence on very few export goods. Denmark will continue to make its position heard when the negotiations between the EU and the ACP countries resume in 2008 with the aim of creating proper EPAs that must apply at regional level and encompass more than trade in goods.


In the global climate change negotiations, the EU plays an active role as bridge builder between the very sceptical countries, like the USA, and the developing countries. This was clearly evident during the UN’s 13th Climate Change Conference in Bali in December 2007, when it was only by a hair’s breadth that an agreement was successfully negotiated.

In 2007, an evaluation of the EU Action Plan on Climate Change in the Context of Development Cooperation led to a recommendation that the climate change efforts should be intensified. And in 2007, the EU launched the so-called Global Alliance for Climate Change (GCCA), whose task is to strengthen the poorest countries’ efforts to tackle the impact of climate change. The GCCA also provides an opportunity to strengthen the poor countries’ capacity to participate in the global climate change negotiations.

Lastly, the EU-Africa Summit in December also led to the adoption of a joint action plan for tackling climate change.

Climate change was also the main item on the agenda at this year’s European Development Days in Lisbon, where panel discussions, exhibitions, etc. contributed to pushing climate change and development cooperation higher up the EU agenda.

Photo: A paddling pool, pigs, jungle animals, LEGO houses and a block of ice containing a frozen dinosaur: the table-top model display of global warming was a smash hit at the Danish stand at the European Development Days in Lisbon. Photo: Bo Simonsen

A paddling pool, pigs, jungle animals, LEGO houses and a block of ice containing a frozen dinosaur: the table-top model display of global warming was a smash hit at the Danish stand at the European Development Days in Lisbon. Photo: Bo Simonsen


  • Melting inland ice in Lisbon

On 7-9 November, the local-global warming caused the inland ice to melt – all the way down to Lisbon. Fortunately, the melting of a solid block of ice containing a frozen prehistoric lizard was not for real, but simply an illustrative climate model at the Danish stand at European Development Days (EDD). EDD was organised by the EU Commission and Portugal, the country holding the EU Presidency at the time. The theme for EDD was Climate Change and Development Cooperation, and Denmark had joined together with Finland, Sweden, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to set up a joint stand.

In order to set focus on what climate change can lead to, Denmark, represented by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, had paid a visit to the Danish toyshop, Fætter BR, and purchased a plastic dinosaur. The dinosaur was cast in a large block of ice in the kitchen freezer in one of the city’s hotels.

At the Danish part of the stand, the ice-block was placed in the middle of a children’s paddling pool, which was filled with different kinds of LEGO jungle and farm animals. And with Lisbon’s November sun and the warmth of the exhibition hall, the ice-block melted, with the result that the Tyrannosaurus Rex gradually became visible and the LEGO animals, houses and people became submerged. Visitors to the stand could read about climate-proofing of Danish development assistance and the upcoming COP15 in Copenhagen as well as get one of the GoCards showing a large, sweating polar bear that had been created just for the occasion.

The stand was set up in the exhibition area “Development Village”, where 79 different exhibitors competed for attention from the over 2000 participants, all of whom had specialised knowledge and experience within the field of climate change and development cooperation.


The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) found itself in the midst of a bit of a media storm in parts of the American press in January when Denmark – in the form of UN Ambassador Carsten Staur – took over the position as President of the Executive Board of UNDP/UN Population Fund (UNFPA).

A rising politicisation of the organisation’s work – driven forward by hefty criticism of the UNDP from parts of the American right wing on the one side and reform-sceptical developing countries on the other – contributed to making 2007 a difficult year for the UNDP. At the same time, however, the UNDP could be pleased with the several very positive international assessments of its efficiency and effectiveness and of the development results that it contributes to achieving.

This has led to increased contributions from a number of donor countries, with the result that the organisation’s annual revenue today totals more than USD 5 billion. The plus side also included promising progress in the difficult and somewhat slow-moving reform process as well as enhancement of the UN system’s coordinated efforts, which are crucial elements of the UNDP’s mandate.

Problem child North Korea

The UNDP’s programme in North Korea was one of the stumbling blocks among UNDP sceptics in the USA, who accused the programme of irregularities and political bias, whereas they refrained from criticising UNICEF’s programme in North Korea. Why all the attention focused around the UNDP is difficult to explain. Some observers point to the power game regarding North Korea policy taking place within the US administration as a possible cause. Others point to the possibility that it is an attempt to get the UN in general to appear as an irresponsible and poorly administrated system.

The sustained attacks in the American press influenced also the way that the USA tackled the question in the UNDP Executive Board, and this led to a rather acrimonious tone between the USA and leading developing countries. The heated dispute had to be resolved by means of a compromise, which initially saw the UNDP temporarily suspend its programme in North Korea and allow it to be subjected to in-depth, independent scrutiny.

The UNDP’s role more clearly defined

For the UNDP and the UN system, the most important issue in 2007, however, was the continued efforts to reform the UN system and coordinate the UN’s overall efforts at country level based on the recommendations set out in the UN report from 2006, “Delivering as One”. The UN General Assembly has not really succeeded in speeding up the reform process, but after difficult negotiations in the UNDP Executive Board a compromise was reached for how the UNDP can contribute to the reform process. This happened with the adoption of the UNDP Strategy Plan 2008-11.

The strategy reinforces the UNDP’s role as coordinator and reaffirms the organisation’s focus on the core areas of poverty reduction, good governance, crisis prevention and reconstruction, environment and also, as something completely new, climate change.

A special Danish wish is that the UN should seek to adapt its efforts in the particular countries to the local circumstances instead of having an “equal presence” in all countries. The UNDP should engage itself more in fragile states and make do with having a coordinating role in more stable developing countries. In other words, the UN should be more active in Congo than in Tanzania and engage more in Liberia than in Uganda.

Despite the political turbulence that the UNDP was subjected to in 2007, there was broad agreement in the Executive Board on the UNDP’s central role in the multilateral system. At the same time, the Administrator of the UNDP, Kermal Dervis, who took over the position in 2006, has clearly given increased priority to the cooperation with other UN organisations and with national partners in programme countries in order to promote joint UN programming and to ensure that the UN’s efforts are demand-driven and of better quality.

Rising, but earmarked contributions

The donors’ total contributions to the UNDP have risen in the last few years, and the UNDP has embraced the donors’ clear message demanding that it enhance its focus and professionalism and reduce the spread of its activities. However, this is obstructed to some degree by the fact that more and more donor contributions are being earmarked for specific purposes. There is thus a danger that it will be the donor contributions rather than the UNDP itself and its Executive Board that set the agenda for UNDP activities. The earmarked contributions do not harmonise either with the UNDP’s attempt to promote national ownership through support to national priorities in the programme countries.

The UNDP Strategy Plan 2008-11, which incorporates a wish for increased activities within the focus areas of good governance, crisis prevention, reconstruction and climate change, are precisely an attempt to ensure more non-earmarked core contributions to the UNDP.

Alignment with Danish assistance

In recent years, the UNDP has been strengthening its efforts to promote gender equality and women’s economic circumstances and opportunities, and in general UNDP focus areas and priorities closely match the areas prioritised in Danish development assistance.

As an active Executive Board member, Denmark has opportunities to exert influence and clout that far exceed the relative size of the Danish financial contributions to the UNDP. And as a UNDP Executive Board member, Denmark contributes not only to defining this particular organisation’s work, but also to influencing the multilateral work more generally, precisely by virtue of the UNDP’s role as coordinator of UN activities at country level.


Photo: Danish UN Ambassador Carsten Staur

The UNDP wins on closer acquaintance, concludes Danish UN Ambassador Carsten Staur after having served as President of the UNDP Executive Board in 2007.

Coming closer to an organisation that one has previously followed from a little distance is exciting. My year as President of the UNDP Executive Board has altered my perception of the UNDP in a more positive direction – not that my perception was something different to begin with, but the positive impression has been clearly reinforced and justified. And I am not alone in my impression. We have in the past couple of years seen several large-scale reviews of the UNDP that all confirm the picture: the UNDP is clearly one of the leading international organisations, including the World Bank, when it comes to efficiency, results-oriented management, transparency and accountability. And at the same time, the level of staff satisfaction in the organisation is very high. The effort and hard work put in makes one deservedly proud.

It has also been very positive to experience how the UNDP’s Administrator, Kermal Dervis, has raised the priority given to cooperation with other UN organisations and with national partners in the programme countries. Indeed, the goal is to promote joint UN programming and to ensure that the UN’s activities are demand-driven and of better quality. The leadership that the UNDP demonstrates here is crucial for the entire UN reform process in the sphere of development cooperation. It is not an easy task – and it will take time. But it is even more important that active efforts are made to pursue this agenda that basically is about doing things better, cheaper and in a more targeted way.


Climate change, biodiversity, reliable water supply and decent sanitation - these are just some of the global environmental challenges that are currently in vogue, with new ones seeming to pop up all the time. So there are enough things to occupy the efforts of the UN system’s central institution for environmental protection, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The UNEP was established in 1972 and has its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. The UNEP’s vision is to be the leading global environmental protection body, to set the global environmental agenda, to be recognised as the authoritative mouthpiece for the global environment, and to ensure coherence in the UN’s work to promote sustainable development.

Denmark is among the 10-15 largest donors to the UNEP, to which it made a non-earmarked contribution of USD 2.8 million in 2007 to the UNEP’s general work and USD 5.3 million in various earmarked contributions. With the earmarked contributions, support is awarded to, among other things, two centres with which the UNEP collaborates in Denmark: DHI (Dansk Hydraulisk Institut), where work is carried out with environmentally sound management of water resources, and the Risø DTU National Laboratory for Sustainable Energy, where work is carried out with climate change adaptation and with the link between energy, climate and sustainable development.

The Danish commitments of support are awarded for several years at a time. This is important for an organisation that, with an annual budget in 2007 of around USD 147.0 million, has limited funds for carrying out its many tasks and activities, 95 per cent of which are financed by voluntary contributions which fluctuate from year to year and are sometimes disbursed after long delay.

Over the years, the UNEP has played an important role as a standard-setter with countless analyses of the state of the environment and with initiatives for multilateral environmental agreements and institutions such as the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. These initiatives have influenced – and continue to influence – the EU’s and Denmark’s national environmental policy regarding, for example, chemicals and their impact on the natural environment.

The UNEP also contributes to providing the environmental foundation under the Millennium Development Goals, particularly, of course, in relation to MDG 7 on sustainable development. The UNEP also keeps an eye on the more specific environmental protection goals adopted at the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002.

From first and foremost being the environmental and normative organisation with a special focus on the development perspective, the UNEP has developed more into an organisation that also implements activities, in particular capacity building in developing countries.

Many actors in the environmental arena

The UNEP operates within an immensely complex system, with over 500 multilateral environmental agreements and where the UNEP is just one of approx. 40 international organisations with a mandate in the environmental sphere. This means that the environmental sector is characterised by fragmented and overlapping programmes, which makes it difficult for the UNEP to coordinate the environmental initiatives to the extent expected by the member countries.

After the World Summit on the progress achieved in relation to the Millennium Development Goals, the UN General Assembly launched a reform of the entire UN system under the heading “One UN” with the aim of, among other things, collecting the UN’s development activities, environmental protection and humanitarian assistance in the individual countries into a single office. Although not having country offices itself, the UNEP also participates in this exercise.

In parallel with the reform, the UN General Assembly has also launched a reform process with the aim of promoting a more coherent institutional system for international environmental management and ensuring that the activities are better coordinated and more effective. Proposals have been put forward to upgrade the UNEP from a UN programme to an actual UN organisation under the name UNEO, but whether this will happen is still unclear. What is certain is that the UNEP and the UNDP have strengthened their cooperation regarding the link between poverty and environment, capacity building and climate change adaptation. This is a link to which Denmark attaches great importance and supports with special grants.

New dynamic director

The UNEP’s effectiveness has for a number of years suffered under the external weaknesses that the UN reform is seeking to address as well as internal weaknesses. In 2006, Achim Steiner from Germany was appointed the new Executive Director to replace Klaus Töpfer, who had occupied the position since 1998. Steiner has injected further impetus into the internal reform process, which aims to create a more focused, efficient and results-seeking organisation.

Already at the first session in the UNEP Governing Council in February 2007, around seven months after Steiner’s arrival, the world’s environment ministers expressed their great faith and confidence in his leadership and his initiatives to strengthen the organisation.

The earmarked Danish contributions to the UNEP are awarded to, for example:

  • The UNEP Risø Centre on Energy, Climate and Sustainable Development (URC), which was set up in 1990 as a partnership between the UNEP and the Risø DTU National Laboratory for Sustainable Energy.
  • The UNEP DHI Centre for Water and Environment
  • Phasing out of ozone-eroding substances via the Multilateral Fund under the Montreal Protocol
  • Climate change adaptation in Africa (together with UNDP)
  • Introduction of results-based management in UNEP
  • Environment and poverty (through UNDP)


2007 was a turbulent year for the World Bank, but fortunately it ended on a positive note. Allegations of abuse of position against the American president of the bank, Paul Wolfowitz, reached a climax in May when Wolfowitz resigned as the first president ever to do so in the bank’s 60-year history. His successor was quickly appointed. Even though there was a wish expressed, for example within NGO circles, to break with the tradition that the World Bank Director comes from the USA, the position was again awarded to an American, namely the USA’s former vice-secretary of state, WTO chief negotiator, Robert B. Zoellick, who on 1 June could sit down in the presidential chair.

Zoellick started out softly and appears to be more uniting figure than Wolfowitz. For example, at the bank’s annual meeting in October he made a good impression on the member countries’ finance and development ministers, and the general view is that the World Bank is back on the right track.

This was solidly evidenced in December 2007 in connection with the final negotiations regarding the replenishment of the World Bank’s fund for financing interest-free loans and grant aid to the world’s poorest countries, IDA (International Development Association). IDA is the world’s largest single source of donor funds for basic social services to the poorest countries and is therefore a key player in the efforts to ensure these countries reach the Millennium Development Goals.

The objective of the replenishment is to finance IDA’s activities in 2008-11. Besides new development activities – particularly in Africa – there is a need for extra funds in this period to finance the extensive debt relief granted to poor countries in recent years. The debt relief applies, for example, to loans that IDA has provided and will result therefore in falling repayments from borrowers in the coming years. Furthermore, if IDA is to maintain its level of activity, more money is needed from its contributors, i.e. the member countries. Denmark attaches great importance to ensuring fair burden-sharing among donors.

With donations of USD 41.9 billion, the replenishment actually reached a record level. The record is taken as an expression of the trust that the World Bank has recreated. The Danish contribution over a three-year period is USD 309.6 billion, which gives Denmark a position as the 16th largest donor to the IDA.

Incidentally, the USA’s historical position as the largest IDA donor was broken in connection with this latest replenishment, which saw the UK overtake the USA. This was due to a combination of sharply increasing grants from the UK and the fall of the dollar.

The way forward

While Wolfowitz’ less than two-year tenure as president was characterised by his strong focus on anti-corruption, Zoellick has set out – and gained support for – a somewhat broader strategic focus. In the coming years, the World Bank will concentrate on six priorities that very much lie within the bank’s overall goal of poverty reduction.

  • Sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction – particularly in Africa
  • Enhanced efforts in fragile states
  • Targeted efforts to help poor people in middle-income countries, where the majority of the world’s poor live
  • Global public benefits, especially climate
  • Enhanced efforts in the Arab world, partly with the aim of improving the business climate
  • Maintenance of the World Bank as a knowledge bank for development and for gathering lessons and analyses

The World Bank will also intensify its efforts to ensure that the countries which in recent years have been granted debt relief do not end up back in the debt trap. For example, the bank, in cooperation with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will intensify efforts in relation to annual analyses of the debt sustainability of IDA recipient countries.

The World Bank and the Paris Declaration

The World Bank has at times been criticised for not playing a sufficiently active role in the efforts to realise the Paris Declaration from 2005 regarding more effective aid. For example, Denmark holds the view that the World Bank has not adequately decentralised staff and decision-making authority to its country offices in the recipient countries.

This means that in a number of cases the bank does not participate optimally in the cooperation, adaptation and harmonisation of the development assistance at country level.

Those efforts are now to be strengthened, and actually the World Bank already scores fairly high on some of the indicators that measure the different actors’ compliance with the principles of the Paris Declaration. For example, a large proportion of the development assistance funds from the World Bank are channelled directly into the recipient countries’ national budgets. In addition, the World Bank uses the recipient countries’ own financial management systems to a great extent, and also participates actively in the coordination of technical assistance.


When Denmark in 2005 formulated a new strategy for support to combating HIV/AIDS in developing countries, the Government promised at the same time that the Danish efforts in this field were to be doubled, so that by 2010 they would amount to USD 0.2 billion (1 billion Danish Kroner) per year.

The strategy said that at the same time the goal is not to be achieved the “easy” ways, for example by “just” increasing the funding to purchase medicine or increasing the contribution to the new global health funds. No, the money was to go to, among other things:

  • Strengthening the national capacity in the HIV/AIDS sphere, so that developing countries became better able to effectively coordinate the many donors’ contributions to the HIV/AIDS interventions
  • Strengthening national health systems
  • Supporting orphans and other vulnerable groups of children
  • Intensifying efforts to help women and girls.

The expansion of the HIV/AIDS interventions is fully underway, both bilaterally and multilaterally. Multilaterally, an additional DKK 100 million, for example, was awarded to UNICEF, WHO and UNAIDS.

UNICEF: Already in 2005, more than 15 million children had lost one or both of their parents to HIV/AIDS. Altogether, 80 per cent of these children live in Sub-Saharan Africa, and in the period 2007-09 UNICEF will receive USD 11.0 million for the work to help orphans in Africa.

WHO: WHO has established a new department whose principal task is to work on strengthening national health systems in developing countries and the provision of basic healthcare. The health systems have been put under extra pressure not only by the HIV/ AIDS epidemic, but also by the many different donors operating in the field. WHO’s work on strengthening national health systems will receive USD 3.7 million in the years 2007-10.

UNAIDS: In 2003, UNAIDS launched the initiative “Three Ones”, which is designed to enhance the coordination of HIV/AIDS interventions at country level. The three principles are:

  • One common strategy at country level
  • One coordinating authority
  • One common system for monitoring and evaluation.

In order to strengthen the interventions, UNAIDS will receive USD 3.7 million from Denmark in 2007-08.

Photo: In a village outside Tete in Mozambique, Danida supports an information programme on HIV/AIDS. This is done partly through different games played in school. Photo: Klaus Holsting

In a village outside Tete in Mozambique, Danida supports an information programme on HIV/AIDS. This is done partly through different games played in school. Photo: Klaus Holsting


In the last decade, a number of new global health funds have appeared. The largest and most well known are the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis from 2002, and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI), which was established in 1999 as a private-public partnership with the aim of increasing vaccination efforts in the world’s 75 poorest countries.

The objective of the many new public-private funds is to raise new and quick capital – preferably from private donors – to fight the diseases that continue to ravage the world’s poorest countries. These health funds were set up in the wake of the recognition that the World Health Organisation (WHO) could not manage the task on its own.

The health funds have succeeded in procuring extra funding for disease control and health promotion – although not to the extent envisaged and hoped at the outset. Denmark has contributed to the health funds – and continues to do so – but works at the same time actively to ensure that the health funds take account of the criticism that has been raised by several evaluations and which, among other things, focuses on the fact that:

  • The health funds could serve to undermine WHO
  • The health funds each represent an actor in an already overcrowded donor arena that the developing countries have to relate to
  • The health funds to a great extent support targeted and narrowly defined efforts rather than the developing countries’ health systems more broadly
  • The health funds do not participate sufficiently actively in the efforts to harmonise health-related assistance and adapt it to – and thereby strengthen – the developing countries’ own health systems and plans.

Denmark supports both the new health funds and the well-established international actors operating in the health sphere, WHO and UNAIDS. In addition, in all organisations and health funds Denmark advocates increased cooperation and adaptation to the developing countries’ health systems and plans.


Each year, around 30 million children throughout the world still do not get the vaccinations they need, and this is one of the major reasons why 2-3 million children each year die from diseases that can easily be prevented.

The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) was established at the end of 1999 as a private-public partnership on the initiative of WHO and UNICEF and with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as the largest private donor. The objective was to increase vaccination efforts in the world’s 75 poorest countries, efforts which had come to a standstill in developing countries generally.

In 2007, Denmark awarded USD 4.6 million to GAVI, which has achieved good results. Since 2000, GAVI has contributed to preventing around 3 million children from dying of diseases that could be prevented with the help of vaccines. The Danish assessment is that GAVI works with a number of interesting, innovative elements, but that GAVI’s targeted contributions to increased vaccination efforts encounter a number of constraints arising from the generally weak national health systems in the countries that GAVI supports.

The single greatest challenge facing GAVI is therefore to ensure that the enhanced vaccination efforts are integrated into the health systems’ general services, so that the efforts can be sustained in the longer term.

GAVI is aware of this problem and works actively to strengthen national health systems and coordination between different initiatives in the health sphere.


The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria was established in January 2002 as a private-public partnership outside the UN system and aims to mobilise increased support for the fight against the three diseases, which together cost six million lives each year. The fund is supported by voluntary contributions from governments, private funds, enterprises and private individuals, and it provides support to both public and private initiatives as well as NGO projects in developing countries that aim at providing prevention, treatment, care and support for those affected by HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

The Global Fund is one of the most important actors in the fight against the three diseases. The Fund accounts for two-thirds of the total international support given to fighting tuberculosis and malaria and more than one-fifth of all international efforts to fight HIV/AIDS.

Since its launch, the Global Fund has approved support to programmes in 136 countries, with a total budget of more than USD 7.7 billion. Nevertheless, the Global Fund has not succeeded in raising quite as much financial support as was hoped at the beginning. In particular, raising private capital has proved to be a major challenge.

The Global Fund is solely a financial mechanism. The objective is first and foremost to raise capital. The Global Fund is not represented at country level, and it does not provide technical consultancy support. That task lies with established organisations such as UNAIDS and WHO.

In 2007, Denmark awardedUSD 25.7 million in support to the Global Fund. The Danish support will increase to a total of USD 95.5million in the period 2008-10 as part of the goal of awarding a total of USD 0.2 billion to HIV/ AIDS prevention and control by 2010.

Danish fingerprints

The Global Fund’s structure and mode of operation have contributed to securing extra and quick funding for disease prevention, but they also incorporate a number of risk elements that Denmark attempts to prevent through its contributions. The need to promote its work and the exertion of strong political pressure to produce quick results have to a certain degree led to hasty, non-transparent processes, whilst the Global Fund’s involvement in long-term and locally rooted partnerships has been uneven.

Denmark engages in efforts to ensure that the Global Fund is more effectively incorporated in the established partnership on health at country level and to contribute to supporting the breadth and capacity of the health systems of developing countries, so as to improve the ability of the ordinary medical clinics to tackle HIV/AIDS. The Global Fund should also become better at ensuring that the recipient countries indeed have the capacity to implement the very extensive programmes that the Global Fund supports – also after the financial support awarded by the Global Fund comes to an end.

Lastly, Denmark places emphasis on maintaining the Global Fund’s focus on supporting the poorest countries that have the heaviest disease burden.


At the end of 2006, the World Health Organisation (WHO) acquired a new Director-General, Margaret Chan. In April 2007, she paid a visit to Denmark and took the opportunity to state clearly that the old organisation – WHO was created in 1948 – faces completely new challenges with the emergence of the many new global health funds and initiatives.

Many of the new health field actors – in contrast to WHO – have extremely large financial resources. It is an important task for WHO to ensure sensible interplay between the many actors in the global health arena and to work to ensure that they support decisions taken by WHO’s supreme authority, the World

Health Assembly, in order to prevent the global health interventions from running in all directions.

Denmark sits on the WHO Executive Board from 2006 to 2009 and awarded USD 8.6 million to WHO in 2007. In connection with the WHO Director-General’s visit, Minister for Development Cooperation Ulla Tørnæs announced that Denmark would allocate a further USD 3.7 million to WHO in the period 2008-11. The additional Danish contribution should precisely go to strengthening national health systems in developing countries.


It aroused attention in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark when the Scandinavian journal “Development Today” in June 2007 published an article that concluded that Denmark lags behind the other Nordic countries when it comes to top posts in the UN system. Of 24 top posts occupied by Scandinavians, Sweden had ten, Norway seven, Finland five, whilst Denmark had to make do with two – although these were two key positions in countries that are the focus of considerable international attention, namely East Timor and Cyprus.

Denmark was already in the process of planning targeted initiatives to secure the appointment of more Danes to top posts in the UN and other international organisations. This was one of the recommendations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Globalisation Analysis from 2006. The figures in “Development Today” confirmed the need for intensifying these efforts.

And already in October 2007, a Dane was appointed to a major UN top post, when the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced that he would appoint Danish Ambassador Ellen Margrethe Løj as his Special Representative for Liberia and thus the executive head of all the activities of the UN system in the country. The activities that Ellen Margrethe Løj would be in overall charge of from 1 January 2008 encompassed both a peacekeeping operation of 15,000 men and the UN’s contribution to the efforts to rebuild Liberia after many years of civil war. In this way, she became the highest-placed Dane in the UN system.

Ellen Margrethe Løj was an obvious candidate for the position. She was former head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ South Group, and from 2001 to March 2007 she was Denmark’s Ambassador to the UN in New York. Furthermore, during the Danish membership of the UN Security Council in 2005-06, she was chairman of the Sanctions Committee on Liberia.

However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is aware that good qualifications are not enough on their own. Danes are not necessarily hand-picked for international top posts unless they make an outreaching and targeted effort to draw attention to themselves.

Employees in UN organisations in Denmark
Organisation Total number of employees
WHO 350
UNDP 192
Total* 947

*Calculated as of July 2007. The figures include an average number of staff on short-term contracts (consultants, etc) who are at any time attached to the organisation.

Systematic efforts

If Denmark is to succeed in getting more Danes into international organisations and appointed to top posts, the efforts must be strengthened and started early. In January 2008, a unit was set up in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Personnel Department with the sole purpose of getting Danes appointed to positions in international organisations. Suitable candidates could come from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the rest of the Central Administration, as well as others with a desire to pursue a different kind of international career. The objective is to develop a resource base of Danes with international experience and networks and to reinforce the opportunity for embedding Danish values in international organisations.

The UN Secretariat has also caught sight of Denmark’s under-representation and in 2007 invited Denmark to participate in the upcoming National Competitive Recruitment Exam that the Secretariat holds each year for young academics from invited countries. Danish participation in the Recruitment Exam last happened in 1999. Through briefings and preparation courses, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has engaged in active efforts to encourage as many Danes as possible to participate in the exam. Interest has been high and this led approx. 130 Danes to participate in the Recruitment Exam in February 2008.

Photo: Dinka women arriving from Juba to Bor in Sudan on a barge sponsored by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). Photo: Sven Torfinn/Panos.

Dinka women arriving from Juba to Bor in Sudan on a barge sponsored by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). Photo: Sven Torfinn/Panos.


In 1957, the organisation “Flying Doctors of East Africa” was founded. The objective was to fly doctors and other healthcare staff out to large areas in East Africa that were otherwise never – or at least rarely – paid a visit by a doctor. Much has changed since then. The small aircraft with doctors still fly, but the organisation has acquired a far wider sphere of activity and has changed its name to AMREF, the African Medical and Research Foundation.

AMREF describes itself as Africa’s leading organisation within health and development, and in 2006 had a total budget of USD 47.6 million. Altogether, 97 per cent of its staff are Africans. The headquarters are situated in Nairobi, where AMREF also has a country office, which incidentally is headed by a Dane, Mette Kjær. In addition, AMREF has offices in Ethiopia, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda as well as field offices in Somalia and Sudan. AMREF also has offices in Europe and North America, which work on mobilising resources and setting focus on the health problems of vulnerable Africans.

AMREF supports research and each year provides training to healthcare staff all over Africa. The organisation collaborates closely with other NGOs and with national health services on building up their capacity, on developing practical methods that work in the field, and on improving the quality of services in the health sector.


  • Operation against social exclusion

At least two million women in developing countries live with utero-vesical fistula caused by birth complications, with 100,000 new cases occurring each year. The fistula is a hole between the vagina and the bladder or rectum which causes women to become incontinent. The constant leaking of urine and stool coupled with the unbearable smell results in many women being abandoned by their husbands and ostracised by society.

Fistulas arise in birth-giving women when the child is unable to come out. This often happens to very young girls if the pelvis is not developed fully enough to cope with pregnancy and birth. Fistulas cause excruciating pain during labour, which can last up to three weeks and end with the death of the child. Also brutal and repeated rape and female genital mutilation can cause utero-vesical fistula.

The incidence of fistulas is most prevalent in areas characterised by extreme poverty, where the level of education is low or non-existent for girls/women, where deaths in connection with child labour are normal, and where child mortality is high – as is the case in, for example, eastern Africa.

Fistulas can be prevented and treated, and Denmark supports efforts in this area in Kenya and the neighbouring countries through AMREF.

AMREF sponsors, for example, the operation that can help socially excluded girls and young women return to a normal life. For the individual woman or girl, the operation is a transformation. Although complicated, it can, however, be performed for a modest USD 275.1. Around 95 per cent of women who undergo a fistula repair operation are cured completely. Some are even able to go through a pregnancy, but must give birth by Caesarean section.

In the period 2006-09, Denmark in supporting AMREF’s fistula repair operations in Kenya with USD 0.6 million. In addition, AMREF engages in broad efforts to prevent fistulas, maternal mortality and complications in connection with pregnancy and labour. In 2007, Denmark awarded USD 2.8 million for the period 2007-11 to these broad efforts in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.


Organisation – amounts in USD million 2006 2007
IDA International Development Association 70.7 94.7
UNDP United Nations Development Programme 88.5 88.6
EDF European Development Fund 71.7 83.9
World Bank 18.8 40.8
UNICEF United Nations Children’s Fund 37.8 37.6
United Nations Department for Peace Keeping Operations 26.0 37.6
WFP World Food Programme 33.8 36.8
UNFPA United Nations Fund for Population Activities 32.7 33.4
NDF Nordic Development Fund 10.0 29.7
UNHCR United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees 22.8 25.9
Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria 23.6 25.7
AfDF African Development Fund 16.8 20.0
GEF Global Environment Facility 13.1 14.2
AfDB African Development Bank 10.6 12.0
OCHA Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 1.8 11.6
UNRWA United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestine Refugees 10.4 11.2
UNEP United Nations Environment Programme 6.4 9.4
UNAIDS United Nations Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS 7.9 9.3
WHO World Health Organisation 6.8 8.6
AsDF Asian Development Fund 7.7 8.4
IPPF International Planned Parenthood Federation 8.2 8.2
IMF International Monetary Fund 0.2 5.7
UNOPS United Nations Office for Project Services 9.1 5.1
IFAD International Fund for Agricultural Development 4.2 5.0
GAVI Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation 0.0 4.6
UNOHCHR United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights 3.8 4.6
UNESCO United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation 3.5 3.9
ILO International Labour Organisation 3.5 3.7
IUCN International Union for the Conservation of Nature 3.3 3.7
ICRC International Committee of Red Cross 2.0 3.7
UNODC United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime 1.6 2.7
IWGIA International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs 2.5 2.6
ITC International Trade Center 2.2 2.4
IRCT International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims 1.8 2.3
UNIFEM United Nations Development Fund for Women 1.4 1.9
International HIV/AIDS Alliance 0.3 1.8
International AIDS Vaccine Initiative 1.7 1.8
International Partnership for Microbicides 1.7 1.8
IFC International Finance Corporation 1.0 1.7
WTO World Trade Organisation 1.2 1.7
Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in Sahel 1.2 1.4
AsDB Asian Development Bank 2.5 0.7
Other multilateral contributions 47.8 40.9
Other - 3.0 - 3.3
Multilateral assistance under Section 06.3 619.8 747.8
Other multilateral assistance not under Section 06.3:
Community-financed EU assistance 145.7 157.0
General contributions to international organisations 5.6 7.7
Total multilateral assistance reported to OECD/DAC: 771.1 912.5

With effect from financial 2005, extraordinary humanitarian contributions, IHB and assistance to refugees and internally displaced persons in regions of origin (Appropriations Act Account 06.39.02) are reported as bilateral assistance.


Danish supplier contracts with multilateral organisations 2006 - 2007
USD million Total purchases Purchases in Denmark Danish share in %
Organisation 2006 2007 2006 2007 2006 2007
IBRD/IDA 1) 4,981.3 5,860.1 11.9 31.2 0.24 0.53
AsDB 2) 6,118.8   8.9   0.15
IDB 2) 3,227.8 2,252.2 0.0 0.6 0.00 0.02
AfDB 2) 429.1 1,199.1 0.8 3.1 0.18 0.26
Total 9,775.7   9.6   0.10  
NIB 3) 3,864.9   449.3   11.62  
ECHO 752.1 1,073.4 31.6 23.7 4.21 2.89
EDF 4) N/A 4,799.2 N/A 33.3 N/A 0.69
TACIS 5) 228.2 249.5 5.2 0.5 2.29 0.19
Phare 1,223.0   26.9   2.20  
Total 6)            
UNDP - NEX   N/A   N/A   N/A
UNOPS 558.0 N/A 8.4 N/A 1.51 N/A
UNFPA 130.7 N/A 10.3 N/A 7.85 N/A
UNHCR 89.0 N/A 12.5 N/A 13.99 N/A
UNICEF 1,208.1 N/A 35.8 N/A 2.97 N/A
WFP 1,763.8 N/A 15.1 N/A 0.86 N/A
WHO 132.9 N/A 2.5 N/A 1.90 N/A
IAPSO 138.7 N/A 37.2 N/A 26.82 N/A
UNRWA 164.2 N/A 0.5 N/A 0.31 N/A
Total 7) 9,410.7 N/A 122.3 N/A 1.30 N/A

1) Entered contracts. MNA services is missing in the figures for 2006.
2) The amount includes entered contracts only.
3) Active project investment loan cumulative procurement.
4) In the last couple of years, Danish enterprises have received large contracts under the programme, to which considerably more resources have also been added during the period. In 2006, EDF transferred to a new budget method and therefore no meaningful figures are available.
5) The TACIS statistics cover allotted contracts of EUR 200,000 or higher.
6) EU statistics are only calculated at lead-partner level, which is why Danish percentage shares are considerably higher.
7) Figures for 2007 have not yet been published. The total is for all goods and services in the entire UN system, and is thus higher than the sum of the selected UN organisations that have been included.


Suppliers of building and construction services, 2007
Total amount per company of contracts entered into by Danida
No. Company Contract amount (USD million)
2 Aarsleff 8.7
  Total 45.2

The above two suppliers account for 100 per cent of building and construction services in 2007, amounting to USD 45.2 million.


Top 20 list of suppliers of consultancy services (short and long-term assignments), 2007
Total amount per company for contracts entered into by Danida
No. Company Number of
Number of
Total contract
(USD million)
1 COWI 12 62 13.4
2 NIRAS 4 17 9.4
3 Grontmij/Carl Bro 3 30 5.9
4 Nordic Consulting Group 0 47 4.4
5 Scanagri Danmark 4 0 3.8
6 PEMconsult 0 38 3.3
7 RAMBØLL Management 2 4 2.8
8 Dansk Energi Management 1 4 2.6
9 Development Associates 0 19 1.6
10 NIRAS – Rodeco Joint Venture 1 0 1.3
12 DHI Institut for Vand og Miljø 0 11 1.1
13 Thorndahl 0 8 0.7
14 CopenhagenDC/BCEOM/PROMAN S.A. 1 1 0.7
15 RDC 0 6 0.6
16 Nordeco 0 6 0.6
17 Mokoro Limited 2 0 0.6
18 Skadkaer Consult 0 10 0.6
19 Particip GmbH 1 0 0.6
20 Capacitate 0 4 0.6
  Total 32 267 55.7

The above 20 suppliers account for 71.8 per cent of the total contract amount of USD 77.5 million.


Photo: A disabled man from the slum district of Kyebando in Kampala, Uganda. Photo: Mikkel Østergaard

A disabled man from the slum district of Kyebando in Kampala, Uganda. Photo: Mikkel Østergaard


Rigsrevisionen (Danish National Audit Office) had mostly nothing but praise when it presented its report in March on Danish NGO assistance. Earlier, Rigsrevisionen had identified problems in the administration of the NGOs’ project accounts, but this now appeared to be a thing of the past. At any rate, Rigsrevisionen was generally satisfied with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ administration of NGO assistance.

Nevertheless, Rigsrevisionen, did at the same time express a wish to see a comprehensive action plan for how the Strategy for Danish Support to Civil Society in Developing Countries, published in 2000, is to be implemented in practice. Furthermore, the Ministry should integrate NGO assistance into the overall target and performance management to a greater extent, so that the effect of NGO assistance can be more effectively evaluated in relation to the goals for Danish development assistance.

Scarcely had the report been submitted when Minister for Development Cooperation Ulla Tørnæs announced a forthcoming update of the civil society strategy, emphasising that it would be an updating. The primary emphasis of the advocacy work in the 2000 strategy would not be touched. And the updating is fully underway, with the involvement and consultation of NGOs both in Denmark and in the South.

Self-financing achieved

With the political agreement on the Appropriations Act for 2006, a self-financing requirement was stipulated for the six Danish NGOs that have a so-called framework agreement over the NGO Appropriation, i.e. a multi-annual agreement that is not tied to single projects. The six framework organisations are the Danish Red Cross, DanChurchAid, Save the Children Denmark, the MS Association for International Cooperation, IBIS and CARE Danmark.

The requirement means that NGOs in the future must supplement the contributions they receive from the state with an amount paid from their own, privately raised funds. In 2006, the self-financing requirement was 5 per cent, rising to 10 per cent in 2007, at which level it will remain in the future. The concept of self-financing was introduced to give impetus to a process designed to make NGOs more independent of government support, and all six organisations succeeded in meeting the requirement in both 2006 and 2007.

Not all the organisations have found it equally easy to meet the requirement. Several of them far exceeded the requirement beforehand, whereas it was a struggle in particular for the MS Danish Association for International Cooperation and IBIS, two organisations which found it necessary, among other things – for the first time – to organise nationwide fund-raising campaigns.

At the same time as the self-financing requirement was imposed, all framework organisations were given permission to carry out nationwide door-to-door fund-raising campaigns, which had previously been the preserve of the Danish Red Cross, DanChurchAid and Save the Children Denmark.

In 2007, the results of the nationwide fund-raising campaigns were as follows:

  • Danish Red Cross: USD 3.7 million
  • DanChurchAid: USD 2.6 million
  • Save the Children Denmark: USD 1.3 million
  • MS Danish Association for International Cooperation: USD 0.5 million
  • IBIS and CARE Danmark chose to conduct a joint fund-raising campaign: USD 0.3 million

In addition, the Danish Refugee Council, which does not have a framework agreement with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, also conducted a nationwide fund-raising campaign, which yielded USD 2.8 million.

The many fund-raising campaigns have sharpened competition between the NGOs and can also be an expensive way of raising capital, so much so that CARE and IBIS have decided not to conduct any more nationwide fund-raising campaigns for the time being.

Besides nationwide fund-raisers, the organisations have a range of opportunities to raise funds to cover their self-financing contribution: bequests and gifts, collections, revenue from second-hand shops, etc.


Around 600 million people – that is how many people are living with some form of disability in developing countries, where they are often among the poorest, most vulnerable and exposed groups with miserable living conditions and quality of life. Often, it is the disabled who are last in line for jobs and access to income-generating opportunities, education and health.

Disabled Peoples Organisations Denmark (DPOD), which until 2007 was called the Danish Council of Organisations of Disabled People (DSI), is an umbrella organisation for 32 member organisations and has for many years been engaged in the fight to ensure rights for disabled people in developing countries. Since 1994, these efforts have taken place in a long-term partnership agreement between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and DPOD, and Danish disability organisations today are responsible for development activities totalling USD 4.6-5.5 million annually, distributed between 11 developing countries.

The work comprises very specific activities that can improve the quality of everyday life of disabled people. Advocacy and lobbying for disabled people’s rights, both in developing countries and globally, are and have always been a principal cornerstone of DPOD’s development efforts. The goal is that the strong civil society organisations for disabled people in Denmark play an active role in developing and building strong counterpart organisations in the poor countries so as to enable them to put stronger pressure on their governments to safeguard and promote the rights of people with disabilities.

The crown in lobbying work

In December 2006, the UN General Assembly adopted a Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. For the first time, the millions of disabled people in the world were thus covered by a UN resolution on human rights. The Convention’s adoption had been preceded by substantial lobbying activity, which DPOD actively participated in both in Denmark and through its partner organisations in developing countries, where the conditions for disabled people are not particularly high on the agenda.

But that does not mean the work is finished. The Convention must be signed and ratified by 20 countries before entering into force. By the end of 2007, 15 countries had ratified the Convention, whereas 123 countries – including Denmark – have signed, but not yet ratified it. Once the Convention enters into force, it will be used as a platform for improving conditions for disabled people in the particular countries.


In 1999, the Organisation of African Unity, now the African Union, decided to make 2000-2009 the African Decade of Disabled Persons following intense lobbying from both the international and African disability movement. However, it took a long time before the message was followed up with real substance.

In 2005, DPOD received a total of USD 3.7 million from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark for activities in connection with the African Decade. Five countries were selected to receive Danish support: Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Mozambique and Senegal. In these countries, a range of different activities will be implemented that aim to formulate better policies and legislation within the disability field and ensure their implementation in practice, and also to strengthen lobbying and advocacy work among local partner organisations, so as to enable them to generate increased and more sustainable attention to the living conditions and rights of disabled people. Disabled women and young people have received training in, among other things, leadership; journalists have been on courses designed to raise their awareness of the living conditions and rights of disabled people; and support has been awarded to continental and regional organisations in Africa to help, for example, the blind, the deaf and blind, and the mentally ill.

Range of mini-projects and single projects

DPOD has a Mini-Programme Agreement with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs totalling USD 2.4 million per year. The funds are to be used on mini-projects for disabled people and go to several organisations, including:

The Danish Association of the Blind and DH -which organises disabled women in Ghana and Uganda. Disabled women are mobilised, trained, made visible and are given a voice in the local communities where they live.

The Association for Stutterers in Denmark – which helps strengthen the Association for Stutterers in Nepal. For example, “ambassadors” are trained who then work in and educate local communities about the special needs of stutterers. The goal is to establish self-help groups and mobilise new members.

The Danish Association for Mental Health (SIND) – which supports Mental Health Uganda (MHU) through an organisational development project. With support from Denmark, MHU has developed into an internationally recognised actor, and the organisation functions as the secretariat for the African network of organisations for the mentally ill.


Organisation USD thousand
MS Danish Association for International Cooperation 31,905
IBIS 21,416
DanChurchAid 20,602
Danish Red Cross 12,994
Project Advice and Training Centre* 9,462
CARE Danmark 9,054
Save the Children Denmark 7,599
LO/FTF Council 7,108
3F United Federation of Danish Workers 5,473
ADRA Denmark 5,109
DACAAR Danish Committee for Aid to Afghan Refugees 3,564
Danish Institute for Human Rights 3,528
WWF World Wildlife Fund 2,692
Caritas Denmark 2,633
Disabled Peoples Organisations Denmark (DPOD) 2,593
GV Ghana Friendship Groups in Denmark 2,527
Danish Afghanistan Committee 1,878
Nepenthes 1,817
Labour Movement’s International Forum 1,433
Danmission 1,409
Danish Missionary Council – Department of Development 1,338
Danish Council of Organisations of Disabled People 1,667
ADDA Agricultural Development Denmark Asia 1,043
Danish Hunters’ Association 1,029
Danida 885
Organisation for Sustainable Energy (OVE) 884
Dialogos 848
Danish Family Planning Association 794
International Child Solidarity 720
Danish Youth Council (DUF) 677
Mission East 673
Danish Society of Polio and Accident Victims (PTU) 598
International Center for Education (FIC) 542
National Association of People with Learning Disability (LEV) 531
Danish Association of the Blind 386
Danish Ornithological Society (DOF) 367
IMCC International Medical Cooperation Committee 360
Danish Baptist Union 359
Danish Epilepsy Association 342
AC Denmark – International Child Support 325
Danish 92 Group 220
India Group Funen 213
Axis 207
Danish Outdoor Council 196
Joint Council for Danish Scouts 174
Africa Contact 156
Danish-Ethiopian Mission 153
Danish-Mongolian Society 149
Max Havelaar Foundation Denmark 126
Shortcut to Development 122
Bicycles for Senegal 122
Association of Danish Folk High Schools 97
Danish Forest Extension 90
Danish Central America Committee 86
Danish EU-NGO Platform 83
Danish Vietnamese Association 62
Salvation Army 55
BDM (Brødremenighedens Danske Mission) 55
Children in Africa 53
Danish Society for a Living Sea 28
Danish Beekeepers’ Association 9
Reimbursements of unused funds -87

*The Project Advice and Training Centre is a union of small NGOs in Denmark. Since 1996, the Centre’s secretariat in Aarhus has received support from Danida for, among other things, running courses, advising inexperienced NGOs and especially for administering the Mini-Project Fund, which processes all NGO applications under USD 0.6 million.

Africa the largest recipient of NGO assistance, 2007

Graph: Africa the largest recipient of NGO assistance, 2007



USD million 2006 1) 2007 1)
Government assistance under Appropriations Act Account - Section 06.3 and Section 06.11.19:
Bilateral assistance under Section 06.3 and Section 06.11.19
Programme and project assistance Africa 391.8 481.8
Programme and project assistance Asia 152.8 173.8
Programme and project assistance Latin America 59.98 71.5
Personnel assistance 34.3 34.7
B2B Programme 31.9 39.1
Mixed Credits 50.4 64.2
Loan assistance, debt relief 113.4 123.3
Regional and region-of-origin assistance 34.9 46.8
Human rights and democratisation 38.9 48.2
Transitional assistance to the Western Balkans -0.2 -0.1
Assistance through NGOs 162.6 171.3
Special environmental assistance to developing countries 66.8 68.8
Research and information in Denmark 36.5 37.8
Extraordinary humanitarian contributions & International Humanitarian Service (IHB) 136.3 148.4
The Neighbourhood Programme (Section 06.11.19) 2) 17.6 25.8
Other -0.3 -1.4
Total bilateral assistance Section 06.3 and Section 06.11.19 1,327.5 1,534.1
Multilateral assistance under Section 06.3 and Section 06.11.19
International development research 7.3 6.3
UN Development Programme (UNDP) 77.8 80.9
UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) 39.6 38.4
HIV/AIDS, population & health programmes 86.7 102.8
UN Agriculture and Food programmes 30.3 32.9
Global environment programmes 37.8 46.3
Other UN assistance programmes 45.2 61.6
World Bank Group 79.2 82.5
Regional banks 14.8 12.6
Regional and other development funds 34.5 89.9
Assistance through the European Development Fund 71.4 100.3
Multi-, regional and transitional assistance 16.2 17.4
Stability and security oriented activities 19.1 10.4
Miscellaneous multilateral contributions 18.7 26.7
Multilateral humanitarian assistance 44.1 58.8
Other -3.0 -3.3
Total multilateral assistance Section 06.3 and Section 06.11.19 619.8 747.8
Total government assistance under Section 06.3 and Section 06.11.19 1,947.3 2,281.9
Government assistance not granted under Section 06.3 and Section 06.11.19:
Administration of development assistance etc. 2) 110.6 127.3
DCISM (Development Research Section 06.11.13) 2) 3.1 4.1
Community financed EU assistance 3) 145.7 157.0
Repayment of state loans 2) -15.3 -15.9
International operations of defence forces and police 2) 7.5 9.1
Expenses for reception of refugees 2) 42.2 45.1
IFU/IØ/IFV share contribution 2) -13.3 -55.7
Portion of Danish pools and lottery funds 2) 1.3 2.4
Other disbursements under Bilateral Assistance to Eastern and Central Europe 2) 0.3 0.0
Contributions to international organisations 3) 6.7 7.7
Total Danish assistance reported to OECD/DAC 2,236.1 2,563.0
GNI 280,147.7 317,455.3
Assistance percentage 0.80 0.81
Total bilateral assistance reported to OECD/DAC 1,463.9 1.650.5
Total multilateral assistance reported to OECD/DAC 772.2 912.5

All amounts for 2006 and 2007 are calculated in accordance with disbursements reported to DAC.
Reported to OECD/DAC as bilateral assistance
Reported to OECD/DAC as multilateral assistance

With effect from financial 2005 , extraordinary humanitarian contributions, IHB and assistance to refugees and internally displaced persons in regions of origin (Appropriations Act Section 06.39.02) are reported as bilateral assistance. Up to and including 2004, these disbursements are reported as multilateral assistance. With effect from 2007, parts of the Neighbourhood Programme Section 06.11.19 are incorporated as bilateral assistance in this chart.

1) Of which debt relief comprises USD 94.5 million.
2) Of which USD 26.3 million is granted as humanitarian assistance.
3) In addition to USD 40.8 million in bilateral assistance (of which USD 11.6 million in humanitarian assistance), USD 9.5 million was granted in multilateral assistance.
4) In addition to USD 40.5 million in bilateral assistance (of which USD 8.6 million in debt relief and USD 23.9 million in humanitarian assistance), Denmark has granted USD 0.6 million as multilateral assistance.
5) Debt relief comprises USD 16.4 million.
6) Includes, inter alia, transitional assistance of USD
8.3 million and humanitarian assistance of USD 4.0 million. USD 2.8 million was granted as multilateral assistance.
7) Programme and project assistance comprises USD 11.9 million.
8) Of which the special environmental assistance comprises USD 7.4 million and NGO assistance USD 3.2 million.
9) Of which Mixed Credits comprises USD 3.8 million, MRD assistance USD 2.2 million and environmental assistance USD 1.4 million.
10) Of which humanitarian assistance comprises USD 3.0 million.

*) Calculated in accordance with disbursements under Section 06.3 and Section 06.11.19 (Neighbourhood Programme). Disbursements incl. debt relief.

The African countries are the largest recipients of bilateral assistance*

Graph: The African countries are the largest recipients of bilateral assistance

But other countries get assistance as well*

Graph: But other countries get assistance as well

*) Calculated in accordance with disbursements, excl. debt relief. Comprises disbursements under Section 06.3 and Section 06.11.19. The total bilateral assistance as reported to DAC excl. debt relief.


in USD
relief 1)
tance 2)
etc. 3)
tance 4)
IHB 5)
me 6)
Total % of
tance 7)
Africa 606.3 87.5 6.9 33.6 70.0 0.0 804.3 61.0
Asia 248.2 39.0 5.4 35.1 56.9 3.1 387.6 29.4
Latin America 76.2 25.5 1.0 0.0 0.1 0.0 102.8 7.8
Europe 0.3 0.6 0.0 0.0 0.0 22.5 23.4 1.8
Total country-specific, excluding debt relief 931.0 152.6 13.2 68.8 127.0 25.6 1,318.2 100.00
Non-country-specific 8) 27.6 18.7 24.6 0.0 21.4 0.2 92.6  
Bilateral debt relief             123.3  
Not under Section 06.3 and Section 06.11.19             116.4  
Total 958.6 171.3 37.8 68.8 148.4 25.8 1,650.5  

1) Falls under Appropriations Act Account 06.32. Comprises programme and project assistance to Africa, Asia and Latin America, personnel assistance, the B2B Programme, mixed credits, assistance to regional and regions of origin as well as transitional assistance to the Western Balkans.

2) Falls under Appropriations Act Account 06.33. Comprises assistance channelled through NGOs.

3) Falls under Appropriations Act Account 06.35.01. Comprises research, projects in Denmark, grants for information activities, cultural cooperation, fact-finding activities as well as seminars, courses and conferences.

4) Falls under Appropriations Act Account 06.34. Comprises the special environmental assistance (which up to and including 2003 fell under Appropriations Act Account 06.11.16).

5) Falls under Appropriations Act Account 06.39.02. Comprises extraordinary humanitarian assistance, IHB and region-of-origin activities. The account was formerly reported as multilateral assistance, but from and including financial 2005 is reported as bilateral assistance.

6) The Neighbourhood Programme Section 06.11.19. Only the disbursements that can be included as ODA in accordance with the DAC directive.

7) Excluding debt relief.

8) Comprises inter-regional projects that are not country-specific.


in USD
relief 1)
tance 2)
etc. 3)
tance 4)
IHB 5)
me 6)
Programme countries
Benin 44.1   0.5       44.6
Burkina Faso 42.3 0.0         42.4
Egypt 57.5 1.0       0.0 58.5
Ghana 61.0 9.5 1.3   0.3   72.1
Kenya 40.4 4.2   1.8 3.3   49.7
Mali 6.3 0.1   2.3     8.6
Mozambique 73.9 9.4 0.6 8.5 0.1   92.4
Tanzania 75.0 7.0 1.3 7.3     90.1
Uganda 85.1 18.3 0.1   6.3   109.9
Zambia 41.1 6.7   2.1     49.9
Total 526.6 56.2 3.8 21.6 9.9 0.0 618.2
Other countries* 79.7 31.2 3.1 12.0 60.1 0.0 186.1
Total 606.3 87.5 6.9 33.6 70.0 0.0 804.3

* Countries and regions in Africa that are not programme countries.


in USD
relief 1)
tance 2)
etc. 3)
tance 4)
IHB 5)
me 6)
Programme countries
Bangladesh 38.7 2.5 0.1 0.3 1.2   42.3
Bhutan 12.2 0.1 0.2       12.5
Nepal 41.0 6.8 0.8   1.0   49.6
Vietnam 66.6 3.7 3.5 8.3     82.2
Total: 158.0 13.1 4.6 8.6 2.2 0.0 186.6
Other countries* 90.2 25.9 0.8 26.5 54.6 3.1 201.1
Total: 248.2 39.0 5.4 35.1 56.9 3.1 387.6

*Other countries and regions in Asia that are not programme countries


in USD
relief 1)
tance 2)
etc. 3)
tance 4)
IHB 5)
me 6)
Programme countries
Bolivia 30.8 2.6 0.5   0.1   34.0
Nicaragua 36.9 6.5 0.1   0.0   43.5
Total 67.7 9.1 0.6 0.0 0.1 0.0 77.5
Other countries* 8.5 16.4 0.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 25.2
Total 76.2 25.5 1.0 0.0 0.1 0.0 102.8

*Other countries and regions in Latin America that are not programme countries


in USD
relief 1)
tance 2)
etc. 3)
tance 4)
IHB 5)
me 6)
Albania 0.0 0.0       0.2 0.3
Belarus   0.0       0.9 0.9
Bosnia-Herzegovina           0.8 0.8
Central and Eastern Europe           2.8 2.8
Kosovo -0.1 0.0       4.6 4.5
Croatia           1.0 1.0
Macedonia (FYROM) 0.3         0.0 0.4
Moldova   0.1       -0.1 0.1
Serbia           0.3 0.3
Serbia-Montenegro 0.3         2.8 3.1
Turkey           1.5 1.5
Ukraine 0.1 0.1       4.3 4.5
Balkan region   0.0       3.3 3.3
Total 0.3 0.6 0.0 0.0 0.0 22.5 23.4

Explanatory note, see under table for Denmark’s bilateral assistance, 2007


SOCIAL INFRASTRUCTURE 584.7 678.3 44.0 44.2
Education, total 84.1 117.5 6.3 7.7
Education, general 38.1 52.7 2.9 3.4
Primary education 21.6 44.5 1.6 2.9
Secondary education 20.1 17.0 1.5 1.1
University and other tertiary education 4.3 3.3 0.3 0.2
Health, total 92.7 82.5 7.0 5.4
Health, general 46.1 44.4 3.5 2.9
Primary health 46.6 38.1 3.5 2.5
Reproductive health and population programmes 25.7 30.7 1.9 2.0
Drinking water and sanitation 113.1 120.4 8.5 7.8
Public administration and civil society 232.0 276.5 17.5 18.0
Conflict prevention and resolution, peace and security 11.7 24.9 0.9 1.6
Other social infrastructure 25.5 26.0 1.9 1.7
Employment 5.5 7.3 0.4 0.5
Other social infrastructure 20.0 18.7 1.5 1.2
ECONOMIC INFRASTRUCTURE 170.6 207.8 12.8 13.5
Transport, total 100.8 99.4 7.6 6.5
Road construction, road transport, etc. 94.8 90.3 7.1 5.9
Railways 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Sea and air transport 5.9 9.0 0.4 0.6
Communication 14.9 6.3 1.1 0.4
Energy, total 31.8 69.5 2.4 4.5
Electrification projects 24.1 22.1 1.8 1.4
New and renewable energy sources 6.9 46.8 0.5 3.1
Other assistance to the energy sector 0.8 0.6 0.1 0.0
Banks and financial services 0.0 2.5 0.0 0.2
Other economic infrastructure 23.1 30.2 1.7 2.0
PRODUCTIVE SECTORS 142.9 156.7 10.8 10.2
Agriculture 89.9 97.9 6.8 6.4
Forestry 4.8 5.2 0.4 0.3
Fisheries 6.9 12.1 0.5 0.8
Industry 39.0 38.9 2.9 2.5
Mineral resources 1.4 1.0 0.1 0.1
Building and construction 0.0 0.2 0.0 0.0
Trade 0.7 1.6 0.1 0.1
Tourism 0.2 -0.0 0.0 -0.0
Environment 75.3 81.4 5.7 5.3
Other integrated development projects 22.5 24.1 1.7 1.6
PROGRAMME AND FOOD AID 31.6 76.0 2.4 5.0
DEBT RELIEF 113.4 123.3 8.5 8.0
Other non-categorised bilateral assistance 34.9 46.4 2.6 3.0
Total bilateral assistance 1,327.5 1.534.1 100.0 100.0

*) Calculated according to disbursements. Comprises bilateral disbursements under Section 06.3 and Section 06.11.19.

The figures for 2006 are adjusted for disbursements under Section 06.11.19 and cannot be compared with tables from previous years.

With effect from the financial year 2005, extraordinary humanitarian contributions, IHB and assistance to refugees and internally displaced persons in regions of origin (Appropriations Act Section 06.39.02) are reported as bilateral assistance. Up to and including 2004, these disbursements were reported as multilateral assistance. With effect from 2007, parts of the Neighbourhood Programme Section 06.11.19 are included as bilateral assistance in this table.

Africa is the largest recipient of Danish development assistance

Graph: Africa is the largest recipient of Danish development assistance

Calculated according to disbursements. Per cent of geographically distributed bilateral assistance, excluding debt relief but including disbursements under the Neighbourhood Programme.

A substantial proportion of the assistance goes to long-term sector programmes

Graph: A substantial proportion of the assistance goes to long-term sector programmes

Calculated according to disbursements under Section 06.3. Per cent of total bilateral assistance to the programme countries.

The UN, the World Bank Group and the EU are the main recipients of Danish multilateral assistance

Graph: The UN, the World Bank Group and the EU are the main recipients of Danish multilateral assistance

Calculated according to disbursements under Section 06.3. Multilateral assistance.


Transitional assistance

Graph: Transitional assistance

* Section 06.38.01 Multilateral regional and reconstruction assistance

Regional assistance

Graph: Regional assistance


Photo: Vietnam. Rice farmers belonging to ethnic Thai groups. Photo: Jørgen Schytte

Vietnam. Rice farmers belonging to ethnic Thai groups. Photo: Jørgen Schytte


Development assistance is intended to reduce poverty. It is also intended to promote gender equality and a sustainable environment. And democracy, human rights and good governance. The list of good intentions is long.

This is also reflected in the number of strategies that are involved in Denmark’s development assistance and in the activities that are conducted. At the end of 2006 there were 15 such strategies, for example, involving the environment, gender equality, mine clearing and indigenous peoples, and in 2007 more were added: for Asia, for Latin America, a revised strategy for Africa and for good governance.

The political goals and the many strategies send important signals about what Denmark wants to accomplish through its development assistance. However, it is not enough simply to want the right things; they have to be accomplished in the proper way. Therefore, the real challenge is to convert the objectives into practice in development cooperation so that it leads to positive changes for the children, women and men that development assistance is all about.

Previously, there was a tendency to think it sufficient to document the good will behind the assistance by simply stating how much money Denmark spends on development assistance, including in these figures funds spent on the environment, on education, on HIV/AIDS and all the other good causes. It is still important to send clear political signals.

However, in recent years there has been increased focus on making the assistance effort more effective and documenting the results in the field. To put it quite simply, ’good intentions’ are no longer enough in themselves to legitimise Danish development assistance. It must also be possible to document an effect.

Great demands are placed on collecting data and listing indicators so that the situation before and after can be documented and the effect of the assistance evaluated. It sounds, and can in fact be, both laborious and bureaucratic. But it is absolutely necessary. In part it is important to demonstrate the effect of Danish assistance; in part the ambition is to establish what works and what does not work in order to make development cooperation more professional and effective.

Donors and recipients make higher demands

It was precisely the great desire to make development cooperation more effective and to better document the results that led to the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness in 2005, which was welcomed by both recipients and providers of development assistance. The key words, among others, were ownership, harmonisation, alignment, division of labour and transparency.

Denmark – as well as other donors – must be prepared to take a step back so that recipient countries can take ownership of the development process. Development assistance presupposes teamwork and is not an area that is suited to individual actors each promoting their own agendas.

The Paris Declaration was not a sudden reversal of policy but the preliminary culmination of a development process that has been underway for quite a while and which is still taking place. It is a process that places new demands on the way that Denmark and other donors provide development assistance. It also places great demands on the recipients and their management of the assistance funds. But the process also allows for completely new possibilities, so there is plenty to be done in terms of assistance administration, the engine room that is to turn all the high goals into reality.


At least half of the children attending school should be girls.

30-50 per cent of the farmers that new activities target should be women.

These targets are part of the appropriations for future Danish development activities and are examples of how specific figures and goals are set for the gender-equality effect of Danish assistance.

Women and gender equality have been cross-cutting issues in Danish development assistance for a number of years. However, experience has shown that an effective effort to combat poverty, and for gender equality, the environment and all the other crosscutting issues requires concrete targets and indicators to be established for the desired results.

Of course targets must not be established by someone sitting at a desk in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs but in close dialogue with the recipient country. Often, the country will have data and targets in its own development plans that can be used, making it unnecessary to “create” special targets for the Danish-supported projects.

Simply the fact that specific targets and indicators have, for example, been set for women and gender equality has a number of direct and indirect effects, because it means that questions need to be answered such as:

  • do there even exist gender-specific data within these sectors for the specific country and, if not, how can such data be obtained?
  • what (new) methods and tools are needed to reach out to women and girls?
  • are there cultural, legal or other conditions within this sector that place women and girls at a disadvantage?

The targets and indicators, which may at first sight seem to be just more in the way of bureaucratic burdens and control, are to serve to motivate innovative thinking and change. Reliable data for the situation before and after a specific initiative has been carried out are also to help provide a far more qualified estimate of what works – and what does not work – in order to reach the goal of gender equality, and thus more effective initiatives in the future.


Even though there has been more and more focus on efficiency and the results achieved through development assistance in recent years, there is still a widespread desire to know how Denmark prioritises its total assistance in various areas. This is especially the case regarding HIV/AIDS initiatives and the crosscutting issues: gender equality, the environment, democracy and human rights.

Up until now it has been difficult to provide reliable figures, specifically because the crosscutting issues are crosscutting and, for example, gender equality can be promoted as a part of support to roads by supporting female small-scale entrepreneurs. Nevertheless this support is officially reported to the OECD/DAC simply as road-sector support.

Therefore, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has developed a new system for all projects and programmes. When funds are disbursed, the activity the money is to pay for is evaluated on the basis of the four themes. If the activity directly targets one of the four themes, 100 per cent of the amount is included in the report for that specific theme. If it partially targets one of the four themes, then the appropriation is included at a lower level, for example 20 per cent. In this way it is possible to create reports on a yearly basis that document how large a percentage of Danish development assistance goes to the various cross-cutting issues.

The new system was first utilised in 2007 and therefore, there is not yet a report covering an entire year. The preliminary reports indicate, however that, while the three ’old’ crosscutting issues – gender equality, the environment, and democracy and human rights – have become a more integrated part of development assistance, efforts at integrating HIV/ AIDS are lagging behind.


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has developed a special toolbox designed to assist in achieving gender equality, and it is big. The tools are widely diverse but all of specific and practical use, and a number of them have already shown their worth in practice.

The tool box was developed by a special project group, ’Team Gender’, which the Government decided to create as a part of Danida in 2006 in order to specifically ensure that women as a crosscutting issue in development assistance was not just about words but also involved action. It was also decided to conduct an actual gender-equality analysis prior to all large Danish programme initiatives and new country strategies in order to establish how Danish-supported activities affect and contribute to gender equality. Gender equality has also moved up on the agenda in Denmark’s cooperation with the international organisations, and they will be evaluated on
a regular basis to determine whether or not they are living up to their policies in this area. Moreover, all staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the embassies who work with development assistance must participate in an obligatory e-learning course on gender equality, something that has previously only been implemented regarding corruption.

The good examples

The toolbox contains, i.a., suggestions and examples for how consideration for gender and gender equality can be incorporated – or as it is called in assistance jargon ’mainstreamed’ – into the wider development assistance efforts in various sectors:

  • Healthcare: support to healthcare campaigns with special messages to men and women regarding, among other things, the importance of a nutritious diet for women during pregnancy.
  • Agriculture: targeted support to crops that are specifically grown, prepared and sold by women. This is taking place, for example, in the agricultural programme in Burkina Faso. Information campaigns targeted at women.
  • Education: special educational stipends for girls and promotion of women teachers.
  • The business sector: special initiatives intended to support women entrepreneurs and promote gender equality in the labour market.

Denmark also supports a number of countries in their national efforts towards gender equality. For example, in Egypt Denmark supports a gender-equality unit in the Ministry of the Environment, and in Benin Denmark supports the work of incorporating the gender aspect into the country’s new poverty reduction strategy. In general, progress is being made in ensuring women better access to the activities that are financed by the broad Danish sector programme support. However, there is still a need for special initiatives. This is especially true when it comes to improving women’s rights and ensuring their political influence:

  • Danish support to women’s participation in the local elections in Ghana in 2006 helped to ensure that 10 per cent of the those elected were women, as opposed to only 7 per cent during the previous local election held in 2002
  • In Mali the embassy has, through a local NGO, supported women’s participation in the election to the national assembly in 2007
  • In Uganda Denmark has supported lobbying for women’s rights and legislation involving family law and questions of inheritance with, among other things, the concrete result that discriminatory provisions regarding divorces have been amended
  • In Bolivia Denmark has supported women’s participation in the constituent assembly, and this has led to women’s rights being incorporated into the new draft constitution.


Alignment, harmonisation, cooperation. These are some of the key words in the new ways of providing development assistance. But how can a single donor such as Denmark ensure that ’our’ assistance provides results when the Danish contribution is one of many in a joint pool? The Danish support to agriculture in Mozambique can help illustrate how.

In 1999 the Government of Mozambique undertook a comprehensive reform of the agricultural sector, PROAGRI. The first phase of the reform ran through 2005 and a total of 12 different donors contributed 88 per cent of the financing. Denmark’s contribution was USD 21.7 million and constituted a part of total Danish agricultural support for the period, which totalled USD 51.4 million. The evaluation of the first phase showed, among other things, that the measurement of the results had not been satisfactory.

In 2005 both the preparation of phase 2 of PROAGRI and the Danish sector programme support began, which meant, and still means, that Denmark does not set special indicators and targets for the portion of Danish agricultural support that is earmarked for PROAGRI 2. This is because PROAGRI 2 was jointly planned with the Ministry of Agriculture in Mozambique and the eight donors that are contributing to the programme.

Instead of the eight separate donors and Mozambique’s Ministry of Agriculture each establishing their own systems for measuring performance, a joint system was developed for evaluating PROAGRI 2. Using the information the Ministry of Agriculture had collected as a point of departure, the Ministry and the donors jointly selected approximately 25 specific indicators that they deemed to be central for evaluating the future progress of the reform programme.

One indicator for how the public agricultural consultancy service performed, for example, was the number of farmers the service managed to reach. The target for 2007 was set at 222,300, but the service performed actually reached slightly more than 285,000. Thus, the rate of target achievement was 128 per cent.

The cooperative effort does not just mean saving money but also that the system can be made more robust and that there are joint measurements for success for the many diverse actors’ contributions. The joint approach does not mean that Denmark has to give up on tracking the crosscutting issues, which are regarded as especially important in Danish development assistance; actually, it means the opposite. Denmark played a part in causing an environmental screening to be performed during the preparation of PROAGRI 2 with recommendations for subsequent activities, as well as the preparation of an action plan regarding gender equality and HIV/ AIDS for the entire Ministry of Agriculture, not just for Danish-supported activities.

Slow but necessary process

Hitching Danish support to the recipient country’s own development strategy – as with PROAGRI in Mozambique – ensures that the collective effort is conducted in keeping with the same overall goals. Danish assistance becomes a part of the national, political process, for better but also for worse. Because even in developing countries the political process can take time and be subject to shifting policies.

The national development plans that are to form the framework for Denmark’s and all the other donors’ assistance must be approved in the national parliaments and incorporated into the national budgets so that financing of the activities is ensured, and this process can take time.

The Danish contribution to PROAGRI 2 amounts to USD 19.3 million out of Denmark’s total support to the agricultural sector in Mozambique of USD 57.9 million for the 2005-2010 period. The rest of Danish support goes to secondary roads and to developing the private sector in rural districts.


Bilateral Danish development assistance has been decentralised since 2003. Several decisions, competencies and more financial management have been moved from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Danish embassies in the developing countries. This was done not least to gear Danish development assistance to the new ways of providing development assistance. If Denmark is to participate in harmonisation and alignment to national systems, budgets and plans, then it is crucial to have both the manpower and the decision-making competencies close at hand. Moreover, decentralisation increases flexibility and the opportunities for acting more promptly in often rapidly-changing situations.

The new times are placing more demands on the embassies. Some embassies have employed more staff, and everywhere work is conducted at decentralised level, targeted at developing staff members’ competencies because the ’new development assistance’ involves more complex programmes and established Danish working routines need to be replaced with new, harmonised and aligned methods.

In order to help support the embassies, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs established, simultaneously with decentralisation, an office, KVA, for quality control of development assistance. The KVA has, for example, a ’flying squad’ that visits a number of embassies every year to perform systematic quality controls, called Performance Reviews, of the work at the embassies and to ensure that they are living up to the guidelines established by management and politicians. But the squad also has an important role as a knowledge bank, sparring partner and link between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Copenhagen and the embassies.

In 2007 alone the ’flying squad’ visited the embassies in Ghana, Nicaragua, Bangladesh and Zambia, which are among Denmark’s programme countries. Moreover, visits were also made to the Missions in Indonesia and Cambodia.

From the start in 2003 there was great uncertainty at the embassies as to the role of the flying squad. There was a certain amount of fear that it was to function as an audit unit that was to come and check how things were functioning and report back to management. It has been possible to alleviate this fear by offering sparring, competency development and experience from embassies in other places. In this way, visits from the flying squad have helped compensate for the fact that the embassies do not have as close contact with Copenhagen as was previously the case.

Reality check

By taking the temperature of the work being done abroad, the flying squad can also assist in bringing useful experience from practical reality back to Denmark. This contributes to the KVA’s and other units’ work of updating guidelines and policies within the different areas of development assistance.

The increased demand for data showing that development assistance works a long with initiatives in the area of target and performance management mean an increased workload for the embassies. Therefore, the KVA considers it also its job to contribute to simplifying systems and “disciplining” other departments in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that identify things that need to be measured and weighed, so that the result is not more reports but that the existing reports contain the necessary information.


To what extent are the objectives of the many Danish assistance programmes being achieved? In order to ensure an on-going overview of this, in 2002 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs established a simple measuring system that has since undergone further development. Targets have been selected for each component in the sector programmes in the 16 programme countries as well as in Niger, South Africa, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, the Palestinian Self Rule Areas and Thailand. In, for example, an education programme this could be how many children are attending school.

In all 268 targets have been established, and this is how goal fulfilment looked in 2007:

A: very satisfactory (minimum 96 per cent fulfilment) 150 targets 56 per cent of the targets
B: satisfactory (61-95 per cent fulfilment) 63 targets 23 per cent of the targets
C: less than satisfactory (41-60 per cent fulfilment) 22 targets 8 per cent of the targets
D: not satisfactory (0-40 per cent fulfilment) 33 targets 12 per cent of the targets

Goal fulfilment for 2007 was evaluated as being generally satisfactory: 79 per cent, meaning by far the majority of the targets, were rated as having been achieved very satisfactorily or satisfactorily. The level has remained extremely constant: from the start in 2004 and up to and including 2006, the figure has been between 81-83 per cent.

There can be very many different reasons for individual targets not living up to expectations, and these reasons can often involve conditions in the recipient country. In bilateral development assistance, a goal fulfilment rate of 80 per cent is generally seen as satisfactory. A goal fulfilment rate of 100 per cent can just as well be a sign that ambitions were set too low in advance, as a sign that the development assistance has been successful.


The Danish Embassies have a duty to report any suspicions of misuse or incorrect management of Danish funds to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 2007 a total of 36 cases were reported to the National Audit Office, involving everything from inadequate financial administration to suspicion of theft or fraud. A number of the report from the embassies and the subsequent investigations have led to the repayment of development funds that have been used improperly.

However, suspicions of misuse can also be reported by people outside the embassies. In 2005 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs established an anti-corruption hotline as a supplement to the monitoring performed at the embassies. The hotline can be used through the websites of the Ministry or the individual embassies. The general public, both from within and outside of the recipient country, can use the hotline with complete anonymity.

Since the hotline was established, there have been approximately 30 reports, all of which have been investigated. On the background of concrete documentation that can be collected, an assessment is made as to whether or not the case should be handed over the relevant embassy or unit in the Ministry for further investigation, and in some cases this can lead to the case being investigated by the police. Up until now there has only been a single case reported through the hotline that has led to sanctions against specific individuals. However, investigation is continuing on a number of cases.

The increasing number of reports indicates that awareness of the anti-corruption hotline has increased and the possibility of reporting suspicions of misuse directly should not be underestimated, both in terms of uncovering specific cases and as a preventative element in the fight against corruption.

In 2004 Denmark adopted a comprehensive action plan against corruption based on the principle of zero tolerance. The plan has been followed up by in-service training of all staff at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the embassies that work with development assistance and by information material for the public and cooperation partners in all programme countries.

Photo: Ethiopia. A woman and her son driving cattle back to the village through the dust of the desert. Photo: Dieter Telemans / Panos

Ethiopia. A woman and her son driving cattle back to the village through the dust of the desert. Photo: Dieter Telemans / Panos


The time has come to stop and evaluate and improve MOPAN, the Multilateral Organization Performance Network, the cooperation that nine donor countries entered in 2002. The countries in MOPAN are, besides Denmark, Australia, Canada, Finland, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom. The goal is to create joint analyses of how well international organisations are handling their assignments in developing countries, because it is cheaper and simpler than each donor conducting their own evaluations. The results are also more comprehensive.

In 2007 MOPAN analyses were performed for the UNDP, WHO and the African Development Bank based on reports from the MOPAN member countries’ embassies in ten developing countries: Bangladesh, Benin, Bolivia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Mali, Nicaragua, Senegal, Serbia and Zambia.

However, there is also room for improvement in MOPAN. In 2006 a critical evaluation of MOPAN’s own methods was performed, and it demonstrated that the MOPAN members have developed a total of seven different methods of evaluating international organisations. Together, these methods include around 250 different indicators, a number of which overlap with each other. The MOPAN countries concluded that things can be done better and since then have worked on a new, simplified joint method that will be applied from 2009.

The challenge is to find a common method for evaluating international organisations based on certain significant criteria:

  • do the organisations meet the goals they have set for themselves?
  • how effective are they?
  • in what manner do they enter into collaborations in the individual countries?

The initiative is backed up by the OECD/DAC, who want to promote these types of joint analyses, which can save a large amount of resources and give donors, programme countries and the international organisations themselves more useful information.


just as WHO also receives praise for promoting national ownership. WHO receives the absolutely highest marks for the quality of its technical assistance, which was valued by all of the participants in the survey. However, WHO is not equally good in all places at sharing its knowledge with other organisations and donors.

WHO’s contributions to donor harmonisation are very different from country to country, and there also seems to be a difference in how much decision-making competency WHO delegates to its missions in the various countries. Finally, WHO receives criticism for not participating very actively in the efforts regarding internal harmonisation within the UN system.

The World Health Organisation, WHO, has a predominantly positive reputation for its work in developing countries. That is the general impression from the 2007 MOPAN analysis of WHO.

WHO has department offices in all ten countries that feature in the analysis, and the embassies from the MOPAN member countries in the ten countries emphasise that WHO actively contributes to the national dialogue on healthcare policy. However, WHO is not in such close dialogue with NGOs and not at all with the private sector.

WHO also actively contributes – and effectively – to building the capacity of public healthcare systems, primarily at central level,


“As part of the agreement between donors regarding a clearer definition of the distribution of work, it has been decided that the Danish support to the building and maintenance of roads and to the development of agriculture will stop when the current activities come to an end.”

That is the short and laconic statement in the Danish Tanzania Strategy from 2007 effectively ending years of Danish support to roads and agriculture. The donors, including Denmark, are to concentrate on fewer sectors in the individual countries in order to achieve a better distribution of the work of the donors in each of the sectors. And this practice is well underway. Of the 59 sector programmes in all that Denmark supported in 2005, approximately 1/5 are being phased out or have already been discontinued. Previously, Denmark typically provided support to between four and six sectors in every programme country. That figure is to be reduced to between three and four.

Specifically in Tanzania donor congestion was used as one of the arguments for leaving roads and agriculture. Both sectors receive support from a number of big international donors such as the World Bank, the EU and the African Development Bank, which makes Denmark a relatively small-time player in relation to the other sectors. Regarding agriculture, however, another contributing factor was that Tanzania wants to concentrate on large irrigation projects, for which there have previously been poor results, and that Danish initiatives in a number of areas have not proven to be satisfactory. This is due, not least of all, to the fact that the Tanzanian authorities and agriculture organisations have been incapable of implementing the strategies agreed upon.

Denmark will continue its support to Tanzania in three sectors: the business sector, health-care and the natural resources management. Additionally, Denmark provides budget support and support to, among other things, democracy, good governance, refugees and local communities that house refugees.

Denmark is not saying goodbye to agriculture completely. The previous – and successful – Danish support to developing the private sector in rural districts, such as through access to micro-credits and support for processing foodstuffs, which was a part of the support to agriculture, is to be continued as part of Denmark’s support to the business sector.


On 10 September 2007 the Kenyan Government and no fewer than 17 donors – or development partners as they are known in today’s development jargon – signed the Kenya Joint Assistance Strategy. Among the signatories were the USA, the UN, the European Commission, the World Bank, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Japan – and Denmark, which, moreover, was the chair for the donor group.

The joint strategy replaces the strategies that the individual donors have each had for Kenya. The individual donors can continue to maintain their own descriptions of their role in the country, but with the joint strategy, a joint framework for the activities of the individual donors has been created. This reduces the workload on the Kenyan authorities and ensures better coordination of overall development assistance efforts in Kenya.

Joint strategies are on the way or already in place in seven out of Denmark’s 16 programme countries. These Joint Assistance Strategies – JASs – as they are called, are formed under the leadership of the national governments and can, i.a., pave the way for a better division of labour between the donors so that the worst case scenario of 25 donors in one sector and only three donors in another can be avoided.

In Kenya, Denmark will phase out its support to the water and agriculture sectors while continuing support for healthcare, the environment, business and good governance.

JASs are also an advantage in times of crisis

The usual thinking on the matter is that it is only possible to create joint strategies in developing countries that are fairly well functioning, and Kenya did meet that criterion when the strategy was signed. However, the country has not seemed to be doing so well since the election on 27 December 2007. But, in the unrest in the wake of the election, having entered into the ambitious agreement has proved to have been an advantage.

Specifically, the strategy has taken into consideration the fact that the political development in Kenya could again run into trouble. This is directly described in what is called the ’low case scenario’. “It will be reminiscent of the situation in the 1990s, with serious political problems and setbacks in the social and economic results that have been achieved. In such a situation the partners will probably reevaluate and perhaps reduce their level of assistance, increase their direct control of their contributions and work around the government to a higher degree.”

Bo Jensen, the Danish ambassador in Kenya, added these words regarding the unfortunate scenario described above in his speech as the chair for the donor group in September: “This is naturally a situation we do not wish to experience.”

A few months later, just such a situation did indeed occur, and with the joint strategy in hand, the donors could react collectively vis-à-vis the Kenyan government and announce that they all – in keeping with the strategy adopted – are re-considering their development assistance activities and cannot return to ’business-as-usual’ until the government lives up to its responsibilities of ensuring democracy and good governance.


Budget support is the form of assistance that is most aligned to the recipient countries’ systems – and thus also most dependent on these systems functioning properly. Budget support is, therefore, only provided to countries with which Denmark has a close and constructive dialogue and it is always combined with support to public administration in the recipient country.

Demark provides general budget support to six programme countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mozambique, Tanzania and Vietnam. The total amount of Danish general budget support has been steadily increasing, from USD 23.7 million in 2003 to DKK 354 million in 2007. However, it still only amounts to 4.4 per cent of Denmark’s bilateral assistance. It is difficult to find comparable figures for other donors, but Denmark lies at the lower end of the scale. For example, the United Kingdom provides around 20 per cent of its bilateral assistance as general budget support. According to the Danish embassies’ evaluations, recipient countries are becoming more and more suited for receiving general budget support and sector budget support. During the assessment of Denmark’s sector programmes in 2007, the conditions for granting budget support were judged to be satisfactory or very satisfactory in half of the cases, a respectable rise from approximately one third in 2004.

Many circumstances are involved when an embassy evaluates whether or not a country can receive budget support. In all there are ten specific criteria which include an evaluation of the country’s governance, initiatives aimed at combating poverty, cooperation between the government and the donors, and public financial management.

At the same time, work is continually being done to improve the preconditions for receiving budget support. In the area of public financial management, an evaluation is made of such things as whether the rules for public tenders and procurements are satisfactory and whether or not they are upheld. Denmark’s programme countries Vietnam and Mozambique have, for example, reached agreements with the donors concerning acceptable guidelines for public procurements. This has led to the countries’ own guidelines for public procurements being improved. Apart from helping to ensure that something is gained from the budget support, the tightening of the rules has also led, over a very short period of time, to dramatic increases in the share of Danish development assistance that is subject to local procurement procedures. For example, the portion of Danish development assistance that is subject to local procurement procedures in Mozambique rose from 54 per cent in 2005 to 81 per cent in 2007.

Photo: Students doing group work in the schoolyard at a primary school in Managua, Nicaragua. Foto: Nana Reimers

Students doing group work in the schoolyard at a primary school in Managua, Nicaragua. Foto: Nana Reimers


Since 2004 the Danish embassies in the 16 programme countries have annually evaluated overall goal fulfilment of their country programmes. 2007 became the first year that all the embassies judged their goal fulfilment as “satisfactory” or “very satisfactory”.

All 16 embassies also judged that the process of aligning donor support to national systems and cooperation with other donors is proceeding satisfactorily or very satisfactorily. In 2004 this was the case in only two-thirds of Denmark’s programme countries, and the development must be seen as an expression of the fact that the work of harmonisation and alignment is bearing fruit and making progress.

The picture is not so quite so unequivocal and positive when it comes to evaluating the national development/poverty reduction strategies that are to create the whole framework for alignment and harmonisation. In five of the 16 programme countries, the embassies evaluated that they were not completely satisfactory in 2007. In three of the countries, Nepal, Bolivia and Nicaragua, it is possible that the cause is that the countries have recently experienced political upheaval, with new governments being installed and they have therefore not yet finalised their development policies. In two of the countries, Ghana and Zambia, the embassies estimate that the development and follow up of the national plans needs to be improved.

The reports that have come in seem to point in the direction of progress being made in the areas that are controlled by the donors while there is still some way to go in the case of the national strategies, which are more dependent on the conditions and capacities in the individual countries. When the embassies still judge the possibilities for aligning the assistance positively, this can be due to the fact that other factors, such as the capacity in terms of administration, in the recipient country are developing in a positive direction.


In Bangladesh the state accounts have still not advanced into the age of electronic data processing, and most of the accounting is still performed manually. This is just one of the reasons why, while Denmark’s support totalling millions is incorporated into the country’s total development budget, the support, however, is not integrated into the country’s national accounts. As long as the accounting is done manually, it is impossible to make use of the local systems to ensure that Danish funds are being used properly.

This does not harmonise very well with the Paris Declaration’s goal of having donors make use of the recipient countries’ own budgets and systems. Support is to be fully integrated in the budget so that it is possible to get a complete overview of the funds that are available and donor support is included on an equal footing with local funds. However, in Bangladesh Denmark scores a big zero on the Paris indicator for the degree of alignment with national accounting systems.

In other countries where the conditions are different, Denmark scores very highly on the indicator for national accounting systems. In Vietnam, for example, the national systems for budgeting, financial reporting and accounting are used for approximately half of all Danish support, 51 per cent to be completely accurate.

In Africa there is also a large difference in quality of the recipient countries’ systems. In Burkina Faso 31 per cent of Danish support goes through local systems, while Ghana has reached 72 per cent.

The examples given emphasise the fact that the Paris Declaration and its recommendations should not be understood so literally that the development towards alignment, harmonisation, budget support etc. should now just rush ahead in all developing countries irrespective of local conditions.

On the other hand, local conditions that prevent good intentions from being carried out must not be used as an excuse for not giving development a push. Therefore, work is being done internationally with different goals for the individual countries. The goals are set so that, on the one hand, they are not unrealistic, but on the other hand are quite ambitious.

For example, the goal for Bangladesh is that 33 per cent of donor support should be aligned with the national accounting systems already in 2010. That is a high target and quite ambitious in terms of the 0 per cent that Denmark is currently at, but not impressive in relation to the 51 per cent that Denmark, as mentioned, is now at in Vietnam.


Photo: A mother feeding her 18-month-old baby at a health clinic in a refugee camp in southern Darfur, Sudan. Photo: Jenny Matthews

A mother feeding her 18-month-old baby at a health clinic in a refugee camp in southern Darfur, Sudan. Photo: Jenny Matthews


A 168-page long and thorough evaluation of Tanzania’s healthcare sector in 2007 contained no particular reference to Danish assistance, despite the fact that Denmark, with annual support of around USD 18.4 million, is one of the major donors to the healthcare sector in Tanzania.

The goal was namely first and foremost to make an evaluation that the Tanzanians could use. And this goal has been achieved. The work on developing a new National Health Plan in Tanzania is fully in progress, and here the thorough evaluation and its recommendations are very much in use.

The Tanzania evaluation is an example of the new type of evaluations that follow the recommendations set out in the Paris Declaration of 2005 regarding more effective aid. Evaluations must be joint evaluations which to a greater extent are controlled by the recipient countries and to a lesser extent focus on the activities of the particular donors.

This new type of assistance makes good sense in a situation when Denmark, for example in the health sector, no longer builds ’Danish’ clinics and hospitals, but helps the Tanzanians to build up their national health system and realise their national health plan.

Denmark has been among the most active countries in promoting cooperation with the recipient countries regarding evaluations and conducting joint evaluations with other donors. However, it is not without problems. It is demanding in terms of time and thus also resources, but it is nevertheless a good investment. Another problem is that evaluations that dedicate little focus to Danish assistance have proved to have difficulty in finding their way into the Danish press, and this impacts on the information about the development assistance.

In total, three out of the five evaluations that were completed last year were joint evaluations. However, there is still a need for “Danish” evaluations.

Better overview

In 2007, the Evaluation Department introduced a new element, Evaluation Studies. There exist lots of completed evaluations that are rarely communicated to a broader audience and therefore are not utilised at all as much as they might be. By compiling evaluations from certain areas, easily accessible material is produced which both Danida and others can draw benefit from. Three studies were conducted in 2007:

  • Research: The study is based on a total of 23 evaluations of development research and point to, for example, the need for better and more systematic data collection as a basis for evaluations of research efforts and for clearer definitions of indicators.
  • Technical assistance: The study was conducted as part of the evaluation of technical assistance and it analyses five large evaluations and other studies. One of the conclusions is that there exists very little information about the effectiveness of technical assistance, but that one of the general messages is that the recipient country should be afforded greater ownership of the technical assistance.
  • Secondary roads in Nicaragua: Earlier impact evaluations have shown that it is necessary beforehand to describe very thoroughly the data material that is to serve as the basis for the evaluations, and the objective of the study was – in connection with a potential evaluation of Danish support to secondary roads in Nicaragua – to investigate whether such data material exists. The study concludes that there is not sufficient data, but pointed to other opportunities for generally evaluating the importance of secondary roads.

Reports must be used

In 2006 alone, 315 final reports were submitted on Danish-supported activities. The objective of the reports is not only to assess completed activities, but also to report on experience and lessons learned in order to incorporate them in the delivery of future development assistance.

In 2007, the Evaluation Department conducted a review of the reports, concluding that the reports do indeed contain lessons that can and should be used. These should be catalogued and placed on the internet, so that they also become accessible to people not involved in the administration of Danish development assistance. The analysis also came with recommendations regarding the shaping of the reports, in order to make them easier to use and more readable.

Lastly, in 2007, a follow-up was conducted on the evaluation from 2002 of Danish support to vocational training programmes in 23 countries to see whether the recommendations have been implemented. The study encompassed visits to Kenya and Zambia and concludes that a number of recommendations have been followed and are still used in the current work. However, it should be added that this is not due solely to the evaluation, but also the general tendencies in development assistance.

In 2007, five evaluations were completed:

  • Mozambique’s Agricultural Sector Public Expenditure Programme (PROAGRI)
  • Technical assistance, based on country studies in Mozambique, the Solomon Islands and Vietnam
  • Tanzania’s health sector
  • Danish assistance to water supply and sanitation
  • Impact evaluation of HIMA,
  • Iringa Tanzania.

The cost of conducting the evaluations totalled USD 2.6 million in 2007. In addition, USD 0.8 million was spent on communicating the results of the evaluations and on preparing new evaluations as well as smaller studies. By the end of the year, nine evaluations as well as three evaluation studies were being conducted.

Photo: Pregnancy check-up at a clinic in Mali. Photo: Giacomo Pirozzi/Panos

Pregnancy check-up at a clinic in Mali. Photo: Giacomo Pirozzi/Panos


  • Give recipients greater responsibility for the technical assistance

Cover: Joint Evaluation Study of Provision of Technical Assistance Personnel

If the technical assistance is to be effective, it must be managed by the recipient country, which must also have responsibility for recruitment and deployment of advisers. The basis and conditions for technical assistance must be negotiated and agreed in full openness, and the recipient countries must be ensured access to all relevant information, including what it costs to choose other solutions than advisers. Once deployed, advisers should be fully accountable to the host organisation in the recipient country.

This is the conclusion of an evaluation study of technical assistance conducted in 2007, which involved studies in such different countries as Mozambique, Vietnam and the Solomon Islands. The evaluation was financed by Denmark, Germany and Australia.

For over half a century, technical assistance has constituted a substantial, although controversial, part of Danish development assistance. In particular, foreign long-term advisers have had a negative image. Instead of building up local capacity, they have had a reputation for creating their own “small islands of success” in the form of isolated projects that collapsed after they were passed over to local authorities.

In recent years, there have been dramatic changes in development assistance and development policy. Project support has been replaced by programme and, later, budget support, all in an effort to pave the way for the recipient countries to assume ownership. The changes culminated, so far, in 2005 with the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness. The declaration stipulates that responsibility for developing capacity rests with the recipient countries, and that the role of the donors is to support this development. This requires advisers to assume a new role, and changes have indeed taken place. However, there is widespread concern that these changes are taking place too slowly and that there is resistance to implementing the changes that are necessary.

Even though much of the criticism made of technical assistance is generally well-justified, the evaluation concludes that technical assistance has contributed positively to development in many countries.

However, these contributions have rarely been properly documented and are therefore not particularly visible.

The recipient countries themselves rarely define their need for technical assistance clearly, but there is no doubt that this need continues to be huge. Technical assistance can in both the short term and the medium term contribute to meeting fundamental institutional challenges, but it can never replace extensive reforms of the public sector in the recipient countries.

The donors should relinquish control and allow the recipient countries to assume full responsibility for the technical assistance. This must take place in a gradual and controlled process that takes the capacity of the recipient country into consideration. But the goal of transferring responsibility gradually must not become an excuse for not implementing changes, and a close eye must be kept on the progress – or lack of it.



In 2007, support for research was awarded as part of Danish development assistance amounting to USD 40.4 million. Of this amount, USD 27.6 million was awarded to Danish research institutions and networks, and USD 9.2 million to international research institutions. The activity area and the total grant funds were virtually unchanged in comparison with 2006, but a number of changes were initiated or implemented during 2007.

In general, greater efforts are being made to support research and research capacity building in developing countries and to strengthen the link between the research supported and the development assistance. This is achieved partly by concluding framework agreements with individual countries regarding research. Initially, such three-year pilot agreements are in the process of being concluded with Tanzania and Vietnam. They entail Denmark awarding around USD 18.4 million per year in support to research and especially research capacity building in each of the two countries. In Vietnam, which is currently being phased out as a Danish programme country over the next decade, the support will form part of the phasing-out process and can contribute to building Vietnam’s capacity to successfully undertake the tasks after Danish assistance comes to an end.

Another general effort aims at reducing the proportion of research funds that are pre-designated for specific Danish institutions and instead awarding more research funds through open competition.

In 2007, therefore, agreement was reached on a model for gradually phasing out over a five-year period the support to three centres which for decades have received regular framework grants: the Danish Seed Health Centre (DSHC), the Danish Forest and Landscape Research Institute, and the Institute for Health Research and Development (DBL). In 2007, the three centres between them were awarded USD 7.1 million in support. All three centres are now attached to the new University of Copenhagen, with which a comprehensive performance contract has been reached for the five-year phasing-out period. The funding that is released through the gradual phasing out of the fixed support to the centres will be converted into free funding, and researchers from the centres will be able to apply for the free research funds on an equal basis with others.

Research support in 2007
Activity areas USD million
Research programmes, including capacity building in developing countries (FFU) 17.6
Support to the Danish three research institutions 7.1
Support to Danish research networks 1.2
Audits 1.9
International agricultural research 6.4
Other international development research 2.9
Total 37.2

In 2007, USD 17.6 million was spent on research and research capacity building in developing countries. The parameters governing the use of the funds are laid down by a Consultative Research Committee for Development Research (FFU), which was set up by the Minister for Development Cooperation in 2006 with the aim of ensuring more strategic use of the research grants and strengthening the link between the research and the practical development work.

Applications can be made for grants to conduct research within all sector fields relevant for Danish development assistance. However, in 2007 the priority themes were:

  • Health systems in Africa
  • Environmental and sustainable utilisation of natural resources in Africa
  • Good governance at centralised and/or decentralised level

Moreover, the free research funds will be injected with an extra pool of USD 4.6 million in 2008 and USD 9.2 million in 2009 for the purpose of conducting research into medicine and health of special relevance to the poor countries.

With the aim of enhancing the dialogue between research and assistance, research networks are supported. In 2007, the number of supported networks was reduced from six to three, in that the support to the Network for Smallholder Poultry Development has been phased out and the networks for farming, environment and good governance have been collected in the Danish Development Research Network. In addition, the Danish Water Forum’s Knowledge Network for Water and Development and the Danish Network for International Health Research are granted support.

In order to support, among other things, the strategy work that the Government is undertaking, commitments of research funding were granted in 2007 for carrying out 15 new audits. These concern audits on, for example, migration, climate change and fragile states.

In total, USD 9.4 million was awarded in support to international research. Of this amount, USD 6.4 million went to agricultural research.


  • The long haul

While Torch can mean a large candle or flashlight, TORCH is also the acronym for a joint Danish-Ugandan research project, and even though the acronym stands for something completely different, its association with information is highly relevant.

TORCH stands for Tororo Community Health. Tororo is a district in eastern Uganda, and TORCH is the title of a long-standing research partnership in the health sector between the universities in Århus and Copenhagen, Denmark and Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. The partnership has been running since 1992 and has under the Danish programme, the Enhancement of Research Capacity (ENRECA), and more recently under the Consultative Research Committee for Development Research (FFU), received support totalling USD 4.5 million. The immediate goal of the efforts has been to build up research capacity in the health sector at Makarere University, and through TORCH. For example, six Ugandan researchers have been educated to PhD level and 19 have taken a Master’s degree. In addition, success has been achieved in keeping them in Uganda after they have completed their degrees.

The research has very much been cross-disciplinary in nature and grounded in practical reality, and the results have been of practical use. The research has had close relations to the long-standing Danish support to the health sector in Uganda and focuses on areas that are also assigned high priority in Uganda. Research has been conducted into the interplay between the public health service and the local communities and also into how the health service is to be structured at different levels in order for it to function in the most optimal way. But research has also been conducted into classic medical fields such as HIV/AIDS and epidemiology. Ugandans and Danes have together researched into experience with the use of anti-retroviral treatment in Kampala and in eastern Uganda, and the research has aroused interest among several organisations – also outside Uganda.

The collaboration has involved a wide range of experts: doctors, epidemiologists, public health experts and other trained healthcare practitioners, but also anthropologists and sociologists. Together, specialists from the two countries have researched into a number of different real-life health challenges in two districts in Uganda in a period where the health service in Uganda has undergone enormous changes. In this period, user payment has been introduced into the health sphere, but since then abandoned again. Also in this period, it has been possible to treat HIV/AIDS patients with new, but expensive drugs.

In a review conducted in 2007 of Danish assistance to health research, TORCH is highlighted as a good example of research collaboration, not least because researchers in Uganda regard it as equal and professional. The review concludes that the project has contributed to strengthening research capacity in the health sector in Uganda, and that it has delivered new and important knowledge that can be used locally.

The Danish support to TORCH is now in the process of being phased out, but TORCH has left lasting imprints in the form of a strengthened Child Health and Development Centre at Makerere University, which now enjoys national and international recognition as an effective cross-disciplinary research institution.



According to an awareness survey conducted in 2007 for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, half of the population (51 per cent) believes that development assistance is valuable and helps foster development. The survey also shows that 69 per cent of those surveyed know about Danida and the development cooperation.

A total of 42 per cent responded that development assistance helps to a high degree or very high degree. However, the Gallup survey also shows that there is apparently widespread scepticism regarding whether the funds are used properly. A total of 57 per cent responded that the majority of development assistance is spent on administration and not used to benefit the poor.

Denmark gives money to poor countries because we wish to help the world’s most disadvantaged to obtain improved living conditions. The majority of the participants in the survey were aware that this is the main objective of Danish development cooperation. In specific terms, a total of 64 per cent of respondents link Danish development policy to “poverty reduction”. This is slightly more than what a corresponding survey showed last year. Furthermore, over half of the respondents (57 per cent) stated that it was their impression that Denmark gave particular support to the African countries.

The result of the survey shows that the population in general knows about Danish development assistance, but that in relation to previous surveys a larger proportion of people are more sceptical about the effect of the Danish development assistance.

Information about development 2007

Each year, funds are set aside in the Appropriations Act to activities aimed at providing information about life and conditions in developing countries and about the Danish participation in development cooperation. The funds are allocated to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ own information activities, to the Information Grant and to the project-oriented information activities.

Danida’s Information Grant:
USD 2.6 million, of which USD 0.2 million is awarded for travel grants

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ own information activities:
USD 2.4 million

When seeking grant funding for a development project, Danish NGOs can also apply for grants for information activities about the project. In 2006, USD 2.4 million was awarded for the project-related information activities of NGOs.


In March 2007, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs opened a Third World Blog at, which is the Ministry’s website for children and young people. The blog is written by ten young Ghanaians who tell about their daily life, their interests, their hopes and their dreams. The issues include, among others, friendship, love, education, religion and HIV/AIDS.

“The Third World Blog” gave young Danes and Ghanaians an opportunity to engage in an intimate exchange of experience regarding what it means to be young in the two countries. Through conversing with the young Ghanaians on the blog, Danish students had both the opportunity to learn about Ghana as a country and to gain insight into what it means to be a developing country. Blogging was chosen as the form of communication as it gave the young people a platform using a media they are already familiar with.

The Third World Blog was active from 15 March to 30 April. The blog has now ended, but the contributions, questions and comments of the young Ghanaians and Danes are still posted on the website. The Third World Blog and as a whole can usefully be incorporated in the subjects of English, social studies and history – as well as in cross-disciplinary projects. The target group for the site is pupils in the oldest classes in the Folkeskole (Danish Primary and Lower Secondary School).


“Denmark awards approx. USD 2.4 billion annually in development assistance. This corresponds to almost half the cost of building a Great Belt Bridge in today’s prices. This is a considerable amount of money, yet it is far from enough to enable us to support all the focus areas where action is needed. Both the state and the large private organisations must often choose and prioritise what is to be supported. This is one of the crucial dilemmas of development assistance and this is why has been launched”.

This is how the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ most publicised information campaign in 2007 is described at

The information project sent five well-known Danes to Africa, so that they could with their own eyes gain an impression of the reality in developing countries and the dilemmas faced in the development assistance work, and so that through the media they could reach out to Danes not normally involved in development cooperation.

The media coverage was massive. Already a couple of weeks before the project was launched, was discussed in newspapers, radio and TV, and the pros and cons of using “well-known Danes” in communicating information about development cooperation was a popular subject for discussion around dinner tables. From November 2006 to April 2007, the project generated 120-150 comments, articles and remarks in the national newspapers. The project also received publicity in more in-depth news and background reports on the two TV channels, DR and TV2.

At the beginning, the comments were very critical. Later on, however, the project received a more varied response. In particular, the website has been frequently visited and used by, among others, teachers and school classes. The website has subsequently been further developed specifically for teaching purposes.

The five well-known personalities - Karen Mukupa, Charlotte Bircow, Christian Stadil, Martin Miehe-Renard and Jon Stephensen – travelled to a different African country where they were presented with three project proposals which had all been developed by local and international development experts. Their task was to choose one of these projects each. When they returned to Denmark, Karen Mukupa recommended a water project in Kilosa, Tanzania; Charlotte Bircow recommended a water and sanitation project in Katosi, Uganda; Martin Miehe-Renard recommended a health project in Kenya; Christian Stadil recommended a project for women in Ghana; and Jon Stephensen, who was in Zambia, chose to divide the funding between a primary school and a pre-school project for children who are orphans or disadvantaged due to AIDS or malaria. After being reviewed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ experts in the
field, the recommendations were approved, and the work now continues on realising the projects.

The projects that were not recommended can still apply for support from other sources. But the difficult choice of recommending some, but not all, projects and programmes to support is a part of the reality of development work.



The web page,, on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website tells about development and development assistance, with focus on how Danish development assistance helps make a positive difference to poor people in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The stories are also “good” in another sense, namely that are exciting to read. They contain lots of conflicts and troubles. They tell about war, peace, the fight against corruption, natural disasters and about an everyday life with beer-swilling layabouts sprawled in hammocks, while hard-working fiery souls are out in the field getting the crops to grow.

The stories are told through still photos and video clips, where people tell about their world, their dreams and what they have achieved. The personal stories are supplemented with facts, background, quizzes and games.

The first good story was published at in April 2007 and is about the agricultural sector in Uganda. Since then, stories from Kenya and Tanzania have been published.


In 2007, Danida’s Information Grant awarded support to, among other things, the TV programme, “Too many cooks – new ways in development assistance”, which was produced by Dansk AV-Produktion v/Anders Dencker Christensen.

The TV programme communicates seemingly complicated development-related subject matter, such as sector programmes, donor harmonisation and local ownership, etc., in an easily comprehensible way.

Among the Danish public, the discussion about development assistance takes place in two universes. One universe can be perceived as a closed glass-case, where people discuss dilemmas, new approaches and challenges in the assistance. The other is the “public” universe where the discussion is often reduced to one of whether the assistance works or not. The aim of the TV programme, “Too many cooks” is to tie the universes together by giving the viewers an opportunity to put themselves in the position of the recipients. The programme focuses on the health system in Tanzania.

In general, “Too many cooks…” has received overwhelmingly positive feedback, both from development assistance workers who recognise that it is possible to communicate a complex message via the medium of TV, and from lay people who are interested in the world around them, but who are not development aid experts. The feedback from this latter group has also been that they feel well informed.

The TV programme has so far been shown on DR1 and DR2 twice and has been seen by around 88,000 people altogether. With support from the Danish embassy in Dar es Salaam, an English version of the film has been produced, for which there is considerable interest in Tanzania.


Danish Act on International Development Cooperation

The following is a reproduction of the Danish International Development Cooperation Act, cf. Consolidated Act no. 541 of 10 July 1998, as amended by Section 2 of Act no. 410 of 6 June 2002 and by Act no. 411 of 6 June 2002.


Section 1. The objective of Denmark’s official development assistance to developing countries is, through cooperation with governments and public authorities in these countries, to support their endeavours aimed at promoting economic growth, thereby making contributions to ensuring social progress and political independence in accordance with the aims and principles of the United Nations Charter, and to promote mutual understanding and solidarity through cultural cooperation.

General provisions

Section 2. The Danish Minister for Development Cooperation shall present a budget plan once a year to the Folketing (Danish Parliament) covering expenditure on assistance cooperation for the five-year period commencing on the following 1 January. Such plans shall comprise both the appropriations for the direct cooperation with the developing countries and the appropriations for the indirect cooperation through international organisations and non-government organisations (NGOs).

Section 3. The Minister for Development Cooperation shall be responsible for the coordination of Denmark’s involvement in international negotiations which concern assistance to developing countries, and also the coordination of the official Danish assistance efforts, both the assistance provided in direct cooperation with the developing countries and the assistance provided through international organisations.

Technical assistance

Section 4. The Minister for Development Cooperation may set up technical cooperation with the developing countries, by means of implementing or supporting collaborative projects and other development initiatives, by recruiting, training and posting aid workers, including volunteers, and by providing educational grants.

Subsection 2. Such cooperation may be initiated in either direct cooperation with the governments in the developing countries or, subject to their approval, through international organisations or NGOs.

Financial assistance

Section 5. The Minister for Development Cooperation may grant financial assistance in the following forms:

  1. aid to financial institutions whose objective it is to promote economic development in developing countries by acquiring shares, furnishing guarantees, contributing to funds, or by other similar means;
  2. supplies of goods to developing countries that have requested such support for their economic and social development; and
  3. assistance for educational, health, research, social and cultural institutions in developing countries.

Section 6. The Minister for Development Cooperation may grant financial assistance for trade initiatives aimed at promoting the spread of industry in developing countries and increasing their export revenue or alleviating the effects of declining export revenue.

Private capital transfers.

Section 7. Deleted.

Section 8. Within a limit of DKK 2,500 million, the Minister for Development Cooperation may guarantee enterprises domiciled in Denmark against losses incurred in connection with direct new investment in developing countries and equivalent loans.

Subsection 2.Guarantees shall only cover losses incurred as a consequence of political circumstances such as nationalisation and equivalent official measures, barriers to payment transfers, acts of war or similar in the country in which the investment has been made.

Subsection 3. For such guarantees, a risk premium shall be paid, which shall be deposited in a guarantee fund that shall limit losses incurred.

Section 9. With the aim of promoting business development in developing countries, a fund by the name of “The Industrialization Fund for Developing Countries” shall be set up. The fund, which shall be an independent institution, shall promote investment in these countries in cooperation with Danish trade and industry.

Subsection 2. The Government may subsidise the fund’s activities.

Subsection 3. The fund may provide support for Danish investments in developing countries by subscribing for shares, funding analyses of investment options and other enterprise initiatives, granting loans, providing guarantees and by other means which, in the opinion of the board of directors, will promote the aims of the fund.

Subsection 4. The fund shall be governed by a board of directors whose members shall be appointed for three years at a time by the Minister for Development Cooperation, who shall also appoint the chairman and deputy chairman from among the members. The day-to-day business of the fund shall be managed by a managing director, who shall also be appointed by the Minister for Development Cooperation. The fund shall cover its administrative expenses out of its own funds.

Subsection 5. The detailed guidelines for the activities of the fund shall be set out in statutes, which shall be approved by the Minister for Development Cooperation.


Section 10. With a view to spreading knowledge about and achieving understanding of the problems of the developing countries and the importance of Danish participation in international development cooperation, the Minister for Development Cooperation may implement or provide government grants for such activities.

Cultural cooperation

Section 11. Cultural cooperation with developing countries, which is not part of the assistance cooperation, is managed by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs and the Ministry of Education jointly with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs within the framework of cultural agreements entered into or on the basis of similar agreements.

Subsection 2. Deleted.


Section 12. By recommendation of the Research Council for Development Research the Minister for Development Cooperation may provide grants for research concerning developing countries.

Subsection 2. The Research Council for Development Research shall be appointed by the Minister for Development Cooperation for three years at a time.

The Minister, by recommendation of the Research Council, appoints a chairman and deputy chairman of the Research Council from among its members.

Subsection 3. Deleted.

Subsection 4. Deleted.

Section 13. Deleted.


Section 14. The Minister for Development Cooperation shall appoint the members of a “Board for International Development Cooperation”.

Subsection 2. The members of the Board shall be appointed for three-year terms.

Subsection 3. The Board shall consist of up to nine members.

Subsection 4. The Minister shall appoint a chairman and deputy chairman of the Board from among its members.

Section 15. The Board shall act as adviser to the Minister for Development Cooperation in connection with the implementation of the tasks assigned to the Minister in pursuance of this Act.

Subsection 2. The Board shall submit an annual report on its activities.

Section 16. The Minister for Development Cooperation shall appoint the members of a “Council for International Development Cooperation”, which shall be charged with monitoring the activities of the Board for International Development Cooperation, receiving its report, and providing advice and recommendations.

Subsection 2. The members of the Council shall be appointed for three-year terms. Subsection 3. The Council shall consist of up to 75 members.

Subsection 4. As members of the Council may be appointed individuals who have been nominated by authorities, institutions or organisations and who have a special interest in development assistance issues, and individuals holding special professional skills or experience related to the tasks forming part of the Council’s remit.

Subsection 5. The Minister shall appoint the chairman of the Council from among its members. The Council shall elect two deputy chairmen from among its members.

Section 17. The Minister for Development Cooperation shall lay down rules of procedure for the Board and the Council for International Development Cooperation.

Section 18. The Minister for Development Cooperation shall be assisted by a department under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the performance of the duties assigned to him or her under this act.

Subsection 2. The department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs mentioned in subsection (1) above shall also act as secretariat in connection with the activities of the Board and the Council for International Development Cooperation.

Section 19. Deleted.

Section 20. The Act shall enter into force on 1 October 1971. The provision in Section 16 shall, however, enter into force on 1 January 1972.

Subsection 2. Act no. 94 of 19 March 1962 on technical cooperation with developing countries, and Act no. 219 of 27 May 1970 on posting of volunteers to developing countries shall be revoked.


  1. The economic and social stage of development of the country and its development needs and own plans for development.
  2. The supply of development assistance from other bilateral and multilateral donors and the ability of the country to utilise the assistance and benefit from it.
  3. The possibility of promoting sustainable development through dialogue with the country in question, i.e. development that also in the longer term will have no significantly, negative economic or ecological effects and aims at creating permanent improvements for the poorest population groups.
  4. The possibility of cooperating with the country to promote the development of and respect for human rights in accordance with internationally adopted human rights’ standards, including the conventions on the freedom of association, the right to organise and to bargain collectively.
  5. The possibility of cooperating with the country to ensure that aspects concerning women receive a central and fully integrated position in the development process.
  6. Previous Danida experience from bilateral development cooperation.
  7. If the above criteria are satisfactorily met, the possibility of promoting the participation of the Danish business sector and thus employment in Denmark in development cooperation should enter deliberations on the specific selection of countries, on condition that Danish supplies and services are competitive with respect to adapted technology, price and quality.

In selecting programme countries, there must be special consideration for the grave situation in the sub-Saharan area, but a reasonable distribution of development assistance funds between African and Asian countries must otherwise be aimed at. Danish development assistance activity in Central America is ensured, and it is desirable that at least one South American country should be a cooperation partner.

In the case of very small countries or countries with a very small population, it should be taken into account whether it would be possible to establish longer-term, substantial cooperation of considerable scope that ensures the appropriate and rational utilisation of Danida’s administrative resources.

In the case of very big countries, a certain geographic concentration of Danish development assistance efforts will be necessary in order to ensure the cohesion of these efforts as well as the appropriate and rational utilisation of Danida’s administrative resources. The geographic concentration should be so designed as to benefit the poorest population groups, in particular.

Irrespective of the above, it should be possible for Danida, in a short-term transition period, to grant initiating or reconstruction assistance to a country that has achieved independence or has been devastated by war, civil war, natural disasters and the like.

It should be constantly checked that the criteria above continue to apply in cooperation with the individual country. Should this no longer be the case, cooperation should normally be phased out to allow the possibility of cooperation with another country being initiated.

(Statement by a majority of the members of the Foreign Affairs Committee. From the Committee’s report on the selection of future partner countries in relation to Danish development assistance, 23 May 1989).



Holger Bernt Hansen
Professor, dr.phil.
Centre of African Studie University of Copenhagen

Kim Carstensen
WWF World Wildlife Fund

Klaus Aa. Bustrup
Managing Director
Danish Agricultural Council

Marie-Louise Knuppert
Secretary of the Danish Confederation of Trade Unions
Danish Confederation of Trade Unions

Jørgen K. Hansen
Director Confederation of Danish Industry

Henrik Secher Marcussen
Roskilde University

John Aagaard
Head of Department
Danish Federation of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

Anders Ladekarl
Head of International Department
Danish Red Cross

Ebba Holme Hansen
Department of Social Pharmacy
Danish University of Pharmaceutical Sciences


Frans Mikael Jansen
MS Danish Association for International Cooperation

Johannes Østergaard
Senior Consultant
Danish Agricultural Council

Erik Nielsen
Danish Confederation of Trade Unions

Anders Ladefoged
Head of Sales
Policy Confederation of Danish Industry

Lisbeth Valentin HansenManaging Director
Dansk Toksikologi Center

Vagn Berthelsen

Bodil Holmsgaard
Head of Operative Emergency Unit


Lars B. Goldschmidt
Managing Director
Danish Association of Consulting Engineers, F.R.I.

Peter Alexa
Head of Department
Danish Ministry of Defence
Division 3, Department 8



Holger Bernt Hansen
Professor, dr. phil.
Centre of African Studies
University of Copenhagen

Christian Friis Bach
Senior Lecturer
Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University

Hans-Henrik Brydensholt
Council Chairman
High Court Judge, retired

Ib Bygbjerg
Department of International Health Institute of Public Health
Centre of Health and Society
University of Copenhagen

Viggo Fischer
Danish Afghanistan Committee

Lise Friis

Hans-Henrik Holm
Jean Monnet Professor
Department Director
Danish School of Journalism

Anders Jerichow

Bjørn Lomborg
Senior Lecturer

David Madié
Chairman of Board of Directors
Metrocomia Scandinavia A/S

Britha Mikkelsen
Head of Research

Martin Paldam
School of Economics and Management
University of Aarhus

Finn Tarp
Senior Lecturer
Department of Economics
University of Copenhagen

Thomas Tufte
Professor Communication
Roskilde University

Helle Ulrichsen
Regional Director
Capital Region

Knud Vilby

Niels Westergaard-Nielsen
Department of Economics
Aarhus School of Business


Marian Tangaa Hansen
Secretariat Director
The Danish Children’s Fund

Tore Asmussen
International Secretary
Danish Union of Teachers

Ann Mary Olsen
Deputy Head
Danish Refugee Council

Rikke Danielsen
Confederation of Danish Industry

Thorkild E. Jensen
Danish Metal Workers’ Union

Wivie Schärfe
Danish Red Cross

Jeppe Bruus Christensen
Danish Youth Council

Steen M. Andersen
Danish UNICEF Committee

Henriette Thuen
Export Director
Danish Brewers’ Association

Mogens D. Pedersen
Disabled Peoples Organisations Denmark (DPOD)

Torleif Jonasson
Deputy Chairman
Danish United Nations Association

Henrik Stubkjær

Birgit Lindsnæs
Deputy Director
Institute of Human Rights
Danish Centre for International Studies and Human Rights

Henny Hansen
International Programme Coordinator
Danish Family Planning Association

Marianne Lykke Thomsen
Senior Policy Adviser
Greenland Home Rule Government

Anne Andersen
Danish National Union of Upper Secondary School Teachers

Tine Bork
Project Manager
Danish Federation of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

Annemette Danielsen
Deputy Chairman

Anne Christensen
Civil Engineer
Danish Society of Engineers

Nanna Hvidt
Danish Institute for International Studies
Danish Centre for International Studies and Human Rights

Janice Goodson Førde
Women and Development

Helle Poulsen
Board Member
Women’s Council in Denmark

Johannes Østergaard
Senior Consultant
Danish Agricultural Council

Erik Nielsen
Danish Confederation of Trade Unions

Søren Hougaard
MS Danish Association for International Cooperation

Jan Mosbech Kieler
Divisional Director
Danish Council of Consulting Architects and Engineers

Roya Hoffmeyer

Annelie Abildgaard
Member of Reference Group
Project Advice and Training Centre

Mimi Jakobsen
Save the Children Denmark

Anders Stig Møller
Head of Secretariat
LO/FTF Council

Mette Nedergaard
Environmental Associate
WWW World Wildlife Fund

Vibeke Tuxen
Head of Department

Peter Skinhøj
Danish Aids Foundation

Pia Olsen
Chairman of The Swallows
Danish 92 Group

Susanne Schøtt
Deputy Director
Danish Bankers’ Association

Vän-Khanh Dang
Board Member
Danish Vietnamese Association

Ditte Nørgaard-Andersen


Holger Bernt Hansen
Professor, dr.phil.
Chairman of the Council for International Development Cooperation

Ebba Holme Hansen
Department of Social Pharmacy
The Danish University of Pharmaceutical Sciences

Henrik Secher Marcussen
Institute of Geography and International Development Studies
Roskilde University

Peter Skinhøj
Epidemic Clinic
Copenhagen University Hospital

Niels Ehlers Koch
Direktør, dr.agro.
Centre for Forest and Landscape

Anette M. Reenberg
Professor, dr.scient.
Department of Geography
University of Copenhagen

Birgitte K. Ahring
Professor, lic. scient
Bio-Centrum DTU
Technical University of Denmark

Anne Marie Ejdesgaard Jeppesen
Dr. Lektor
Department of English, German and Romance Studies
University of Copenhagen


  Members Personal Alternate
Chairman: Director
Lise Friis
Vice-chairman: Head of Bilateral Department
Carsten Nilaus Pedersen
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Head of Department
Charlotte Laursen
Danish Bankers’ Association: Head of Section
Julie Zeruneith
Head of Department
Rikke Friborg
Economic Council of the Labour Movement: Cand.polit.
Frithiof Hagen
Anita Vium
Ministry of Economic and Business Affairs: Guarantee Director
Grethe Beck, EKF
Head of the Credit and
International Department
Jan Vassard, EKF
Danish Confederation of Trade Unions: International Consultant
Jens Erik Ohrt
International Consultant
Eva Tabor, 3F
Confederation of Danish Industry: Director
Henning Roslev Bukh
Cimbria Unigrain A/S
Chief Consultant
Peter Thagesen
Business representatives: Director
John K. Lassen

Head of Department
Ulla M. Konnerup


Ida Nicolaisen
Senior Researcher
Nordic Institute of Asian Studies

Birgit Meister

Hans-Henrik Holm
Jean Monnet Professor
Head of Department
Danish School of Journalism

Annette Nielsen
Formerly KVINFO

Carsten Kolby Kristiansen
High School Principal
Senior Adviser
Silkeborg Folk High School

Erik Nielsen
Danish Confederation of Trade Unions

Trine Sick
Formerly Denmark’s Radio

Poul Tang
ICT Consultant
County Centre for Teaching County of Aarhus

Sune Bang
Propaganda McCann

Ulla Lund

Margrethe Skov


View the picture in full size

¹ Source:
² Source:


Afghanistan Education, extension, Phase 2 13,228,971.4 2007-2008
Benin Programme for good governance 20,210,928.6 2007-2010
  Programme for strengthening the fight against HIV/AIDS 918,676.6 2007-2010
Bhutan Support to social sectors 25,723,000.0 2008-2013
Bolivia Programme for modernising the public sector 20,210,928.6 2007-2010
  Support to the national climate programme 307,700.9 2008
  Preparation of modernisation programme in the public sector 411,274.0 2007-2008
  Support to programme for strengthening municipal administrations 873,332.6 2007-2008
Burkina Faso Fight against HIV/AIDS in Burkina Faso 12,861,500.0 2007-2012
Ghana Support to the health sector, including fight against HIV/AIDS 78,087,678.7 2008-2012
Indonesia Environmental programme, Phase 2 40,421,857.2 2008-2012
China Support to Task Force on sustainable use of coal 367,471.4 2008-2009
Mali Support to implementation of Mali’s presidential and parliamentary elections in 2007 551,207.1 2007
  Business sector programme 33,991,107.2 2007-2012
  Agricultural sector programme 27,560,357.2 2007-2012
  Support to peace school in Mali 918,678.6 2008-2010
Mozambique Support to reform of the public sector and statistics 18,373,571.5 2008-2012
  Macro-financial support 29,397,714.3 2008-2012
Nepal Energy sector programme – Phase 2 27,560,357.2 2007-2011
  Support to the peace process 3,674,714.3 2007-2008
Nicaragua Emergency relief in connection with Hurricane Felix 369.520,4 2007-2008
  Emergency relief to regional authorities in connection with Hurricane Felix 55,120.7 2007
  Support to mine-clearing 283,264.2 2007-2008
Niger Programme for good governance 4,593,392.9 2008-2012
  Support to management of migration flows in Niger 277,624.7 2007-2009
Palestine Support to communal development in the Gaza middle area (SMDM III) 6,540,991.4 2007-2009
  Support to the President Office’s Jerusalem Fund 1,653,621.4 2007-2009
  Support to PLO’s negotiation department (NAD/NSU) 1,102,414.3 2007-2009
  Support to the President Office’s capacity building programme (CIB) 661,448.6 2007-2009
South Africa Protection of women and children, Phase 2 7,349,428.6 2007-2009
Uganda Sector programme support to the road sector, Phase 3 14,698,857.2 2007-2008
  Information concerning HIV/AIDS 16,536,214.3 2007-2010
  Sector programme support to the water sector, Phase 3 14,698,857.2 2007-2010
  Reforms in the public sector 14,698,857.2 2007-2010
Vietnam Agricultural and development of rural areas 42,259,214.3 2007-2012
  Good governance and public sector administration 12,861,500.0 2008-2011


Development cooperation comprises many different types of assistance. The wide range of types and instruments of assistance ensures that Denmark is able to organise flexible, versatile development cooperation and play an active part in development policy in numerous contexts. At the same time, the various types of assistance can often complement each other to maximise their effect.

Bilateral and multilateral assistance

Assistance given directly by one country to another is called bilateral assistance. Multilateral assistance, on the other hand, is channelled through international organisations, for example UN organisations, the World Bank Group and the EU.

Mixed Credits

The scheme involving Mixed Credits for developing countries was established in 1993. A mixed credit is a loan on terms like those of an export credit, whereby Danida pays most or all of the interest. The credit can finance Danish project supplies to development projects in creditworthy developing countries with a GNI per capita of a maximum of USD 2,380. The scheme was primarily established with a view to financing development projects in countries of interest to Danish trade and industry.

Budget support

The definition of budget support is that donor funds are canalised together with the funds of the programme country itself and are utilised through the public expenditure system in the programme country with the objective of financing the public budget. When Denmark grants budget support, financial means from this are transferred from the Danish government to the government in the partner country. The Danish funds are pooled with the funds of the partner country, are utilised through the partner country’s own financial systems and managed by using the partner country’s own procedures for the administration of finances. This form of assistance is used to an increasing extent because to a high degree it promotes the partner country’s ownership of development and because the creation of expensive parallel structures is avoided. General budget support can be granted as well as more specific budget support where the support goes directly to a particular sector.

When the funds are used, the Danish funds cannot be separated from other funds in the partner country’s budget. It is, thus, impossible to earmark Danish funds when this form of assistance is employed. For this reason a certain quality in the budget and the financial management is required. In the countries where Denmark grants budget support, capacity building always forms part of the support. This improves the ability of public institutions for good financial management and administration.

At present Denmark is giving budget support to the following programme countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mozambique, Tanzania and Vietnam. The amount of budget support varies from country to country. In 2006 between 6 percent (Mozambique) and 29 per cent (Vietnam) of the country frame in the six countries was disbursed as budget support. A total of USD 50.2 million in budget support was used in 2006. This corresponds to approx. 9 per cent of the country frames for the programme countries and 3.8 per cent of total bilateral assistance. Thus, budget support comprises a limited share of total development assistance. Denmark never grants budget support alone, but always in cooperation with other donors. This, however, does not alter the fact that it is possible for Denmark to take independent Danish steps if necessary. Thus, in Tanzania in 2007 Denmark will hold back a disbursement of budget support as a consequence of delays in reforms concerning anti-corruption in 2006.

Humanitarian assistance

Danish contributions to emergency relief – including disaster relief as such – and contributions to international refugee cooperation come under the heading of humanitarian assistance. This is generally provided through international aid organisations.

NGO assistance

A significant part of Danish assistance is channelled through private organisations -NGOs. NGOs have a number of comparative advantages in relation to other actors in development assistance cooperation. For example, NGOs are particularly well qualified to create international understanding and to consolidate popular support for development assistance in both the North and South. At the same time, NGOs work closely with local organisations in the South, involving the target groups who are the main priorities of Danish assistance and reinforcing the role of the local partners in civil society.

Transitional assistance

Transitional assistance may be granted for a period of time to developing countries undergoing a phase of drastic reorganisation or reconstruction, for example after economic liberalisation or armed conflict. Transitional assistance comprises provisional but multiannual initiatives. The aim is for it to be organised so that it can be implemented without prolonged Danish assistance.

Personnel assistance

Personnel assistance is provided to partners as part of technical assistance for capacity building. Advisers play a key part in sector programme support as contributors to the partner dialogue, as contributors of specific knowledge and experience, and as agents of Danish assistance.

Programme assistance– crosscutting initiatives

To achieve positive, sustainable results through sector programme support, it is often necessary, in advance or in parallel, to implement initiatives at macro level or in areas that cover several sectors. Typical areas are 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.

Project assistance

Project assistance is a time-limited, organised initiative with the aim of achieving a defined goal. For example, this may be support for building schools in a specific area.

The B2B Programme

Danida’s Business-to-Business Programme (B2B Programme) encompasses support for the establishment of long-term, sustainable cooperation between Danish enterprises and local enterprises in Danish programme countries and South Africa. The goal of the B2B Programme is to promote local business development with focus on the following development criteria: a) More jobs, including a focus on women at work, b) Environmental improvements, including both the working environment and the physical environment, c) Promotion of crosscutting considerations such as labour rights, and d) Strengthening the competitiveness of local enterprises.

Regional assistance

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

Sector programme support

Since the mid-1990’s, bilateral assistance has been reorganised from project assistance to sector programme support. Sector programme support for the programme countries is concentrated in 2-4 sectors per country.

Sector support may assume many forms. The form depends, for example, on the sector and recipient country involved and how well the country’s administrative system works (whether there is adequate local capacity). The type of assistance is conditional on the recipient country either having or being in the process of preparing a national sector strategy.

Danida’s support programme in a sector is long-term, typically lasting 15-20 years, and may comprise funds for both operations and investment.

In most cases, sectors are more traditional sectors such as agriculture, health care and education. However, as in Bolivia, it may also involve the status and development potential of the indigenous peoples, or a crosscutting 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. At the top level, it supports the development of national policies, strategies and action plans for activities in the sector.

At the intermediate levels in particular, for example in agencies and administrative districts, support is provided for the enhancement of institutional capacity. This may be the training and education of administrators and accountants, or it may involve support for administrative reforms so that the organisation is better equipped to implement the sector plans.

The major part of sector programme support comprises support for the implementation of concrete activities for the population in districts and municipalities. This may involve the construction of health care clinics and the establishment of water supplies in poor rural areas, improvement of cultivation methods for small farmers, or development of secondary roads in areas with poor road connections.

The specific activities under the sector programme, for example capacity building, administrative reforms, vaccination or construction of clinics, are called components.

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 takes or may assume responsibility for the organisation of the programmes and the implementation of the activities. It is also intended that in the long term the recipient country should finance ever-increasing proportions of the initiatives.

There may be eight to ten different donors in a sector. Reorganisation to sector programme support requires that the donors coordinate their activities and base them on the plans and strategies of the recipient country for a given sector to a much greater extent than previously.



A World of Difference
Government proposal (June 2003) for political priorities and long-term economic frames for Danish development policy and development efforts 2004-2008.

ACP Africa, Caribbean, Pacific countries
The 79 countries (including Cuba) in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific region, which have entered into agreements with the EU (cf. the Cotonou Agreement).

ADRA Adventist Development and Relief Agency

AfDB African Development Bank Group
The African Development Bank has as its members most independent African states and a number of non-African shareholders, including Denmark. The Bank sees it as its aim to reduce poverty and provide loans on favourable terms as well as advice.

AfDF African Development Fund
The African Development Fund, which was created in connection with the AfDB, receives contributions from a number of industrialised countries. It grants loans to low-income countries in Africa on more favourable terms than the bank.

AMREF African Medical & Research Foundation

APRM African Peer Review Mechanism
An agreement whereby the African countries undergo an internal and external evaluation of the degree to which they live up to international standards for good governance.

Aresa is a biotechnology company in the area of plant technology. Danish Aresa is behind a plant that can reveal mines.

AsDB Asian Development Bank
The Asian Development Bank has both Asian countries and a number of industrialised countries including Denmark as its shareholders. The Bank provides loans on favourable terms and gives advice.

AsDF Asian Development Fund
The Asian Development Fund, which was set up in connection with the AsDB, grants loans to low-income countries in the region on more favourable terms than the Asian Development Bank.

ASEAN Association of South East Asian Nations
A cooperation organisation created in 1967 by a number of Southeast Asian countries. The organisation works to promote economic, social and cultural growth in the region and to secure peace.

ATTAC International Movement for Democratic Control of Financial Markets and their Institutions.
Popular protest movement against the negative consequences of globalisation. Its work includes a campaign for the taxation of trans-national financial transactions to obtain money for poverty reduction.

AU African Union.
Cooperation organisation between the African countries, formed from the OAU, Organisation for African Unity in 2002.


B2B Business-to-Business Programme
The objective of the B2B Programme is to promote the establishment of long-term, sustainable cooperation between enterprises in Denmark and the programme countries. It is to promote local business development by means of knowledge transfer in the environment area, education and training, inter alia.

BOP Bottom of the Pyramid


CDM Clean Development Mechanism One of the so-called flexible mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol. Projects in the developing countries that are to counteract the greenhouse effect, which is caused by emission of, for example, CO2 from power plants, industry, households and traffic. The reductions in emissions that are achieved can be included in the Danish reduction commitment when the projects are paid for by Danish funds.

CERF Central Emergency Response Fund

CGIAR Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research
The consultancy group for international agricultural research. Finances research activities in a number of international research centres to promote food safety.

CLZ Conservation Lower Zambezi

CODEC Community Development Centre Bangladesh

COP Conference of the Parties

Cotonou agreement
A cooperation agreement between the ACP countries and the EU, signed at Cotonou in June 2000. Replaced the previous Lomé Convention.
CSR Corporate Social Responsibility


DAARTT Danish Assistance to Afghan Rehabilitation and Technical Training

DAC Development Assistance Committee
The OECD’s Development Assistance Committee handles questions concerning cooperation with developing countries. The committee consists of the following 21 Countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the USA.

Danida Danish International Development Assistance
The name of the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ assistance cooperation with developing countries.

DCCD Danish Center for Culture and Development (DCCD)
An institution under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Responsible for cultural cooperation between Denmark and developing countries.

DDC The Drylands Development Centre
Further development of the UN Sudan-Sahel Office (UNSO). Works for development in drought areas. Administered by UNDP.

DCISM Danish Centre for International Studies and Human Rights Established in 2002 for the promotion of research, analyses and information activities in Denmark on international affairs such as security and development policy, conflict research, the Holocaust, genocide and political mass murder, as well as human rights in Denmark and abroad. Consists of the Danish Institute for International Studies ( and the Danish Institute for Human Rights (

DHI Dansk Hydraulisk Institut

DIIS Danish Institute for International Studies
Part of the Danish Centre for International Studies and Human Rights. Is to strengthen research, reports, and information in Denmark on international relations, and is a private institution.

DIPO Danish Import Promotion Office
Office to promote the import of products from developing countries.

DIPP Danish Import Promotion Programme

DSHC Danish Seed Health Centre
Financed by Danida and was established 1 January 2004. The task of the centre is to help developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America to strengthen and build up local expertise in order to improve seed health and quality.

DWF Danish Water Forum
A network consisting of Danish water organisations.


EBRD European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
Grants loans and provides technical assistance in Central and Eastern Europe.

ECA United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.
Supports economic and social development in the 55 member states.

ECHO European Community Humanitarian Office
Administers the EU’s grants for humanitarian assistance that are channelled through other organisations, including UN organisations, the Red Cross and other NGOs. ECHO falls within the jurisdiction of the European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid.

ECOWAS Economic Community of West African States

EURO EU common currency.
EURO 1.00 is roughly equivalent to DKK 7.50.

EDF European Development Fund
Created by the EU member states with the aim of providing development assistance to ACP states and to overseas areas of member states.

EIB European Investment Bank
Created by the EU member states. Its purpose is to grant loans and guarantees for the economic expansion of less developed areas in the EU and ACP states.

EKF Eksport Kredit Fonden
EKF conducts research on the risks of exports in unstable markets.

ENRECA Programme for Enhancement of Research Capacity in Developing Countries.
Financed by Danida. The aim of the programme is to enhance research capacity in developing countries by means of cooperation between research institutions in Denmark and these countries.

EPA Economic Partnership Agreements

EU The European Union
Common term for the ECSC (The European Coal and Steel Community), EURATOM (The European Atomic Energy Community), EC (The European Community), the Common Foreign and Security Policy, and Cooperation on Justice and Home Affairs.


FAO Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Works to improve nutrition and living conditions, and to increase agricultural production and improve the standard of living in rural districts.

FTI Fast Track Initiative


G-8 A meeting forum for the biggest economic powers in the world: Canada, the UK, France, Italy, Japan, Germany, USA and Russia.

GAVI The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation
Global cooperation between donor and recipient countries, the World Bank, WHO, UNICEF and the pharmaceutical industry. Supported by Microsoft’s founder, Bill Gates.

GATT General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade

GCCA Global Climate Change Alliance

GDP Gross Domestic Product
Indicates the total production of goods and services within a country’s borders, whether it is used for consumption, investment or export purposes.

GEF Global Environmental Facility
Established in 1991. Cooperation between the World Bank, the UN and others. Supports activities that produce environmental gains in the areas of biodiversity, climate change and water.

GEPPA Governance, economic policy and public administration.
An organisation established by Danida with the aim of increasing research on economic policy and public administration in connection with development policy.

GFATM The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria
The global fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria - diseases of poverty. Fund established in 2000 on the initiative of the Secretary-General of the UN. It collects money for research.

GFDRR World Bank’s Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery

Globalisation – Progress through Partnership
The government’s priorities for Danish development assistance 2006-2010.

GNI Gross National Income
Formerly gross national product or GNP. Is the sum of gross value added by all resident producers plus any product taxes (less subsidies) that are not included in the valuation of output plus net receipt of incomes from abroad.

GNP Gross National Product
Calculated as for GDP plus the net domestic product at factor cost from abroad. The net domestic product at factor cost consists of earnings sent home from abroad minus interest payments to foreign countries and foreigners’ net profit repatriation (profit on business activities and investments).


HDI Human Development Index
An index that on the basis of a number of factors such as lifetime, income per head of population and illiteracy sets up targets for living conditions in a country. Drawn up by UNDP.

HIMA Hifadhi ya Mazingira (Protect the Environment)
Natural Resources Conservation and Management Programme in Tanzania.

HIPC Highly Indebted Poor Countries
Debt relief initiative for the most heavily indebted poor countries.


IADB Group Inter-American Development Bank Group
Consists of the IDB, the IIC (Inter-American Investment Corporation, ( and MIF (Multilateral Investment Fund). IDB mainly supports public development in Latin American countries, while the IIC and the MIF aim to promote economic development in the area through private companies.

IAPSO Inter-Agency Procurement Services Office
UN/UNDP’s procurement organisation, located in Copenhagen.

IBRD International Bank for Reconstruction and Development
The IBRD and the IDA together make up the World Bank, but the name IBRD is commonly replaced by the term as the World Bank. The World Bank in particular grants loans to government (at something close to market interest).

ICIPE The International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology Centre for Insect Research, Kenya. Studies insect-borne diseases to prevent diseases in humans, animals and plants, and thereby to ensure that crops are not destroyed.

ICJ International Court of Justice
UN international court of justice. Has two functions: 1) to settle international disputes in accordance with international law, and 2) to settle legal disputes referred by states with a view to obtaining a judicial appraisal of the case.

ICRC International Committee of the Red Cross
Provides assistance in situations of war and disaster.

ICI International Cocoa Initiative
ICI was founded in July 2002 to fight the worst forms of child labour in cocoa production and to improve the earning possibilities of cocoa farmers.

IDA International Development Association
IDA and IBRD together comprise the World Bank. Provides economic support to the poorest countries in the form of loans on particularly favourable terms.

IDA States
The countries that are qualified to receive IDA credits, i.e. that that the annual per capita GNP is less than USD 965. Currently there are 81 IDA-states.

IDEA International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance
Its members are countries from all over the world. Supports countries in building up democratic institutions.

IDFA International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam

IFAD International Fund for Agricultural Development.
Aims to finance investments in rural areas in developing countries.

IFC International Finance Corporation
Member of the World Bank Group. Its task is to promote viable private investments in the business sector in the developing countries, inter alia by means of loans and share contributions.

IFPRI International Food Policy Research Institute
One of the CGIAR research centres. Works to ensure food for all.

IFRC The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
The International Red Cross Federation is an international amalgamation of the national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies. The Federation provides humanitarian assistance in disaster situations and supports the national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies’ humanitarian work.

IFU Industrialisation Fund for Developing Countries
Its aim is to participate in Danish investments in developing countries by means of consultancy, share subscription, granting loans and other start-up measures.

IGAD Inter-Governmental Authority on Development

IHB International Humanitarian Service
Its aim is to ensure that Denmark can participate in preventive and peacemaking initiatives at short notice.

ILO International Labour Organization
Works to promote social justice and internationally recognised human and employee rights.

IMF International Monetary Fund
Its task is to promote economic growth by means of international monetary cooperation, to promote stability in exchange rates, and to give its member states the opportunity, via credits, to correct their balance of payments.

IOC Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission
Comes under UNESCO.

IOM International Organization for Migration.
Provides assistance for the integration of refugees in other countries and implements repatriation programmes for refugees.

IPCC Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

IPEC International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour The ILO programme to eliminate child labour.

IPPF International Planned Parenthood Federation.
Works with sexual and reproductive health and the right to choose pregnancy.

IRCT International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims.
Works to rehabilitate torture victims and to combat torture. The Danish Rehabilitation and Research Centre for Torture Victims can be found at

ITC International Trade Centre
Under the UNCTAD and the WTO, it assists developing countries to promote their exports.

IUCN The World Conservation Union
A union to protect the diversity of nature. Has both states and NGOs as members.

IUSSP International Union for the Scientific Study in Population Works for contact between scientists researching population matters and seeks to promote interest in this research.

IWGIA International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs
An independent organisation working for the rights of indigenous people.


JASZ Joint Assistance Strategy of Zambia

JCI Junior Chamber International

JPO Junior Professional Officer
A junior graduate employee in the UN system.


KJAS Kenya Joint Assistance Strategy

KVL The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University
The Faculty of Life Sciences, Copenhagen University


LDC Least Developed Countries
Countries classified by the UN as low income countries.

Lomé Convention. This convention has now been superseded by the Cotonou Agreement, which forms the framework for development policy, economic, commercial and industrial cooperation between the EU and the ACP countries (cf. Cotonou Agreement).


MIFRESTA. The Environment, Peace and Stability Facility
In 1993, MIKA, Miljø- og Katastroferammen (The Environment and Disaster Fund) was set up as Denmark’s special facility for humanitarian assistance and environmental assistance to Central and Eastern Europe and the developing countries. In 1999, the name was changed to MIFRESTA, Miljø-, Freds- og Stabilitetsrammen (The Environment, Peace and Stability Facility). Danida administers the part of MIFRESTA that is concerned with developing countries together with the development assistance.

MIGA The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency
A member of the World Bank Group. Aims to promote foreign investment in emerging economies and developing countries by issuing venture guarantees and helping developing countries attract and maintain investments, partly through consultancy.

MOPAN Multilateral Organization Performance Network

MRC Mekong River Commission

MRD Framework. Human Rights and Democracy Framework.
Main account in Denmark for grants to promote human rights and democracy in developing countries other than the programme countries.


NDF Nordic Development Fund
In November 2005 it was decided to terminate the inflow of funds to NDF, which is to close down in the foreseeable future.

NEPAD The New Partnership for Africa’s Development
An initiative from 2001 created by a number of African governments. Through market economy, fighting corruption, democracy and good government in the affiliated countries, NEPAD is to play a part in ensuring donor support for Africa. A programme under the African Union (AU) since 2002. The West has shown great interest in the initiative, but is holding its economic support until it can be seen whether the African countries submit to the external monitoring foreseen in the initiative.

NGO Non-governmental Organisation

NGLS The United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Service
Works to reinforce cooperation between the UN and NGOs.

A fund between the Nordic countries and the SADC countries (Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, the Seychelles, Swaziland, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe). The aim is to support business development in southern Africa and promote cooperation between companies in the region and in the Nordic countries.


OCHA Office for Coordination and Humanitarian Affairs in the UN The UN’s emergency relief coordination office.

ODA Official Development Assistance
Government-financed development assistance. The DAC has rules governing what qualifies as development assistance. In Denmark this includes expenditure under Section 06.3 of the Finance Act as well as assistance granted through the EU, reception of refugees, environmental assistance and the like. (Cf the table ”Denmark’s official assistance to developing countries divided, into main categories”).

OECD Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
Its aim is to promote cooperation for rapid, sound economic development in both in its 30 member states and the world in general. 21 of its members cooperate in the DAC (see DAC entry) on development issues.

OHCHR Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Aims to promote and protect human rights for all.

OPP Public Private Partnerships Programme

OSCE Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe
Its aim is to issue early warnings, prevent conflicts and deal with crisis management and rehabilitation.


Paris Club
Formalised cooperation between creditor countries on bilateral state debt.

Partnership 2000
Strategy for Danish development assistance. Adopted by the Danish Parliament in autumn 2000.

PGA Parliamentarians for Global Action

PPO Program- og projektorientering

PRODECA Programa de Dinamarca Pro Derechos Humanos para Centroamérica
The Danish human rights programme in Central America. Provides further training for judges, lawyers and prosecution authorities.

PRGF Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility
The PRGF is the IMF’s facility for low-interest loans for poor countries. The loans are provided on the basis of the countries’ poverty reduction strategies. Replaced the previous IMF structural adaptation facility, ESAF.

PRSP Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers
Term for a developing country’s own poverty reduction strategy.

PS Programme The Private Sector Development Programme
Offers consultancy and grants for cooperation between Danish companies and companies in a number of developing countries (Danish programme countries). Has been changed to the Business-to-Business (B2B) programme.


ReNED Research Network for Environment and Development The aim of this network is to integrate the most recent research results in Danish development assistance in cooperation with Danida.


SAARC South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Established in 1985, it comprises Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Its aim is to promote economic and social development in its member states.

SADC Southern African Development Community
Cooperation body for Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, the Seychelles, Swaziland, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe with the aim of promoting economic and political cooperation in the region.

SDR Special Drawing Rights

SHIRBRIG Stand-by High-Readiness Brigade

Security, Growth - Development
The Government’s development policy plan for Danish development assistance 2005-2009.


Transparency International
A global NGO whose aim is to change the world to a world free of corruption. It brings people together to combat the consequences of corruption. Among other things publishes an annual list of countries’ internal scope of corruption.


UN United Nations
Works for world peace and economic and social progress. The organisation was created on 24 October 1945 with 51 members. Almost all countries of the world are now members, a total of 191. The General Assembly is held once per annum and each country has one vote. The great powers have permanent seats on the UN Security Council and are able to issue vetoes. or

UNAIDS UN programme coordinating the fight against AIDS.

UNCDF United Nations Capital Development Programme
Part of the UNDP group. Works to achieve the Millennium Development Goals in the least developed countries, partly through micro-loans.

UNCHR/OHCHR United Nations Commission for Human Rights/Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Aims to promote and protect human rights for all.

UNCTAD United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
Aims to promote trade and development in developing countries in particular and to integrate developing countries in the world economy.

UNDESA United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs

UNDP United Nations Development Programme
Assists developing countries with their development and capacity building and coordinates the UN’s development activities in the individual countries. The UNDP is present in 166 countries. and

UNDPKO United Nations Department for Peace Keeping Operations

UNEP United Nations Environment Programme
Works to monitor the environment, make assessments and issue early warnings. Aims to promote environmental activities throughout the whole UN system.

UNESCO United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
Works for peace and security by promoting cooperation in the fields of education, science, culture and communication.

UNFCCC United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

UNFIP United Nations Fund for International Partnerships
The fund was created in connection with a donation from Ted Turner in 1997. He wanted to support the UN’s work. In the UNFIP, the UN and the private sector work together.

UNFPA United Nations Population Fund
Works to promote reproductive health (health in connection with family planning, pregnancy and birth) and create awareness of the social, economic, environmental and human rights-related aspects of population development.

UNFVT United Nations Fund for Victims of Torture

UNGLS UN Non-governmental Liaison Service
The UN’s NGO service.

UN-Habitat United Nations Human Settlements Programme
Works to ensure that everyone has a home according to their requirements and to ensure sustainable development of housing in a world in which more and more people live in towns and cities.

UNHCR United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Aims to coordinate international actions to protect refugees and alleviate refugee problems throughout the world.

UNICEF United Nations Children’s Fund
Defends, promotes and protects children’s rights. Helps children and their families develop. and

UNIDO United Nations Industrial Development Organization
Aims to support developing countries in their struggle to avoid marginalisation in the globalisation process.

UNIFEM United Nations Development Fund for Women
Provides financial and other assistance to promote gender equality and to strengthen women’s influence.

UNMAS United Nations Mine Action Service

UNMIK United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo Works to promote peace, democracy, stability and autonomy in the province.

UNMIN United Nations Mission in Nepal

UNITAR United Nations Institute for Training and Research
Upgrades the skills of employees in the UN system and international organisations and conducts research in this connection.

UNODC United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
The UN body for combating drugs and international crime (ODCCP until 2002).

UNOPS UN Office for Project Services
Works on project management at many levels to support developing countries. Self-financing.

UNRISD United Nations Research Institute for Social Development UNRISD carries out research into and debates the way in which diverse problems affect development.

UNRWA United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East
Works to provide education, health care and social assistance for Palestinian refugees in the Middle East and to relieve their suffering.

UNSGSR United Nations Secretary General’s Special Representative

UNV United Nations Volunteers

UWEAL Uganda Women Entrepreneurs Association


WFP World Food Programme
The world’s largest emergency food aid and development organisation. Aims to relieve famine and support economic and social development. Has, inter alia, “food for work” projects.

WHO World Health Organization
Works to ensure health for all. Provides assistance in the field of health especially to developing countries and Central and Eastern Europe.

World Bank
The World Bank Group comprises the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), which in particular grants loans to governments at near market interest, the International Development Association (IDA), which grants cheap loans to the most impoverished countries, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), which invests in private enterprises, and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), which insures against political risks in connection with private investments in developing countries.

WTO World Trade Organization (formerly GATT)
Works on common trade rules for all the nations of the world.

This page forms part of the publication 'DANIDA’S ANNUAL REPORT 2007' as Entire publication with graphics
Version 1.0. 13-10-2008
Publication may be found at the address


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