Ministries & OeEB
The Three-Year Programme on Austrian development policy is drawn up by the Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs (MFA) in consultation with the Federal Ministry of Finance. The Austrian Finance Ministry also acts as the advocate of Austrian interests in development and foreign trade policy in dealings with multilateral development banks and is responsible for the operations of the Austrian Development Bank. Capital payments and contributions to the funds of international financial institutions (IFIs) are financed from the budget of the Finance Ministry. The contributions to European Union (EU) development cooperation under the European Development Fund (EDF) are also made from this budget. Where classified as official development assistance (ODA), soft loans and internationally agreed debt relief measures in export guarantees under the Club of Paris also come under the purview of the ministry.
The Federal Ministry of the Interior (FMI) is responsible for asylum procedure at national level. Apart from assistance for refugees in Austria together with the federal states under Article 15a of the Federal Constitution Act, FMI is also in charge of administering and disbursing the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF). With resources from this EU Fund, it can support asylum-seeker projects in Austria (e.g. psychological care or legal counselling) or integration projects for third-country nationals with or without refugee status (e.g. language courses or courses on values). As the delegated authority, the Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs (FMEIA) is FMI's responsible partner for managing integration projects. A major focus of measures under AMIF are projects to provide advice on options for voluntary return and reintegration projects that assist returnees to certain home countries in starting a new, independent life. As part of reintegration measures, Austria, represented by FMI, is also a partner in the project, European Reintegration Network (ERIN), an association of several EU member states that conduct joint reintegration projects in home countries.
At national and international level, the Federal Ministry of Sustainability and Tourism is committed to sustainable agriculture, forestry and water management. It informs the population and raises their awareness about these issues. As part of its sustainable and environment-friendly agricultural and food policy, the Ministry is an advocate of fair production conditions and the sustainable use of water resources and is also concerned with food security in Austria and eradicating hunger in the world. In addition, it supports many sustainable projects in developing countries.
The Federal Ministry of Defence makes its contribution to Austrian development cooperation according to the coherence principle, as laid down in the Austrian Development Cooperation Act (DCA). Here the central focus of the Ministry lies on conflict prevention, crisis management, peacebuilding and statebuilding. Also, as a member of the European Union and many international organisations, such as the United Nations, Austria strives to make its contribution to international efforts. Since 1960, more than 100,000 Austrian soldiers and civilian aid workers have taken part in approximately 120 international peacebuilding and humanitarian missions. Added to this are many bilateral and multilateral cooperation projects for capacity development in and with partner countries. The goal of the Ministry of Defense is to make a lasting contribution to security and development in neighbouring regions. In doing so, as well as in humanitarian disaster relief missions, the Austrian Armed Forces act as a major reliable partner.
The Federal Ministry for Education and Women's Affairs (BMBF) fosters educational cooperation with partner countries in which education plays a key role for sustainable development, poverty reduction and social cohesion. In particular, the Ministry supports reforms in the educational sector of partner countries towards quality development and assurance. Priorities are the promotion of institutional cooperation, access to quality education and the strengthening of human resources. Regional stability and cooperation on political and expert level are given special importance, especially in South Eastern Europe. Activities are also geared to making a contribution to gender equality. Several activities in this field are carried out in close cooperation with the association KulturKontakt Austria.
Central instruments being applied are the representatives for educational cooperation operating in Eastern and South Eastern European countries, Austrian schools abroad (in particular the school sites in Guatemala, Mexico und Albania) and European regional networks and initiatives, notably in the framework of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR) and the Education Reform Initiative of South Eastern Europe (ERI SEE).
Another central point in the development cooperation of the Educational Ministry is development education and global learning. These concepts aim to strengthen diversity competences needed to orient oneself in a globally connected and heterogeneous society and to live in a responsible manner.
The Commission for Development Issues (KEF) is engaged in research for development on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy. The Commission's main tasks include promoting research partnerships between researchers from Austria and developing countries, particularly at project level, as well as policy advice and informational and educational work in research for development (budget for 2008: EUR 350,000). The ministry is also a member of the OECD Committee for Scientific and Technological Policy (CSTP), which promotes international cooperation in science and research and informs policymakers on the significance of science and technology for sustainable economic growth. Under the auspices of the United Nations, the Ministry of Science, Research and Economy together with the Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs, which is responsible for UN relations, nominates the Austrian representation for the Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD). This assists both the UN General Assembly and the ECOSOC itself in research for development. The ministry coordinates Austrian participation in the 7th EU Research Framework Programme, which also promotes research partnerships in international cooperation with developing countries as well as participation in EU third state programmes in the higher education sector. It is also responsible for bilateral memoranda and agreements in Scientific and Technical Cooperation (STC) with numerous partner countries throughout the world and promotes the international mobility of researchers and students to and from Austria through various programmes.
The programmatic guidelines for the Austrian foreign trade and investment policy "Shaping globalisation - success through openness and innovation" has been elaborated under the auspices of the Ministry of Families and Youth and presented to the public in April 2008. It advocates as one of its goals a strategic partnership between external trade and development cooperation. It seeks to enhance partnerships between private business and development cooperation as a means of strengthening the private sector in the partner countries and help companies to build up new markets.
Greater emphasis on business in this context is essential for creating the kind of framework necessary for local private sectors to emerge and grow in developing countries, thus fostering economic and social development.
In order to make the public aware of the complementary nature of business and development, to enhance the strategic and economic focus of development cooperation, and to improve the framework conditions for entrepreneurial commitment, the Federal Ministry of Families and Youth supports the "corporAID platform for business, development and global responsibility". Its main task is to provide relevant information on business and development, to identify areas of economic and development potential and to raise Austrian public awareness in this field.
The Federal Ministry of Families and Youth also contributes to the Doha Development Agenda Global Trust Fund of the WTO to support developing countries' efforts to better integrate into the multilateral economic system.
Austria's development bank, the Oesterreichische Entwicklungsbank AG (OeEB), finances commercially viable projects in developing countries and emerging nations with a simultaneous large developmental benefit. As a subsidiary of the Oesterreichische Kontrollbank AG - Austrian Control Bank (OeKB), OeEB is a private financial institution with a public mandate and can take advantage of the international know-how of the OeKB Group. Founded in March 2008, it is a member of the network of bilateral European development finance institutions - EDFIs.
As a development bank, OeEB provides loan or equity capital finance on near-market terms and conditions for private investment projects in developing countries. By virtue of its special mandate, it can bear higher risks in individual transactions than commercial banks.
OeEB focuses on renewable energies, energy efficiency and private-sector development in developing countries via micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. Besides finance via equity capital investments or long-term loans, it also issues grants for project support measures, such as studies and training. Budgetary funds are allocated for these so-called Business Advisory Services to provide tangible support to specific projects/programmes with developmental relevance, which are also eligible as ODA.
OeEB supplements the contributions of ADC, the Foreign Ministry and ADA. It can also help implement partnership projects in countries where Austrian finance has not yet been available.