Principles and goals
The activities of IHCD in the year 2011 are compiled in detail in the Annual Report .
International Humanitarian Cooperation and Development (IHCD) encompasses all forms of humanitarian and development policy engagement by the State of Liechtenstein and the Liechtenstein Development Service (LED). These forms are set out in the Law on International Humanitarian Cooperation and Development of 2007.
IHCD is based on the principle of solidarity with disadvantaged persons or persons affected by calamities. The goal of IHCD is to protect the interests of these people, improve their circumstances of life and create new prospects for the future. Together with other States, Liechtenstein thus bears responsibility for shaping a peaceful and secure world worth living in for all people.
To improve the life situation of disadvantaged persons in a sustainable way, self-responsibility and participation are prerequisites. IHCD offers support and know-how for the solution of problems and the promotion of development. Main responsibility lies with the local population, however, which advances its own development with its own effort and will. In this way, culturally rooted knowledge, the willingness to change and responsibility for life in one‘s own society are promoted and dependencies avoided. Only in this way can the gulf between poor and rich be reduced in a sustainable way.
The activities of IHCD follow the principle of non-discrimination. All people, regardless of origin, language, skin colour, religion, gender or other characteristics should have the same chances and opportunities to develop their potential. The focus is in particular on vulnerable groups such as women and children, older or socially disadvantaged people, people with disabilities and refugees and displaced persons.
IHCD resources should be employed as effectively as possible and to the greatest possible benefit for all persons affected. A careful allocation of resources according to purpose is achieved through cooperation with reliable partners, regular reporting and the personal review and surveillance of projects on-site. Problems of global development policy and humanitarian problems can only be solved for the long term by way of coordinated effort on the part of all areas of policy. For this reason, IHCD advocates recognition of humanitarian and development policy aspects in all areas of influence of Liechtenstein‘s international environmental, trade and economic policy.
IHCD focuses on the following five core responsibilities:
- Assistance for victims of disasters, political crises and armed conflicts
- Combating hunger and poverty
- Improvement of the social, economic, cultural and political development in disadvantaged and marginalized regions of the world
- Engagement on behalf of peace, freedom and security for all persons and the protection of their human dignity
- Preservation of the environment and promotion of a responsible and sustainable approach to natural resources
To fulfil these core responsibilities, Liechtenstein works closely together with the affected population and local organizations, the aid and development organizations in Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Austria and Germany and European and international organizations. In total, IHCD maintains working relationships with more than 100 partners. The bulk of Liechtenstein‘s support is provided in the form of financial resources. In parallel, Liechtenstein engages in active knowledge transfer by providing specialists from Liechtenstein.
IHCD falls within the scope of responsibilities of the Liechtenstein Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Foreign Minister is supported and advised on strategic questions by the Development Policy Commission, which is composed of international experts in development cooperation, migration policy and international economics. The Development Policy Commission took up its work in 2009. The operational tasks of IHCD are carried out by the
Office for Foreign Affairs, the Immigration and Passport Office, the Office of Forests, Nature and Land Management and the Liechtenstein Development Service (LED). Coordination is the responsibility of the Office for Foreign Affairs.
Role of civil society
The Liechtenstein population has always been actively involved in development cooperation and humanitarian assistance. The origins of the Liechtenstein Development Service (LED) – still the central organization for Liechtenstein development cooperation – go back to the engagement of civil society in the 1960s. The IHCD Act promotes solidarity of the Liechtenstein population, allowing donations by the Liechtenstein population to be supplemented by public IHCD funds. In that way the Liechtenstein Red Cross, the Caritas Liechtenstein and the Liechtenstein Hilfswerk collect through their appeals to the Liechtenstein population regularly donations in noteworthy amounts.
Emergency and reconstruction assistance
Emergency and reconstruction assistance encompasses measures aimed at immediately saving human lives during and after political crises, armed conflicts and natural disasters and at alleviating the suffering of the people affected. In addition, the establishment of infrastructure and social structures creates the preconditions for further social and economic development in these regions. Urgent measures include the provision of food, tents, blankets and ovens. The repair of houses, schools, hospitals, water supply lines and similar elementary infrastructure already serves the purpose of reconstruction.
Emergency and reconstruction aid also seeks to prevent acute emergency situations by way of targeted preventive measures. This goal relies on the insight that many disasters and crises already become apparent before the actual outbreak of the acute emergency situation and that aid is more effective and less costly at that stage. Emergency and reconstruction aid is primarily provided according to the criterion of urgency. It is not subject to thematic or geographic restrictions.
Emergency and reconstruction assistance pays special attention to so-called forgotten conflicts and emergency situations. These concern regions which for various reasons – such as where the situation has remained the same for many years or where it has been eclipsed in the media by an even greater disaster or crisis – are not or no longer the focus of international interest.
In implementing these activities, Liechtenstein has been counting for a long time on the expertise of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and in recent times also on the Austrian Development Agency (ADA).
International refugee and migration assistance
Migration pressure on Western countries has increased steadily in recent years. Therefore, Liechtenstein has been contributing to projects aiming to solve the associated problems since several years. In cooperation with the surrounding countries, Liechtenstein makes a contribution to alleviating international refugee and migration problems as an expression of solidarity.
International refugee and migration assistance is not limited to persons accorded the status of refugees under the UN Refugee Convention of 1951, but also includes internally displaced persons, returnees, stateless persons and other persons abroad who are in need of international protection. The central concern of international refugee and migration assistance is to support affected persons in improving their living conditions and promoting the self-responsible conduct of their life and the optimal utilization of their potentials. It includes measures for integration of returnees including education, health, municipal and community development, protection of minorities and reconciliation. Worldwide, international refugee and migration assistance advocates on behalf of an improvement of refugee and migration regimes. It supports countries of origin and destination in their search for permanent solutions and the development of appropriate structures to improve the long-term situation of refugees and migrants. Immigration and migration assistance also promotes compliance with international legal, human rights and humanitarian standards in connection with migration and combats inhuman practices such as people smuggling and trafficking.
Liechtenstein cooperates closely with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), but also with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and Non-government Organisations.
Development cooperation seeks to achieve sustainable and comprehensive development in disadvantaged and marginalized regions of the world. Bilateral development cooperation focuses on the development of rural regions in 12 focus countries and is carried out by the Liechtenstein Development Service (LED), a foundation under private law, on the basis of a service agreement with the Liechtenstein Government. Multilateral development cooperation is employed to counter problems whose complexity, political sensitivity or global or cross-border relevance necessitate the joint engagement of countries, peoples and organizations.
Development cooperation focuses on rural and structurally weak regions, since these suffer especially from lack of infrastructure, supply bottlenecks, but also the consequences of disasters, political crises and armed conflicts (e.g., landmines) and are in general difficult to access.
Promotion of the basic supply of food and healthcare, including access to essential resources for all members of society where possible, is a central concern of development cooperation. Lack of basic healthcare, which also includes lack of nutrition, is probably the greatest obstacle for the development or reconstruction of a society.
Analphabetism, lack of basic education, and lack of vocational training in the general population are also important obstacles to the development of a society. One goal of development cooperation is therefore to promote universal access to basic schooling (i.e., primary and secondary level through school-leaving) and basic vocational training.
Economic growth is generally seen as an engine of all development and as an indicator of a country‘s prosperity. Too often, it is overlooked that not all parts of a population are able to benefit from this development. Especially pro-poor growth, i.e., growth with which especially the income of poor people increases, is one way out of the poverty trap for developing and emerging countries. A key precondition for economic progress among poorer strata of the population is their access to microcredits. By promoting microcredit services in a targeted manner, IHCD seeks to improve the development opportunities of these people, who previously have had no or only little access to financial markets. The Microfinance Initiative Liechtenstein promotes microfinance services through activities in the three areas of research, technical assistance and investment.
Another necessary precondition for broad economic growth is the possibility for the poor population to produce the goods it manufacturers under good working conditions and at fair wages and to sell them on the (international) market at fair prices. By advocating market access under fair conditions for products from economically disadvantages regions, IHCD can also contribute to a fairer distribution of income and broader, pro-poor growth.
An intact environment and the sustainable development and use of natural resources are necessary preconditions for the social and economic development of a region. Not only the shortage of certain natural resources, but also lack of access to these resources constitutes a growing problem for many poor regions. IHCD seeks to protect the environment and natural resources as a basis of life also for coming generations.
Finally, crucial for the development of a country is good governance, which guarantees a minimum level of personal and legal security on the basis of human rights, the rule of law and democratic principles and seeks to maintain the peaceful coexistence of the country‘s population. Promoting good governance is therefore also one of the key concerns of development cooperation.
Official development assistance (ODA) encompasses all disbursements of a State for development cooperation and humanitarian assistance according to the criteria of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). To compare ODA among States, an indicator is commonly used to measure ODA as a percentage of gross national income (GNI) of a given State. The international ODA target is 0.7%.
The Liechtenstein Government has repeatedly underscored its commitment to achieving this target as soon as possible. The currently available ODA percentage for 2009 is 0.67. The total ODA amount, which includes the disaster fund of the municipalities and care for asylum-seekers in Liechtenstein, was CHF 27.6 million in 2011. The definite GNI for the reporting year - and accordingly also the ODA percentage for 2011 - will be available only in autumn 2013.