International Development Cooperation
International development cooperation is an integral part of Iceland's foreign policy. The Strategy for International Development Cooperation focuses on the promotion of human rights and gender equality, peace and security, as well as the fight against poverty, social injustice, disparity in living conditions and hunger. It furthermore attempts to ensure internal coherence in Iceland's foreign policy with regards to global economic, environmental and security matters.
Act on Iceland´s International Development Cooperation, entered into force 2008, replacing the former law on Iceland´s bilateral development assistance dating since 1981. The new Act forms the basis for Iceland´s international development cooperation. It introduces a holistic approach to development cooperation, covering all aspects of Icelandic Official Development Aid (ODA), as opposed to the former law which only dealt with bilateral development cooperation. In 2015 an Act was passed in Parliament , amending the laws from 2008. One of the main changes includes the merger of the Icelandic International Development Agency (ICEIDA) into the Foreign Ministry.
The overarching objective of Iceland's international development cooperation is contributing to the fight against poverty and working towards improved living conditions in Least Developed Countries. Iceland's Active participation in development cooperation, furthermore, acknowledges Iceland's political and ethical responsibilities as a responsible member of the international community. Decisions on Official Development Assistance (ODA) carry significant responsibility towards recipients and Icelandic taxpayers.
Adhering to a professional, and systematic, approach is necessary for optimum outcomes and ensure that development cooperation renders sustainable results. It is also important that the allocation of ODA complies with strict requirements of transparency, efficiency and integrity. Iceland´s Strategy for International Development Cooperation 2013-2016 stipulates focus areas, priority sectors and geographical and multilateral emphasis.
Emphasis and Priority Sectors
Priority sectors and themes in Iceland's development cooperation are natural resources (fisheries and renewable energy), human capital (education and health) and peace-building (good governance and reconstruction). Moreover, special emphasis is put on gender equality and environmental sustainability as cross-cutting themes. Additionally, the institutional focus centres on four international organisations that are prioritised in line with sectoral and cross-cutting focus: The World Bank Group, UN Women, UNICEF and the United Nations University.