Latvia

Latvia’s development co-operation policy aims to contribute to implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in its priority partner countries. Latvia’s development and foreign policies are closely aligned. With a focus on the European Union’s (EU) Eastern Neighbourhood, Central Asian and African countries, Latvia’s development co-operation aims to promote good governance, digitalisation, gender equality, sustainable economic growth, quality education and climate action. Latvia’s total official development assistance (ODA) (USD 142.3 million, preliminary data) represented 0.33% of gross national income (GNI)1 in 2023.

Find the methodological notes behind the profile here.

Latvia’s Cabinet of Ministers adopted the Development Cooperation Policy Guidelines for 2021-2027 in April 2021. They build on the commitments and objectives of the 2016-2020 Policy Guidelines. The guidelines confirm Latvia’s intent to increase resources for development co-operation and humanitarian aid to reach 0.33% of GNI by 2030. The latest guidelines are implemented with the Development Cooperation Policy Plan for 2024-2027, adopted by Latvia’s Cabinet of Ministers in January 2024.

Latvia’s Development Cooperation Policy focuses on poverty eradication and promoting good governance, including the rule of law, sound public financial management, anti-corruption and e-governance; gender equality; sustainable economic growth, especially by strengthening the export capacity of small and medium-sized enterprises and in the agricultural sector; quality education; and climate action.

In geographical terms, the European Union’s Eastern Neighbourhood countries (Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and support for Belarusian civil society) and Central Asian countries (Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan) retain priority status, and other regions, especially African countries, have been included as a priority for sharing Latvia’s expertise on climate, digitalisation and gender equality. Latvia also seeks to follow a whole-of-society approach in its development co-operation, including multidisciplinary and intersectoral co-operation and partnerships, by emphasising the role of various stakeholders – the public administration, local governments, civil society, academic institutions, the private sector and experts – and their added value for development co-operation. Latvia pays particular attention to partnerships and co-ordination with other donor countries to further ensure the effectiveness of its support.

Latvia provided USD 142.3 million (preliminary data) of ODA in 2023 (USD 131.4 million in constant terms), representing 0.33% of GNI. This was a decrease of 9% in real terms in volume and a decrease in the share of GNI from 2022. With this, Latvia is in line with its EU commitment (0.33% by 2030). All of Latvia’s ODA was provided in the form of grants.2

Latvia provided a higher share of its ODA bilaterally in 2022. Gross bilateral ODA was 61.9% of total ODA disbursements. A share of nine per cent of gross bilateral ODA was channelled through multilateral organisations (earmarked contributions). Latvia allocated 38.1% of total ODA as core contributions to multilateral organisations.

In 2023, Latvia provided USD 22 million of net bilateral ODA to Ukraine to respond to the impacts of Russia’s war of aggression, a 109.5% increase from 2022 in real terms. USD 4.8 million of the amount was humanitarian assistance in 2023, an increase of 86.6% from 2022.

In 2022, Latvia provided USD 62.7 million of gross ODA to the multilateral system, an increase of 49.2% in real terms from 2021. Of this, USD 54.9 million was core multilateral ODA, while USD 7.8 million were non-core contributions earmarked for a specific country, region, theme or purpose. Project-type funding earmarked for a specific theme and/or country accounted for 24.1% of Latvia’s non-core contributions and 75.9% was programmatic funding (to pooled funds and specific-purpose programmes and funds).

Nearly all of Latvia’s contributions to multilateral organisations in 2022 were allocated to EU Institutions, World Bank, and UN entities.

The UN system received 3.9% of Latvia’s multilateral contributions, of which USD 344 thousand (14.1%) represented earmarked contributions. Out of a total volume of USD 2.4 million to the UN system, the top three UN recipients of Latvia’s support (core and earmarked contributions) were UN Secretariat (USD 695 thousand), FAO (USD 236 thousand) and UNDPO-UN Peacekeeping operations (USD 216 thousand).

See the section on Geographic, sectoral and thematic focus of ODA for the breakdown of bilateral allocations, including ODA earmarked through the multilateral development system. Learn more about multilateral development finance.

In 2022, Latvia’s bilateral spending considerably increased compared to the previous year. It provided USD 89.5 million of gross bilateral ODA (which includes earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations). This represented an increase of 1125.7% in real terms from 2021, when Latvia’s bilateral ODA totalled USD 7.3 million (current prices). This increase is mostly due to in-donor refugee costs.

In 2022, country programmable aid was 62.3% of Latvia’s gross bilateral ODA, compared to a non-DAC country average of 47%. In-donor refugee costs were USD 67.1 million in 2022, an increase of 3 588.6% in real terms over 2021, and represented 75% of Latvia’s gross bilateral ODA.

In 2022, Latvia channelled their bilateral ODA mainly through the public sector and multilateral organisations.

In 2022, civil society organisations (CSOs) received USD 1.3 million of gross bilateral ODA, of which 4.1% was directed for developing country-based CSOs. Overall, 0.2% of gross bilateral ODA was allocated to CSOs as core contributions and 1.3% was channelled through CSOs to implement projects initiated by the donor (earmarked funding). From 2021 to 2022, the combined core and earmarked contributions for CSOs decreased as a share of bilateral ODA, from 7.9% to 1.4%. Learn more about the DAC Recommendation on Enabling Civil Society in Development Co-operation and Humanitarian Aid.

In 2022, Latvia’s bilateral ODA was primarily focused on ODA-eligible countries in Europe. USD 11.5 million was allocated to ODA-eligible countries in Europe (of which 84.2% was to Ukraine) and USD 5.8 million to Latin America and the Caribbean, accounting for 12.9% and 6.4% of gross bilateral ODA respectively. USD 2.3 million was allocated to Africa.

In 2022, 21.6% of gross bilateral ODA went to Latvia’s top 10 recipients, mostly in Europe, Central America and Africa. The share of gross bilateral ODA not allocated by country was 76.9%, of which 97.5% consisted of expenditures for processing and hosting refugees in provider countries.

In 2022, Latvia allocated 0.03% of its GNI to the least developed countries (LDCs). Latvia allocated the highest share of gross bilateral ODA (19.4%) to lower middle income countries in 2022, noting that 76.9% was unallocated by income group.

Support to fragile contexts reached USD 6.8 million in 2022, representing 7.6% of Latvia’s gross bilateral ODA. Learn more about support to fragile contexts on the States of Fragility platform.

In 2022, USD 17.5 million of Latvia’s bilateral ODA was allocated to social infrastructure and services, representing 19.5% of bilateral ODA commitments. Investment in this area mostly focused on health and population (USD 9.1 million) and support to government and civil society (USD 7.2 million). Commitments for health and population in 2022 accounted for 10.2% of gross bilateral ODA. Humanitarian aid amounted to USD 3.1 million (3.5%). Support to refugees in donor countries totalled USD 67.1 million, accounting for 75% of Latvia’s bilateral ODA.

In 2022, Latvia disbursed USD 9.1 million in ODA for the COVID-19 response, up from USD 2.3 million in 2021.

In the period 2021-22, Latvia committed 5.8% of its screened bilateral allocable aid to gender equality and women’s empowerment, as either a principal or significant objective. This is equal to USD 1.4 million of bilateral ODA in support of gender equality. Unpacking the gender equality data further:

  • Latvia screens the majority of their bilateral allocable aid activities against the DAC gender equality policy marker (91.7% in 2021-22).

  • Latvia committed USD 59.1 thousand of ODA to end violence against women and girls and USD 137.6 thousand to support women’s rights organisations and movements and government institutions in 2021-22.

Learn more about Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women and Girls: DAC Guidance for Development Partners and the DAC Recommendation on Ending Sexual Exploitation in Development Co-operation.

In 2022, Latvia committed USD 1 million (4.7% of its bilateral allocable aid) to promote aid for trade and improve developing countries’ trade performance and integration into the world economy in 2022.

Total official support for sustainable development is an international statistical standard that monitors all official and officially supported resources for financing the SDGs in developing countries, as well as for addressing global challenges. It provides a broader measure of development finance with the objective of increasing transparency and accountability of all external support that developing countries receive.

In 2022, activities reported by Latvia as TOSSD totalled USD 86.2 million, up from USD 49.4 million in 2021, and Latvia’s TOSSD activities in support of sustainable development mostly targeted SDG 16 Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels and SDG 17 Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development. Activity-level data on TOSSD by recipient are available at: https://tossd.online.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs plays the central policy formulation and co-ordination role in an inclusive and co-ordinated manner. Planning is done in co-operation with the Consultative Council, which includes representatives from parliament (Saeima), line ministries, CSOs and social partners. The Development Cooperation Agency of Latvia was officially set up on the basis of the Central Finance and Contracting Agency on 1 January 2022 to increase the capacity of Latvian development co-operation project implementers to effectively engage in development co-operation globally. The Development Cooperation Agency is expected to be pillar accredited by the European Commission in 2024.

Latvia’s Development Cooperation Policy Guidelines for 2021-2027 define the goals, principles and directions of Latvia’s development co-operation. The Cabinet of Ministers approves a development co-operation policy plan to implement these guidelines, which sets out detailed priorities and associated funding allocations. Most of the funding for bilateral development co-operation managed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is channelled through grant project competitions. For example, in 2024, nearly 80% of the funding is channelled through competitions, with nearly 15% to strategic development co-operation projects that are directly included in the plan and the rest to support the capacity building of Latvian development co-operation project implementers and raise public awareness.

CSOs active in development co-operation, humanitarian assistance and global citizenship education co-ordinate under the umbrella body, the Latvian Platform for Development Cooperation (LAPAS).

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia: https://www.mfa.gov.lv/en.

National Development Cooperation Agency of Latvia – Central Finance and Contracting Agency: https://www.cfla.gov.lv/en/development-cooperation-agency-latvia.

Development Cooperation Policy Guidelines for (2021-2027): https://likumi.lv/ta/en/en/id/322455-development-cooperation-policy-guidelines-for-2021-2027.

Development Co-operation Policy Plan (2024-2027): https://www.mfa.gov.lv/en/media/12051/download?attachment.

The Latvian Platform for Development Cooperation (LAPAS): https://lapas.lv/en.

Latvia has been a member of the OECD since 2016, and expressed its intention to become a member of the OECD Development Assistance Committee in 2024. Latvia participated as an observer in the peer review of Italy in 2014.

Latvia has been reporting to the OECD at aggregate level since 2002 and at activity level since 2016 on 2015 figures.

Latvia is an Adherent to the OECD Recommendation of the Council for Development Co-operation Actors on Managing the Risk of Corruption; the OECD Recommendation of the Council on Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development; the OECD Recommendation of the Council on Environmental Assessment of Development Assistance Projects and Programmes; the OECD Recommendation of the Council on Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas; the OECD Declaration on Integrating Climate Change Adaptation into Development Co-operation; and the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness. Learn more about DAC recommendations.

The methodological notes provide further details on the definitions and statistical methodologies applied, including the grant-equivalent methodology, core and earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations, country programmable aid, channels of delivery, bilateral ODA unspecified/unallocated, bilateral allocable aid, the gender equality policy marker, and the environment markers.

Notes

← 1. DAC members adopted the grant-equivalent methodology starting from their reporting of 2018 data as a more accurate way to count the donor effort in development loans. See the methodological notes for further details.

← 2. Non-grants include sovereign loans, multilateral loans, equity investment and loans to the private sector.

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