Latvia

The objective of Latvia's development co-operation policy is to contribute to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in developing countries, particularly in its priority partner countries, by promoting sustainable development and the eradication of poverty, the rule of law, and good governance. Latvia’s development policy is closely aligned with its foreign policy. The new Development Cooperation Policy Guidelines for 2021-2027 were adopted by the Cabinet of Ministers in April 2021.

With a clear focus on the European Union’s (EU) Eastern Partnership and Central Asia, Latvia’s development co-operation aims to promote sustainable growth and stability in its region while also contributing to sustainable development. The average volume of Latvia’s official development assistance (ODA) has remained relatively stable over the past five years and increased in 2020 (preliminary data). Most of this assistance is channelled through multilateral organisations, with the remainder implemented bilaterally, mainly through technical co-operation. In its COVID-19 response, Latvia has launched a grant project competition to help selected partner countries recover from the COVID-19 crisis, such as Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.

Please note that 2020 preliminary and 2019 data in the text are provided in current prices whereas the charts reflect all data in constant 2018 USD, in order for the data to be comparable over time. Find the methodological notes behind the profile here.

Latvia’s Cabinet of Ministers adopted the new Development Cooperation Policy Guidelines for 2021-2027 in April 2021, with similar commitments and objectives to the 2016-2020 Policy Guidelines. The Policy Guidelines define the goals, principles and strategic direction of its development co-operation, with a focus on promoting sustainable development, the rule of law, good governance and the eradication of poverty. In geographical terms, the EU’s Eastern Partnership countries (Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine) and Central Asian countries (Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan) retain their priority status, and other regions, especially African countries, have been included as a priority to transfer Latvia’s expertise on climate and digitalisation.

In 2020, the Cabinet also approved new procedures for conducting grant project competitions, and the parliament passed amendments to the Law on International Assistance that will, among other changes, allow the introduction of multi-year programming and projects. Most of Latvia’s assistance is channelled through multilateral organisations. In its co-operation with key partner countries, Latvia focuses on the following areas: capacity building for public administrations; promoting entrepreneurship and export capacity; peace and security; promoting democratic participation and civil society development; and education. Latvia is an Adherent to the OECD Recommendation of the Council for Development Co-operation Actors on Managing the Risk of Corruption and the OECD Recommendation of the Council on Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development.

Latvia provided USD 40.2 million (preliminary data),1 representing 0.12% of gross national income (GNI) in 2020. This was an increase of 14.8% in real terms in volume and an increase in per cent of GNI from 2019. The government has committed to strive to achieve a 0.33% ODA/GNI ratio by 2030 as part of the EU’s collective commitment to achieve 0.7% ODA/GNI target by 2030. Total ODA on a grant-equivalent basis has the same value as net ODA under the cash-flow methodology used in the past, as Latvia provides only grants.

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In 2019, Latvia provided more of its ODA multilaterally. Gross bilateral ODA was 13% of total ODA, of which 26.5% was channelled through multilateral organisations (earmarked contributions). Latvia allocated 87% of total ODA as core contributions to multilateral organisations.

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In 2019, Latvia provided USD 31.1 million of gross ODA to the multilateral system, an increase of 1.6% in real terms from 2018. Of this, USD 29.9 million was core multilateral ODA, while non-core contributions were earmarked for a specific country, region, theme or purpose. Project-type funding earmarked to a specific theme and/or country accounted for 39% of Latvia’s non-core contributions, while the remaining 61% was programmatic funding (to pooled funds and specific-purpose programmes and funds).

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In 2019, Latvia’s total contribution to multilaterals was mainly allocated to the EU institutions, the United Nations (UN) and the World Bank Group. These contributions together accounted for more than 98.4% of Latvia’s total support to the multilateral system. The UN system received 5.4%, mainly through core contributions. Out of a total volume of USD 1.7 million to the UN system, the top three UN recipients of Latvia’s support (core and earmarked contributions) were the UN Secretariat (USD 600 000), the Food and Agriculture Organization (USD 200 000), and the World Health Organization (USD 200 000).

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

In 2019, Latvia’s bilateral spending declined compared to the previous year. It provided USD 4.5 million of gross bilateral ODA (which includes earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations). This represented a decrease of 6.9% in real terms from 2018. Technical co-operation made up 4.3% of gross bilateral ODA in 2019. In 2020, providers of development co-operation started voluntarily reporting to the OECD data on how ODA focuses on the Sustainable Development Goals for 2019 activities. In 2019, Latvia focused most of its bilateral ODA on addressing the education and the peace, justice and strong institutions goals of the 2030 Agenda.

In 2019, country programmable aid was 29.9% of Latvia’s gross bilateral ODA, compared to a DAC country average of 48%. In-donor refugee costs were USD 1.1 million in 2019, a decrease of 6.2% in real terms over 2018, and represented 3.1% of Latvia’s total gross ODA.

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Note: NGO: non-governmental organisation.

In 2019, Latvia channelled bilateral ODA mainly through the public sector and multilateral organisations, as earmarked funding.

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In 2019, civil society organisations (CSOs) received USD 300 000 of gross bilateral ODA. Of this, 2.4% was allocated to CSOs as core contributions and 4.7% was channelled through CSOs to implement projects initiated by the provider (earmarked funding). Between 2018 and 2019, core and earmarked contributions to CSOs increased as a share of bilateral ODA, from 6.4% to 7.2%. Learn more about ODA allocations to and through CSOs and civil society engagement in development co-operation.

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In 2019, Latvia’s bilateral ODA was primarily focused on Europe and Asia. USD 1.5 million was allocated to ODA-eligible countries in Europe and USD 800 000 to Asia, accounting respectively for 32.8% and 18.5% of gross bilateral ODA. Europe and Asia were also the main regional recipients of Latvia’s earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations, in line with the policy priorities of its overall strategy. Forty-eight per cent of gross bilateral ODA was unspecified by region in 2019.

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Bilateral ODA by recipient country

In 2019, 48% of gross bilateral ODA went to Latvia’s top 10 recipients. Its top 10 recipients are in Europe and Asia, in line with its focus on its immediate neighbourhood and its policy priorities. The share of gross bilateral ODA that was not allocated by country was 49.2%.

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Note: LDC: least developed country; LMIC: lower middle-income country; UMIC: upper middle-income country; MADCTs: more advanced developing countries and territories.

In 2019, most of Latvia’s bilateral ODA was allocated to social infrastructure and services. Investments in this area accounted for 40.9% of bilateral ODA commitments (USD 1.8 million), with a strong focus on support to government and civil society (USD 1 million) and education (USD 1 million). Bilateral humanitarian aid amounted to USD 900 000 (20.2% of bilateral ODA). Earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations also focused on social infrastructure and services in 2019.

Latvia also committed USD 90 000 (2.8% of bilateral allocable aid) to promote aid for trade and improve developing countries’ trade performance and integration into the world economy in 2019.

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While many different stakeholders are involved in Latvia’s development co-operation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs plays a central policy formulation and co-ordination role, in consultation with the Consultative Council that includes representatives from the parliament (Saeima), line ministries, CSOs and social partners. The new Latvia’s Development Cooperation Policy Guidelines for 2021-2027 define the goals, principles and directions of Latvia’s development co-operation. To implement these guidelines, each year Latvia’s Cabinet is requested to approve a development co-operation policy plan, which sets out detailed priorities and associated funding allocations. While the majority of Latvia’s ODA is channelled through multilateral organisations and co-ordinated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, bilateral ODA is provided in a decentralised manner through dedicated funds within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as through other government institutions and local governments.

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Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia, Development Co-operation: https://www.mfa.gov.lv/en/policy/development-co-operation

Member of the OECD since 2016. Not a member of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC). Reporting to the OECD since 2002 and reporting activity-level data since 2017 on 2016 activities.

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.

Note

← 1. DAC members adopted the grant-equivalent methodology starting from their reporting of 2019 data as a more accurate way to count the donor effort in development loans. See the methodological notes for further details.

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