By Linas Linkevičius, Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs
Knowledge and expertise sharing is key for the effectiveness of development co-operation.
Today’s development challenges require smart, innovative and creative solutions for successful mobilisation and sustainable use of all resources: public and private, domestic and international. We believe this can be achieved through efficient knowledge and expertise sharing.
Lithuania, like many other European Union Member states, has undergone an impressive period of institutional, economic and social reforms during the last two decades. This transitional period is a great source of ideas, knowledge and methodology. We are ready to share this with any state or society in transition.
Moreover, Lithuanian experts have been actively involved in sharing technical assistance. To give a few examples: up to now, Lithuanian experts have participated in 40 European Union-funded projects in European Union pre-accession and neighboring countries. Lithuanian expertise is provided in the sectors of agriculture, finance, social protection, customs and many others. Within the framework of bilateral projects we are sharing our experience of transition with the governmental institutions of our partner countries. For instance, since 2006, Lithuanian experts have trained over 400 customs officers in Ukraine and Moldova. Our experts also actively assist Georgian municipalities in strategic planning at municipality level, involvement of local communities in decision-making. These are just a few examples where we used our transitional experience. Today we see the potential to expand the geographical scope for our knowledge and expertise sharing.
Lithuania’s transitional period is a great source of ideas, knowledge and methodology. And we are ready to share it with any state or society in transition.
We know what worked for us. First of all, we had to assure timely transition to democracy and market economy. Lithuania also faced the necessity of establishing a civil service that corresponds with democratic society standards. Moreover, reforms were related to macro-economic stabilisation, trade and foreign exchange, as well as setting legal and institutional frameworks to develop an appropriate level of public services.
Nevertheless, the model of the reforms of one country is not something that can be applied directly to another state. However, the spectrum of transitional experience is wide – transformations took place in every sector, be it public, private or nongovernmental. Therefore, one has the possibility to choose between different best practices for effective development. Analysis and assessment of partner countries’ local needs should provide the basis for proper selection of required expertise and further action. We consider the focus on ownership a very important element as transitional processes should be driven by partner countries themselves.
Finally, peaceful coexistence between countries and societies, democratic political systems with well-functioning and accountable public institutions, the rule of law, an independent judiciary system, a safe environment for investment, and proper trade conditions are all essential preconditions for the further achievement of development goals. This is why we see that sharing of knowledge and transitional experience should be properly elaborated upon in future discussions on the Global Partnership and the Post-2015 development agenda.