Croatia – A Unique Bridge between North and South Development Cooperation (2018)

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FOREWORDS

Joseph Gene Petrić
Assistant Minister for Trade and Development Ministry of Foreign and European

Croatia is honoured to join the UNOSSC South-South and Triangular Cooperation in Action Series featuring inspiring and often less-known development stories by developing countries, regional organizations and other partners. Croatia’s National Strategy for Development Cooperation 2017– 2021 includes South-South and triangular cooperation as an indispensable tool for jointly achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The pledge of the 2030 Agenda, leave no one behind, is enshrined in the South-South principles of solidarity, respect, equality, and the mutual exchange of experiences and expertise. 

Having joined the European Union (EU) in 2013, Croatia is one of the representatives of the world’s single largest development cooperation partner. In addition, Croatia is a country that has recently shifted from being a humanitarian and development aid recipient state to a development partner in its own right. Due to its recent history, Croatia has developed a very diversified set of skills that are in high demand across the globe, the most prominent of which are: rebuilding the economy and tourism; developing an effective mine action system and related industries; providing dignified and sustainable care refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) and managing their return; providing specialized mental health expertise in post-trauma stress (PTSD); providing expertise on missing persons and forensic support systems; reforming the security sector; mainstreaming gender; promoting innovative financing of development projects; raising awareness on non-violence; involving religious minorities; and strengthening civil society. A substantial part of Croatia’s South- South cooperation (SSC) was focused on its immediate neighbours by providing expertise and legislation for complex European integration processes. 

At first, one may wonder how it is that a European Union (EU) member state considers its own development cooperation activities as being part of SSC. We feel that Croatia enjoys a unique position as a bridge between what is traditionally seen as North and South development cooperation. Indeed, as an EU member state, Croatia can be viewed as a typical Northern donor. At the same time, Croatia in its own national development cooperation, bilaterally and regionally, often acts like a South-South partner assisting fellow countries on the basis of mutual exchange of knowledge, solidarity and equality. Countries and regions, identified as priority partners in our National Strategy for Development Cooperation, face similar political, economic and societal challenges as Croatia had faced only recently and, in some cases, still is facing. Croatian long-term assistance to its own neighbouring region of Southeast Europe, as well as to a wider European Eastern and Southern Neighbourhood, is based on South-South principles. This makes Croatia a rather unique development partner. 

My gratitude goes to United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) for showcasing the role that Croatia has played to date and can play in the future towards achieving our global, ambitious 2030 Agenda for everyone on this planet. The only way to do this is to know and use everyone’s potential and strong points, to cooperate, and share our experiences, good practices and setbacks as well. This report is bringing us one step further towards this goal. 

The global development cooperation landscape is evolving, with many former development partner- recipients transitioning into partner-providers. Through this transition, the global development movement has enhanced and complementary cooperation approaches such as South-South and triangular cooperation are gaining prominence as modalities to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. 

Since gaining its independence in 1991, Croatia has transformed from a Southern country to the newest member of the European Union in 2013. Within this new role, the country is sharing with other countries the knowledge and experience that contributed to its development. As is evident in this publication, Croatia is providing expertise very much in line with the principles of South- South cooperation and solidarity. For example, it is supporting the process of evolution within the development landscape of the Balkan Region, and actively extending its partnership with Southern partners beyond the region. 

I am pleased to present this latest edition of South-South in Action, titled “Croatia: A Unique Bridge between North and South Development Cooperation”. It has been produced as a collaboration between the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Croatia and the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation. 

The publication demonstrates a new paradigm in development cooperation where the spirit of South-South cooperation has been infused into a model of North-South cooperation. It showcases new innovative solutions to development challenges that Croatia accumulated as a Southern country that have the potential to be transferred on a demand-driven basis to other countries through North- South, South-South and triangular cooperation toward the achievement of regional and global sustainability and inclusiveness. The unique role that Croatia plays and modalities of development cooperation that the country utilizes may serve as examples for new emerging development partners to adapt and replicate successful practices on their way to achieving the 2030 Agenda. 

Jorge Chediek 

Envoy of the Secretary-General on South-South Cooperation and Director, United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation

The global development cooperation landscape is evolving, with many former development partner-recipients transitioning into partner-providers. Through this transition, the global development movement has enhanced and complementary cooperation approaches such as South-South
and triangular cooperation are gaining prominence as modalities to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Since gaining its independence in 1991, Croatia has transformed from a Southern country to the newest member of the European Union in 2013. Within this new role, the country is sharing with other countries the knowledge and experience that contributed to its development. As is evident in this publication, Croatia is providing expertise very much in line with the principles of South-South cooperation and solidarity. For example, it is supporting the process of evolution within the development landscape of the Balkan Region, and actively extending its partnership with Southern
partners beyond the region.

I am pleased to present this latest edition of South-South in Action, titled “Croatia: A Unique Bridge between North and South Development Cooperation”. It has been produced as a collaboration between the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Croatia and the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation.

The publication demonstrates a new paradigm in development cooperation where the spirit of South-South cooperation has been infused into a model of North-South cooperation. It showcases new innovative solutions to development challenges that Croatia accumulated as a Southern country that have the potential to be transferred on a demand-driven basis to other countries through North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation toward the achievement of regional and global sustainability and inclusiveness. The unique role that Croatia plays and modalities of development cooperation that the country utilizes may serve as examples for new emerging development partners to adapt and replicate successful practices on their way to achieving the 2030 Agenda.