Portuguese co-operation is based on a decentralised structure with a wide range of governmental and non-governmental entities from the public and private sector, both profitable and non-profitable, all with their own objectives and complementary capacities for intervention. In light of this, the main priority is to develop inclusive and comprehensive partnerships that serve to reflect the strengths of each entity. This vision involves establishing a consensus, aligning incentives and mobilising resources in a holistic manner with the aim of creating higher levels of co-operation and ensuring a joint effort among the various entities in line with the strategy set out in the Agenda 2030 programme for sustainable development.
Thus, Portuguese co-operation policy has an integrated approach, co-ordinated and supervised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to become a true pillar of foreign policy.
It is widely considered that a better division of labour, along with the adoption of new approaches (joint interventions, delegated co-operation, help based on programmes and partnerships with other entities such as the private sector) generally serve to increase the quality of co-operation. Further progress in this area requires a greater level of co-ordination on the ground, which is based on the need for strengthening local frameworks.
Co-ordination and supervision of all the co-operative development activities is the responsibility of Camões, I.P.. In this context, priority is given to the control, co-ordination and supervision of the various national partners which are there for the purpose of two main pivotal platforms: the Inter-ministerial Commission for Co-operation and the Forum for Co-operative Development (which brings together representatives of the Civil Society Organisations).
In a gradual and progressive manner, Camões, I.P. has increased the delegation’s responsibilities for the implementation of programmes, projects and activities relating to Portuguese co-operative partnerships, taking into account the comparative advantages in technical and financial terms whilst maintaining its managerial prerogatives, co-ordination and supervision covering the entire programming and project cycles, where applicable.
Portugal has been investing in this delegated form of co-operation by identifying the areas of greater interest.
Portugal has also strengthened its contact base in order to establish trilateral partnerships that contribute effectively in the development of partner countries. Such partnerships are being developed with other entities, some of which are new providers, with the main beneficiaries (although not exclusively) being the Portuguese co-operative countries and their relevant sectors where this kind of agreement provides added-value or is complementary to any bilateral support being given.
On the other hand, it should be noted that the logic of partnership has gained momentum with the investment made in developing partnerships with agencies of bilateral co-operation, particularly for the co-financing of projects and for the setting up of consortia, as well as the private sector.
Camões, I.P. has sought to establish partnerships with different governmental and non-governmental entities as well as contributing to the creation of partnerships between other national players. It also seeks to initiate partnerships between municipalities and other co-operative partners, particularly non-governmental institutions and the private sector, as part of its projects strategy in the areas of co-operation and the education for development programme (ED).
Camões, I.P. also strives to support non-governmental initiatives within the framework of financing projects in emerging countries since 2002 and funding education for development (ED) projects since 2005.
In this respect, it’s also important to mention the signed programme agreement with the Portuguese non-governmental platform from 2014-2018 which, for its part, seeks to contribute to the creation of partnerships between non-governmental institutions, universities, municipalities and organisations within the private and public sector.
In the area of education for development (ED), and in the preparation, execution and monitoring of the education for development national strategy (ENED) which ran from 2010-2015, Camões, I.P. created lasting partnerships with various governmental and non-governmental organisations. In this context, it should be noted that protocols and programme agreements were signed with key entities both at home and abroad, namely the Ministry of Education and Science, Amilcar Cabral Development Study Centre (CIDAC), Gonçalo da Silveira Foundation, Viana do Castelo Institute of Higher Education and the Global Education Network Europe (GENE).
With regard to municipalities, it should be noted that Camões, I.P. and the European Commission have supported development project networks through the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation programme from 2014-2017, which has as its main objective the enlargement and consolidation of a themed network of Portuguese municipalities dedicated to the development of co-operation.
According to the terms of its implementation, Agenda 2030 seeks to establish partnerships in various shapes and sizes with a wide range of countries, including less developed and fragile states to middle-income and high-performance nations, by mobilising the various instruments and policies in place.
Established on 17 July 1996, by a decision of the Conference of Heads of State and Government of Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Portugal and Sao Tome and Principe, a community of almost 200 million Portuguese speakers. In 2002, it was East Timor's turn to join this community.
Triangular co-operation is an important form of co-operation that enables knowledge sharing, joint learning and capacity building based on the comparative advantages of the partners, the complementarity of actions and the leverage of financial resources. Triangular co-operation thus represents an important long-term investment, since it can have a multiplier effect, thereby complementing and adding value to bilateral co-operation actions.
Portugal has increasingly taken a leading role in the multilateral space for development co-operation, seeking to defend and obtain special attention from the international community for Africa and, in particular, for the least developed countries, for states considered fragile and/or in conflict situations and for small island developing states. On the other hand, it has sought to strengthen the Portuguese speaking space through an appreciation of the CPLP's intervention and develop a bilateral-multilateral approach that enables the comparative advantages of Portuguese co-operation to be enhanced in the light of the Paris Declaration and the Accra Agenda for Action in the context of aid effectiveness. With the adoption in September 2015 of a new agenda that will be in force until 2030, new challenges will arise for countries, which will also require a new model of co-operation that truly promotes inclusive sustainable development in a more effective and efficient way.
The Portuguese State, as expressed in the NGDO Charter and in the Co-operation Agreement entered into between the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Portuguese NGDO Platform, recognises the fundamental role of non-governmental development organisations (NGDOs) in the field of development assistance, humanitarian aid and development education, and seeks to:
Camões, I.P., is the central Portuguese co-operation body whose mission is to propose and implement the co-operation policy and co-ordinate the activities carried out by other public entities that participate in the implementation of that policy. In this context, priority actions are the direction, co-ordination and supervision of the various national partners.
The National Strategic Files are the main strategic tool for programming in the context of the EDF. These files single out the main procedures for implementing the European development policy in the partner countries.
In this context, the National Indicative Plans (PIN) are a management tool that identify and define the necessary actions to be carried out for attaining the goals that are set out in the National Strategic Files.
The PALOP and TL - EU co-operation is intended to strengthen the relationship between the Portuguese speaking African countries and East Timor and the EU Member States. It has been active since 1992, having been extended to East Timor in 2007.
It is based on historical and cultural affinities between these countries, and the Heads of State have solemnly reiterated their willingness to cooperate with each other on the basis of the official language and the common features which characterise the inherited governance system, justice systems and public finance management, as well as historical and post-independence political path.
Delegated Co-Operation is part of the Aid Effectiveness Agenda and is stipulated under the EU Code of Conduct on the division of labour in development policy. It is a management strategy which allows, for example, the European Commission to delegate funds to a Member State for the implementation of co-operation programmes (through "delegation agreements") and for Member States to transfer their resources to the Commission itself (through "transfer agreements"). This option is intended to encourage greater concentration of aid in partner countries or sectors where the added value of a specific donor is greater.