ODA project: survey closure update

February 6, 2013

Early January marked the closure of the surveys sent out to the representatives of the civil society sector, the business sector and government agencies in Hungary. 

Part of the “Official Development Assistance (ODA) in the New Member States: Trade Regimes, the Private Sector and the Civil Society as Development Actors” EU-sponsored project, the surveys sought to identify the role and actual involvement of the three sectors in international development cooperation.

The surveys ran in parallel with interviews and continuous desk research. The information obtained through these surveys helped identify the topics of interest for the stakeholders and pinpoint the challenges and shortcomings of the international development cooperation in Hungary. These points were later tackled in specialized focus-groups.

Based on the surveys alone, the preliminary findings are the following:


(Non-governmental Development Organizations)

With an approximately 50% response rate, the survey phase of exploring the Hungarian Non-governmental Development Organization (NGDO) sector has come to the close in early January 2013. Based on the 29 complete responses, Hungarian NGDOs have been present in 76 countries around the world. While some of the biggest development and humanitarian organizations work in more than 10 developing countries, most of them carry out projects in 3-4 states. In terms of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), most respondents cluster their organization’s activities under MDG2: Education (70.4%), around half of them (51.9%) work towards MDG1: Poverty eradication, while approximately 40% engage in building global partnerships for development (MDG8) and health-improvement activities (MDGs 4-6). According to the responses, funding for these activities comes mostly from private donations (35%), European Union funds (30%), and governmental funding (15%). Whether and how this state of affairs poses challenges to the civil society development actors is being explored through interviews and focus group discussions with the stakeholders.

NGDO Survey - Summary Report in Hungarian (Download)


(Aid for Trade)

In order to explore Hungary’s International Development (ID) policy and the role of external trade in international development activities the web-based survey has been conducted. It has been closed on the 10th of January 2013 with a 30% response rate. The survey posed the questions to relevant departments of various ministries on how they finance, coordinate or conduct international development projects. The majority of the participants' see the main objectives of Hungarian ID activities in achieving the MDGs, while some of them find that ID activities should also be used to advance foreign policy and external trade. Participants strongly agree, that the role of trade in development could contribute to strengthen competiveness of the economy and promote Hungary’s access to international markets. However, cooperation with the private sector is labelled ‘occasional but effective’ (37,5%), or ‘only formal’ (25%), while none of the agencies reported ‘regular contact’ with private sector participants. As for the future focus of the ID strategy, the respondents agree that coordination of Hungarian ID activities should be strengthened and coupled with a predictable 2-3 year budgetary framework to ensure consistent funding. Overall, the survey shows that in spite of actors' work towards achievement of the same goals (MDGs), the lack of reliable funding accompanied by weak coordination, inconsistent monitoring and evaluation hamper the effectiveness of ID projects. The ways to increase the involvement of the private sector in the development activities and unleash its potential to establish long-term business relations with recipient countries are being explored through the interviews and focus group discussions.

Private Sector

The survey phase of exploring the Hungarian private sector as a potential international development actor has also come to the close in early January 2013. The original target was to collect at least 20 responses from the 10 selected countries; eventually we got 32 response units that cover 11 countries. Western Balkan countries, especially Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina as well as Ukraine are overrepresented among our respondents that is in accordance with the relative weight of bilateral trade relations between the particular countries and Hungary. Most of the responding companies are small enterprises and their activity concentrate in five sectors: besides manufacturing and trade, agriculture, water supply and transportation are also represented. Among the main findings it is noteworthy that the respondent companies are predominantly oriented to regional markets: not only one particular country’s market but also towards the neighbouring countries. According to their opinion, the presence of foreign companies only moderately promote the improvement of working environment and the development of base infrastructure; moreover, their role is even less significant in other potential areas (fair competition, legal and regulatory framework, development of local human resources, transfer of technology and know-how, development of local financial markets). The most obvious difficulties regarding the participation of Hungarian private companies in international development projects are related to the capacity problems (both financially and in production volume terms) and the perceived lack of transparency of accessible financial resources: the capacity problem is mentioned by 41% of the respondents, while the financial transparency is considered to be a major blocking factor by 52% of them