The public’s interest and concern with global events and economic, environmental and social problems are growing and public awareness of global changes is increasing; the public starts to perceive that every individual is capable of contributing to resolution of global problems. However, provision of information on development cooperation issues to the public remains relevant as an integral part of Lithuanian development cooperation policy.
Having regard to an increasing importance of the development cooperation policy in the world and seeking to introduce citizens of Lithuania to the activities of the state in this area and make them easy to understand and accessible to all citizens, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs focuses on informing and educating the general public.
The Development Cooperation Policy Guidelines of the Republic of Lithuania for 2014–2016 (Resolution No. 41 of 15 January 2014 of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania) provide that “support will be further provided for the activities aimed at informing and educating the public, and in particular youth, about the importance, objectives and advantages of development cooperation, to familiarise them with projects implemented by Lithuania and their results and Lithuania’s contributions to the operations of international development organisations and funds”.
Implementing projects for the public awareness raising, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs seeks:
Information to the public is provided through cultural and art projects, media, seminars for teachers and students, and other activities. Projects are implemented in cooperation with Lithuanian municipalities, non-governmental organisations, education and training institutions, media representatives, other institutions and organisations.
Information about the MoFA tenders for the implementation of development cooperation projects is published on the Internet website www.orangeprojects.lt, in the section “Calls for Proposals”.
The European Union also places a particular focus on the public awareness raising on development cooperation issues. For this purpose, the year 2015 has been announced the European Year for Development. The European Parliament and the EU Council provided that the main objective of the European Year for Development is to inform the EU citizens about the development cooperation of the EU and its member states, to encourage the direct involvement, critical thinking and active interest of citizens in development cooperation and to give a better understanding that its importance is not only for the beneficiaries but also for the European citizens, and to achieve greater policy coherence. Further information on the European Year for Development 2015 is available on the website www.europa.eu/eyd2015/.
Our international commitments are not the only reason why we need to contribute to and support the development of other countries. The Millennium Development Goals such as eradication of poverty in the world and saving of millions of lives are global and require a global effort. The aspiration to help developing countries come close to developed countries means both the manifestation of solidarity and a way to achieve that the world is safer and richer. This is important for the further expansion of the security and stability zone around Europe, as well as support and promotion of a stable international order. We must be ready to use all possible means to prevent the occurrence of old and new threats should the need arise. Therefore, it is important to build and promote a sense of common responsibility and solidarity amongst all Lithuanian citizens in an increasingly connected world.
Not such a long time ago, Lithuania itself was an aid recipient, and this aid was highly needed and valuable for Lithuania in restoring its independence and taking the path towards reform. Now, we have the opportunity to contribute and support other countries by devoting our time for voluntary activities, donating funds, taking interest in the development cooperation policy, or influencing decision-making in national government on the need to provide assistance to developing countries. By giving to others, we become richer ourselves: we get to know other cultures, learn foreign languages, and acquire new knowledge, experience and skills to communicate and function in different social and cultural environments.