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Individual questions about operating with international technical assistance

In international practice, assistance provided free of charge to the country through official channels is called Official Development Assistance (ODA). ODA is one of the main tools for providing assistance to developing countries under the international development assistance policies. ODA is provided to official partner countries, identified as ODA recipients in the list of OECD recipient countries, and to multilateral agencies. They are provided by institutions including state and local authorities or their executive agencies in the form of grants, credits (loans) and other transfers in money or in kind (goods or services).

The Republic of Belarus is the recipient of ODA through the provision of international technical assistance (ITA). ODA distinctive feature is the promotion of socio-economic development of developing countries, as well as in the form of benefits and / or grant aid. The assistance (gratuitous nature of resources) must be at least 25% of the loan amount at a fixed discount rate of 10% for credits (loans) and other transfers within the framework of ODA.

Meanwhile, the national legislation operates with several concepts and the fundamentals are "foreign gratuitous aid" (hereinafter – “FGA”) and ITA.

At this date, FGA is regulated by the provisions of the Decree of the President of the Republic of Belarus of 31thAugust 2015 No. 5 “On Foreign Gratuitous Aid”.

As reference: The Decree of 31th August 2015 No. 5 defines in more detail the notion of foreign gratuitous aid (hereinafter - FGA). Thus, immovable property located outside the Republic of Belarus, and property rights are not applied to FGA. While interest-free loans, monetary funds allocated by foreign founders for financing of their institutions established in the Republic of Belarus, as well as contributions of foreign founders of Belarusian noncommercial organizations are FGA.

Foreign gratuitous aid is used for: liquidation of the consequences of natural and man-made disasters;scientific research, development, training, as well as for implementation of research programs. FGA also provides medical and social assistance for low-income citizens, disabled people, pensioners, children, large and broken families, tutelary and foster families, as well as for citizens in difficult life situations and it is also used for other purposes.

The improvement of FGA legislation of the Republic of Belarus, the introduction of a new conceptual framework (the "humanitarian program" and others) contributed to a more precise regulation and separation of responsibilities of the Ministry of Economy and the Department for Humanitarian Activities under the Property Management Directorate.

International technical assistance (ITA) is derived from the regulation of the above-mentioned Decree and is regulated by the Decree of the President of the Republic of Belarus of 22th October 2003 No. 460.

As reference: International technical assistanceis one of the types of gratuitous aid provided to the Republic of Belarus by donors of international technical assistance to support social and economic transformations, environmental protection and the elimination of consequences of the Chernobyl disaster. International technical assistance supports the development of infrastructure through research, exchange of specialists and students through transfer of experience and technology, money, equipment delivery and other goods (property) for projects (programs) approved by international technical assistance, and also in the form of seminars, conferences and other public hearings.  

Based on the above stated, there are several key criteria for a proper understanding of FGA and ITA:

Source of aid. ITA is restricted to the concept of "ITA donors", which have their own procedures and requirements in this area, which are generally applied in the Republic on the basis of international treaties.

Subject of regulation, accounting and registration. The Department registers and keeps accounts of FGA in the form of funds and goods, for each recipient and sender, as well as humanitarian programs established by the Property Management Directorate.

In 95% of cases, ITA is provided through ITA projects,which are formalized between ITA donor and ITA recipient. The form and requirements for ITA projects are established by the regulations of ITA donors.

The Ministry of Economy registers and keeps accounts of ITA projects.

Based on the requirements for projects implementation and expenditure of funds, it is possible to single out several criteria for distribution of FGA and ITA:

a) ITA recipients and suppliers of goods under ITA projects have the opportunity to receive large preferences. FGA can be obtained in accordance with Decree No. 5.

b) Monitoring mechanisms on the part of ITA donor for ITA projects are lengthy. Many ITA donors can check the project documentation and the correctness of the expenditure of funds within 3-7 years after its completion;

c)Purchasing systems within framework of FGA are not regulated by donor. Under ITA, the main ITA donors require the application of their procurement requirements and their realization at the expense of ITA;

d)ITA project documents contain the lists of eligible costs for ICC recipients in the implementation of ITA projects;

i) FGA usage purposes are indicated in the plan and must be agreed with the Department. Within the framework of ITA, the documents of ITA projects define the goals and objectives of ITA project.

Since 2014, the approaches, mechanisms, procedures and tools of ITA donors have been transformed. In view of this,
aid recipients can seek advice before agreement on projects with ITA donors is confirmed and procedures are performed.