Sweden To Phase Out Aid Projects With Philippines

With the closure of its embassy in Manila, Sweden
has also decided to phase out its bilateral aid projects in the Philippines in the next two to four years, said
a Swedish diplomat based in Manila
on Sunday.
    Swedish Embassy Second Secretary and Trade
and Investment attache Fredrik Agerhem said the reason behind this is Sweden‘s new policy to shift its development
assistance to poorer countries in the South East Asian region and Africa.
    “As part of a review of Swedish
development cooperation policy the number of countries that Sweden will
have bilateral development cooperation with will be reduced from around 100 to
30.The reason behind this decision is to increase aid effectiveness and to
increase focus on the poorest countries. One of the countries that will be
affected by this decision is the Philippines“, Agerhem said.
    He said that while Sweden is halting aid to the Philippines, Swedish assistance to Cambodia and Laos would continune.
    “Considering that the Philippines is a
middle income country with a relatively advanced level of development and a
large presence of other donors, the Swedish government has decided to phase out
Sweden’s bilateral development cooperation with the Philippines over the next
two to four years. As a consequence of the decision, no new projects will be
started”, Agerhem said.
    Swedish humanitarian support and
development cooperation in the Philippines
through multilateral organizations and through civil society organizations
will, however, continue, he noted.
    Agerhem added that Filipinos will still be
considered for participation in Swedish International Development Assistance
(SIDA)-sponsored training programs.
    Swedish bilateral development cooperation
with the Philippines
has amounted to around 170 million pesos (3.86 million U.S. dollars) annually.
    By the end of 2008, Agerhem said Sweden will
also no longer make further contributions to the World Bank-administered
Mindanao Trust Fund for reconstruction and rehabilitation of strife-torn areas
in the region.
    Sweden
has already contributed 210-million pesos (4.77 million U.S. dollars) to the
fund, participated also by the United States,
Japan, Australia, New
Zealand
and Canada.
    Sweden
decided to close its embassy in the Philippines on May 31 as part of
the country’s continuous review of its organization abroad and assessment of
its status in relation to changes in the surrounding world and changing
requirements for monitoring and service.
    After the closure, applications for visas will
be handled by another Schengen member country’s embassy in Manila, an honorary
consulate will be established to provide basic consular support to Swedish
citizens and Sweden’s embassy in Bangkok will take over the applications for
residence and work permits from the Philippines.

 

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