Honduras is best known for the production and export of agricultural products (coffee, tropical fruits and sugar cane) as well as for its textile industry (maquila). Remittances sent by Hondurans abroad represent 20% of the country's GDP.
Honduras is the only country in Latin America where poverty has not declined in recent years. This is due, among other things, to the concentration of economic power in a small group of Honduran society; high levels of corruption and impunity; to an unbalanced fiscal base; and to high demographic pressure. As a small open economy, the country is vulnerable to external shocks, particularly the growth of the US economy and oil prices.
In addition to high levels of economic inequality in Latin America, rampant crime and violence represent major challenges to the country's development.
Honduras faces a series of profound structural risks such as institutional weakness, pervasive corruption, impunity, links between the institutions and organized crime, widespread violence, human rights violations, climate change, environmental degradation, irregular migration and internal displacement, economic uncertainty, and health challenges.
The European Union and its Member States are key actors in the economic and social development of Honduras. In the last twenty years, Europe has significantly financed the provision of basic services for the most vulnerable population, the strengthening of national capacities for the implementation and management of sustainable public policies, job creation, and economic growth, the protection, and promotion of human rights and the responsible management of natural resources and rural development.
Based on the context above, three priority areas are proposed in the Multiannual Indicative Programme (MIP):
Sustainable Management of Natural Resources and Climate Change
We understand that while Honduras’ contribution to global greenhouse emissions is small, the country’s vast forests play an important role in global carbon capture and storage as well as in biodiversity conservation. Such added values are critical to EU interests and priorities as a global leader on Climate Change. Through this priority area, the EU enters into partnership with Honduras to support meeting the Honduran Government-Paris Agreement targets through the implementation of the national “decarbonization strategy’’.
Employment, Decent Work, and Growth
Our contribution to the employment sector takes into account the EU’s principles of building a greener, more digital, and more resilient Europe. Actions under this approach aim to contribute to the improvement of technical and professional education and training considering digital transformation, increasing private sector participation, and promoting research and innovation for micro and small enterprises. Lessons learned from the previous MIP point toward the EU as a strategic partner for Honduras in terms of contributing to sector governance and advising the Government to comply with international labour agreements. The EU’s contribution to the employment sector delivers important lessons for the replicability and sustainability of its interventions.
Rule of Law and Democratic Governance
The third priority area focuses on increasing accountability and transparency and is closely interrelated with the first two areas. Within all areas, there will be close cooperation with the Government, civil society, private sector, and other development partners to ensure aid effectiveness and transparency in the use of public resources. Importantly, actions in this sector will build upon the EU’s past involvement in democratic processes. More emphasis will be placed on the implementation of the Human Rights and Democracy Country Strategy for Honduras, especially on the protection of human rights.
The Multiannual Indicative Programme(MIP) for Honduras for 2021-2024 amounts to €128 million.
Priority area 1: ‘Sustainable Management of Natural Resources and Climate Change’ aims to contribute to the restoration of 1,3 million hectares of forest through improved value chain governance in the forest, agriculture, and aquaculture sectors while achieving the reduction of 16% of greenhouse gases by switching from conventional transportation models to sustainable mobility.
Priority area 2: ‘Employment, Decent Work, and Growth’ promotes the Honduran labour force’s employability from a lifelong learning approach in coherence with the country's productive development needs. The EU's support can contribute to establishing the strategic objectives to promote a long-term professional training process, innovating the teaching process, and adapting technical curricula with digital skills for the Honduran labour force. This contribution to innovative interventions can lead entrepreneurs to develop their capacities and implement adequate measures to enable their expansion to new markets.
Priority area 3: ‘Rule of Law and Democratic Governance’ supports the national efforts and provides institutional strengthening to guarantee the universal application of the law and protection of human rights, particularly focusing on transparency and the fight against corruption while contributing to the strengthening of the democratic system and increasing citizen participation with a specific focus on vulnerable groups, especially women.
Measures are being taken to ensure that an enabling environment for civil society is a cross-cutting theme for all identified priority areas. To reinforce the role of Honduran Civil Society Organisations (CSO) in the country’s political, economic, and social development process, a specific financial provision for support to civil society is foreseen, focusing on three main areas:
- Support the implementation of CSO-led projects financed through bilateral cooperation and thematic lines.
- Support the implementation of the Country Roadmap of EU engagement with Civil Society for the period beyond 2020.
- Creation of a CSO Helpdesk that can support organisations via technical assistance to improve their capacities in areas such as coalition building, networking, strategic communication, thematic analysis, and digitalisation.