Chile Profile in international cooperation for development

Official name: REPÚBLICA DE CHILE; UN member: Since 1945 (founding member) ; OECD member: Yes, since 2010.
Luciana Alexandra GHICA, Bogdan Mihai RADU (2017) International Development Policy Country Report: Chile. Bucharest: Centre for International Cooperation and Development Studies.


recipient country and partner offering expertise and support (including financial) through international cooperation

National institutional coordinator

AGENCIA CHILENA DE COOPERACIÓN INTERNACIONAL PARA EL DESARROLLO (Chilean Agency of International Cooperation for Development – AGCID, since 1990), within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Current priorities


  • Latin America & the Caribbean
  • Recently, a limited number of countries from Africa and South East Asia


  • promoting human dignity, and inclusive and sustainable development based on human rights;
  • strengthening democracy and its institutions;
  • promoting peace, tolerance, and human security;
  • strengthening the role of Latin America and the Caribbean in global governance.
  • promoting regional integration and convergence in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Institutional, Legal & Strategic Framework

The national coordinator of the Chilean ODA actions is Agencia Chilena de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo (Chilean Agency of International Cooperation for Development - AGCID), which since 2005 functions under the coordination of the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores (Ministry of Foreign Affairs).

Although Chile had been involved in various forms of decentralized international cooperation in matters of economic and social development since its government signed the UN Charter as founding member of the United Nations in 1945, it was only in 1965 that it first established a national structure that put together all such initiatives. This was Oficina de Planificación Nacional (National Planning Office - ODEPLAN), which was responsible for national and regional planning for development and, in matters of international cooperation, had the support of a department of international technical assistance.

Around this structure, the government created in 1990 Agencia de Cooperación Internacional (Agency of International Cooperation), under the coordination of the Ministry of Planning and Cooperation (Ministerio de Planificación y Cooperación). However, whenever Chilean participation to international cooperation processes required financial commitment, the responsible institution was the Ministry of Finance (Ministerio de la Hacienda).

The agency initially aimed to manage technically and financially the funds and other forms of development aid that Chile was receiving at that time from international donors to support its development efforts in the context of democratization of but it quickly added responsibilities related to cooperation with non-donor countries or organizations. Most importantly, in 1993, the agency acquired more consistent competences in international technical cooperation through the establishment of a program of technical cooperation between developing countries (Programa de Cooperación Técnica entre Países en Desarrollo – CTPD), which later became its South-South cooperation program (Programa de Cooperación Sur-Sur). Since 1998 it has also started developing projects of triangular cooperation, and since 2001 it has become the financial manager for the country’s relation with the European Union.

In 2005, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs took the coordination role for the agency which was renamed Agencia de Cooperación Internacional de Chile (Chilean Agency of International Cooperation - AGCI; Ley 19.999/10.02.2005). This transfer made development part of the foreign policy agenda. Consequently, the Chilean embassies also acquired more tasks in matters related to international cooperation for development, especially in countries with which Chile had programs of international cooperation for development. As in the case of the previous ministerial coordinator, when international cooperation processes require Chilean financial participation, the country’s Ministry of Finance has remained responsible for the approval of funds.

In 2015, AGCI was renamed Agencia Chilena de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo (Chilean Agency of International Cooperation for Development - AGCID) and continues its activities under the coordination of the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with the Ministry of Finance maintaining its role in the financial management of Chilean funds.

According to the law that defines its nature, goal, objectives and organization principles, AGCID currently has the following role:

“La Agencia de Cooperación Internacional de Chile es un servicio público, funcionalmente descentralizado, con personalidad jurídica y patrimonio propio, cuya finalidad es apoyar los planes, programas, proyectos y actividades de desarrollo que impulse el Gobierno, mediante la captación, prestación y administración de recursos de cooperación Internacional. […]. Además, la agencia tiene la finalidad de implementar, realizar, y ejecutar la cooperación internacional para y entre países en desarrollo.” [The Chilean Agency of International Cooperation is a public service, functionally decentralized, with its own legal personality and patrimony, which aims to support the Government’s plans, programs, projects, and activities in matters of development, through attracting, delivering, and managing resources of international cooperation. […] In addition, the agency will implement, perform and execute international cooperation for and between developing countries]

(Ley 18.989/19.07.1990 – latest version [2012], art. 17, our translation)

The agency is thus responsible for strategic planning, programming, management and execution of all governmental projects and agreements in matters related to international cooperation for development.

AGCID continues to coordinate also the programs through which Chile continues to receive funds (Cooperación internacional para el Desarollo Nacional).

In addition, AGCID manages a program of scholarships and training programs for both Chileans abroad and foreigners in Chile, and offers public access online and on site to an Information and Documentation Centre on International Cooperation (Centro de Información y Documentación en Cooperación Internacional).

Features & trends

Chile does not define itself as a donor of development aid but rather as a recipient country, as well as a partner that offers international cooperation in areas in which it has expertise and interests.

Although, according to current OECD criteria, from 2017 onwards the country should stop receiving development funds and thus become a net donor of official development aid, the Chilean government states that it is not prepared to graduate from being a recipient. As representatives of the Chilean government acknowledged in interviews with the authors of this report in September 2016, a multilateral debate on the OECD criteria is urgently necessary because these rigid technical criteria would put too much pressure on the still frail economy and democracy of countries that have recently become donors of aid for development.

As of 2015, the amount of public spending for international cooperation (i.e. AGCID) was about 0.018% of the national budget.

Most of its activity in the field is technical cooperation, largely through Programa Chileno de Cooperación Técnica entre Países en Desarollo (Chilean Program of Technical Cooperation between Developing Countries – CTPD).

Most recipients of its cooperation programs are from Latin America and the Caribbean, especially neighbouring countries, as well as Haiti, Bolivia, Paraguay, El Salvador, and Ecuador.

Recently, it also started cooperation with a limited number of countries from Asia (Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) and Africa (Angola, Mozambique, South Africa and Zambia), especially for training/scholarship programs.

The typical form of cooperation is horizontal through South-South cooperation initiatives, coordinated by the Programa de Cooperación Sur-Sur within AGCID. Most partners in such initiatives are neighbouring countries.

Another form of cooperation in which Chile is a non-recipient partner is triangular cooperation, in which a traditional donor (a country from Western Europe, Japan, South Korea or US, or intergovernmental organizations) partner with Chile to support an initiative from which another (recipient) country also benefits.

Main funding instruments

The largest amount of funds is disbursed through the technical cooperation program, which includes mostly bilateral and triangular technical cooperation, scholarships for foreigners and special mixed funds.


(Cooperation Fund Chile-Mexico, since 2007)

A joint fund for promoting horizontal cooperation between Chile and Mexico or triangular cooperation led jointly by Chile and Mexico. The initiative is managed by a joint commission from representatives of AGCID and the Mexican Agency for International Cooperation for Development (AMEXCID). Every year a call for applications is open for governmental entities from Chile, Mexico and third countries which want to develop common projects in line with the objectives of a strategic association agreement signed by Chile and Mexico in 2006. According to this document, the first objective of this collaboration it to strengthen bilateral cooperation in the public sector, including in matters of institutional capacity-building, democracy and human rights, as well as in all other classic areas of sustainable economic and social development (art.9). The annual budget of the fund is about 2 mill. USD, to which the two countries contribute in equal parts.


Mixed Fund Chile-Spain, since 2011

A program of triangular cooperation led jointly by Chile and Spain was established in 2009, with the current format being adopted in 2011. The fund is managed by AGCID but is coordinated by a mixed Spanish-Chilean commission of representatives from AGCID and the Technical Cooperation Office in Chile of the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation (AECID OCT Chile). Its main role is to contribute to initiatives related to the global agenda of development in Latin America. So far, three projects have been completed in three different areas – in Bolivia (health sector), El Salvador (improvement of labour conditions) and Paraguay (modernization of state institutions).


Chile Fund against Hunger and Poverty, since 2012

An initiative created with the support of the United Nations for Development Program (UNDP) and aiming to support the global goal of fighting hunger and poverty, through initiatives implemented by Chile as offering partner in South-South cooperation projects. The fund has three tracks corresponding to 1. Civil society initiatives; 2. Technical assistance provided by the Chilean government with support from UN agencies; 3. Humanitarian aid. Theoretically, the fund should provide assistance worldwide to people affected by natural or man-made disasters but its current focus is mostly regional (i.e. Latin America and the Caribbean). Outside the region, it contributed mostly to humanitarian aid projects in Africa (Egypt, Mali, Palestine, South Sudan, Syria).


Fund of the Pacific Alliance, since 2013

The Pacific Alliance is a regional cooperation/integration initiative of Chile, Peru, Colombia and Mexico established in 2011 with the aim of supporting the social and economic development of the signing Parties through political coordination and the free circulation of persons, goods, capitals, and services, through the promotion and intensification of intraregional trade, and through common programs in areas related to education, culture and tourism. The agreement establishing a multilateral fund for achieving the goals of the organization was signed in 2013. Through this instrument of horizontal cooperation Chile provides mostly funds for scholarships and for small initiatives of technical cooperation.


French–Chilean Fund for Support to Decentralized Cooperation, since 2014

The most recent initiative, this horizontal and triangular cooperation fund aims to foster cooperation projects between Chilean and French subnational entities which could be also joined by subnational entities from other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. The current call focuses mostly on issues related to exchange of experience in matters related to heritage and tourism, territorial development, and sustainable energy, as well as on youth exchanges, the development of human resources in public administration and vocational education (crafts schools). The projects are selected through an open yearly call administered jointly by Chile and France.

Chile & Aid for Democracy

Chile defines its agenda on international cooperation for development around two thematic areas:

1. Strengthening of democracy and institutional modernization, including training of human resources and other forms of capacity-building;


2. Inclusive and sustainable development, with priority in:
  • Social development
  • Agriculture and food security
  • Environment, natural resources and energy
  • Economic cooperation for development
  • Territorial and local development
  • Prevention of natural disasters

The focus on democracy as a top priority for international cooperation for development is not a mere rhetorical exercise. Not coincidentally, the Agency for International Cooperation was established at the time when Chile was moving back towards democracy and consequently one of the areas where Chile has been gaining special expertise has been the democratic transition. The fact that democratic consolidation has been a major priority for the funds received by Chile as development aid and this continues to be the umbrella package that defines the national development program (Desarollo Nacional) within AGCID, also had an impact on how international cooperation for development was structured when Chile moved from being a mere recipient to being also an offering partner of international cooperation.

In matters of aid for democracy, Chile focused on its experience related to institutional capacity-building through institutional modernization and staff training. More specifically, the tools and methods that it has promoted in its projects related to this thematic area are:

  • support for institutional capacity-building;
  • exchange of experience and good practices;
  • support for governmental institutions that are predictable, accountable and sustainable;
  • modernization of judicial systems, as well as equal and fair access to justice.

Without necessarily framing it primarily under this label, the latest strategic and policy documents of the Chilean government in matters related to international cooperation for development (e.g. Chilean strategy for development 2015-2018, Chilean policy and strategy for international cooperation for development 2015) promote the key principles of open government, i.e. transparency, accountability, inclusion and participation.

This report was prepared based on public information available on the website of the Agencia Chilena de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo (i.e. legislation, presentations of programs, financial reports etc.), as well as on information collected by the authors through fieldwork conducted in Chile in September 2016. The fieldwork included documentation visits at the AGCID Information and Documentation Centre on International Cooperation, as well as interviews with AGCID representatives.

This country report was produced within the project New Actors & Mechanisms of Democratic Accountability in International Development: Reputation Building of ODA Emergent Donors (demoAID) implemented between 2015 and 2017 under the coordination of Luciana Alexandra GHICA at the Centre for International Cooperation and Development Studies (IDC), Faculty of Political Science – University of Bucharest, Romania.

Please do not quote this version. This draft version was published first in 2016 and it is currently under review for feedback from peers and practitioners. A final version (see below) will be published in 2017.

This work was supported by a grant of the Romanian National Authority for Scientific Research and Innovation, CNCS-UEFISCDI, project number PN-II-RU-TE-2014-4-2851.


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