Comprising one of the main pillars of foreign policy, the main aim of co-operation development is the eradication of extreme poverty and for the sustainable development of partner countries, to be regarded as an investment and not as an expense and as a means of development and not of assistance. It is based on a model of decentralised management and is operated under the terms of the Strategic Concept for Portuguese Co-operation.

Camões, I.P. is responsible for managing (in very close co-ordination with the principles and guidelines of national foreign policy) the co-ordination and supervision of co-operative development activities and the representation and participation of the Portuguese state in the activities of international organisations related to co-operation and development aid.


  • To recommend policies and initiatives
  • To plan and organise
  • To define criteria, rules and guidelines
  • To analyse and recommend financial decisions on PPAs


  • To link entities and interventions and promote PDC (CIC and DCF)
  • To co-ordinate programmes
  • To take part and be representative in the multilateral process


  • To monitor and assess the execution of PPAs
  • To perform audits


Portuguese co-operation is active in these three main areas:

  • Co-operation for development,
  • Education and awareness of development,
  • Humanitarian and emergency aid.

Historically, the geographical priorities of Portuguese co-operation have been the Portuguese-speaking countries (PALOP and East Timor) but, strategically, new geographical areas are being considered, such as North and West Africa, Latin America and the Atlantic region.

There are two main fields of intervention: governance, rule of law and human rights, along with human development and public appropriation around the world. These are then broken down into eight areas of priority: (i) institutional capacity (ii) security and development (iii) education and science (iv) health (v) the environment, green growth and energy (vi) rural development and the sea (vii) social protection and inclusion and (viii) the private sector. In addition to these traditional areas, Portuguese co-operation comprises two clusters of strategic activity, those of security and defence, as well as energy and the environment.

In order to enhance the effectiveness of its activities, Portuguese co-operation is run according to a fixed set of principles, comprising:

  • Alignment with the goals of the international agenda for development co-operation;
  • Promotion of a policy of coherence and effective development.
  • Investment in areas of intervention that benefit from Portuguese co-operation such as institutional capacity building and the training of middle and senior management;
  • Concentration of aid in priority areas through programmes, projects and activities (PPAs) of a large scale and with greater visibility, aligned with the central areas of foreign policy and new international guidelines, most notably ODS and conforming to international regulations and best practices, in particular those of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC);
  • Disengagement from assistance initiatives, engaging instead in projects focused on human and institutional capacity building to facilitate the development of trade and investment;
  • Joint efforts with partner countries to establish a new relationship cycle with more appropriation, within the Portuguese diplomatic network;
  • Transition to a logic of co-financing on a national, European and international level in both the public and private sectors through the use of new and diverse sources of funding and partnerships with delegated co-operation and the creation of consortia with national and/or overseas entities (public and private, blending and trilateral co-operation);
  • Participation of economic entities, academics and civil society;
  • Active involvement in the mechanisms of co-ordination and division of labour existing in the partner countries.
  • Strengthening the systematic evaluation of interventions, taking into account expected results and defined exit strategies.

Streamlined towards the priorities and objectives of bilateral co-operation, Portuguese multilateral co-operation contributes to the establishment of partnerships and synergies of activities developed within a given framework, particularly the United Nations, European Union, OECD, CPLP and the Ibero-American conference.