Areas of expertise

The execution of Portuguese co-operation within the framework of co-operation for development, education for development, human aid and emergencies is in line with the priorities of its co-operation partners, benefits gained from national intervention, priorities, good practices and international commitments, notably SDGs.

These all have the common goal of contributing to the eradication of poverty, sustainable development, maintaining and increasing peace, democracy, rule of law and respect for human rights. The approach of different interventions incorporates a strategy for developing capabilities, with particular emphasis on institutional capacity and/or human and/or the creation of adequate legal and institutional frameworks, when applicable.

Portugal is constantly present and influencing the policies, functions and effectiveness of multilateral organisations.

Portugal’s main areas of activity are within the framework of development education, a national strategy for development education, the funding and implementation of projects of non-governmental organisations and active participation in European and other international fora.

The act of providing humanitarian and emergency aid requires an integrated approach and is guided by the principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence.

The implementation of co-operative development interventions includes, among other aspects, the following themes:

Development Education

For the first time, development education is expressly regarded as a priority issue.

Development education is defined as: "…an ongoing educational process that favours social, cultural, political and economic inter-relationships between the North and the South, promoting the values and attitudes of solidarity and justice that should characterise responsible global citizenship. It is, in itself, an active process of learning that aims to raise awareness and mobilise society to the priorities of sustainable human development.”

Read more …


Health is universally recognised as a fundamental right. The impact of improving health services is relevant not only to humans and their well-being but also on a social and economic level.

The intervention of Portuguese co-operation in the health sector has as its main goal the improvement of health systems in developing countries, particularly in the public services, as a fundamental element of their plans for progress.

Read more …

Environment and Energy

It is generally recognised (and enshrined in the 2030 Agenda) that the eradication of poverty is one of today’s great challenges and is an indispensable requirement for sustainable development.
In societies which are heavily dependent on natural resources, as are the vast majority of developing countries, responsible sustainable management of these resources has increased.

Read more …


There is a direct link between justice and consolidating the rule of law, good governance and respect for human rights. The existence of a transparent justice sector that is both accessible and accountable is a pre-requisite for sustainable development. The guarantee of fundamental rights, establishing institutions capable of ensuring the assignment of tasks, information and access to justice are all structural factors.

Read more …

Security and development

Today, the link between security and development is unquestionable, which means that there cannot be sustainable development without peace and security in the same way that without development, equal rights and the eradication of poverty, there cannot be a lasting peace.

Read more …

Migration and refugees

Within the United Nations framework, migrants are considered a vulnerable part of the population, being particularly subject to structural vulnerabilities that develop into greater legal barriers and other issues relating to a person’s choice or rights for support and protection in times of crisis. Therefore, the only way to ensure a steady path of progress and sustainable development is to place a reduction of such vulnerabilities at the top of the development agenda.

Read more …

Human rights and good governance

The approach to development co-operation should be based on rights, which place human well-being, dignity and equality right at the heart of development efforts.

Read more …

Rural development

The interventions of Portuguese co-operation in this area are intended to promote the implementation of models of integrated development and growth with the aim of strengthening institutions and local communities and increasing availability and access of good quantities of quality food for the neediest of people, especially in rural areas. 

Read more …

Food hygiene and nutrition

Malnutrition causes the death of more than three million children each year and causes irreversible mental and physical problems for millions of people. Furthermore, on a daily basis, one in eight people go hungry because they do not receive or manage to buy sufficient quantities of nutritious food. Hunger and malnutrition are the enemies of human development and can cause instability and conflict, as reflected not only in people’s quality of life but also from the perspective of the development of societies and the potential growth of their countries. Finding food at affordable prices to ensure health and good nutrition for a growing world population is still a major challenge.


The main objective is to enhance the performance of Portuguese co-operation to improve gender equality, increase the empowerment of women and girls in partner countries as a fundamental factor in pursuing sustainable development goals and making global development more equitable, fair and sustainable. Gender equality is particularly important for a more coherent development policy, so it is essential to balance equality between women and men through Portuguese bilateral and multilateral co-operation and partnerships with civil entities and the private sector in order to ensure full implementation of women’s rights.

Equally important are the issues of raising awareness, preventing and acting on situations of violence against women in various contexts and scenarios, including those in times of conflict and reconciliation.

Read more …