• 28 June 2018

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    Posteado en : Reportage

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    Regional cooperation: exchange and stability

    The revolutions in North Africa and in the Middle East initiated democratic reforms, but also left space for threats such as terrorism. In both cases, cooperation has played and continues to play a determining role

    Tunisia was the country where the Arab Spring started

    In 2011, people took to the streets of the Middle East and North Africa. The Arab world called for democracy and rights in their countries through popular protests that were included in the concept of Arab Spring. Seven years later, the changes are not entirely noteworthy. Armed conflicts and terrorism have curtailed many of those expectations. However, political, economic and social reforms were initiated, which in some cases continue to develop at a slower pace.

     

    These are processes in which cooperation has played and can play a determining role, contributing experiences from other countries that have gone through similar situations or confronting threats that slow down development. In this context of transition, several projects in the region are managed by FIIAPP with European Union funding. Those that have to do with justice and security particularly stand out.

     

    Tunisia was the first country where revolution was mentioned. Since then, “there has been a first democratic election, a constituent government and an approval of the Constitution in 2014”. This was explained by Ángel Llorente, coordinator of the project to accompany judicial reform in the country that ends this year. The objective has been to carry out “an organisational reform as a consequence of the process of democratic transition” in the Ministry of Justice. And to create from there an independent judiciary that had never existed in Tunisia.

     

    Despite some resistance that could have meant a step backwards, Llorente believes that civil society will not let that happen: “They are very aware of their rights, I think it is very difficult that they could now give up something that has cost them a lot to achieve”. An enthusiasm that reminds him of Spain a few years ago.

     

    EuroMed Justice IV is also committed to improving judicial systems. In this case, in the southern region of the Mediterranean. Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, and Syria are working together with the Spanish and French Ministries of Justice to create an efficient, democratic system that respects human rights and is consistent with international regulations .

     

    Encuentro de EuroMed Justicia IV en La Haya
    Meeting of EuroMed Justice IV in The Hague

     

    In its fourth phase, the project is also part of the EU’s neighbourhood strategy. Most of these countries are included in the European Neighbourhood Policy, which was revised precisely in the context of the Arab world revolutions to provide better support in their democratic transitions. After all, its main objective is to strengthen relations with neighbouring countries in the community space, based on common values – democracy, human rights and the rule of law – and to promote greater economic integration, mobility and stability.

     

    Relationships that, in the case of EuroMed Justice IV seek a necessary international judicial cooperation, according to Victoria Palau, coordinator of the project. “There are problems, such as terrorism, cybercrime and human trafficking, that, if not resolved at the regional level, are impossible to address,” she says. In this context, the project witnessed the first declaration of collaboration between European public prosecutors and the Mediterranean countries, to work together to address these problems.

     

    Judicial cooperation is also one of the components of the project for the application of the Rule of Law in the Horn of Africa and Yemen, the objective of which is to fight against security threats. In particular, it works to improve the capabilities of the intelligence services, the security forces, and the prosecutors and courts.

     

    Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda, Yemen and Djibouti are the countries that benefit from this project funded through the Instrument for Stability and Peace (IcSP). What happens in these countries, even if they are not included in the neighbouring region of the EU, does affect the continent.

     

    In addition, it is an example of how terrorist groups take advantage of moments of political instability to act. “When there is a power vacuum, these groups always try to sneak in with more or less success,” says Javier Vega, project coordinator. In the end, terrorism is an increasingly global threat with an important focus in this geographical área.

     

    visita-cuerno-de-africa-web
    Visit of judicial authorities from the Horn of Africa to the State Attorney General’s Office

     

    The key is to act regionally so that it does not spread to the rest of the world. For example, by controlling the territory as is also done in the Sahel region – through the Rapid Action Groups – and in Niger, more focused on illegal immigration.

     

    The European Security Agenda underlines the need to take measures to deal with this threat in a more effective and comprehensive way, including the international community and cooperation projects. One of the latter, also managed by FIIAPP, focuses specifically on the fight against terrorism in the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa).

     

    Work that, according to Mariano Guillén, director of the Justice and Security Area with FIIAPP, also seeks to “strengthen the political dialogue within the Arab League”, to favour cooperation among the countries of the region. Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Palestine are the countries that, despite their political, economic and social differences, work to find common responses to terrorism. “The terrorist threat does not distinguish the levels of development in the countries and it can only be attacked through cooperation,” says Mariano Guillén.

     

    The instability of the changes leaves room for security threats that do not recognise borders. But the same changes are necessary if we see them as an opportunity to improve, as a good time to draw on similar experiences while working together on those problems that affect us all.

  • 31 May 2018

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    Posteado en : Reportage

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    FIIAPP at EDD 2018

    A number of projects managed by FIAPP are taking part in the European Development Days 2018, with gender equality as the overarching theme

    EDD 2017 also had a focus on gender

     

    “Women and Girls at the Forefront of Sustainable Development: protect, empower, invest” is the slogan chosen for the European Development Days 2018, which will be held next week in Brussels. On 5 and 6 June, the capital of Europe will also be the capital of development.

     

    This is because, this year, the days organized by the European Commission have gender equality as their central theme. As well as promoting the participation of women in the various forums, this edition hopes to make this a safer, more open and more inclusive world for all of them.

     

    The most important development event in the world, which is open to the public, will pack 500 meetings into two days, in which more than 2,600 speakers will take part. Among them will be 7 Nobel laureates and 100 world leaders. FIAPP will also be attending the European Development Days (EDD) to represent four of the projects that it manages: EUROsociAL+, Bridging the Gap, Triangular Cooperation and EUROCLIMA+.

     

     

    The EUROsociAL+ programme promotes cooperation and dialogue between the European Union and Latin America on promoting public policies to improve social cohesion and reduce inequality in Latin America.

     

    However, for Enrique Martínez, Communication technician for the programme, “these public policies are only effective when they attack the inequality gap between men and women, a challenge and a goal that are strongly etched into the EUROsociAL+ DNA”.

     

    eurosocial-edd18-web

     

    This is why, in Brussels, the programme is sharing three advances in gender equality policies, in Paraguay and Mexico and, at the regional level, in Latin America. In addition European transfer on this subject.

     

    The executive director of the Social Cabinet of the Office of the President of Paraguay, Mirta Denis, the executive secretary of the Mexican Institute for Women, Marcela Eternod, the director of Fundación Género y Sociedad, Ana Isabel García Quesada, and the French State Counsellor, Marisol Touraine, make up “100% female EUROsociAL+ panel as a contribution to this collective journey to full equality”, said Martínez. In addition, the round table discussion will be opened and closed by Jolita Butkeviciene, Director for Latin America and the Caribbean at the European Commission Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development.

     

     

    The Bridging the gap project is also taking part in the 2018 European Development Days, with a session on Women on the rise – no one left behind!, organized jointly by the EU Social Protection Systems Programme and the NGO Light for the World. This is the presentation video:

     

     

    The aim of this session, according to Carmen Serrano, the project’s communications technician, is to “show that, in spite of the two-fold discrimination that disabled women face, they are spearheading sustainable development in low-income countries”. Four women will therefore share their experiences of gender and disability issues based on the different viewpoints tackled by the three viewpoints structuring the session: Social protection, leadership and entrepreneurship, and access to work and economic empowerment. It will be moderated by Hisayo Katsui, a researcher into and expert teacher on disabilities.

     

    However, said Serrano, “The aim of presenting “Bridging the Gap” at this great European event is not just to share experiences but to create a dialogue and reflection on the role of women with disabilities in their communities”. This is why they have chosen to use the format of a Brainstorming lab. For 75 minutes, there will be constant interaction between the speakers and the audience so as to collect inputs and ideas on how everyone can create awareness among those around them of the contribution that women with disabilities can make to society.

     

     

    The Evalúa project, which seeks to promote Public Policy Evaluation in Latin America and the Caribbean, will attend the EDD’s for the first time to talk about some of the results obtained since its inception in 2014.

     

    The project coordination team will attend this international cooperation forum to present one of its most recent projects, the results of the evaluation of the Costa Rican Gender Equality Policy. Also, the management, led by the Ministry of Planning (MIDEPLAN) evaluation team, will be represented by Ericka Valerio, from the Evaluation and Monitoring department.

     

    evalua-edd18-web

     

    The project is part of the ADELANTE programme, which aims to improve integration in Latin American and Caribbean countries and to contribute to their reaching their development goals (SDG). The EDD will be an important place for presenting the major conclusions and recommendations of that public policy evaluation and the planned use of this evaluation as an input to the following stages.

     

    According to Alina Orrico, a project technician, “It is especially important to take part in this event, in which there are much fewer Latin American experiences than from other continents and, above all, because it is taking place in a year filled with emotions, demands and allusions to the need to present tangible answers that will guarantee gender equality.”

     

     

    EUROCLIMA+ is the European Commission’s regional programme to promote environmentally sustainable development in Latin America. This action benefits the most vulnerable population groups, focusing in particular on gender, the impoverished rural population and indigenous peoples.

     

    During the event, a video will be projected on Gender and Climate Change and an information map of Latin America will be drawn using gender-related information.

     

    20180309/ Pablo La Rosa - adhoc FOTOS / Uruguay / Montevideo  AECID Taller de intercambio sobre certificación de Centros educativos El taller se enmarca en el proceso de apoyo que  Euroclima+, FIIAPP está realizando con el MVOTMA y el Programa de Certificación de Espacios Educativos Sostenibles y Disfrutables impulsado por el Ministerio de Educación y Cultura (MEC). Medio Ambiente y Cambio Climático Encuentro de educadores sobre cambio climático ecología, educadores de latinoamérica.  Foto: Pablo La Rosa / adhocFOTOS

     

    EUROCLIMA+ helps countries to develop their Nationally Determined Contributions or NDCs to the Paris Agreement. NDCs reflect the commitment of the international community to facing up to the effects of climate change.

     

    According to Alexandra Cortés, an expert in Communication and Visibility for the programme, NDCs “promote the inclusion of climate action in a policy framework that can lead to economic growth and social development, in addition to protecting the environment and climatic resilience”.

  • 13 April 2018

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    Posteado en : Reportage

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    Who has authority to combat corruption?

    The Ghana-ARAP Project relies on institutions to get the public involved. According to Transparency International, sub-Saharan Africa is the worst–rated region in this respect

    Ministry of Justice of Ghana

    “Having to pay for a service we have a right to receive – do you think that is corruption?” Barbara Mensah asks the people of Ghana, referring to one of the most burning questions of our time. She is one of the Civic Education Officers responsable for investigating perceptions of corruption in Ghana.

     

    “I am going to ask about certain practices, you tell me if you think they are corrupt” was the question put by another of these officers, Jafaru Omar. Through a questionnaire, officers appointed by Ghana’s National Commission for Civic Eduction (NCCE) survey the views of citizens in different parts of the country.

     

    On the ground, the findings are already clear: of the 8672 responses, over half those surveyed (58.4%) have been witnesses to some form of corruption.  Henrrieta Assante-Sharpong, in charge of the investigation, says: “the findings show that although Ghanaians are aware of corruption, they have very little knowledge of the various ways it may be practised.”

     

    The NCCE was set up for the purpose of increasing public awareness: “Our lives are going backwards.  We don’t have roads, there is no electricity. The money gained from corruption could have been used for these services”, says Aluliga Malpang, a farmer from the Tengzuk Community.  Sub-Saharan Africa is the worst-rated region for  corruption, according to the most recent report from Transparency International.

     

    Cooperation in a hostile climate

     

    The report on the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) rates 180 countries and territories according to perceived levels of corruption in the public sector, using a scale of zero to 100, where zero is extremely corrupt and 100 highly transparent.

    New Zealand and Denmark are highest-placed in 2017, with scores of 89 and 88 respectively. Syria, South Sudan and Somalia have the lowest scores, with 14, 12 and 9 respectively. Ghana is in 81st place, with 40 points – a score above the average for the sub-Saharan region (32 points).

     

    corrupcion-africa-web

     

    Nevertheless, the study shows that over two-thirds of countries had scores below 50. Transparency International works internationally and locally in over 100 countries in the world: “giving a voice to the victims of corruption, working with governments, undertakings and citizens to stop the abuse of power or bribery”. It states that most  countries are making little or no progress in putting an end to corruption.

     

    Ghana does not want to be in that category. Its initiative is part of the Anti-Corruption, Rule of Law and Accountability” programme.  It is a project in support of transparency, with the aim of reducing corruption and improving accountability in the African country. For four and a half years, FIIAPP has been managing this programme, financed by the  European Union, in collaboration with GIZ (Germany) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

     

    “I want to help solve the corruption problem”, said Joseph Samuel Bebefiankom, a student in Kwashieman (Accra). Like him, other citizens say “it could be reduced, cut back”, “that will provide jobs for a lot of people”  “it will help the country to develop.”  They know what they want to achieve, but not how to achieve it.

     

    A number of Ghanaian public institutions such as the NCCE, in collaboration with FIIAPP, have designed a strategy to involve the public, as well as others, in the struggle against corruption.  One of the priorities of Ghana-ARAP is to raise their awareness of the importance of reporting it.

     

    The more leaders that get involved, the less corruption there will be

     

    The África no es un país [‘Africa is not one country’] blog reminds us, in the same report, that “2017 has seen the fall of a number of rulers accused of encouraging corruption”: Yahya Jammeh in Gambia, José Eduardo dos Santos in Angola, Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe and, already in 2018, Jacob Zuma of South Africa.

     

    George Obeng Obei is another Civic Education Officer.  He says “people without much education don’t know how things are done in assemblies and in institutions. But they do believe there are elements of corruption in them”, Not knowing how it works doesn’t mean they don’t see it. They know, they are aware, according to Obeng Obei, that you can only get things with money. And this mindset has to be changed.

     

    blog-corrupcion-web
    ARAP Ghana workshop

     

    According to Transparency International, it is the right time to “redefine” the problem in Africa, as, in some cases, the CPI points to a “hopeful future” for the continent.  In spite of being the worst region overall, some countries have made significant progress, such as Botswana (61), which has a higher rating than Spain (59).

     

    The key, according to the organisation, is that these countries have “a political leader committed to fighting corruption.” That is why they go further in  developing laws and institutions in this regard. Ghana is making efforts in this direction, and its government has introduced a National Anti-corruption Action Plan (NACAP) to steer the project.

     

    If the public at large also gets involved, success will be one step closer.  The president of the NCCE, Josephine Nkrumah, knows this.  She assesses the investigation conducted in the country: “NCCE will use this report to create civic education actions. To win the battle, we have to get both the public and the private sector involved. And what is even more important is getting every Ghanaian man and woman involved.”

     

    Winning the fight against corruption” is the African Union (AU)’s motto for 2018. This phrase could be said to apply to almost the whole world. It stems from the premise that “corruption rewards those who disobey the rules, destroying all the endeavours of constructive, just and equitable governance”.

     

    The areas  investigated in Ghana are shown in this video:

  • 08 March 2018

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    Posteado en : Reportage

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    Cooperation for universal equality

    Agenda 2030 counts on cooperation as a tool for advancing the gender equality that is being publicly demanded

    “On International Women’s Day, we must commit ourselves to doing everything possible to overcome entrenched prejudices, support participation and activism, and promote gender equality and the empowerment of women”. These are the words of António Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations, on International Women’s Day. Another 8 March for reflecting on what has been achieved and what remains to be done in terms of equality.

     

    In 1995, almost 200 governments signed a historic road map in Beijing for achieving equal women’s rights. Two decades later, movements in favour of that equality continue to fill the streets and social networks throughout the world. In the face of this joint and global progress, international cooperation can be a key tool to achieving this equality.

     

    Mar Merita, a technician specialising in gender with the EUROsociAL+ programme – which is funded by the European Commission and managed by FIIAPP – affirms how much innovation has taken place regarding the role of women in the Agenda 2030 framework for cooperation.

     

    From ensuring that children have an equitable and high quality education, through ending all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls throughout the world, to making equality one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) established by several world leaders for a better world in 2030.

     

    Equality in the EU

     

    Gender equality is also one of the founding values of the European Union, which closely follows these development objectives. It also analyses progress towards these objectives through a periodic study.

     

    The latest one (Sustainable Development in the European Union, 2017) provides data on four specific areas that serve as indicators when evaluating the goal of equality: gender violence, access to education, employment and positions of responsibility.

     

    goal-5

     

    Gender violence is a reality in the EU in 2012. Where one in three women say they have experienced physical or sexual violence since they were 15 years old. This problem is the cause and consequence of inequality, and the fight against it begins the moment children gain access to education.

     

    However, the fact that men drop out of school earlier and women are more successful in this area is not reflected in the employment rate of recent graduates, which is higher for men. In addition, the proportion of men of working age in employment exceeds that of working women by 11.6%.

     

    Employment is one of the areas that is most linked to gender roles, family responsibilities and traditions. And it is reflected in the wage gap: in 2015, according to the same study, women earned 16.3% less per hour than men. The same difference as 5 years ago.

     

    Progress has a cost in what Mar calls the “third generation of rights”, which would include this difference in wages that continues to be significant in most countries. According to the expert from EUROsociAL+, despite the progress in the recognition of political rights, there is still work to be done regarding social, cultural and economic rights; through which that “real equality” would be achieved.

     

    The distribution of political positions and positions of responsibility also reflects inequality, since women do not usually have as much representation as men in decision-making processes. While the proportion of seats held by women in national parliaments has increased since 2003, women still held less than one third (28.9%) of these seats in 2017.

     

    Cooperation as a tool

     

    Many of these issues, such as the wage gap and sexual harassment, are the focus of current events. These have included public denunciations, with a strong international impact, which nevertheless need “processes for dealing with these problems”.

     

    Dominique de Suremain, coordinator of the gender equity policy area for the EUROsociAL+ programme, believes she sees “less visible work for change” when these demands materialise and are reflected in the system.

     

    blog-genero-2018

     

    This is where cooperation comes into play, it has an essential role in the implementation of public policies that take these demands into account. It is important, according to Dominique, “to introduce that concern into the design of the projects” from the outset. It is a cross-cutting issue that must not only be applied in social projects, but it is also relevant for all the themes.

     

    An example would be the gender focus workshop organised by ARAP Ghana – an anti-corruption project managed by FIIAPP – or the inclusion of this perspective in the activities of Euroclima+. In the end, inequality is inherent in the society in which it occurs and it influences the problems that society addresses.

     

    However, this approach is often insufficient to achieve real equality. We must go beyond the diagnosis, the indicators, to quantify how many women have benefited: “We must take advantage of cooperation projects in order to play a proactive role,” according to Dominique.

     

    Perhaps for this reason, EUROsociAL+ is one of the first programmes to create an exclusive thematic area to address this problem. A strong gender component or axis that has direct actions and a team of people exclusively dedicated to it.

     

    Cooperation is based on an exchange of experiences, which is also important for Mar Merita: “you can fight inequality by promoting examples and good practices that arise in countries”, by learning from each other.

     

    “Equality is a universal cause” and a realistic objective that, within the framework of the projects, needs public policies in order to make practical progress. Although in the end what is really important, according to the expert, is to believe in it.

     

    Listen to the programme dedicated to International Women’s Day on our space on Spanish National Radio

  • 15 February 2018

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    Posteado en : Reportage

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    Causes and consequences of urban air pollution

    Cities are becoming key hubs from which to fight climate change. In Latin America, Euroclima+ supports mitigation policies to reduce emissions

    "Sustainable cities" are one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)

    When pollution levels increase, public transport in Paris is free. And only “clean” vehicles can enter the city. In Brussels and Copenhagen, priority is given to bicycles. Or the speed limit is reduced, as in Madrid. While London, Oslo and Stockholm use tolls to restrict traffic.

     

    Other measures taken by the transport sector to reduce urban air pollution include prizes for green cars and controlling traffic flow and parking, encouraging car sharing and public transport. Urban air pollution is one of the most visible effects of climate change in cities around the world.

     

    Outside of Europe, Tokyo monitors pollution in real time, with indexes that can be viewed online. Checks on the street, fines and lists of offenders are some of the other measures taken in one of the most populated cities in the world.

     

    And the majority of the world population lives in cities. Making the adoption of an urban perspective on climate change necessary, as it is estimated that 70% of the population will be urban in 2050. Uses associated with the network of cities produce more than 70% of CO2 emissions.

     

    Climate change and health

     

    An article reflects on whether we are aware of what urban air pollution means. On whether we are aware that poor air quality affects our health. And on whether we are aware that it causes thousands of premature deaths a year. And it is backed up by data: 1,032,833 deaths per year in China, 621,138 in India, 54,507 in Ukraine, 32,668 in Turkey, 26,241 in Brazil, 26,160 in Germany and 16,798 in Mexico.

     

    Euroclima+, the European Union-financed programme to tackle climate change in Latin America, supports the development of mitigation policies directly related to the reduction of greenhouse gases and other emissions.

     

    Euroclima+ meeting
    Euroclima+ meeting in Chile

     

    In addition, other specific plans with this objective are being developed in the industrial and transport sectors. They are necessary because a growing population means that current production and consumption patterns are running up against limited resources. A calculation of the ecological footprint shows that if no action is taken by 2030 we will need the equivalent of two planet Earths to cover our needs.

     

    The programme is present in 18 Latin American countries and works in accordance with the United Nations Convention on Climate Change and according to the needs of a region that hosts some of those expanding cities.

     

    Climate change in the Sustainable Development Goals

     

    The climate governance component of Euroclima+ is being led by FIIAPP. Another of the programme’s tasks is to evaluate these climate policies, which will allow the associated actions to be redefined or redesigned in accordance with the framework agreements or compliance with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). These are the 17 goals several world leaders established in 2015 for a better world in 2030. And which, in summary, aim to “end poverty, fight inequality and stop climate change”.

     

    Among them, number 11 refers to “sustainable cities” with a section on “environmental impacts” and number 13 focuses on action against climate change.–– But, how are things progressing with them?

     

    theglobalgoals_icons_color_goal_11    theglobalgoals_icons_color_goal_13

     

    The European Union is studying progress towards these goals. In its latest study (Sustainable development in the European Union, 2017) it determined that the concentration of population and industry continues to be a risk for air quality. Despite the advances, the levels of air pollution continue to be above those recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).

     

    However, as part of its strategy for 2020, the EU set the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20%, compared to 1990. The goal for 2015 has already been exceeded, with a reduction of 22%.

     

    The cities are also commited

     

    In this context, cities are aware they need to be involved. And they advocated this at the last UN Climate Summit (COP23), held in Bonn in November 2017, by calling for more tools to combat climate change.

     

    Specifically, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions was addressed with the ultimate aim of slowing down global warming. The objective remains that terrestrial temperatures do not increase more than 2 ºC by 2050. To achieve this, emissions must be reduced by 80%.

     

    Euroclima+ also attended the meeting, where it met with ministers from several countries in the region to follow up on the objectives they have already committed to under the Paris Agreement (COP21) and to strengthen the dialogue on climate policies.

     

    Many of the cities that met in Bonn also belong to the C40 network, which brings together more than 90 cities to combat the impacts of climate change by working collaboratively. The main objectives include “reducing greenhouse gases and increasing the health and well-being of citizens”.

     

    This network alone represents “more than 650 million people and a quarter of the world economy”, making cities a priority when it comes to addressing this problem.

     

    An example of this commitment is reflected in the short documentary released on the internet on the work of 6 cities: Bogota, Cape Town, New York, Paris, Portland and Seoul.

     

     

    In reality, the next step is for us, as individuals, to also be aware that these measures are not intended to make our lives more difficult. On the contrary, they will allow us to live in the future.

    The trick is to change some habits, with small gestures, however insignificant they may seem. More than 7,000 million small gestures can defeat climate change.

     

  • 12 January 2018

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    Posteado en : Reportage

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    Stories about a problem: drug trafficking and people trafficking in Bolivia

    The First Journalistic Feature Contest organised by SC-CONALTID and FIIAPP seeks to make the fight against these crimes visible within the framework of the project to support Bolivian institutions

    Representative mural of La Paz (Bolivia)

    “At 27, Noelia has experienced more than anyone of her age; she is one of the five women who are interned in the Drug Dependants ward at the San Juan de Dios Psychiatric Hospital in Cochabamba, for polydrug use…” 

     

     

    Thus begins Moments of pleasure in exchange for a life of suffering, the winning story in the First Journalistic Feature Contest “Prevention of Drug Taking and Fight Against the Smuggling and Trafficking of Persons”. Laura Manzaneda Barrios, a journalist for The Times in Bolivia, narrates the life of a drug addict who loses custody of her children and arrives at an institution to rehabilitate herself.

     

    According to the Latin American Observatory on Drug Policy and Human Security, 97% of the population considers drug use to be a social problem. Moreover, the fact is that the country is the epicentre of drug trafficking.

     

    dsc01247web
    Laura Manzaneda receives first prize

    The portrayal of positive experiences in the prevention of drug use or in the fight against the trafficking and smuggling of persons is the goal of this contest organised by SC-CONALTID and FIIAPP, within the framework of the project to support the fight against drug trafficking and related crimes.

     

    A story that seeks to provide training for Bolivian institutions in the fields of operational criminal investigation, intelligence, the control of borders and merchandise, money and asset laundering, people smuggling and trafficking.

     

    This last problem is the subject of the second award-winning story: I woke up from the network, I dodged people trafficking, from the presenter of Red Bolivisión Víctor Hugo Rojas Chávez.

     

    “Accepting an unknown yet attractive person as a contact was the quickest way to misery, a ticket she acquired when answering the first “hello, how are you?” in a web chat… the rest only a game of warm and flattering words in the midst of a vibrant plague of emoticons of kisses and hearts… that was the journey that led her along this path, a path of no return and at the highest price”.

     

    The fragment reflects the principle of the many cases of what UNICEF considers “a modern form of slavery”. The main victims of human trafficking are children, adolescents and women who are seduced for the purpose of sexual exploitation or forced labour.

     

    According to United Nations (UN) estimates, more than 2 million people are victims of human trafficking every year. And a study promoted by the Organization of American States (OAS) noted that Bolivia is one of the countries with the highest rate of people smuggling and trafficking in the region.

     

    Institutional action is fundamental

    The project managed by FIIAPP –  funded by the European Commission and the State Agency for International Cooperation for Development (AECID) – focuses on the formation of Bolivian institutions so that they can cope with the problem.

     

    Making it visible with activities like this is the first step. But there is a need for coordinated work by public and international entities. And in the end, the involvement of these institutions is fundamental. Thus, the third prize winner, professor of Social Communication (UMSA) Ramiro Reynaldo Quintanilla Ramírez, says at the end of his story: People trafficking is a silent crime that threatens Bolivia.

     

    “Mothers will continue to look for their daughters, victims will try to extricate themselves from the horror which surrounds them and the money will never be enough to deal with such a lucrative and dangerous crime. However, there is hope for society as long as there are institutions that care about the pain of others.”

     

    To read the full stories, click here