29 May 2014
Category : Opinion
The coordinator of the FIIAPP Foundation's Monitoring Programme for Spanish Cooperation Policies, Javier Sota, analyzes the goals and perspectives that led the EU to designate 2015 as the European Year of Development.
On 14th April, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the European Union, at a meeting in Luxembourg, approved the declaration of 2015 as the European Year of Development. The EU has been supporting development cooperation since 1957 through a policy that has been progressively expanding to where it is now present in over 130 developing nations.
Currently the EU, along with its Member States, is the largest donor of official aid, with a volume of 56.5 billion euros in 2013, more than half of the world total. In addition, the EU is the number one donor of humanitarian aid and, in 2011 alone, it assisted over 150 million people in 80 countries.
The choice of the date is no coincidence. 2015 will be an emblematic and crucial year for at least two good reasons. First, because this is the last year for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) agreed upon jointly between 189 States in September 2000, making this a good opportunity to take stock of the international commitments achieved. Second, because 2015 will be the year for taking an important international decision about the new post-2015 development agenda, which will replace the MDGs and serve as the frame of reference for coming decades.
Increasing support for development cooperation is absolutely vital in a rapidly changing world. The special Eurobarometer poll conducted in October 2012 demonstrated that 85% of EU citizens support the idea of aiding populations of the member countries. Despite the economic situation, more than six out of ten Europeans think this aid should be increased.
However, at the same time, the poll also indicates that European citizens often lack information about development cooperation, about the reasons why it is necessary and about the added value of EU development policy. For example, the Eurobarometer revealed that 53% of those polled showed complete ignorance of the purpose of the EU’s aid. In general, citizens are not very aware of the effectiveness and positive effects of the aid, which must be explained in terms that are less technical and much more oriented towards results and the impact on the populations where the interventions take place.
The Ibero-American Foundation for Administration and Public Policies (FIIAPP) is one of the most important actors in Spanish cooperation for participating in the EU Development Policy in an area as relevant and necessary as the improvement of the institutional framework of our partner countries. Since its founding in 1997, the FIIAPP has managed more than 1,100 projects, with a budget of some 600 million euros, the vast majority with financing from the European Commission (in 2012, nearly 80% of its budget came from European funds).
To carry out its work, the FIIAPP manages the Twinning Programme (over 280 twinning projects with the Administrations of 30 Eastern European and Mediterranean countries), Public Technical Assistance (PTA) projects (which yearly mobilize more than 1,000 experts and public servants from the Spanish and European Administration) and, recently, Delegated Cooperation operations.
In terms of regional programmes of special relevance the FIIAPP is working on, it’s worth highlighting some as important as EUROsociAL, which attempts to promote a Euro-Latin American dialogue on public policies in the area of social cohesion; URB-AL, a decentralized cooperation programme aimed at regional and local governments in the EU and Latin America; and COPOLAD, aimed at improving the consistency, balance and impact of drug policies in Latin America and the Caribbean.
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