• 07 June 2019

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    Category : Opinion

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    “Latin America should be more present in Europe and Europe more present in Latin America”

    The director of FIIAPP, Anna Terrón, reflects on horizontal cooperation and knowledge transfer

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    The director of FIIAPP (second from the left) during her participation in the seminar

    As part of her participation in the seminar “La Agenda 2030 y el desarrollo en Iberoamérica. Retos para las políticas de cooperación internacional (The 2030 Agenda and development in Ibero-America. Challenges for international cooperation policies)”, organised by the Carolina Foundation, the director of FIIAPP highlighted the main ideas she talked about in her presentation “Cooperación horizontal y transferencia de conocimientos (Horizontal cooperation and knowledge transfer)”.

     

    The first thing to underline is FIIAPP’s commitment to the 2030 Agenda both domestically and internationally, as well as the relevance of SDG 17, on public partnerships and peer-to-peer learning, and SDG 16, on rule of law and effective, transparent institutions. Implementing the agenda is vital to be able to talk about horizontal cooperation and it’s linked to two main ideas: the lessening in importance of income levels in mutual cooperation, and the greater importance of peer-to-peer learning.

     

    As an aside, there is also the political question to consider of the importance of the strategic alliance between Europe and Latin America, which was highlighted in the joint communiqué from the European Commission and the High Representative for EU-Latin America, but is yet to be reflected in the new multiannual financial framework (MFF) or the new cooperation instruments for the 2021-2027 period, both of which are currently in the discussion phase.

     

    For the distribution of cooperation funds from the European Union to Latin America a new concept of development in transition must be applied that isn’t based on average income, but rather should be established on the basis of the challenges posed by development traps, such as productive models, institutional weaknesses, inequalities, social cohesion, the climate threat, criminality, and the mobility of people, amongst others.

     

    The importance of peer-to-peer learning

     

    Adapting or reforming new policies usually creates uncertainty in governments, but that can be reduced with the experience of countries that have adopted them in the past. Peer-to-peer learning offers governments the chance to update their knowledge and guide their decision-making. European cooperation helps strengthen these kinds of knowledge exchange dynamics in public policies between countries.

     

    The value of member state experience

     

    Managing regional cooperation programmes has given European agencies an understanding of the needs of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as the most relevant experiences of both continents. All of this knowledge must be leveraged alongside the shared efforts of European cooperation as a whole for the gradual construction of a European cooperation system. To do that, progress must be made on mutual recognition of procedures and simplification of joint response formulation. The shared efforts between European and Latin American administrations is an investment and a commitment to global governance based on European values, rule of law and the social agenda.

     

    The role of cooperation agencies

     

    As part of the framework of new paradigms established by the global agenda, which is redefining international cooperation, it is vital for cooperation agencies to highlight the value of our experience and build, alongside the European Commission, a cooperation system based on peer-to-peer learning and commitments to the development agenda.

     

    Peer-to-peer learning also makes it possible to share the same language, even when our languages are different, to share problems and challenges, and to become more capable of understanding and finding joint responses. The role of cooperation stakeholders should be based on partnerships between administrations and being by their side to help frame the policy reform processes in terms of comprehensive and coherent visions within sustainable development processes.

     

    Technical cooperation as the basis of financial cooperation

     

    I maintain that we must commit to financing based on the principle of “policies first”, where knowledge and technical assistance must enrich the political dialogues for making decisions on the actions to be supported. Implementing innovative financing mechanisms is in line with the agenda of the shared values we mean to build with Latin American partner countries.

     

    FIIAPP in this context

     

    FIIAPP’s mandate is to promote the participation of administrations in international cooperation projects. We are a development partner for the countries of Latin America, a stakeholder in Spanish cooperation, and an integral part of the European international cooperation system. All of the Spanish cooperation community is very strongly committed to the 2030 Agenda, bilateral cooperation and European cooperation with Latin America.

     

    Some of our regional programmes, and the EUROsociAL programme, are already in synch with the innovative ideas of the future EU external action instrument, the NDICI. They are already working through triangular and horizontal cooperation with peer-to-peer learning to encourage the building of a European-Latin American space of shared values. These programmes go beyond the creation of platforms to share experiences and good practices. They build networks, institutionalise political dialogue mechanisms, renew development agendas and improve confidence between institutions.

    The views and opinions expressed in this blog are the sole responsibility of its author.