12 March 2020
Entrevistamos a Diana Achard, asesora superior de la Policía Comunitaria en el Proyecto de apoyo a la reforma de la policía de Myanmar, MYPOLDiana Achard, asesora superior de la Policía Comunitaria en MYPOL
Diana Achard es una de las tres mujeres con mayor rango en la Policía de Myanmar y trabaja en el proyecto Apoyo a la Reforma de la Policía de Myanmar. El proyecto está gestionado por la FIIAPP y financiado por la Unión Europea.
Achard se unió a la academia de policía en 1984 y fue asignada a la policía de Taunggy en 1985, antes de trasladarse al área de narcóticos. Allí, Achard estaba a cargo del trabajo doméstico y administrativo, pero rápidamente asumió tareas como agente encubierta.
En 1994 fue transferida al sur de Shan, a un área conocida como ‘triángulo dorado’ debido al tráfico de drogas. Durante esta etapa fue nombrada líder del equipo de narcóticos para el sur de Shan.
En 2008, fue ascendida a capitán gracias a su excelente historial y a grandes incautaciones de drogas realizadas bajo su mando. Durante este año se unió al equipo de investigación de narcóticos y financieros de Yangon (NTI). En el NTI colaboró con todas las agencias bilaterales (Australian, ASEAN, India) en el intercambio de información y participó en grandes operaciones.
Ya en 2012, Achard fue ascendida gracias a un impresionante historial de incautaciones y fue trasladada a la División de Relaciones Internacionales dentro de la División de Estupefacientes.
En 2017 fue nombrada teniente coronel y se trasladó a la División de Delitos Transnacionales (DTOC, sede en Napyitaw), una unidad que incluye 110 subdepartamentos, entre ellos, narcóticos, delitos cibernéticos, trata de personas, delitos ambientales y parte del departamento de investigación criminal.
Achard representó a las Fuerzas Policiales de Myanmar (MPF, por sus siglas en inglés) y a Myanmar en todos los asuntos relacionados con los narcóticos.
¿Cómo era ser mujer al principio?
Casi desde el principio tuve que asumir tareas de agente encubierta y el manejo de informaciones y confidentes ya que solo éramos dos mujeres en la unidad. Cuando salí del MPF en 2018, en la División de Delitos Transnacionales (DTOC) había 12 mujeres, pero principalmente asignadas a tareas de administración y secretaría.
¿Se ha enfrentado a desafíos y obstáculos para ser reconocida por su trabajo?
Para cada oficial de policía, la promoción es difícil de lograr, pero es especialmente difícil para las mujeres oficiales. Yo estuve siete años como teniente a pesar de haber hecho grandes incautaciones de drogas porque era mujer.
¿Qué puede aportar una mujer al MPF?
Desde mi perspectiva en narcóticos, obtener información confiable es crucial y los civiles o informantes confían mucho más en las mujeres que en los hombres. Además, antes también era raro ver mujeres en operaciones encubiertas, por lo tanto, teníamos una ventaja adicional. Ahora es bastante más común. En general, diría que las mujeres son más persistentes en su trabajo y son más meticulosas y excelentes en las negociaciones y la mediación.
¿Cómo está evolucionando el MPF en términos de integración de género en el servicio policial?
Bueno, cuando comencé en el 85 había un 2.2% de mujeres en la fuerza policial y ahora hay un 9.6%. Poco a poco, las mujeres van siendo reconocidas por su ventajas comparativas y habilidades.
Ahora se nombran oficiales de investigación femeninas en la mayoría de los municipios de Yangon para ser el punto focal de los delitos relacionados con mujeres y niños. También hay muchas mujeres a cargo de la mediación, negociación y recopilación de datos de inteligencia.
En general, diría que las mujeres son más educadas y están mejor equipadas, ya que los requisitos de ingreso son más rigurosos (se necesita al menos un título de 2 años). Por otro lado, las mujeres en la policía también tienen más oportunidades de integrar ramas policiales no tradicionales.
¿Cuál es la principal barrera para las mujeres en el MPF?
El acceso a roles dominantes; no importa cuán capaz seas, esto sigue siendo prerrogativa de los hombres.
¿Cómo ve el futuro de las mujeres en el MPF?
Dado que las mujeres tienen que elegir entre tener una vida matrimonial o el MPF, dudo que la situación evolucione a corto plazo. Sin embargo, puede haber alguna esperanza en el futuro. Aunque es un proceso lento, en Myanmar, las mujeres de la nueva generación están decididas a ascender.
20 February 2020
We interviewed Jose Luis Martin, head of service of the precursor area of the Intelligence Centre against Terrorism and Organized Crime (CITCO). FIIAPP works with this institution through projects such as COPOLAD, a cooperation programme between the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States and the European Union in drug policies.José Luis Martín, head of service of the precursor area of CITCO
What are precursors?
Precursors are substances which intervene in any way in a chemical process, either to manufacture drugs, narcotics, psychotropics or to manufacture explosives. There are two types of precursors that are regulated by their own specific regulations. These are drug precursors, on the one hand, and explosive precursors on the other.
In what context are they used?
On a historical level, this scourge exists both in Spain and internationally. We are talking about drug trafficking and terrorism.
In reference to drug trafficking, precursors are essential substances for manufacturing drugs from primary processes practically until the moment that drug is made available to the consumer.
In reference to explosive precursors, we are now seeing that, internationally, through wars in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, etc. things have evolved greatly when it comes to making explosives based on substances which are not commercially illicit.
So, precursors are not only used illicitly…
Not by any means. Drug and explosive precursors have an absolutely lawful and legal use. Drug precursors, for example, are used extensively at the industrial level. For example, in sectors such as medicine, veterinary medicine, paper, water purification, etc.
As for explosive precursors, the case is practically the same. The only difference is that explosive precursors also have a particular use, for example in activities such as aero-modelling, water cleaning, etc. That is, they have a widespread use both at an industrial level and at a professional or even private level.
Can anyone access these precursors?
No, countries and their laws have to put limits on their use and acquisition. In the case of drug precursors, it is not easy to acquire them. There are very particular connotations. Currently, European legislation, and therefore Spanish legislation, mark three categories as being within the control of drug precursors. Category 1 refers to the regulations that control drug precursors which are themselves practically drugs, which can be merely manipulated and turned into drugs for consumption. This is a very controlled category of substances and one needs to be in possession of a licence to purchase them. Then we have category 2 which are substances that are practically essential, such as potassium permanganate, to make cocaine. The precursors of this category require registration in the registry provided that certain quantities are exceeded. And, finally, there is category 3, which has widespread use at the industrial level, over-the-counter, and no special qualification is required.
In relation to explosive precursors, the legislation includes them in annexes. Annex I for potentially hazardous substances, which at the industrial level does not require any type of authorization but does require such authorization to access them at an individual level. Individuals who want to acquire an explosive precursor listed in Annex I of the Community regulation that regulates these substances must obtain a licence that is not easy to acquire.
What examples of commodities can be used to make drugs or explosives?
Acetone is a product that is used as a solvent in many products. It is used to make medicines, fibres, etc. but it is also used illegally to make drugs in almost all processes. Who doesn’t have a bottle of acetone at home? And as an explosive precursor it is a fundamental product because in combination with other products, an explosive can be made. In fact, we can say that making an explosive is actually simple, but fortunately, handling and storing them is much more complex.
When do the use of precursors become a crime and how do you act against it?
National legislation very clearly defines the crimes that can be committed with drug and explosive precursors. That is, the mere possession of these products does not constitute a criminal act. What does constitute it evidently is if it can be proved that such possession is destined for illegal use. Our job as Police and as Civil Guards is to prove if such possession is going to be used illegally.
In addition to the security forces, many actors are involved in this control process. Not only nationally. There are many agencies and many people involved in this control. I would like to emphasize that a fundamental part of the work belongs to the Member States of the European Union. Periodically, more and more frequently, working groups of specialists on both drugs and explosives are being convened to see what there is in existence outside European borders, for example, in Latin America or in Africa. And logically, according to those meetings we have, conclusions are drawn and action is taken.
Lately we are seeing how precursors can be controlled without harming trade, since it is fundamental. We, at the police level, would like to have everything inspected, but we know that this cannot be the case for commerce and industry since they are products that are used, as I said, on an absolutely daily basis.
For our part and in close collaboration with the chemical industry, whose support work is absolutely fundamental, we are holding many work meetings and informative meetings for the population and businesses.
I would also like to take the opportunity to say that we have a permanent telephone number for information about suspicious transactions, which is manned 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: 915 37 27 66. There, if you have any doubts, or if there is any suspicious transaction or something that is not quite right that an individual has been buying, or is interested in, a product that can be used to make explosives, please pick up the phone and let us know and we will manage it from there onwards.
How important are precursors internationally and how do you work on them?
The control of such substances is internationally very significant. I remember the last COPOLAD meeting a month ago in Buenos Aires and the difference in control was significant, and the importance given to these situations depended on the countries. That is, it is very important to join forces and that we all paddle in the same direction.
Intelligence is also very important. Sharing intelligence is absolutely fundamental and we see that in the European Union’s perspective that everything is evaluated to a much higher degree and is much more controlled. But we also see the shortcomings of other countries that have difficulties or that do not have an established customs system as such, or have insufficient police, which affects us all in some way or another.
There are, for example, illegal drug trafficking routes and drug traffickers who take advantage of the shortcomings of the countries that have such routes. Therefore, it is essential to continue with working meetings and that we all put our experiences on the table so that we all go in the same direction.
06 February 2020
We interview Cătălin Harnagea, director of RoAid, the Romanian development cooperation agencyCătălin Harnagea during the interview
RoAid is Romania’s international development cooperation agency, which combines the work of Romanian public institutions, civil society and the private sector, to foster global efforts to sustainably alleviate extreme poverty and support stronger democratic institutions in developing countries.
Romania, which joined the EU in 2007, also became an official development assistance donor (ODA) the same year. This was when the country joined the efforts by the international community to support the economic, social and political welfare of developing countries.
Cătălin Harnagea is the director of RoAid and we had the opportunity to ask him about the newly created agency.
Let’s talk about RoAid.
Ours is a very young agency. We have been working for a little over a year and a half, since spring 2018. We have now carried out some missions and started projects; and in addition to our agency’s goals with our partner countries, we also want to raise the profile of our work in the European Union, for example through our recent access to the Practitioner’s Network.
How was the agency set up and how has it evolved during this time?
Until two years ago, we had a special unit within the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, whose function was to develop policies and establish development cooperation priorities in Romania. Now, in collaboration with this Ministry and with other institutions, as well as formulating policies and priorities, we also implement these policies through our projects.
What can you tell us about the projects you are now managing?
Our projects are based on Romanian foreign policy priorities, which have very important objectives in the countries and regions around Romania, including the Black Sea region and the Western Balkans. In addition, there are specific opportunities and projects in Moldova, in Ukraine, and in Georgia. Also, in 2020 we hope to start working in Armenia, Serbia, Albania, Bosnia Herzegovina and other countries in the region.
I would also like to point out that our thematic priorities are 100% based on the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda and, with this support, we are developing and implementing some projects in Africa, such as in the Congo in the field of energy, as well as others in Zambia, Tanzania, Malawi and Zimbabwe. In fact, we going to sign a trilateral agreement between the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the African Union.
We have also prioritised contact with other agencies such as KOICA, a Korean cooperation agency with which we have signed a memorandum of understanding and we have relationships with other agencies such as the Japanese JICA and, of course, European agencies such as those in Austria, the Czech Republic, and Spanish agencies, such as FIIAPP.
How do you rate your entry into the Practitioner’s Network, the network of European cooperation agencies?
We believe that it is a fundamental pillar to consolidate the implementation of development cooperation projects and, for us, this entry is very important because we want to understand what our strategic objectives are and which of these they consider to be the most important in the long, medium and short term.
23 January 2020
Manuel Larrotcha, the Spanish ambassador to Romania and Moldova since the end of 2018, receives us at the Spanish embassy in BucharestImagen del embajador Manuel Larrotcha
Could you give us a snapshot of Romania in 2020?
Romania is a little known country in Western Europe. Institutionally, its semi-presidential system resembles the French model. Its geographical location, bordering as it does the Black Sea, explains its geostrategic interest and importance. Things happen in this area, such as the Russian occupation of Crimea.
Moreover, Romania constitutes the current eastern frontier of the European Union. And it is important to see matters from the perspective of this end of the European territory.
Talk to us about the social context.
The social situation is stable. Romanian society is a traditional society: more traditional than the Spanish one, without a doubt. Things that we now consider part of our daily lives, such as gay marriage, have yet to be legislated for here. Socially speaking, apart from its traditional character, the welcoming and friendly manner in which Romanians receive foreigners is particularly noteworthy. They are a very hospitable people.
Romania’s Achilles heel is, I believe, its drop in population; five million Romanians have emigrated in the last ten years. Once the exodus began it has not let up. Unfortunately, the youngest and the most educated are the ones who most easily find well-paid jobs in Western Europe. Of those five million, one million settled in Spain. This situation has created a bottleneck, because the Romanian economy needs manpower. This ongoing drop in population is not helping at all.
And its economy?
Income levels still lag behind the European average. Consequently, they are still in the process of catching up with the rest of Europe. Nonetheless, the country scores well in terms of its natural resources; it has both gas and oil, not to mention a very powerful farming sector. And it has industry: Dacia cars, which are sold in Spain and, indeed, throughout Europe, are made here in Romania, along with a thriving auxiliary industry.
A very interesting market, the country offers many possibilities. Opportunities abound in the infrastructure sector: roads, motorways, railways, high-speed lines; practically everything needs doing.
Why do you think there is such a close relationship between Spain and Romania, regardless of the fact that we are EU and NATO partners?
This bond comes from way back: our common belonging to the Roman Empire, our shared Latinity and the linguistic proximity of Spanish and Romanian, etc.
There were no diplomatic relations with Romania when Franco was in power. But when they were eventually reopened in 1975, Spanish companies began to discover some very interesting markets here. Obviously, when Romania entered the European Union, there was a considerable population movement of Romanians to Spain. Accordingly, there are many ties between the countries, ranging from human, economic and social to historical and cultural. All of which serves to strengthen a not only very intense, but also a very complete, relationship.
What is Romania’s role in the European Union?
Romania was one of the last countries to enter the EU, along with Bulgaria. It is particularly concerned with avoiding any widening of the gap that exists between Eastern and Western Europe within the EU. This can be achieved by maintaining or increasing the financial resources allocated to social policies (which include the cohesion policy) and to the Common Agricultural Policy. There is no doubt that Romania needs support. lt needs solidarity and cohesion within the Union and the rest of the member countries are also under an obligation to provide this solidarity. We, the Spanish people, saw how, in the 1980s and 1990s, Spain underwent considerable changes owing to the generosity and solidarity received from our European partners.
What role did cooperation play in Romania’s accession to the EU?
Development cooperation, understood in the classical sense of the term, had nothing to do with it. However, if what we mean by this is cooperation as technical assistance and twinning-like programmes, Romania benefited from these long before 2007. After the dictatorship of Ceaușescu, this country was in an awful state from all points of view, including the administrative one. Its administrative capacity was practically non-existent. This meant that during the entire pre-accession period Brussels had to provide Romania with what is called capacity building. Technical assistance proved to be one of the best tools to achieve this.
Romania gradually created groups of public officials with management skills: first to develop programmes, then to properly manage them and, thirdly, to account for how the financial flows that had been allocated to those programmes had been managed. Accordingly, Brussels made a big effort in Romania with twinning programmes, in which FIIAPP was always very active.
Even so, I think that Romania still has some way to go in this area. There is a lot still to be done, for example, with respect to infrastructure: there are very few motorways in relation to the country’s size and population.
Nonetheless, do you think twinning has been beneficial?
I think it has. You only get out of it what you put in. And I believe that they generate, not only economic, but human and social, wealth as well.
I was very much involved in a twinning programme in Turkey and I can assure you that there are hundreds of gendarmes in Turkey today who are doing their job a lot better than they would have if it had not been for these kinds of EU programmes in which FIIAPP has been, and continues to be, the executive arm.
Moreover, I had worked with FIIAPP before.
I worked with FIIAPP for three years in the Rabat Process; a process in which Spain played a very prominent role. In fact, our country continues to be present in the steering committee for that process. In 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 we managed to get Brussels to allocate funds to this initiative and to involve the European Commission in the north-western Atlantic migratory routes. I found it a very positive experience. We organised loads of meetings, in Brussels, in Ouagadougou and in Madrid. I worked a lot with FIIAPP staff.
During those years, I noted the ease with which FIIAPP engaged with the Administration. And the guidelines to which FIIAPP worked were in keeping with the Spanish authorities’ migration policy at that time, which made engagement between FIIAPP and the Administration relatively easy and always very positive.
16 January 2020
Although before leaving for Turkey, they gave us many instructions when you arrive in Turkey, it is like discovering it for the first timeÁngel Vicente López Muriel durante el desarrollo del proyecto en Turquía
Ángel Vicente López Muriel, coordinator of the Twinning project ‘Better Management of Terrorists and Dangerous Criminals in Prisons and Prevention of Radicalisation‘, which is being carried out in Turkey, tells us about his experience as a FIIAPP expatriate, his adaptation to Turkey and his daily routine in the country.
What has been the most difficult aspect to adapt to, and the easiest?
The hardest thing I have had to do has been to get my residence card. First they needed one document, then another, first I had to go to this office, then another. And finally you realise that this is a country where who you know is very important.
The easiest, walking the streets of Ankara. You have a true sense of security. You can leave your wallet or mobile on the table without worrying because when you return they will still be there and this is not possible in many Spanish cities.
Is this your first experience of living outside Spain? Is it proving to be very different from your previous ones?
I lived in France for many years. Turkey is more similar to Spain in the character of its people than France. However, Spanish cities are more like French cities. I think that Turkey is still a little behind the level of Europe, of course as far as the big cities are concerned.
What is your work like, your daily routine? Is it very different from the routine you had in Spain?
Office work is similar in terms of administrative work with the difference being that everything here focuses on the project and we always have time limits hanging over us. And another important difference is that we have to manage relations with the beneficiaries (with regard to customs and language) and also the relationships between the beneficiaries and the experts and the participants in the project.
How is your relationship with your colleagues and with FIIAPP?
Well, although before leaving for Turkey, they gave us many instructions and recommendations, when you arrive in Turkey and live there, it is like discovering it for the first time. Almost everything is different from what I was told, there is always a last minute change in a process that disrupts it, for example, with the phones, we have to pay fees, there were issues with the residence permit, etc.
Regarding project management, there are some issues that should be managed by FIIAPP directly with Brussels, as the CFCU responsible for the project’s administrative management puts many obstacles in our way and applies the twinning manual at its own discretion.
The relationship with the other RTAs is superb, we share problems and we all try to manage and solve them.
How would you rate your experience of working as a FIIAPP expatriate?
As I said before, FIIAPP provides us with very important logistical support so the project is able to progress. However, the problem we have raised, which could be solved by a call to EU officials, has not been managed.
Any experience or anecdote worth highlighting from your arrival/adaptation to the country?
One anecdote is when I went to get my hair cut for the first time. If you are very demanding about your haircut you will have to be very patient and choose your hairdresser carefully. The first time I got my hair cut, when I left I had no choice but to put my hood up and cover my head.
26 December 2019
FIIAPP Secretary General Inmaculada Zamora tells us about her career at FIIAPP and the main challenges she has faced in 2019Photograph of Inmaculada Zamora at the annual EUROsociAL+ Meeting in Cartagena, Colombia (July 2019)
How many years have you been working at FIIAPP and in what roles?
I have been working at FIIAPP since the end of 2008. So I’ve been here for 11 years
I began as an advisor in governance and social cohesion, and coordinated the final phase of EUROsociAL I. Later, I went on to become assistant director, then, among other functions, I led the coordination of the projects and programmes department (ATP). In 2011, once again, I re-directed a more centralized EUROsociAL II, with more leadership from FIIAPP, with excellent results. In 2016 I went into the field (Ghana) to lead a project to fight corruption, and I finally returned to the headquarters as Secretary General in November 2018, just a year ago.
What could you say that the Foundation has contributed to you personally and professionally?
My career had been unfolding between regional development, as an official in my region, Aragon, and international development as a representative of AECID in several countries in Asia and Latin America.
FIIAPP combines the two passions that guide my professional interests as a civil servant: on the one hand, defending the public domain, a conviction in the great impact that public policies and institutions have on the development of peoples; and on the other hand the international dimension of development, the importance and impact of global balances/imbalances on the development of humanity as a whole.
Perhaps I could summarize it in another way by highlighting my commitment to reducing inequalities and, to achieve this, to the existence of strong public (national and international) powers that can adjust the starting imbalances (social, geographical, among others) that the free market sometimes exacerbates.
FIIAPP’s mandate perfectly combines these concerns and makes me feel that I am making a contribution in this regard.
What do you think is the best, most remarkable thing about FIIAPP?
The fact we convert knowledge into development: knowledge is passed on in universities, in classrooms, in conversations in courses and seminars, in studies and analyses, in many ways. It is possessed and passed on by professors, academics, civil servants, experts… Whoever receives it benefits individually from it.
But, if we talk about development, who ensures, and how, that this knowledge is transformative, that it translates into changes in society, changes in policies and institutions that ultimately improve the lives of citizens? Well, that wonderful and unique task falls down to FIIAPP. We select and convey knowledge in such a way that it produces changes and has an impact on the systems and, therefore, on citizens. For those who are familiar with the theory of change, FIIAPP works on causal chains and intermediate results for the expected change to occur.
This is done through public technical assistance methods that involve monitoring all stages of peer learning (between public employees) so that goes beyond knowledge sharing and has an effect on the system, on institutions and policies and finally on citizens.
In your work as Secretary General, what do you think is the best thing about the role? And the worst?
The best thing has been being able to get a complete perspective of the potential that FIIAPP has as a development tool and to be able to visualize improvements that will take advantage of that potential and better organize our knowledge to consolidate it and make it more effective.
But the human resources that FIIAPP has are the best thing about this institution. People who are committed and professional, with values and enthusiasm. At the same time, this is also the most difficult aspect. For me, managing human resources in a specific project for a specific activity is gratifying and satisfying because it is easy to combine energies and passions towards a common goal. The public sector does not have access to the same incentives as the private sector, so these need to be based more on motivation, teamwork and companionship, values, shared passion for what is done, staff involvement in decisions, and so on.
Even so, the “generic” management of human resources seems to me to be one of the most complicated tasks and I admire the people who work in that field because it is tremendously complex
What progress and pending challenges would you highlight this year at FIIAPP?
From an institutional and systemic point of view, the greatest achievement of this stage (2018-2019) for FIIAPP has been its real and coordinated integration into the Spanish public cooperation system.
On substantive issues, FIIAPP has placed greater emphasis on three issues which, although highly strategic, had previously been dealt with almost marginally: gender equality, ecological transition and migration. Some examples of this are the creation of an equality plan; the strengthening of EUROCLIMA+ (regional programme for Latin America); the plan for renewable energies in Cuba; migration projects in Morocco and Latin America, together with IOM and the IDB implementing their facility for migration in the region.
In operational and administrative terms, the extraordinary turnover of temporary project personnel and restrictions on the hiring of permanent staff, despite a small increase in recent years, remain the main risk for FIIAPP. Although technological modernization that will improve productivity is becoming consolidated, the tension on the structure is strong. In methodological terms, I would highlight the effort to install an appropriate and structured knowledge management, which will consolidate FIIAPP’s know-how and help to make visible the added value it brings to the system.
A final reflection?
I would confirm my commitment to the institution and my desire for FIIAPP, making the most of its human resources, to quickly develop its collective intelligence and consolidate a reputation for excellence, quality, model public service, and impacting on public systems to improve people’s lives.