28 September 2021
'We go far beyond the mere fulfilment of the obligations to which we are subject as part of our public service duty'. We interview Laura Gonzalvo, director of Internal Audit and Risk Control at FIIAPPLaura Gonzalvo, director of Internal Audit and Risk Control at FIIAPP
Is the FIIAPP a transparent institution?
Transparency is a basic principle in the daily management of the FIIAPP. To begin with, as stated in our code of conduct, all the people who work in this organisation have to act in a transparent manner and ensure the transparency of the organisation. This commitment goes beyond mere compliance with the obligations to which we are subject as part of our duty as a public service that administers Spanish and European taxpayer funds. We are an organisation whose missionary purpose is to strengthen public systems in other countries, and this means that a key focus of our actions is precisely the improvement of our integrity, transparency and anti-corruption policies. But in order to support other institutions on the path to transparency, the first step is to be transparent.
Here at the FIIAPP we can affirm, without fear of error, that those countries with higher levels of transparency have stronger institutions, institutions that really favour economic growth and social development.
What mechanisms for transparency exist at the FIIAPP?
We have a “Transparency Procedure” that aims to guarantee that the relevant information about our activity is communicated to the different FIIAPP stakeholders in a timely and reliable manner, through our website, in order to guarantee their right of access to information. Such accountability is constant because our activity is equally so.
The key role of citizens is one of co-responsibility, contributing to the “construction and evolution” of this new paradigm, in which the important thing is not only what organisations tell us and the manner in which they do it, but what they are like in reality.
Transparency is based on two-way communication, in which citizens can ask questions and organisations have mechanisms to respond to their concerns, with accessible information. Conversation on social media, for example, is driving a new 21st century model of transparency.
Beyond economic management, in what dimensions is it important for the FIIAPP to be transparent?
Ultimately, by putting the focus on what each organisation does, but with a double objective, ensuring that our employees do it according to ethical, effective, efficient and responsible standards. Therefore, reducing accountability to the economic sphere is very biased, since it has to cover the management of the entire organisation.
The numbers and the publication of our accounts are just one more piece in our transparency. All of this (the organisation’s accounts and its projects) are audited in a timely fashion. But accountability is about much more than numbers. It also has to do with the management of people with how managing is carried out… Ultimately for an organisation like the FIIAPP, it is being able to show the degree of implementation of our mandate, the real impact of our daily work on people and the planet.
23 September 2021
We spoke to Joaquín Plasencia García, Chief Inspector of the Spanish Policía Nacional and Team Leader of the project funded by the European Union and entitled "Promoting community policing in Lebanon". Plasencia offers his vision on the mission of the Lebanese National Police (also called Internal Security Forces) in the current context of the country. The project is managed by the FIIAPP.The Chief Inspector of the Policía Nacional with a member of the Lebanese Internal Security Forces
We spoke to Joaquín Plasencia García, Chief Inspector of the Spanish Policía Nacional and Team Leader of the project funded by the European Union and entitled “Promoting community policing in Lebanon”. Plasencia offers his vision on the mission of the Lebanese National Police (also called Internal Security Forces) in the current context of the country. The project is managed by the FIIAPP.
What does the project aim to achieve?
The “Promoting community policing in Lebanon” project aims to introduce fundamental changes in the nature and culture of the police in Lebanon. Its main objective is to promote social cohesion through the transformation of the outdated concept of “Police Force” towards the more current and necessary concept of “Police at the Service of Citizens”. The aim of this transformation is to strengthen ties of trust and cooperation between citizens and the police, a relationship that has deteriorated during the latest political and social events that the country has been going through.
What situation is the Lebanese National Police operating in today?
The Lebanese National Police (ISF – Internal Security Forces as it is known in English) finds itself at a crossroads between the needs of the Lebanese people, the police service’s vocation to serve citizens, and the obeying of government orders.
The current situation of political, social, health and economic crisis that Lebanon is suffering increases citizens’ demands which require immediate responses and changes. The country is in an unprecedented crisis that, even for many, is worse than the one experienced during the civil war that ravaged the country between 1975 and 1990. In the face of great impoverishment, the Lebanese are left to subsist with the minimum to feed their families, secure medicine for their sick and meet their needs.
This reality is behind the increase in demonstrations in the streets, many of which have ended in violence. The recent clashes between police and protesters have left huge scars on both “sides”; on the one hand, some citizens are suffering the result of police action with arrests and injuries, but, on the other, some police officers have also ended up injured and incapacitated for days. To these physical injuries must be added the psychological and emotional burden that their duties entail, especially when they must confront family and friends at home.
ISF officers are men and women, sons, daughters, mothers and fathers of Lebanese people, who have seen how their profession, which they freely and voluntarily chose in order to “Serve and Protect”, is being decimated, and not only economically, like the rest of the country, but also as a public institution at the service of citizens. The recent demonstrations have in effect set up the police as the target of anger and frustration at the crisis and the corruption of their rulers.
How are the Lebanese police seen by the citizens? And in Spain?
The citizens do not trust national institutions and only the army enjoyed, until recently, a certain amount of their respect.
In Spain, the Sociological Research Centre (CIS) estimates that almost 55% of the population appreciates the work of the Guardia Civil and Policía Nacional. The Police, Guardia Civil and Army are one of the institutions best valued by citizens in Spain. In fact, the rise in citizen valuation reflected by the CIS seems to be endless. If, in 2013, the Cuerpo Nacional de Policía obtained a valuation of 5.65, in 2015 the Policía Nacional obtained a valuation of 5.95, while in 2016 it reached a valuation of 6.8 that leaves the valuation of previous years far behind. These positive results are only explained by the dedication to public service, professionalism and sacrifice of the Cuerpo Nacional de Policía. In the Policía Nacional in Spain the feeling of being an integral part of society is shared, not only with regards serving and protecting society, but also as regards understanding its demands and accepting constructive criticism so as to maintain, increase and never lose the trust of citizens.
What professional standards are required of members of the Lebanese internal security forces?
The professionalism of members of security forces is measured by excellence in their work, by loyalty to the institution to which they belong, and respect for the rule of law and Human Rights. But at the same time, it is also necessary to establish a special connection with citizens to offer them a quality service in the security sector.
If we have realised something over the time the FIIAPP community policing project has been underway, it is that the ISF is made up of professionals who are committed to citizens; to new and old generations that are pushing to introduce improvements in the organisation, through projects like ours that are trying to “Improve, Maintain and Never Lose the trust of citizens”.
Over the next 4 years of implementation we hope to be able to tell you about real and specific achievements resulting from our Community Policing Support Project.
02 September 2021
'International cooperation is the basis for strengthening the fight against organised crime'La comandante de la Guardia Civil, Adriana Tostón
Commander of the Civil Guard and specialist in the project financed by the European Union, EMPACT FIREARMS, Adriana Tostón is part of the #PublicExpertise harnessed by FIIAPP. In addition, it is also participating in the European project EL PAcCTO in its policing area to tackle illegal arms trafficking.
What is your history in cooperation?
Since 2018 I have been participating together with FIIAPP, through “EL PAcCTO”, in the policing area to strengthen Mexico’s capacities in its response to the serious problem of illegalfirearms trafficking, which is having a devastating imparct on society with a high death toll from firearms. We have shared our experiences and challenges, strengthening our bonds and identifying cooperation needs in a society globalised in all senses. The integration of capacities of the different relevant actors at the national level is fundamental to improving the response at the international level, highlighting the great willingness of the different Mexican institutions to collaborate, each within their area of expertise, in improving the national and international capabilities of countries in the fight against illicit arms trafficking in a comprehensive manner.
What does your job involve?
My privileged position as the European police officer responsible for the multidisciplinary and comprehensive response to firearms trafficking, through EMPACT FIREARMS, has allowed me to offer broader cooperation where, in addition, we have created an informal network of firearms experts at regional level called ARCO (Arms and Cooperation).
Through the network we are spreading a culture of cooperation and work dynamics where issues relating to threats are shared and solutions sought, including training activities. One of these last training activities carried out has been related to the investigation of arms trafficking through the darkweb, aimed at identifying specialised threats and generating cyber-patrol capabilities.
How would you rate the experience?
It is a thrilling experience, since it allows us to deepen our mutual understanding, and through these exchanges, improve the fight against organised crime and, in this specific case, against illegal firearms trafficking.
31 August 2021
Víctor Requeni is Chief Inspector of the National Police and has taken part in FIIAPP's #Public Talent project. Read all about his experience here
Requeni talks about his work to combat trafficking networks through the ECI-Niger project: ‘I am proud to demonstrate the good work being done by Spain internationally. Being a member of FIIAPP and the National Police allows us to show our professionalism and dedication’. ECI-Niger is funded by the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF).
What has been the greatest achievement of your experience as a mobilised expert?
The greatest achievement is to have successfully combined National Police and FIIAPP work procedures in the Sahel, a very difficult work environment. It is true that both with police experience and with the essential support that the FIIAPP team gives us daily from its headquarters, the success is shared and has been achieved with some ease despite the innumerable difficulties. Having an excellent human team behind a project is essential to achieving success.
What are you most proud of?
Raising international awareness of the good work being done by Spain. Being a member of FIIAPP and of the Spanish National Police allows us to demonstrate our professionalism, dedication and ability to solve problems. Where others give up, this ECI has been decisive, which has made us a role model for similar projects.
How has your assignment helped to improve the lives of people and the planet?
The ECI-Niger project aims to dismantle migrant smuggling and human trafficking networks, and has contributed to saving many lives. It was a common practice by human traffickers to abandon migrants in the desert, leaving them to their fate. Dismantling these trafficker networks has undoubtedly saved many lives. Likewise, coordination with other migrant aid operators has gradually improved life for people in these areas.
What is the main value of the public sector for you?
The public sector, because it is the result of the economic contributions of all EU citizens, requires excellent management. The ECI-Niger team, as public resource managers, addresses all logistical and operational needs from the prism of resource optimisation.
What have you learned?
This experience has been valuable to me as I have acquired new professional and personal skills. Being a member of ECI-Niger has made me aware of a real problem that is often ignored. In short, this experience has helped me to become a better person.
26 August 2021
"I am proud to be leading a project in Egypt in which 4 different nationalities are working together."El especialista de la OEPM, Pedro Cartagena
We interviewed Pedro Cartagena, an expert in intellectual property at the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office (SPTO) and coordinator of a cooperation project in Egypt that is working to improve the Egyptian patent system: “I am proud to be leading a project in Egypt in which 4 different nationalities are working together.” The ultimate goal is to increase patent applications by Egyptian inventors, particularly within the scientific community. The programme will be led by specialists from the Spanish Patents and Trademarks Office (SPTO) with the participation of its Danish and German counterparts.
What are you most proud of?
Of successfully leading a project on which 4 different nationalities are working together with different mindsets and approaches.
How has your assignment contributed to improving the lives of people and the planet?
It’s difficult to say since the subject is a bit unusual as it has to do with patents. Improving and enhancing patent systems encourages innovation and most of them contribute to increasing well-being in society.
What is the main value of the public aspect for you?
I am a civil servant of the General State Administration and therefore a defender of the public sectorwhen private initiatives are not involved. The public service must act where private initiatives are unable to intervene.
What have you learnt?
Living in a country like Egypt teaches you to value what you have much more and put everyday needs in perspective.
24 August 2021
Ernesto Rodríguez is a physicist with the State Meteorological Agency and part of FIIAPP's #Public Talent project, which is active in more than 100 countries. Read all about his experience here
What has been the greatest achievement of your time as a expert in cooperation projects?
The greatest achievement of my time as an expert has been the cooperation among all the Mediterranean countries to produce forecasts on a seasonal scale. This cooperation has included a lot of countries in deep conflict. I am referring to countries in the Near East such as Israel and the Arab countries and the countries of the former Yugoslavia. It has also enabled knowledge transfer, sharing the experiences of more developed European countries with countries where prediction on a seasonal scale was still nascent.
What are you most proud of?
Well, perhaps having helped to iron out difficulties between groups of countries that had practically no professional relationships, in this case in meteorology, as a consequence of the political framework. I think that having facilitated that cooperation is a source of pride.
How has your assignment contributed to improving the lives of people and the planet?
Well, everything to do with meteorology and climatology helps to improve our relationship with the planet and improves people’s lives. I mean on a seasonal scale, and projects that refer to climate change, climate change projections and impact studies to design adaptation strategies. That ultimately helps improve people’s lives.
That applies specifically to these adaptation strategies that end up being applied in certain sectors sensitive to climatic conditions. I’m talking about farming, water resources, and tourism, and that ends up affecting people’s lives.
The main value of this being a publicly-funded project is that it is not subject to economic interests, which is fundamental. In the end, public services are accessible to the majority of the population without prioritising whether or not it is profitable or if some economic benefit can be derived from an activity, task, or public institution. I think that is the main value of public services.
What have I learned from this experience?
Obviously, a whole lot. Firstly, to have learned about other professional points of view, other ways of working. Of course, it has also been very, very enriching from a personal point of view. And this experience has also helped me to see that, although there are conflicts, long conflicts, prolonged over time, in many regions and in many countries in our activity, these conflicts have been very easily avoidable. When it comes down to it, these conflicts are not reflected in the relationships between the people working on these projects.