27 November 2013
In the framework of the workshop for the high-level economic and social councils of Europe and Latin America organised by the FIIAPP in Antigua, Guatemala, Manuel Lejarreta, the Ambassador of Spain in Guatemala, talked to us for a few minutes about cooperation, development and the future.
How does Spanish cooperation work through its various institutions in Guatemala?
We’ve basically worked in three sectors in Guatemala. The first is governance, security and justice, providing support to the Public Prosecutor, the District Attorney, and the judicial system to reinforce this system, specifically focusing on gender issues such as gender-based violence and women’s empowerment. The second sector we’ve worked in is social development in Guatemala, including rural development and everything related to basic health and education services, focusing, for example, on training small farmers in small towns to strengthen their tourist attraction, thereby maximising that potential source of income. The third sector is the cultural heritage programme and school workshops. We have accomplished very important work rehabilitating historic sites, such as the Training Centre of Antigua, and urban design, such as the redesign of Sixth Avenue in Guatemala’s capital, which has been transformed from a marginal neighbourhood to an area that is conducive to coexistence.
But in recent years, Spanish cooperation has faced a new challenge, with an even greater impact on the country.
In addition to the aforementioned, there is a fourth area, which is newer – the Spanish Cooperation Water and Sanitation Fund, which dedicates no less than 100 million dollars to Guatemala through two different channels: directly through the communities of municipalities and through the IADB (Inter-American Development Bank). Spain provides funds to the IADB, which is executed through the Institute of Municipal Development (INFOM). However, this cooperation arrangement is not new, as we’ve already worked a lot in the area of rural development, specifically in issues of water and sanitation, but now these efforts will be reinforced with the inflow of the additional 100 million dollars.
The Country’s Association Framework, or MAP (“Marco Asociación País”) was signed this June; it is an official document for regulating cooperation over the next four years, specifically focusing on two sectors. The first is to combat chronic malnutrition in the country, in line with government policies. The second is the issue of security and justice, with a very radical focus on trying to reduce the rate of violence against women, in particular the femicide rate. These are the two main areas where Spanish cooperation will be dedicating its efforts over the next few years, in addition to the Water and Sanitation Fund, which is still currently active.
Spain and the European Union are also present in Guatemala through the EUROsociAL Programme, led by the FIIAPP, in various key sectors of social cohesion, including social dialogue, social protection, justice, public finances, and regional development.
The FIIAPP is a very prestigious, well-known institution. And I think the fact that the FIIAPP is one of EUROsociAL’s main actors in this area guarantees success. And the European Union’s cooperation here, which is also Spanish cooperation because we are all the EU, is very compatible with what we do. They are dealing with more or less the same issues and coordination is good. In the near future, the European Union, which has a great deal of funds at its disposal, may maximise our expertise through delegated cooperation. This way, we can contribute our people and technical knowledge and experience in the country to the EU’s resources, which will be quite abundant over the next six years.
11 November 2013
We interviewed Claudio Salinas, EuropeAid’s Head of Budgetary Support and Geographic Coordination for Latin America and the Caribbean.
The European Union continues to be the largest global donor of official development aid, after giving 55.2 trillion Euros in 2012. One of the EU’s strategic lines is the “Programme for Change”; it establishes a more strategic approach to reducing poverty, proposing a series of changes to how the EU provides assistance.
Claudio Salinas is EuropeAid’s Head of Budgetary Support and Geographic Coordination for Latin America and the Caribbean. We spoke with him about the future of European aid:
P: What has the “Programme for Change” meant and how has it affected the EU’s agenda?
The “Programme for Change” was approved in 2012, and we are still undergoing a period of transition. Generally speaking, it indicates that we should maximise the positive impact on the countries most in need, emphasising good governance, helping the countries take responsibility for developing their own fiscal policy, working in a maximum of three sectors per country, and promoting the agenda of sustainable, inclusive growth.
P: In Latin America, 60 million people have been lifted out of poverty from 2002 to 2012. There are “graduate” countries that will no longer receive bilateral aid from the EU.
We will be working in six countries in Latin America: Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Paraguay, El Salvador and Guatemala. Although the other countries will no longer receive bilateral aid, our cooperation will continue through a more mature partnership, increasingly focused on mutual interests. Of course, all Latin American countries will receive resources through other budget lines.
This phenomenon is also reflected in Asia. China, India and Malaysia will not receive cooperation aid for obvious reasons.
P: The FIIAPP has a lot to say about working in Latin America in regard to this new type of cooperation with emerging countries, sharing experiences and common interests.
Yes, in Latin America we especially want to work with continental tax entities. The region has high demand for twinning projects, and this type of programme will, therefore, surely be implemented in the future.
P: Will work also be carried out in Latin America to improve the resilience of the most vulnerable population sectors?
While the Commission’s report “THE EU’S APPROACH TO RESILIENCE: LEARNING FROM FOOD SECURITY CRISES” proposes mainly working in Africa and Asia, it is true that the European Union has implemented one billion Euros in major food operations in Honduras, Guatemala and Bolivia in the past.
We anticipate that the majorconcentration of these efforts will be focused on Africa in the future, following the experience in El Sahel andthe Horn of Africa, where two major initiatives were already implemented in 2012, and to a lesser degree in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Claudio Salinas highlights that the EU is doubling its efforts to “maximise the impact of our actions, increase visibility and improve results.” We want to support sustainable public policy reforms in order to help countries take responsibility for their own development.
The following questions are from our twitter users. Claudio Salinas replies:
– How should we evaluate and monitor our budgetary support operations for accountability?
EuropeAid has two monitoring systems. We have modified the methodology since last year to incorporate budgetary support. In evaluation terms, a great effort has been made to develop a new budgetary support evaluation methodology with the entire donor community. Pilot operations have been launched in Tunisia, Tanzania and Zambia, which have all demonstrated that this methodology is useful. We want to capitalise on what was done right, avoid repeating what was not done as well, and, above all, be accountable to European taxpayers.
The results are very good in Latin America; our monitoring shows that we are working effectively, with good, specific results. Countries like Bolivia, Honduras and Ecuador have shown very satisfactory results.
– What structure should Spanish cooperation have in order to properly manage budgetary support operations?
Spain has to be present in the field, but, above all, it must have expertise in public policy, public finances and macroeconomic management.
The majority of the FIIAPP’s cooperation projects are financed by the EU, making its work with EuropeAid intense and continuous.
07 November 2013
The Colombian National Police has proposed integrating American police forces , called the American Police Community – AMERIPOL, thereby building a large international cooperation network to fight against organised crime.
FIIAPP is currently managing the project “AMERIPOL-EU: Strengthening international cooperation capacity in compliance with the law and legal and tax authorities.” The project has accomplished many objectives over the course of nearly three years of work, in collaboration with the United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Portugal.
In the following interview, Yesid Romanos, Lieutenant Colonel of the Colombian National Police and key expert for this project, tells us about some of the objectives that have been achieved and the impact of this type of project.
1. How would you consider the progress of information exchange between the various police departments of the participating countries before and after the project?
The project has produced major breakthroughs in exchanging information, and I consider the following to be the most important aspects:
In the area of Logistics:
o With the acquisition of teams and the implementation of Ameripol offices, these offices will have immediate access to information.
o The identification of the fields of the platform to be implemented, which was established during various meetings with the National Unit Directors, has allowed us to all speak the same language. This is now done with reports from the National Units dedicated to this project.
In the area of Human Resources:
o The implementation of these offices has allowed us to increase the number of civil servants through joint responsibility and, consequently, improve information exchange.
o Adjusting the offices allowed us to identify the appropriate roles for each unit.
o The commitment of the civil servants in Ameripol’s National Units has allowed the institution to channel information through these offices, thereby improving their response capacity.
o The exchange of information has helped achieve substantial results in combating transnational crime, which has been publicly acknowledged by the media.
2. What would you say are the most important factors in ensuring the continuous achievement of the project objectives?
o Ensuring the continuity of the civil servants in National Units by signing a Memorandum of Understanding.
o Learning about the results obtained during those years and creating international interest.
o Extending a second project phase for various AMERIPOL countries.
o Implementing the platform to input necessary data in order to obtain future results.
o The project has allowed us to understand the joint efforts of the police, legal, and tax authorities in achieving the project’s objectives.
3. What impact does this type of EU-financed project to fight cocaine trafficking have on Latin America?
o It demonstrates the commitment, seriousness, and results of the European Union’s projects.
o The project’s results are tangible and easy for the police forces and their respective countries to understand. This goes beyond merely citizen security.
o It has allowed us to understand the objective of international police cooperation and the need to expand our borders in the fight against transnational crime.
o It ensures a reduction in the knowledge gap.
Taking the best practices of the different police, legal and tax institutions as a benchmark has allowed us to improve police, legal and tax results.
13 September 2013
The FIIAPP presented the new “SOCIEUX” project financed by the EU.
The project will support member countries that request it in the design and management of social protection systems with assistance from Spanish, French and German experts.
The project’s added value involves working on-demand.
We interviewed Beatriz Juanes, a Spanish expert who is part of the project’s central management team.
The Socieux project’s geographic area is quite extensive. Does any particular region require special attention?
No. The area is indeed very large, encompassing Latin America, Asia and the Middle East (countries pertaining to the instrument for development cooperation), countries of the European Neighbourhood Policy, and, finally, Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (under the development fund), for a total of approximately 145 countries.
Each country, depending on their particular situation and conditions, will make a certain request based on their needs. But everyone has the possibility of requesting assistance. We don’t have any priority areas.
Is there any topic of special relevance that should be emphasised?
The most important area is financing, how public policies can be financed, and how to finance social protection policies. This area is currently experiencing difficulties, which is why social protection has not been further developed, due to a lack of resources and not knowing how to achieve these resources.
In other areas, priority will be given to the countries themselves. The more impoverished countries will probably request technical assistance for all types of Social Assistance. Meanwhile, middle-income countries will lean towards social security and social insurance, which is a more advanced system based on a tax system.
Are there any plans to create a pilot project that could be established in the long-term to continue on after the project’s completion?
The idea behind this project is for everything we accomplish to remain in place, as the project’s goal is to develop systems.
The project will last approximately 2 years. What do they hope to achieve in this time? And how do you think the project can help the different countries?
The member states are responsible for designing and applying their own social protection systems.
However, the idea is for the countries we work with to empower themselves in their own development. If we are able to accomplish this by the end of the project, we can be proud.
The EU’s intention is for this project to provide assistance to the beneficiaries, not to do things for them. The goal is for the beneficiaries to learn how to be self-sufficient.
The project works on demand, but how can these requests be managed when anyone can request assistance?
There is a simple form to organise the requests. But each assistance request must comply with certain requirements in order for an action plan to be developed. There are formal requirements – for example, the institution must be public – and content requirements – for example, it must be in line with the policies of the European Union.
Not all requests will be valid, and we do not want to encourage requests without due cause. It is important for the request to be in line with the country’s social protection policies and avoid overlapping with other ongoing programmes.
03 September 2013
Macedonia is a country undergoing profound changes, but it still maintains certain traditional ways. Spanish and French experts have helped to improve adult education and literacy and primary education over the course of 22 months. Through examples, they have demonstrated how progress can be made. The European Commission has invested nearly 1,800,000 Euros in improving adult education in Macedonia.
Carmen Sainz, the Spanish Project Manager, talked to us about some of the things they have done over the course of these 22 months.
1 – Have the main project areas – adult education and literacy and primary education – been reinforced for socially excluded people?
A lot of progress has been made in various aspects. Adult education in Macedonia is still in the early stages; the only thing that had been achieved was to reduce education from 8 to 4 years, using the same books as for children and with teachers who are not specialised.
One of the major successes has been to train 16 teachers in adult education methods. These teachers then used this knowledge to teach 78 adults over 8 months.
2- Do any of the areas we’ve mentioned require special attention, or do they all require the same degree of involvement?
The two areas are equally important.
In adult education, we’ve focused on developing new professions and applying new methods to existing education systems.
In terms of literacy and primary education, by law, people in Macedonia who do not have a primary education certificate cannot obtain a driver’s licence or register as unemployed and, therefore, cannot take the adult education courses offered at job centres.
The objective is to raise awareness of the discrimination involved in this issue and the need to develop programmes that provide education more efficiently, facilitating access to both areas.
3- Are any of the programmes that were tested during this project currently active?
Two NGOs and the local council of a rural area with an Albanian majority are rolling out some of the literacy and primary education pilot projects.
Also, the ‘trainers of trainers’ have organised courses to be held throughout the country.
You could say that progress continues even though our work is done.
4- Do you think this project has changed the lives of Macedonians?
It has certainly changed the lives of the 78 people who participated in the literacy and primary education programmes. They’ve all asked for more courses and it’s clear that the programme has awakened their desire to continue learning.
That’s certainly the case with the 16 teachers, who have learned new teaching techniques, as well as with wine professionals, plumbing professionals, etc., who have also learned new work methods.
5- What is the target audience for these activities?
The activities focusing on literacy for socially excluded people include Romanies, Albanians with little education and minorities who have been left out of the system.
The employment-related activities have focused on jobless people looking to develop skills that will help them find a new job or professionals wishing to learn new methods.
19 July 2013
Bruno Moro, Director of the MDG Trust Fund
The 2013 Millennium Development Goals Report provides evidence that, despite the fact that various goals have already been reached, there is still much left to accomplish. Our work is not over and these days we find ourselves asking how the altercations in Brazil could affect the construction of the post-2015 agenda? We have to think about it – is something happening?
Yes, we have to think about it. Obviously, it is an example of a society that wants a more real, immediate impact in their lives. International organisations’ public policies and programs are sometimes very slow and people in the streets are getting tired of this. Perhaps we need to be more ambitious with the agenda and think about the fastest answer for the people.
The economic crisis is also changing development policy. Is Governance the future of cooperation? Is it cheaper to share knowledge?
Knowledge has a very important value. Sometimes it is not monetised, but there are companies that become rich solely based on knowledge.
It is fundamental. Citizens have the right to not be poor, of course that does not mean that the State should be poor, but the State has to facilitate, and the way to facilitate is by providing adequate education, adequate healthcare, etc…
What goals must be reinforced in the next few years?
We have come a long way, the changes are very positive, but we cannot be totally satisfied. We have to be aware of the problem of climate change in the future, because it could cause millions of people to fall into poverty. The focus on gender issues is also very important. Women need to have their own space and children require attention because many of them die too soon after being born. These are topics that we must consider carefully.