17 February 2022
EUROsociAL+ ha acompañado a la Autoridad Nacional del Servicio Civil de Perú (SERVIR) en la elaboración de una guía para fortalecer la integridad en la gestión pública en la que se establecen soluciones para tratar los problemas y dilemas éticos que se pueden encontrar los servidores públicos. Para ello la guía ofrece información sobre el marco legal y ético aplicable, así como pautas de actuación ante posibles situaciones que generen conflicto de intereses. En esta entrevista damos voz al responsable de buen gobierno del área de gobernanza democrática de EUROsociAL+, Borja Díaz y a los autores de la publicación, Manuel Villoria, Catedrático de Ciencias Políticas y de la Administración de la Universidad Rey Juan Carlos de Madrid y César Cruz, profesore de la Universidad Carlos III para que nos detallen el proceso de creación y el contenido de este manual.
What are public ethics?
There is no doubt that ethics are needed to be able to live in society. Further still, we need ethics to be able to coexist in society justly. Public ethics seek a minimum agreement that can be generalised to be able to live together justly. This guarantees long-term stability in societies.
Public ethics therefore refers to ethics that seek to establish a moral standard common to societies, morality of a universal and generalisable nature, which also respects private and reasonable conceptions of goodness.
Public ethics are different from public sector ethics, since the former are the ethics of an entire society, free of fundamentalism, and which allow everyone to live together while respecting our differences. For its part, public sector ethics are also referred to as political ethics, a type of professional ethics, and consist of firmly defined and established standards of behaviour, which prescribe what public employees must do, in terms of public service duties, principles, virtues and benefits for society.
How was the need for a guide to ethical dilemmas for public administration identified?
Since 2020, the National Civil Service Authority of Peru (SERVIR) has been working on a model for improving integrity in the Peruvian Public Administration with a massive impact and a practical approach. With this strategic approach, the need for a self-learning guide document was identified to provide concept, reflection and action instruments for dealing with the typical ethical problems and risks to integrity facing the Peruvian public sector. It would be a document on which to base strategies and training actions with wide coverage. Both its content and the cases included in the guide are associated with the real situation in Peru, but it has other uses. It can be applied to other situations in Latin American countries.
The guide is based on the belief that public employees want to do things well and ethically. This is crucial, although unfortunately, despite their good intentions, inappropriate administrative practices, habits and rituals are rooted in our organisations, which are not analysed with the moral thoroughness expected of a good public service. Because of this, it persists and leads to the ethical stagnation of the public sector. Therefore, the guide also contains elements to analyse and question this type of practices from a moral standpoint and to strengthen the ethics and integrity of the public service through analysis and moral confrontation, based on a pragmatic approach and associated with the moral development of our institutions.
Could you give us some examples of cases where this guide would be useful?
The guide is designed to offer tools to strengthen the moral behaviour of public officials, with case studies, and guidelines for action in ethically challenging situations. There are numerous examples. In extreme situations where it is necessary to correct the course of unethical administrative routines and practices such as dealing with unclear and biased public procurement processes; personnel and people management policies without the human factor and integrity; in cases where position and authority lacks effective control or supervision and may lead to bribery and other corrupt practices; or nepotism and favouring family members, friends or third parties for profit, making key administrative decisions without due process, objectivity and impartiality.
The guide includes a selection of 78 cases classified by policy area, type of administrative activity and type impact on ethics and integrity.
How did EUROsociAL+ work with Peru to publish this guide?
One possible approach to the fight against corruption is the regulatory-sanctioning approach, based on closer regulation, strict enforcement and firm prosecution, however, recent studies have shown it to be of only limited value in preventing corruption.
Based on these observations, a strategic approach has been devised in addition to the previous one, based on encouraging public integrity understood as adherence to and compliance with shared ethical values, principles and norms, to maintain and prioritise the public interest above private interests, in the public sector.
Faced with this complex problem, SERVIR asked the EUROsociAL + programme for support to strengthen the Peruvian public integrity system in the field of human resource management by introducing values, standards and guidelines in the Peruvian regulatory framework for the implementation of a new culture of integrity; and developing civil servants’ skills, with emphasis on management personnel, to manage a culture of integrity in the civil service.
As a result of this collaboration and based on different diagnoses, EUROsociAL+ advised on the preparation of the guide and final consultancy reports, a tool that was also shared through virtual seminars and workshops.
To see the full guide:
Practical guide to deal with ethical problems and dilemmas: strengthening integrity in Peruvian public management
21 January 2022
We speak with Celina Lezcano, Minister for Women in Paraguay, who tells us about the key points of the formulation of the Care Policy in the countryCecilia Lezcano
In Paraguay, a sizeable proportion of young women, whose employment is not reflected in the statistics, are dedicated to unpaid work, mainly to do with taking care of the home or their families. Paraguay’s Care Policy was created with the assistance of the Support Programme for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda’s SDG 5, which is committed to empowering women and to gender equality. Paraguay’s Minister for Women, Celina Lezcano, tells us about the importance of its development.
What has lead Paraguay to undertake a Care policy?
Care policies are part of the regional agenda for gender equality from the Quito Consensus to the 2030 Agenda, the SDGs and the Montevideo Strategy. All these commitments are reflected in the IV National Equality Plan. In Paraguay, in 2016, the first time-usage survey was carried out. Using the latter with data that had already been recorded, we could corroborate the regional trend in Paraguay, that women spend more than 50% of their time doing unpaid work. And there is some extremely relevant data: in poor households, women, very often young women, face a greater burden of care tasks than in other households.
The Ministry for Women influenced the government’s main schemes, focusing on people care and principally reflecting on the disparity in co-responsibility regarding unpaid tasks, with a significant weight resting on families and women.
On what pillars will it be based?
The National Government has established as priorities in the social area the configuration and development of a National Social Protection System (SPS). Its objectives are defined according to different phases of life, as well as by the environment and the home. A set of 37 State Organisations and Entities have planned strategic actions for the 2019-2023 period.
The Ministry for Women contributes to two pillars of the Social Protection System: Social Integration and Labour and Productive Inclusion. Non-contributory social policies are included in the Social Integration pillar. In the Labour and Productive Inclusion pillar, that is job placement, there has to be inter-sectoral collaboration between the public and private sector.
Who will this policy be developed for?
Everyone has the right to receive quality care at different times and circumstances in their lives, to provide care under decent conditions and to have alternatives available when they cannot provide care. However, this process will be introduced gradually and progressively. In general, the population groups directly benefiting from it will be young children, people with disabilities who cannot fend for themselves, and older adults in the same situation. And, obviously, also women, both those who until now have carried out these jobs on an unpaid basis, and those who are paid for care provision.
How is the roll-out process going?
The Ministry for Women promoted the creation of the Inter-institutional Group for the Promotion of Public Care Policies in Paraguay (GIPC) in 2018.
It also formulated the Framework Document for the Design of a Care Policy in Paraguay, under the leadership of the Ministry for Women. For this we have the support of the European Union, through EUROsocial+ and the cooperation of UN Women.
The Ministry for Women has a roadmap that is updated annually with the GIPC. For 2021, three implementation phases were provided for, with the support of the European Union (both with the EUROsocial+ Programme and the “Support for the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda” Programme executed by FIIAPP), with the support of UN Women and the Inter-American Development Bank.
The first phase is the presentation of the National Care Policy Bill to the Legislative Branch. The second phase is the formalisation of the Policy. And the third is the National Care Policy in Paraguay.
In addition, Paraguay is joining regional networks that encourage care policies, such as the Network of long-term care policies in Latin America and the Caribbean (RedCuidar+), because on this issue it is very important to enhance the processes under way in each country.
Do you think that Paraguay will be an example for other countries in terms of care?
I believe that this policy has the potential to become an early example within the “VAMOS!Social Protection System ” , but also an example of inter-institutional cooperation, which has passed through different governments thanks to the work of the technical teams that make up the GIPC, turning it into a State policy and not one of a specific government.
How does the Ministry work with the 2030 Agenda Support Programme?
The European Union and FIIAPP Support Programme for the 2030 Agenda includes technical support on construction, socialisation and approval processes for the National Care Policy, since it is part of meeting target 5.4 of SDG 5. They have also supported us in processes of analysis of the context and in mapping actors to better define our planning and that of the GIPC itself, with a view to the Bill’s approval process.
At the head of the Ministry for Women, I find myself at a key time for the consolidation of the Care Policy in Paraguay, assuming the government’s commitment and the goals set with international organisations.
02 December 2021
We interview Enrique Playán, director of Spain’s State Research Agency, an institution with which FIIAPP works on international cooperation projects. This agency promotes scientific and technical research and funds R+D+i activities.We interview Enrique Playán, director of Spain’s State Research Agency, an institution with which FIIAPP works on international cooperation projects. This agency promotes scientific and technical research and funds R+D+i activities.
Why is cooperation in the field of research important?
International cooperation is the basis of scientific development. Sometimes this is because you have to contact people who do not live in the same country, whereas in others, it is necessary to solve problems that go beyond the limits of a given country. Scientific cooperation is also part of international cooperation at a political level. Scientific diplomacy is a fundamental element in relationships between countries. Science is an area in which understanding is the general norm and which therefore has plenty to teach other types of political relations. I am not aware of disputes in international scientific cooperation, for example.
Is the response to the pandemic a clear example of scientific cooperation?
Indeed, in cases where there is a serious humanitarian situation, science still responds more from a perspective of sharing knowledge and cooperation. This has been the case in the case of the pandemic, but it is not an exception, it is the general rule.
Another example of cooperation in this area is the twinning project between Tunisia and Spain in which the State Research Agency participates. Why are such projects important?
Tunisia’s project for capacity-building and institutional reform is not only of importance to Tunisians. These issues, including institutional reform and ensuring the best possible skills, are also very important in Spain. Research groups established through relationship between the two countries have a long history.
What is the relationship like between Tunisia and Spain?
Spain’s relations with Tunisia have been privileged due to numerous historical affinities. It is very important that these relations intensify through this Spanish/Tunisian outreach project and the scientific systems in the future.
The problems of water, agriculture and food in Tunisia and Spain are very similar. The management of brackish water, scarcity, floods, the relationship of water with energy, food etc. are issues that are problems of first magnitude for Spain and in which we find an affinity in the problems we face, in the solutions and varied approaches between countries that is very enriching in terms of research activities.
Is Spain a point of reference in the field of research?
In many ways, yes. Spain has a great capacity to carry out research and to be among the leading countries in general and in some scientific disciplines in particular. The tenacity of researchers here has been key. Although in many aspects and at many times the necessary levels of investment required for research have been lacking, extensive programmes have ensured that Spanish science is among the very best in the world.
Mention the key role of female researchers. At FIIAPP, we believe that it is fundamental to highlight the #PublicTalent of Spain’s national, regional and local administration.
I have complete faith in Spain’s scientific system and the ability of its professionals and the research managers in universities and research centres, as well as in the agency itself and other public funders I believe that we have high-quality human resources at our disposal and that their skills have to be protected to enable them to continue to make Spanish science a leading light in the international environment.
Why is research important for the development of a country?
Because research is the driving force behind well-being. When I say well-being, I include development and economic growth, but I am not limiting myself to that alone. Research is the fuel that powers companies and sets them apart. Ensuring that Spain’s progress is fuelled by a knowledge-based economy is a priority of the first magnitude. It is what will make Spain grow even in times of economic downturn, distinguishing itself from its neighbours and setting it apart from aspects that so characterised the twentieth century, such as the availability of natural resources and other activities that do not have an added value based on knowledge.
Our young people’s job prospects to a large extent rest on us having the capacity to generate employment with high added value and that requires a lot of training. Research is not a policy that can be isolated from the country’s progress, but should rather be linked to other aspects, such as business development and education. All these factors have to be put on the table so that this shift towards a knowledge economy can take place.
28 October 2021
Mario Farnós is a Guardia Civil lieutenant and the director of a project in Mauritania on maritime security. Next, we know his experience in the African countryMario Farnós is a Guardia Civil lieutenant and the director of a project in Mauritania on maritime security. Next, we know his experience in the African country
What was your arrival in Mauritania like? Is there anything you remember in particular?
My arrival in Mauritania was calm at first since the coordinator (Alejandro Bosch) and I arrived together, and that calms you down a bit. For me it was the first long-term stay in Africa. You realise that Mauritania is a mixture of cultures, you know that it is an Islamic republic, as far as religion is concerned, but seeing how the Arab world and black Africa coexist was shocking for me.
As an interesting anecdote, eating with your hands is not easy…. seeing how they look at you, waiting to see if you eat the rice, or how you are going to cut a piece of meat. In the end they help you, they themselves cut it with their hand and give you the piece so you can eat, you can’t refuse such a gesture of kindness which, when you’re hungry, is very welcome.
How did the adaptation period go? What were the hardest and easiest things for you?
What I found hardest, professionally, was to take things with the relative simplicity and calm with which things are done here, they don’t plan over the short term, nor are they so strict with schedules or deadlines, but the day when something has to be done, they are there, they organise it from one day to the next, without any problem.
It reminds me a lot of how we used to do things in Spain 25 years ago, without so much protocol, procedure, and so on.
The least difficult thing for me was to see things from their point of view, I think I can empathise with people and I put myself in their place, I ask them for things knowing the means the country has available, the situation, the resources and the staff they have available, to know how far we can go together.
Is this your first experience outside of Spain?
Long-term, it is my first experience, I had already worked with FIIAPP as a short-term expert in Chile and Bolivia, but Islamic culture has nothing to do with Latin America.
Right now I am at the midpoint, I have been here a year and in principle I have another one to go, insallah! Although you never know how long we will be here, I am really happy.
What is your work like, your daily routine? Is it very different from the routine you had in Spain?
My day to day is completely different from what I did in Spain.
I worked as a post commander on the island of Fuerteventura and there your main function was to anticipate the arrival of immigrants, coordinate the security mechanism upon their arrival, anticipate they would awaiting medical assistance and transfer them to the hospital or to the Bureau of Immigration for their identification. Here it is very different, it’s working day to day with different institutions such as the National Gendarmerie, the Mauritanian Coast Guard, the Mauritanian Police and organising joint meetings so that they can work in a coordinated manner, not subordinate, in the field of maritime security and immigration , especially irregular immigration.
What is your relationship with FIIAPP like? And with your colleagues in Mauritania?
The relationship with FIIAPP staff, who are in Madrid, is different from how I had been working. Getting to know FIIAPP’s methodology, the processes, the procedures, understanding that everyone has their own patch…… but you realise that you can count on very capable professionals with extraordinary knowledge in fields I knew nothing about
With my colleague in Mauritania, Alejandro, what can I say? We arrived together, we shared the same office, we used just one computer and, as with colleagues from Madrid, you realise the great amount of knowledge and work capacity they have in areas you know nothing about.
How would you rate your experience of working as a FIIAPP expatriate?
In two words, very positive.
Professionally, it was a challenge for me, working in another country, in another language, another culture and, after a year, seeing that the Mauritanian beneficiaries are happy with your work makes you feel happy.
And on a personal level, it is a very rewarding experience that you will never forget.
Find out about the project that Mario Farnós coordinates in Mauritania.
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.