12 September 2019
Con motivo del Día Internacional de la Preservación de la Capa de Ozono, que se celebrará el 16 de septiembre, Marc Reina, gestor temático del componente de cooperación policial de EL PAcCTO, reflexiona sobre la necesidad de un marco estratégico y operacional de trabajo integral y coordinado entre países contra los delitos medioambientales
Representando un volumen de negocio ilegal de entre 110 y 281 millones de dólares en 2018, según las estimaciones de Interpol y el Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Medio Ambiente (UNEP, por sus siglas en inglés), los delitos medioambientales se han convertido en el tercer delito más lucrativo del mundo, únicamente sobrepasado por el narcotráfico y el contrabando.
Estas cifras han aumentado exponencialmente en los últimos años, con un crecimiento de hasta varios dígitos amparado por un marco regulatorio insuficiente y una tipificación y sanción de los delitos que, en muchos casos, es administrativa en vez de penal. Además, la focalización de recursos de investigación policial y judicial en otros ámbitos como el tráfico de drogas y/o de personas, así como la consideración de los delitos ambientales como de bajo riesgo en comparación con otras tipologías delictuales, han facilitado el surgimiento de organizaciones criminales especializadas en minería ilegal, deforestación y tráfico de especies protegidas, entre otros, y sus delitos conexos como la corrupción, el lavado de activos, el sicariato y la explotación laboral y sexual.
Si tenemos en cuenta que América Latina representa más del 40% de la biodiversidad mundial y que la complejidad geográfica y política de la región hace difícil el control efectivo de territorio por parte de los Estados, la lucha contra los delitos ambientales en su conjunto es una tarea titánica.
Por eso es necesario el desarrollo de acciones estratégicas y operacionales en varios niveles. Por un lado, el desarrollo estratégico debe obligatoriamente pasar por la creación de un marco regulatorio internacional, ya sea mediante protocolos adjuntos a grandes convenciones como la Convención contra la Delincuencia Transnacional Organizada (Convención de Palermo) o la Convención sobre el comercio internacional de especies amenazadas de fauna y flora silvestres (Convenio CITES), o a través de la elaboración de un nuevo tratado internacional que sirva de paraguas de protección y persecución de los crímenes contra el medio ambiente.
Por otro lado, a nivel operacional y siguiendo las conclusiones y los compromisos de los Jefes de Estado y los ministros del Interior de las 7 mayores potencias económicas del mundo, reunidos en el G7 los días 4 y 5 de abril de 2019 en Francia, es necesario crear mecanismos eficientes de coordinación y cooperación policial y judicial, tanto nacionales como regionales, así como el desarrollo de Task Forces multidisciplinares especializadas en la materia y Equipos Conjuntos de Investigación (JIT, por sus siglas en inglés). En este aspecto, la Unión Europea tiene una ventaja comparativa importante respecto a otras regiones ya que ha fomentado el desarrollo de instituciones cuyos principales propósitos son la coordinación, el intercambio de información y el trabajo interinstitucional e interpaís. Ejemplos de ello son Europol y Eurojust.
Pactos de Estado contra los delitos ambientales
Sin embargo, bajo mi punto de vista, la acción más eficiente, pero quizás más compleja, es la búsqueda de alianzas y pactos de Estado estratégicos para el desarrollo de políticas públicas integrales tanto de prevención como de tratamiento penal de los delitos ambientales, incluyendo aspectos importantes de lucha contra la pobreza, la perspectiva de género, el fomento del emprendimiento, la cultura y la educación.
Los pactos de Estado, junto a sus políticas públicas, deben tener un consenso mayoritario de la población y deben estar regidos por cinco principios básicos: voluntad de financiación y presupuesto concreto; control y fiscalización; transparencia; buena ejecución; y, responsabilidad ante la ciudadanía.
En este sentido, América Latina tiene la oportunidad, la experiencia y el deber de asumir el liderazgo internacional en el desarrollo de políticas públicas integrales que puedan luchar más eficazmente contra los delitos ambientales, fomentando la transición a una economía verde y responsable, así como con un crecimiento económico sostenible que pueda generar negocios y que permita impulsar el desarrollo de aquellas comunidades dependientes directamente de ciertos ecosistemas particulares para subsistir.
Este es el caso de una parte importante de los aproximadamente 60 millones de personas que se consideran indígenas en la región latinoamericana. Una gran parte de ellos se encuentran localizados en la cuenca del Amazonas, la cual ha perdido el 20% de su biodiversidad en los últimos 50 años según el World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF, 2018), por motivos vinculados a sobreexplotación y crimen organizado.
Por su forma de vida y por su número, estas comunidades son clave no sólo para cambiar el desarrollo económico y humano de muchos países, sino también para desarrollar nuevas aproximaciones en el desarrollo económico sostenible, la lucha contra los delitos ambientales y el cambio climático, teniendo en cuenta la colaboración entre la sociedad civil, las empresas privadas con responsabilidad social corporativa y el Estado.
Desarrollo económico vs protección de los recursos naturales
Llegados a este punto, es necesario poner de relieve la dicotomía entre, por un lado, el desarrollo económico desmesurado y a toda costa; y, por otro, la protección de los recursos naturales. De hecho, es importante destacar que, en parte, el aumento de la extracción ilícita de materias primas y la deforestación para la creación de grandes zonas de pasto de animales y plantaciones, ha sido provocados por un incremento del consumo humano desenfrenado.
Hay que admitir que si existen grupos criminales organizados detrás de estos delitos es porque hay una demanda concreta al respecto. Voluntaria o involuntariamente. Con conocimiento o sin conocimiento de la existencia de violencia y delitos conexos por parte del demandante.
Es evidente que todos los países y sociedades del mundo tienen el derecho, pero no la obligación, de desarrollarse económicamente, así como cultural e intelectualmente. Sin embargo, con el más que evidente cambio climático, tenemos que plantearnos la necesidad de cambiar el modelo de crecimiento económico indefinido y salvaje, el cual fomenta el surgimiento de una multitud de delitos que acaban contribuyendo al cambio climático y al aumento de la violencia en los países.
En consecuencia, es necesario balancear el consumo humano desenfrenado con la protección del medioambiente.
EL PAcCTO es un proyecto financiado por la Unión Europea y gestionado por FIIAPP y Expertise France, con el apoyo del IILA y del Instituto Camões para fortalecer la lucha contra el crimen organizado en Latinoamérica.
Marc Reina, gestor temático del componente de cooperación policial de EL PAcCTO
22 August 2019
Sandra Zayas, prosecutor of Guatemala and EL PAcCTO collaborator talks about developments in the role of female gang members in Central AmericaSandra Zayas
Prevention: a priority
Prevention. This is the area we must focus on in Central American countries because, mathematically, three of the six countries in the region have had a problem with gangs for many years and the situation is emerging in the other three, meaning they will be able to achieve very different results if they work on social prevention and crime.
When you look at the active participation of female gang members, it has changed a lot: from women being the victims of coercion to actually joining these criminal groups. In some countries in the region, they have even become responsible for areas such as logistics and finance.
We must not forget to differentiate between gangs in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, some very powerful such as Mara SalvaTrucha and Barrio 18, and mafia-related gangs in Mexico, Costa Rica and Panama, some emerging and others with very specific purposes.
Gangs in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras have more female gang members and several studies on this topic have found that Guatemala is the Central American country with the highest rate of gender inequality, classified as “high”, El Salvador and Honduras as “medium”, and Costa Rica and Panama as “low.” This means fewer job opportunities, less parity, a more serious social gender problem. This gender inequality in our countries coincides with the facts presented at the Workshop on Female Gang members held this spring in San Salvador and organised by EL PAcCTO, a project funded by the European Union and managed by FIIAPP and Expertise France, with support from IILA and the Camões Institute.
It is necessary to distinguish between female participation in gangs as perpetrators, accomplices or to cover up crimes by establishing different penalties for each case. We would also highlight that, in matters of drug trafficking, extortion and money laundering, female gang members take part in activities necessary to commit one or more crimes.
In addition, drug trafficking crimes have led to extortion and murder (“hitmen”) in many of our countries, where female gang members are heavily involved. In Guatemala, there have already been three cases of female gang members who have set off grenades on public transport buses. Therefore, the participation of female gang members in criminal organisations is a fact.
When it comes to the police, prosecutors and judges, there is no evidence that they distinguish between women and female gang members, with the exception of El Salvador and Costa Rica, where they have innovative internal protocols for treating female members of organised crime.
Female gang members in prisons
The United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and the Non-custodial measures for Women Offenders (the Bangkok Rules) recommend reducing imprisonment sentences for women through corrective measures without custody, taking into account maternity, the separation of mothers from minor children or even mothers who are being held with their children in prison centres. Once again, Costa Rica has managed to reduce the number of women prisoners, taking these criteria into account and using alternative measures to prison in all cases of women who are deprived of liberty. The other countries of the Isthmus only separate the women belonging to different gangs in different prisons in case of conflict between rival gangs. Then there is the matter of the non-existence of positive social reintegration for both women and men in most countries. It is more difficult to reintegrate female gang members into society, especially with an “aggravating factor” when gang women are protected witnesses or effective collaborators, betraying their “family”, their “gang”.
There is little money allocated to invest in this type of problems, total or little political will to create positive regulations, and shared indicators and statistics throughout the legal systems. Specialised means of investigation and above all, a desire for change are also required.
We know that we need intelligence offices, inter-institutional protocols, committed administrators of justice with sufficient tools to act effectively, inter-institutional and international cooperation, data registers and specific indicators for the problems to be solved, because all of this needs to be measurable.
I conclude therefore with the 5Ws: What do we need to do? Work on this problem before it spreads to other countries and becomes as serious as it already is in some regions. How? By working together with defined government policies, with intelligence, registers and measurements. Why? For a better future for our countries. Who? All the inhabitants who love their country. Where? Around the world and when? Right now.
18 July 2019
Borja Díaz Rivillas, technician from the EUROsociAL+ programme, recounts the experience of Sergio Dos Santos, one of the coordinators of an accounting and tax support core (NAF).Members of the UNIVALE NAF advising the ASCANAVI association
Sergio Dos Santos Reis worked during his childhood and youth as a street vendor selling ice cream and washing cars in the suburbs of the city of Gobernador Valadares, in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. He knows very well what it is to live in an environment with few opportunities to prosper.
“Education changed the story of my life,” says Sergio. After completing a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree, he is now a professor of accounting sciences at the University of Vale do Rio Doce (Univale). For four years he has also been the coordinator of the accounting and tax support core ( NAF ) of his university. NAF is a free tax and accounting consultancy service for low-income people that Sergio runs with his students, who are previously trained by the tax administration, the Federal Revenue Service.
NAF is active in the university, but it also runs an itinerant service to help vulnerable members of society, including the community in which Sergio grew up. “They are areas with problems gaining access to microcredit or micro-entrepreneurship, people who do not have access to the internet, low-income people without resources to pay an accounting professional, people who do not have information or knowledge about their rights in relation to their retirement, pension or the procedures involved therein. We are talking about small businesses such as manicure and pedicure salons, hairdressers, steakhouses and cake vendors, among others. NAF helps them,” he explains.
Univale’s NAF also supports itinerant non-profit social organizations , such as Associação dos Catadores Materiais Reciclados ( Ascanavi ), which works in very underprivileged neighbourhoods affected by drugs and prostitution.
“They are people who have sometimes suffered sexual violence, physical violence, who have not had the opportunity to get an education, and who dedicate themselves to garbage collection to survive through recycling. NAF goes to that community to do job orientations, analyses and accounting and tax document support for the association,” Sergio says.
How does NAF transform the lives of these people? “I’ll give an example. One day we talked with a mother who has a child with a disability. For five years she had been unfairly deprived of a benefit to which her son’s situation entitled her. When we solved her problem and we got the tax administration to reimburse her for the amounts they had unfairly withheld, she cried. She told us that she would be able to use that money to pay for medicines, to eat, and to feed her son. The story strongly impacted my life, because we solved something that was very complicated for her and very simple for us.”
But NAF also transforms the lives of the students . “In our line of study we have courses on ethics and citizenship. While working in NAF, the student sees theory put into practice. Students interact with the reality of the country by doing things for others and exercising citizenship . I see the joy in the faces of the students when they see that they can transform peoples’ lives,” says Sergio.
NAF emerged in Brazil in 2011. Today, thanks to the support of EUROsociAL+, through its alliance with the Federal Revenue Service of Brazil, they are already operating in more than 650 higher education institutions in 10 Latin American countries. In this new phase of the EUROsociAL we are pushing for a more social character, promoting help for people in a situation of vulnerability, in areas with high-informality and weak State presence where NAF act as a bridge between the tax administration and citizens, linking realities that are still very distant.
Borja Díaz Rivillas, Senior Expert in Democratic Governance for the EUROsociAL+ Programme
04 July 2019
The Open Justice Strategy of the State Council of Colombia, supported by the ACTUE Colombia project, has received a stellar reform award.Consejo de Estado colombiano
Early last month, I was fortunate enough to attend the 6th Global Summit of the Open Government Partnership in Canada , a gathering that brought together two thousand people from 79 countries and 20 local governments who, along with civil society organizations, academics and other stakeholders, make up the Open Government Partnership (OGP). This year, the Summit revolved around three strategic priorities: participation, inclusion and impact.
During the inauguration, and to my surprise, the initiative that we supported in the ACTUE project – a project managed by FIIAPP with EU funding between 2014 and 2018 – was displayed on giant screens: the Open Justice Strategy in the State Council of Colombia as one of the “ Stellar Reforms” selected in the last OGP cycle. It was very exciting to be able to experience that tangible impact of one of our projects, something that we rarely get to experience. I was even more thrilled than when I saw the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau live, which is really saying something. And for good reason, too. These 12 commitments have been selected by the Independent Review Mechanism from among hundreds of others for showing evidence of preliminary results that mean significant advances in relevant and transformative political areas .
The Open Justice Strategy in the Council of State of Colombia has, for the first time, allowed the Court to begin publishing its previous agendas and decisions, as well as information on possible conflicts of interest of judges and administrative staff; essential aspects of public accountability, as well as enabling citizens and civil society to do their work of social control. In the long term, these changes can reduce corruption in justice institutions and allow them to regain the trust of citizens . Justicia Abierta is one of the political tendencies in open government that is gaining greater traction, given the major impact that its actions can have on citizens; In particular, access to justice makes it possible to exercise other rights. In addition, this sectoral action contributes directly to the advancement of the 2030 Agenda through goal 16, Peace, Security and Solid Institutions.
The ACTUE Colombia project was supporting the Transparency Secretariat of Colombia in the preparation of its OGP action plans, as well as civil society organizations, by using specialized technical assistance to promote the creation of a space for dialogue between administrations and civil society to define their own priorities in open government .
This is a good example of the positive impact that delegated cooperation can have, thanks to the flexibility and innovation they bring to our partners and the technical assistance on demand that we carry out.
About the ACTUE-Colombia project
The Anti corruption and Transparency Project of the European Union for Colombia (ACTUE-Colombia) has supported Colombian institutions in the implementation of key measures for a Open Territorial Government with the aim of making progress in the prevention of and fight against corruption both at the national and territorial levels. To this end, the project supported the creation of conditions for the fulfilment of international commitments, the strengthening of social control, the promotion of the co- responsibility of the private sector, and the generation of cultural and institutional changes .
The project is financed by the European Union and managed by FIIAPP in coordination with the Secretary for Transparency (ST) and Public Function (FP). It has assisted three regional governments, six city councils and two hospitals in areas such as applying the Law on Transparency and Access to Public Information, drafting Anti-Corruption and Citizen Information Plans (PAAC), fostering accountability and promoting public participation. It has thus helped officials to understand that the right to transparency and access to information is an essential right on which other rights depend. It has increased their awareness by institutionalizing advances in active transparency and their knowledge of how to identify and manage the risks of corruption.
Carolina Díaz, legal technician in the area of Justice and Security at FIIAPP and, between 2014 and 2018, member of the ACTUE Colombia team
07 June 2019
The director of FIIAPP, Anna Terrón, reflects on horizontal cooperation and knowledge transferThe director of FIIAPP (second from the left) during her participation in the seminar
As part of her participation in the seminar “La Agenda 2030 y el desarrollo en Iberoamérica. Retos para las políticas de cooperación internacional (The 2030 Agenda and development in Ibero-America. Challenges for international cooperation policies)”, organised by the Carolina Foundation, the director of FIIAPP highlighted the main ideas she talked about in her presentation “Cooperación horizontal y transferencia de conocimientos (Horizontal cooperation and knowledge transfer)”.
The first thing to underline is FIIAPP’s commitment to the 2030 Agenda both domestically and internationally, as well as the relevance of SDG 17, on public partnerships and peer-to-peer learning, and SDG 16, on rule of law and effective, transparent institutions. Implementing the agenda is vital to be able to talk about horizontal cooperation and it’s linked to two main ideas: the lessening in importance of income levels in mutual cooperation, and the greater importance of peer-to-peer learning.
As an aside, there is also the political question to consider of the importance of the strategic alliance between Europe and Latin America, which was highlighted in the joint communiqué from the European Commission and the High Representative for EU-Latin America, but is yet to be reflected in the new multiannual financial framework (MFF) or the new cooperation instruments for the 2021-2027 period, both of which are currently in the discussion phase.
For the distribution of cooperation funds from the European Union to Latin America a new concept of development in transition must be applied that isn’t based on average income, but rather should be established on the basis of the challenges posed by development traps, such as productive models, institutional weaknesses, inequalities, social cohesion, the climate threat, criminality, and the mobility of people, amongst others.
The importance of peer-to-peer learning
Adapting or reforming new policies usually creates uncertainty in governments, but that can be reduced with the experience of countries that have adopted them in the past. Peer-to-peer learning offers governments the chance to update their knowledge and guide their decision-making. European cooperation helps strengthen these kinds of knowledge exchange dynamics in public policies between countries.
The value of member state experience
Managing regional cooperation programmes has given European agencies an understanding of the needs of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as the most relevant experiences of both continents. All of this knowledge must be leveraged alongside the shared efforts of European cooperation as a whole for the gradual construction of a European cooperation system. To do that, progress must be made on mutual recognition of procedures and simplification of joint response formulation. The shared efforts between European and Latin American administrations is an investment and a commitment to global governance based on European values, rule of law and the social agenda.
The role of cooperation agencies
As part of the framework of new paradigms established by the global agenda, which is redefining international cooperation, it is vital for cooperation agencies to highlight the value of our experience and build, alongside the European Commission, a cooperation system based on peer-to-peer learning and commitments to the development agenda.
Peer-to-peer learning also makes it possible to share the same language, even when our languages are different, to share problems and challenges, and to become more capable of understanding and finding joint responses. The role of cooperation stakeholders should be based on partnerships between administrations and being by their side to help frame the policy reform processes in terms of comprehensive and coherent visions within sustainable development processes.
Technical cooperation as the basis of financial cooperation
I maintain that we must commit to financing based on the principle of “policies first”, where knowledge and technical assistance must enrich the political dialogues for making decisions on the actions to be supported. Implementing innovative financing mechanisms is in line with the agenda of the shared values we mean to build with Latin American partner countries.
FIIAPP in this context
FIIAPP’s mandate is to promote the participation of administrations in international cooperation projects. We are a development partner for the countries of Latin America, a stakeholder in Spanish cooperation, and an integral part of the European international cooperation system. All of the Spanish cooperation community is very strongly committed to the 2030 Agenda, bilateral cooperation and European cooperation with Latin America.
Some of our regional programmes, and the EUROsociAL programme, are already in synch with the innovative ideas of the future EU external action instrument, the NDICI. They are already working through triangular and horizontal cooperation with peer-to-peer learning to encourage the building of a European-Latin American space of shared values. These programmes go beyond the creation of platforms to share experiences and good practices. They build networks, institutionalise political dialogue mechanisms, renew development agendas and improve confidence between institutions.
09 May 2019
On the occasion of Europe Day, the head of the FIIAPP office in Brussels, Silvia Prada gave a presentation on the work carried out by the Foundation in its role in European cooperation and on what FIIAPP is doing in the European capitalSilvia Prada, head of the FIIAPP office in Brussels
The Foundation has had representation in Brussels for almost a decade. Recently, it opened its new headquarters in the Embassy of Spain in the Kingdom of Belgium.
The FIIAPP delegations represent the Foundation in its field of operation, framed within both the external action of Spain and the European Union. FIIAPP is a major player in European cooperation due to its expertise and experience: knowledge generated by its technical cooperation activities and the accompanying public policy reform processes nurture the external action of the European Union.
One of the main objectives of the office in Brussels is to contribute to improving the effectiveness and quality of the work of the Foundation, participating and contributing to the promotion of a structured dialogue with the agents for European cooperation. And in short, also to contribute to the strategic positioning of FIIAPP as an contributor to Spanish and European cooperation and an implementer of the 2030 Agenda.
This positioning is becoming more important, if that is possible, in the current European context. In response to the 2030 Agenda and the new European Consensus on Development, the new development policy of the EU is being drawn up in Brussels; the negotiation of the new budget for the period 2021-2027 is being finalised; and recently the communication from the European Commission to the Parliament and the Council, “The EU, joining forces for a common future” was published, which will mark relations with the region during the next decade. Above all, a context marked by the new political-institutional framework that will come about after the European elections of 26M.
What does the work in Brussels consist of?
The FIIAPP office in Brussels is the visible face of the Foundation, its eyes, ears and voice vis-à-vis the agents of European cooperation.
One of the keys to the work is the ability to anticipate. To identify the key information and understand how the main decisions related to the EU’s cooperation policy can affect FIIAPP; and how it can be influenced from an operational level. At the same time, to transfer to those involved in European cooperation the added value of the Foundation as an entity of the Spanish cooperation system, specialised in the promotion and management of the participation of public administrations in technical cooperation programmes; in particular, in accompanying public policy reform processes and in generating dialogues between public administrations of partner countries.
All this with a view to looking for and creating alliances, working in a network. That is, by participating in the activities of the Practitioners’ Network, a platform of European development agencies to exchange knowledge and practical solutions that contribute to improving joint work; FIIAPP has been a member of the Network since 2014 and DG DEVCO of the European Commission is present as an observer.
Also, participating in networking spaces, such as those provided by European Development Days and/or the various events organised in Brussels on topics or regions of interest to the Foundation.
The work on dialogue in Brussels is crucial and is structured around multiple aspects: such as Spanish cooperation, coordination with the representations of the Spanish public administrations in Brussels, mainly with the Permanent Representation of Spain before the EU; and in particular, regarding complementarity and harmony with AECID; in addition to the bilateral Embassy. In addition, with the EU institutions (essentially the European Commission, the European External Action Service and the European Parliament); the development agencies of the Member States with which FIIAPP is most involved and which are represented in Brussels (Expertise France and GIZ); without forgetting the important international organisations that are present in the capital of Europe.
What relationship is there with the European institutions?
The bulk of the coordination with the European institutions and especially with the Commission, which is carried out from the FIIAPP representation in Brussels, consists of being in permanent contact with the main partners of the Foundation: the services of the General Directorate of International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO) and the General Directorate of Neighbourhood and Enlargement (DG NEAR). And also with some of the sectoral General Directorates, those most important to the programmes and projects in which FIIAPP works.
The dialogue with the European institutions is articulated with a cross-cutting approach to the priority themes and regions; and with a view both to the present and future. The tasks range from the general monitoring of EU activities (financial framework, new external action instruments, delegated cooperation), to the identification of new opportunities for collaboration, to contributing to increasing coherence in negotiations regarding new projects; and the promotion of the construction of greater synergies of the Foundation’s activities, providing support to sectoral areas and FIIAPP programmes, mainly in support of ongoing programmes that DEVCO manages centrally from Brussels.
As part of this work on dialogue with the European institutions, coordination with the European Parliament and the European External Action Service, mainly through Renowned National Experts should also be highlighted.