• 18 July 2019

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    Posteado en : Opinion

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    Rompiendo barreras: cómo acercar la tributación a los grupos más vulnerables de América Latina

    Borja Díaz Rivillas, técnico del programa EUROsociAL +, relata la experiencia de Sergio Dos Santos, uno de los coordinadores de un núcleo de apoyo contable y fiscal (NAF).

    Miembros del NAF de UNIVALE asesorando a la asociación ASCANAVI

    Sorry, this entry is only available in European Spanish. For the sake of viewer convenience, the content is shown below in the alternative language. You may click the link to switch the active language.

    Sergio Dos Santos Reis trabajó durante su infancia y su juventud como vendedor ambulante de helados y lavando coches en los suburbios de la ciudad de Gobernador Valadares, en el estado brasileño de Minas Gerais. Sabe muy bien lo que es vivir en un entorno con escasas oportunidades para prosperar.

     

    “La educación cambió la historia de mi vida”, afirma Sergio. Tras concluir una licenciatura y una maestría, ahora es profesor de ciencias contables en la universidad de Vale do Río Doce (Univale). Desde hace cuatro años, es además el coordinador del núcleo de apoyo contable y fiscal (NAF) de su universidad. El NAF es un servicio de asesoría contable y tributaria gratuito a personas de baja renta que Sergio lleva a cabo junto a sus alumnos y alumnas, quienes previamente han sido capacitados por la administración tributaria, la Receita Federal.

     

    El NAF opera en la universidad, pero también se desplaza de manera itinerante para ayudar a personas en situación de vulnerabilidad, incluyendo la propia comunidad en la que Sergio creció. “Son zonas con problemas de acceso a microcréditos, a microemprendimientos, personas que no tienen acceso a internet, personas de baja renta sin recursos para pagar a un profesional contable, personas que no tienen información ni conocimiento sobre los derechos que tienen en relación con su jubilación, a su pensión o sobre los trámites para formalizarse. Estamos hablando de pequeños negocios de manicura y pedicura, peluquerías, puestos de churrascos, vendedoras de bizcochos, entre otros. El NAF les ayuda”, nos cuenta.

     

    El NAF de Univale apoya, asimismo, de manera itinerante, a organizaciones sin ánimo de lucro con carácter social, como es la Associação dos Catadores Materiais Reciclados (Ascanavi), que trabaja en barrios muy pobres, afectados por la droga y la prostitución.

     

    “Son personas que en ocasiones han sufrido agresiones sexuales, agresiones físicas, que no han tenido la oportunidad de acceder a la educación y que se dedican a la recolección de basura para sobrevivir a través del trabajo del reciclaje. El NAF va a esa comunidad para realizar un trabajo de orientación, de análisis y de apoyo documental contable y tributario a la asociación”, comenta Sergio.

     

    ¿Cómo transforma el NAF la vida de estas personas? “Le voy a poner un ejemplo. Un día conversamos con una madre que tiene un hijo con discapacidad. Desde hacía cinco años se le había retenido de manera indebida un beneficio al que ella tenía derecho por la situación de su hijo. Cuando resolvimos su problema y logramos que la administración tributaria le restituyera las cantidades retenidas indebidamente, ella lloró. Nos dijo que ese dinero le serviría pagar las medicinas y comer, alimentar a su hijo. La historia marcó mi vida porque resolvimos algo complicado para ella y muy sencillo para nosotros”.

     

    Pero el NAF también transforma la vida de los estudiantes. “En nuestra carrera tenemos cursos de ética y de ciudadanía. Cuando trabaja en el NAF, el alumno pasa a ver la teoría en la práctica. Interacciona con la realidad del país, haciendo cosas para el prójimo, ejerciendo ciudadanía. Veo la alegría en el rostro de los alumnos cuando ven que pueden transformar la vida de las personas”, afirma Sergio.

     

    Los NAF surgieron en Brasil en 2011. Hoy en día, gracias al apoyo de EUROsociAL + a través de su alianza con la Receita Federal de Brasil, están ya funcionando en más de 650 instituciones de enseñanza superior de 10 países de América Latina. En esta nueva fase del EUROsociAL impulsamos su carácter más social, promoviendo su ayuda a personas en situación de vulnerabilidad, en zonas de alta informalidad y baja presencia del Estado, donde los NAF actúan como puente entre la administración tributaria y la ciudadanía, conectando realidades todavía muy distantes.

     

    Borja Díaz Rivillas, técnico sénior en gobernanza democrática de EUROsociAL +

     

  • 04 July 2019

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    Towards more open and transparent justice in Colombia

    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

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    “Latin America should be more present in Europe and Europe more present in Latin America”

    The director of FIIAPP, Anna Terrón, reflects on horizontal cooperation and knowledge transfer

    The 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

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    FIIAPP: Spanish cooperation agency which is part of European cooperation

    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 capital

    Silvia 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.  

  • 11 April 2019

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    “The EU-ACT project is developed in five regions that cover what has been called the Heroin Route”

    José Manuel Colodrás is a Chief Inspector of Police and Project Coordinator in Ukraine

    José Manuel Colodrás

    The European Union Action against Drugs and Organised Crime (EU-ACT) project is funded by the European Union and managed by FIIAPP. It is run in five regions that cover what has been called the “Heroin Route”, though in reality there is more than one route involved. Ukraine is the priority country in the Eastern European region.

     

    The aim of the EU-ACT project in Ukraine is to promote an all-encompassing approach to the problem of drugs: to support the work of the institutions responsible for strengthening law enforcement while favouring demand control. Accordingly, the scope of work of EU-ACT covers different sectors of the Ukrainian Public Administration and civil society.  A fact easily attested to by simply pointing to the “registered” beneficiaries before the Government of Ukraine: The Ministry of Health,  the Drug Observatory, the Medication and Drug Control Service, the State Tax Service, the Ministry of the Interior and within this the Border Service and the National Police of Ukraine,  the Public Prosecutor’s  Office, the Ukraine Administration of Justice Service, the Ministry of Justice,  the Prison Service and the Financial Intelligence Unit of Ukraine.

     

    As stated in its Description of Action (DoA), this project takes an innovative approach to establishing its activities by paying heed to the needs expressed by its beneficiaries. So much so that an agreement was reached with them on the main areas of development of the project in the Ukraine, which are the following:

     

    Support for the Ukraine National Drug Strategy (2013-2020) and the Action Plan (2018-2020) that develops this strategy in which the EU-ACT project has participated in the design phase highlighting, among other activities, support for the participation of the Ukrainian Delegation in the Commission on Narcotic Drugs of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime ( UNODC ), both at the 61st session (2018) and the 62nd session (2019). Moreover, continuous advice and support has been given in all those legal initiatives related to drug policy. In this regard, the following measures are particularly worthy of mention: regulation of the use of Naloxone to avoid deaths by overdose, the decriminalisation of the possession of small quantities of drugs for self-consumption, the extending of the powers of the Ukraine Drug Observatory  and the establishment of alternative measures to prison for minor offences related to drug use.

     

    Furthermore, the project also participates in the initiative and the development of the National Rehabilitation Programme for prisoners with mental and behavioural disorders caused by the consumption of psychoactive substances. This activity is developed in collaboration with the Ukraine Prison Service.

     

    In addition, backing is being given to the creation of an Investigation Coordination Centre for crimes related to drug trafficking between the different Ukraine police agencies, which represents a first step in implementing an intelligence model in the Ukraine that will allow policy makers to make evidence-based decisions. To this end, the best practice or model to be followed has been chosen: the Centre for Intelligence against Terrorism and Organised Crime (CITCO) which is attached to the Spanish Ministry of the Interior.

     

    On the initiative of the Ukrainian Public Prosecutor’s Office and with the support of the Ukraine Regional Office, the EU-ACT project launched the Network of Black Sea Public Prosecutors in September 2018 in the city of Odessa (Ukraine), which has already brought together public prosecutors from Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria, Georgia, Armenia, Iran and Ukraine.

     

    The EU-ACT project also supports the integration of Ukrainian administrations into European Union institutions, as well as other supranational organisations. These include the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addictions  (EMCDAA),  the European Network of Forensic Science Institutes (ENFSI) or the Paris Pact Initiative (PPI).

     

    With respect to the fight against the illegal trafficking of psychoactive substances, criminal organisation leaders are being deprived of the gains obtained from their criminal activity as this is the only way to obtain a relevant and prolonged impact against this activity. The EU-ACT Regional Office together with the Ukraine Intelligence Unit and all the agencies responsible for strengthening the enforcement of the law of Ukraine is developing a method adapted to the country to carry out financial investigations in parallel to the traditional ones in this area.

     

    One of the objectives of EU-ACT is to strengthen the inter- and intraregional cooperation of the countries in which the project is carried out, thus backing the joint investigation work of Ukrainian police forces and prosecutors with other countries, while at the same time encouraging the exchange of experts between countries, both under the project itself and within the context of the CEPOL programme.

     

    Lastly, and following the Spanish  National Plan on Drugs model, it is in the process of creating a special fund in the Ukraine for goods confiscated on the back of drug-trafficking related crime.

  • 07 March 2019

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    Safer road transport of dangerous goods in Morocco

    Project coordinator Francisca Guzmán reflects on the importance of legislative adaptation to the country in this matter

    Francisca Guzmán in her office in Rabat

    Morocco has a long history in the regulation of the carriage of dangerous goods by road. The country has been a signatory of the European Agreement concerning the international carriage of dangerous goods by road  (ADR) since 2001 and ten years later, in 2011, Law 30/05 was published that regulates the carriage of dangerous goods in the country. This establishes the framework for this mode of transport but refers local transport to the effective application of the international agreement.. Going a step further on this path, the FIIAPP now manages, in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Works, a twinning project in Morocco that, funded by the European Union, is committed to safety in the carriage of dangerous goods by road based on the ADR.

     

    This project aims to improve safety and strengthen the structure and activities related to the carriage of dangerous goods by road, and its main objective is the preparation of the regulatory texts mentioned in Law 30/05.

     

    The necessary regulations for the application of ADR in domestic transport, adapted to the intrinsic characteristics of the country, have already been developed by the Spanish specialists participating in this project. The Moroccan Administration, after the legal wording of these texts has been adapted to the Moroccan legislative technique, will begin the administrative procedure for the approval and publication of the set of laws that will regulate not only the carriage of dangerous goods, but also all fields which concern and are affected by this carriage.

     

    The carriage of dangerous goods is multifaceted, meaning that many ministries, professional sectors and organisations are involved, hence the complexity of this twinning which, although it actually belongs to the Moroccan Ministry of Transport, affects and requires collaboration and cooperation by other ministries and agencies of the Moroccan administration. Hence the complexity, the difficulty and the captivating nature of the project, which concerns a large part of the administration of a country, numerous professional and economic sectors and, best of all, affects all citizens. We must not forget that the ultimate objective is to make the carriage of dangerous goods safer, since these goods are transported at all hours, every day. Suffice to mention the carriage of gas bottles, which is very common in this country.

     

    Therefore, taking into account the progress made with the project and aware of the difficulties entailed by legislative publications in all countries, we can confirm, without fear of error, that Morocco is at the starting point of the application of ADR in its territory, which will mean a very important added value for this country, and it will be the first country in this area to fully apply this agreement. This will help Morocco to become the first country in North Africa and the Atlantic façade to apply ADR to its internal transport, always adapted to the intrinsic characteristics of this territory.

     

    The international scope of the project has facilitated the introduction of the Moroccan administration into the international groups of the United Nations where the details of the ADR rules are discussed, approved and debated. This will give Morocco the opportunity to discuss, propose, and understand the situation of this mode of transport in the rest of the countries that have signed the ADR agreement. In addition, it will enable Morocco to achieve an important, prominent status in its regional area, in particular, with regard to North African countries and the Mediterranean basin.

     

    Thus, after effective application of the texts in Morocco, the country will be the leader of this type of transport in its region. All this will assist economic consolidation, consolidation of the road transport sector and, most of all, it will help to make transport safer, which will directly affect the citizens of this country, its infrastructures and the environment. Once again, cooperation will have provided a country with the necessary tools to drive economic and social development and good governance .