• 09 January 2020

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    Posteado en : Opinion

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    Latin America and the Caribbean and the European Union in 2020: perspectives and opportunities

    The director of the Carolina Foundation, José Antonio Sanahuja, analyses the geopolitical situation in terms of the relations between the European Union, the Caribbean and Latin America

    José Antonio Sanahuja

    At the beginning of this new decade, Latin America and the Caribbean, taken together within the international system, face a more adverse regional and global scenario. But at critical junctures, opportunities are also arising to redefine the development agenda and strategies for international insertion. Despite significant progress, the region remains burdened by deep social divisions and institutional weakness, and it seems to be falling back into its old boom and bust cycle, characterised today as the “middle income trap”.     

    The economy is one of the main challenges in this unfavourable scenario. Latin America and the Caribbean are going through their worst economic period in decades: the end of the commodity cycle, the “trade war” driven by the United States and the global economic downturn and the instability in the region being the main causal factors. In 2019, the region’s average GDP growth was only 0.1%, and for 2020 a meagre 1.3% is projected. This was not only due to the impact of the very serious drop in Venezuela’s GDP: in 2019, 14 out of 20 Latin American countries had growth rates below 1% and 18 countries were in a clear deceleration phase. Overall, 2014-2020 will have been the lowest growth period in the last seventy years, even worse than in the so-called “lost decade” of the eighties. 

    The effects of all this is significant setbacks in social indicators. Between 2014 and 2019, GDP per capita fell by 4% and open unemployment and the informal economy were on the increase once again. The social advances of the commodity boom – poverty reduction, middle class expansion, a slight decrease in inequality – have come to a halt and there has already been a backward step: during that same period poverty increased from 28% to 31% of the total population and extreme poverty from 7.8% to 11.5%. This establishes a scenario of rising social expectations that will not be met, both for the middle classes as well as for sections of the population that were no longer poor, but vulnerable to recession. As noted by the executive secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Alicia Bárcena, Latin American societies cannot withstand a new round of adjustment policies and a different economic policy framework is required: “it’s time for fiscal policy to revive growth and respond to social demands”.  

    These trends are also causal factors for the general “discontent in democracy” and social protests that have taken place across the region: all the countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have held legislative and/or presidential elections between 2017 and 2019. A clear pattern has emerged from this electoral “super cycle” that transcends the traditional left-right divide: the defeat of the ruling party whatever its political leaning, as a result of widespread demands for political change. This expresses a broad “discontent in democracy” that is also observed in the data from “Latinobarómetro” and other opinion polls: 6 out of 10 people do not trust their governments, and 8 out of 10 say their government is corrupt. Between 2009 and 2018 the proportion of people dissatisfied with the way democracy functions rose from 51% to 71%. These are the worst statistics in 25 years. There is also growing social questioning regarding “policy capturing” by some elites which society perceives to be true “extractive elites”: between 2006 and 2018 the proportion of those who think their country is governed for the benefit of the rich and powerful has risen from 61% to almost 80%, as a regional average. In short, the economic decline has meant that inequalities, corruption, citizen insecurity – which are on the increase in countries such as Brazil, Mexico and Venezuela – as well as “bad government” are now less tolerated.  

    Beyond national circumstances, these elements are key to understanding the changes in government in Argentina and Mexico, and the origin of the social revolts that erupted in 2019 in countries such as Chile and Colombia. Overall, the backdrop of relative stability seen in Latin America just a year ago has disappeared in the space of a few months at the hands of a number of liberal-conservative governments, in a surprising way in some cases such as Chile, and the “package” of neoliberal policies implemented by them seems to be widely questioned.  

    It is important to note that these trends have particular local and regional characteristics, with structural and agency factors specific to each national scenario. These distinguishing factors are key: they explain whether popular revolts will take place or not, they explain their particular dynamics (Ecuador, Chile); or whether the discontent is channelled through electoral mechanisms (Argentina, Uruguay, Mexico); whether the reasons behind the protest and the demand for political change are related more to inequality and/or socio-economic precariousness (Argentina, Chile, Ecuador), or to political or electoral factors, such as electoral fraud (Bolivia), or corruption (Peru, Brazil), or the rejection of the consolidated middle classes and the higher income strata, or social change and the rise of counter-powers (Bolivia, Brazil). There is, however, a common regional pattern, and at the same time, these trends also represent the particular Latin American expression of a global dynamic of disaffection and crisis in democracy, the rejection of elites, and of challenging or questioning the current order.  

    Furthermore, Latin America and the Caribbean have a scenario of ideological divisions and deep political polarisation, which is also observable in other regions, that negatively affects their ability to formulate public policies based on consensus, and the possibility of maintaining these over time. In particular, this has resulted in a visible paralysis of Latin America’s capacity as an international actor. Faced with these divisions, the crises in Venezuela and Nicaragua prevent the Organisation of American States (OAS) from acting and they prevent countries from resorting to their own regional bodies to seek democratic outlets: the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) has been dismantled by liberal-conservative governments and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) is paralysed. In addition, the forums promoted by right-wing governments, such as the Forum for the Progress of South America (PROSUR) and the Lima Group, have no credibility as a result of its members being aligned with a United States, which is once again exerting some influence in the region. Thus, a more fragmented Latin America and the Caribbean becomes another arena for growing global geopolitical competition, with a rising China, a more assertive Russia, and a more interventionist United States, although it has no clear strategy beyond clumsy struggles to contain China and its interests. 

    The imperative to reactivate the bi-regional relationship and the role of the European Union 

    In this scenario, the EU should reactivate its relationship with Latin America and the Caribbean. After a period of relative abandonment of the bi-regional link, it is aiming to gain presence and dialogue within the region. This entails a stronger commitment and greater investment of political capital. Indeed, given the region’s fragmentation and the greater competition in global geopolitics, Latin America seems to perceive China and the United States as the key actors in the economy and/or in managing political crises, particularly in the case of Venezuela. This perception of emerging bipolarity has weakened the EU’s position, but this is also based on self-inflicted reasons: on the one hand, the loss of political dialogue. The 8th EU-LAC Summit, which was to be held in 2017, was suspended sine die due to political divisions on the Latin American side, but also, little was done to reverse the situation on the European side. On the other hand, changes in the EU development cooperation policy adopted in the 2014-2020 budget period, which, with the “grading” of most of the middle-income countries in the region, meant that the EU would deprive itself of the tools and resources that, beyond the transfer of resources, are necessary for development work in the region.  

    Given the regional and global scenario and the new political situation in European institutions, it is necessary to recognise both the imperative of a renewed bi-regional relationship, as well as the opportunities that would be opened up in the new regional geopolitical landscape. In light of the competitive power that other global powers exert in Latin America and the Caribbean, how can the EU act with the new geopolitical vision the Von der Leyen Commission has adopted as its strategic direction and hallmark of its mandate? On the one hand, the EU must continue to act with its own profile and unique initiatives to address the crises in the region, in particular in Venezuela. In light of the risk this crisis poses, it is essential to deal with its humanitarian dimension with initiatives that also contribute to its negotiated exit, promoting elections with democratic guarantees, or initiatives that allow the use of the country’s oil resources to acquire essential goods abroad, through a partial suspension of US sanctions, as proposed by the initiative known as “Petroleum for Venezuela”. 

    Beyond these crisis scenarios, in Latin America and the Caribbean, a “geopolitical EU” must be based on a social agenda. The EU is now the only global actor in regional geopolitics that is approaching Latin America with an agenda focused on the central concerns of their societies: inclusion, quality of democracy, human rights, gender equality, peace and citizen security. In short, with everything that constitutes the 2030 Agenda, the content of which can be seen as a renewal of the “social contract”, which today is in question. In particular, Latin America and the Caribbean offer an opportunity for the European Green Deal to develop its external dimension. To this effect, resuming the bi-regional political dialogue and promoting a more active cooperation policy through the new programmes and financial instruments that are being defined within the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework is considered to be urgent.  

    To a large extent, many of these elements have already been raised in the Communication “The European Union, Latin America and the Caribbean: joining forces for a common future” from April 20192. It is the first EU policy document with Latin America since 2009 and it makes important changes: firstly, a more horizontal relationship to address shared challenges. It is not, as in the past, an EU that paternally helps Latin America to solve its problems, but one of two regions that are working together in the light of shared interdependencies, risks and challenges. Secondly, the repolitisation of relations, with a “more strategic political commitment”, more investment of political capital, and “stronger” positions on shared values and interests.  Thirdly, a relationship with “variable geometry” is proposed: to avoid the “one size fits all” or “least common denominator” approach by recognising the diversity of LAC, and this would mean further progress between the countries and groups that want to and can intensify their commitment around four priorities: prosperity, democracy, resilience and effective global governance.  

    To this end, the EU must implement an advanced cooperation strategy, in line with the new, more horizontal European Consensus on Development, which, without renouncing the use of development aid, must leave “gradation” behind and be open to all the countries in the region. This requires a “tailored” approach for each country, including South-South and triangular cooperation, public policy dialogue, knowledge sharing and significant investment in areas such as resilient infrastructure and ecological transition, by means of the financing channels that the new Instrument for Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation (IVDCI) provides.  

    Underlying this societal and geopolitical agenda there is an important premise. There will be no way to face global challenges such as climate change, migration, trade, security, accelerated technological change, and the future of work, essential to achieving the 2030 Agenda, if both regions do not rebuild bi-regional dialogue and join forces within the multilateral agenda. 

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  • 02 January 2020

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    Posteado en : Opinion

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    Vulnerability, corruption and human trafficking, links in the same criminal chain

    EUROsociAL+ and the Ibero-American Association of Public Prosecutor's Offices (AIAMP) are promoting joint action by prosecutors in Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil to combat corrupt practices that facilitate human trafficking.

    Shortly before dawn, Maria crossed the Paraná River on a barge. She did not have the migratory permits to reach her destination, but rather the hope for a better life. The triple border that connects Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay for over 1,000 kilometres is easily breached. With the promise of a job as a household employee, she arrived in the Argentine province of Misiones. Upon arrival, her alleged employers took away her identity card and showed her around her new workplace, an illegal brothel on a ranch. From that moment onwards, Maria was forced into working as a prostitute in a small room, surviving on the minimum that her captors gave her.  She had become one of the more than 2.5 million victims of human trafficking worldwide, according to figures from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

    She decided to escape, but did not get very far. She was found by a local police officer who, far from helping her, returned her to the brothel. This real case is an example of how the corruption of public officials facilitates or is complicit in human trafficking, a criminal phenomenon that particularly affects women and girls, usually for the purposes of sexual exploitation. This is underlined by Sergio Leonardo Rodríguez, head of the Administrative Investigations Office (PIA) at the Argentine Public Prosecutor’s Office: “A human trafficking network, especially for the purposes of sexual exploitation, cannot prosper without corruption. It’s just not possible. The public agent component is always needed to facilitate these crimes and the officers responsible for investigations must be conscious of this factor. This is why it is very important that cases are investigated from the beginning with this double vision: looking at both corruption and trafficking”.

    The corruption of public officials is manifested in aspects such as the periodic collection of money and/or the possibility of receiving sexual favours. On the other hand, these officials can also neglect their duties regarding inspection and surveillance, or act by improperly facilitating the issuance of documents or permits. They may also hinder the action of justice by providing information on operations and offering protection to criminals, among other illegal behaviour. This deviant behaviour can occur in police bodies, customs agents, health agents, doctors, judges, prosecutors, municipal authorities, among others, along the length of the criminal people trafficking chain. In some cases they reflect the existence of small-scale corruption, but in others this behaviour is part of a systemic phenomenon. In other scenarios, their powers allow officials to control the criminal activity itself.

    In October, and with the aim of combating this scourge, the First International Workshop on Corruption and People Trafficking was organised in Buenos Aires by the Democratic Governance area of the EUROsociAL+ Programme and the Argentine Public Prosecutor’s Office. Participating in the activity, carried out within the framework of the First Work Plan by the Network of Prosecutors Against Corruption, which pertains to the Ibero-American Association of Public Prosecutor’s Offices (AIAMP), were representatives from anti-trafficking and corruption departments from Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. The latter country also providing personnel from the National Ombudsman’s Office, the National Anti-Corruption Office, the Victim Protection Unit at the Ministry of Justice, the University of Buenos Aires and the NGOs Women in Equality and Citizen Power.

    During the activity, corruption and the associated risks present in human trafficking were analysed, as well as various problems relating to the lack of identification and early prosecution of these practices, distrust in the state or fear of reporting caused by the perception that local authorities are involved with criminal organisations.

    “The rescues we have had were of women and girls from extremely vulnerable homes”

    The workshop also analysed how the extreme vulnerability of women and girls is capitalised on by the criminals who exploit this criminal economy. This is described by a Trial Prosecutor from Posadas (Misiones), Vivian Barbosa: “The rescues we have had were of women and girls from extremely vulnerable homes. Sometimes, they could not be defined as homes, since the parents themselves had been the ones who had handed them over to carry out this type of work. Therefore, they often do not feel as if they are victims, moreover, they considered they were better off in these places. They come from places without drinking water, with dirt floors. So when someone offers them a room with a bathroom, food and, eventually, the possibility of sending money to their families, they see it as an improvement and accept this condition, they don’t feel they are victims. I have frequently had the sensation, when a rescue is taking place, that the liberated women were angry because we had got them out of prostitution”.

    A series of strategic proposals emerged in relation to such institutional and inter-institutional organisation, the early linking of anti-corruption investigations in cases of people trafficking where required, the strengthening of the capacity for analysis and the strengthening of anonymous complaint and protection mechanisms. Likewise, the importance of preventing these manifestations of corruption and making their risks visible was also outlined.

    As far as Maria is concerned, with whom we started this article, she finally had better luck. Two Paraguayan friends managed to flee the ranch and the bus they were travelling on was intercepted at a border police control. They reported the situation and Maria and four other Argentine women who were still captive, two of them minors, were released. The two pimps, a man and a woman, were sentenced to 15 years in jail. No action was ever taken against the corrupt officials that facilitated this criminal activity.

    Borja Díaz Rivillas, Senior Expert in Democratic Governance for FIIAPP and EUROsociAL+

    Ana Linda Solano, EUROsociAL+ expert in corruption and gender

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  • 19 December 2019

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    Posteado en : Opinion

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    More ambition from COP25

    Alma Martín Pérez, a support technician in the EU-Cuba Exchange of Experiences programme to promote renewable energy sources and energy efficiency reflects on programme participation at COP25 and the results of the summit.

    Ponentes del acto "Transición energética y oportunidades de inversión económica en Cuba"

    The COP25 World Climate Summit expected more ambitious agreements on climate change neutrality by 2050. The frantic level of discussions and negotiations from the almost 200 countries participating in the summit relentlessly sought a last-minute consensus. Nonetheless, the CO2 emissions market and other relevant issues were postponed until Glasgow COP26, scheduled for November 2020.

    Over two weeks, representatives from countries, international organisations, institutions and civil society produced figures that testify to the urgent need for action: The oceans are receiving 13,000,000 tonnes of plastic annually, increasing acidification of the seas is affecting fishing and impacts on food security. Three quarters of the planet are under threat, over one million species are at risk of extinction, greenhouse gases have reached a new high. The next 50 years will see 250 million to 1 billion environmental refugees. The data is overwhelming. Commitments are needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and avoid the temperature rising by over 1.5 degrees.

    Nonetheless, COP25 was not only about raising the alarm and the environmental emergency. It also offered spaces for awareness and dialogue to address environmental issues from a multi-disciplinary approach: biodiversity, gender, migration, town planning, industry, finance, technological development, etc. A wide range of topics to ensure that both specialists and the general public alike learn of the situation as it stands, without giving way to drama and pessimism, because there is still time to act.

    Accordingly, FIIAPP worked closely with the High Commissioner for the 2030 Agenda, Cristina Gallach, helping to organise COP and promoting different activities, such as the panel on “Energy transition and economic investment opportunities in Cuba” in collaboration with the project coordinator Maite Jaramillo, Felice Zaccheo (European Commission Head of the Regional Programs Unit for Latin America and the Caribbean), Marlenis Águila (Director of Renewable Energies at the Cuban Ministry of Energy and Mines), Elaine Moreno (General Director of the National Energy Office in Cuba – ONURE), Ramsés Montes (Director of Energy Policy at ONURE) and Eric Sicart (Fira Barcelona). This event falls within the scope of the EU-Cuba Experience Exchange programme to promote renewable energy sources and energy efficiency, which is funded by the European Union and managed by FIIAPP. The main elements of the programme were highlighted at this event, along with the opportunities and challenges facing Cuba in developing renewable sources and using energy efficiently.

    Island countries are directly subject to the consequences of climate change and are aware of how strongly environmental protection is linked to sustainable economic and social development. Formed by specialists from MINEM and ONURE, the Cuban delegation invited to the COP used the panel to announce the country’s ambitious policy to substantially reduce the use of hydrocarbons and carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 by progressively increasing renewable energy sources and enhancing their use in the electric power generation matrix.

    Beyond the COP, the international community has begun to take steps towards ecological transition. However, the challenge is to do so in time and justly and fairly to prevent a worsening of existing inequalities. The responsibility for change requires public policies by countries, international and regional organisations aimed at decarbonising the economy, adapting the current system to the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda.

    Even though the agreements reached at COP are not those envisaged, one thing has become evident in the course of the summit, namely, the interest of Spanish society in strengthening climatic action and in progressing towards CO2 emission neutrality. It is time to act and seek joint solutions.

  • 05 December 2019

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    Europe and Latin America, together against climate change

    Iosu Iribarren, from the FIIAPP Strategy Department, gives us his personal vision of COP25 and how to face the challenge of climate change

    Iosu Iribarren en la COP25

    31 October.  The phones keep ringing. And in silence the ticking of the clock reminds us that it’s time to act . There are four weeks left before COP25 begins. It will be in Madrid, there is hardly any time, and an invigorating mixture of excitement, confidence and nerves takes hold of us all.

    Chile has rightly decided to attend to the social demands, which cannot wait. And since the fight against climate change is also pressing, solidarity triumphs in the form of cooperation and multilateralism.

    COP25 is the last summit before the Paris Agreement comes into force in 2020. The United States has already announced that it is abandoning ship and Greta Thunberg, in such an eloquent paradox, shows us her sailing boat trip to the Summit in streaming video. Meanwhile, the European Union, Latin America and the other countries (a total of 196) stand firm in their commitment to complete Article 6 – still under construction – to create a common framework for offsetting CO2 emissions.

    On the horizon are the contours of a future with zero-net carbon and a fair global energy transition. The 2030 Agenda permeates the atmosphere, marks the way forward and offers us a common language with which to promote – from Ibero-America, that has not changed – sustainable development in all its dimensions.

    The two-week period from 2 to 13 December is the ideal occasion for exchanging perspectives and sharing the challenges, difficulties and solutions that together we are finding in adapting to and mitigating climate change. Political dialogue and policy dialogue: thus, COP25 will be a platform to give voice to Latin America and its adaptation agenda.

    The oceans are the protagonists of this Summit, following the latest IPCC report . And it is in this context that the Atlantic Ocean is presented as a bridge for two continents united in the face of climate change challenges. The pavilion of the Chilean presidency is joined by that of Colombia (it is the first time that the country has a pavilion in a Climate Conference), Spain, the European Union and EUROCLIMA + to tell the rest of the world about our efforts on climate cooperation.

    Mexico passed its first climate change law in 2012 and amended it in 2018, at the same time as Peru passed its own law. Chile and Spain are each in the process of approving bills and, in Panama, the design of their climate law has just begun. Cuba, for its part, now addresses the increasing inclusion of renewable energies within its energy matrix.

    Similar or different experiences? We’ll find out as COP25 progresses! What is clear is that we cannot avoid designing, implementing and evaluating public policies with the reduction of inequalities and the search for a prosperous life for all at their centre, for an inclusive and sustainable future, based on a commitment to the environment.

    Sunday 1 December. Everything is ready for the Summit. The phones stopped ringing and the clock hands can be heard again. The next dates – 2020, 2030, 2050 – are close. But the rhythm is no longer marked only by the ticking of the clock; since 2 December the voices of Latin America and Europe, which have found each other more than ever at COP25, have been added.

    To Alma and Carolina, and to the team of the High Commissioner for the 2030 Agenda, thank you for your optimism and your contagious enthusiasm.

  • 03 December 2019

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    Una excepción dolorosa

    La periodista Vicky Bendito nos cuenta su experiencia personal marcada por los retos que le planteó nacer con síndrome de Treacher Collins

    Vicky Bendito dando una charla en el evento anual de 2018 de Bridging the Gap

    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.

    Cuando mi madre me trajo al mundo, el diagnóstico que le dieron a mis padres fue que yo era “retrasada”. Me pregunto qué hubiera sido de mi si se hubieran conformado con aquel diagnóstico, si no hubiera tenido detrás un entorno estimulante, si no hubiera nacido en un país europeo.

    Yo nací con el síndrome de Treacher Collins, una malformación craneofacial congénita rara, discapacitante e incurable que afecta a dos de cada 100.000 personas. Los que tenemos este síndrome nacemos sin pómulos, con microtia (es decir, sin una o ambas orejas), la mandíbula no nos crece, tenemos la faringe muy estrecha y, en ocasiones, también nacemos con el paladar abierto, lo que nos confiere un rostro muy característico y nos ocasiona diversos problemas oculares (sequedad y úlceras en la córnea), digestivos (no pueden comer bien), respiratorios (apneas) y auditivos (sordera), entre otros.

    Una vez que supieron lo que tenía, mis padres tuvieron claro que tenían que hacer de mí una persona autónoma. Me llevaron a un colegio de educación especial, donde me pusieron mi primer audífono, me dieron muchísimas clases de logopedia y me enseñaron a leer los labios. De ahí, con ocho o nueve años fui a un colegio ordinario donde fui pasando los cursos con más o menos fortuna, sin apoyos técnicos especiales más allá de mi audífono retroauricular y de sentarme en primera fila para que escuchara mejor a los profesores.

    Recuerdo mi infancia feliz, con mis hermanos, los amigos, los veranos en la sierra, los primos, una adolescencia horrible, tras lo que llegó una etapa relativamente satisfactoria. Hubo dos etapas claramente diferenciadas en mi vida: una en la que lo que más pesaba era mi rostro, esa fisonomía que a mí me gustaba cuando me miraba al espejo pero que provocaba rechazo por no cumplir los cánones de belleza impuestos, y, otra, en la que lo que más pesaba era mi discapacidad.

    La primera es la que comprendió mi etapa adolescente, la segunda se hizo patente al incorporarme al mundo laboral. ¿A quién se le ocurre nacer sorda y hacerse periodista? ¡A mí! Y ya llevo 25 años en ejercicio, 20 como periodista de una agencia de noticias y 5 en el departamento de comunicación de una gran empresa que tiene la inclusión laboral como uno de sus principios.

    Ha sido a lo largo de estos años cuando no sólo he sido consciente de lo adelantados a su época que fueron mis padres, pues nací en un tiempo en el que las personas con discapacidad éramos considerados una desgracia familiar y un lastre para la sociedad (inválidos, deformes, inútiles, anormales o deficientes son algunos de los sustantivos con los que se referían a nosotros). A lo largo de estos años, he sido consciente de la suerte de nacer en un país europeo, y de lo injusto que es que tu vida sea tan distinta por tener una condición que no has elegido en un lugar determinado.

    Para mí, la determinación de mis padres fue fundamental para convertirme en la mujer que soy. Hace poco me contaba una persona que había conocido el caso de una mujer de casi 30 años, sorda, que utiliza audífonos para escuchar, pero que oye muy poco y que ha estado toda su vida tan sobreprotegida que no estudió una carrera, ni aprendió lengua de signos, tiene un trabajo no cualificado y no sabe dar un paso sin su familia. Es mucho más joven que yo, hija de la democracia, europea, nacida en una sociedad que ha ido cambiando su mirada hacia la discapacidad, ahí están las leyes que se han ido aprobando a lo largo de nuestra historia en pro de nuestros derechos. Tenía factores favorables para su desarrollo personal, pero su familia, ese pilar tan fundamental en el desarrollo de cualquier niño, pero especialmente de los que tienen discapacidad, la ha convertido en una inútil. No es el único caso que me llega. Y duele. Duele que estas cosas sigan pasando en países europeos, y si pasan en Europa, qué no ocurrirá en países menos desarrollados.

    El 15% de la población mundial tiene alguna discapacidad, más del 80% son pobres, el 50% de las personas con discapacidad no tiene acceso a la sanidad, un porcentaje muy pequeño trabaja (varía de un país a otro), no entro a valorar si en un empleo con un sueldo decente o no. La gran mayoría de los más de 1.000 millones de personas con discapacidad que hay en el mundo vive en países en vías de desarrollo.

    La discapacidad es una condición que, quienes la tenemos, no elegimos, una condición que supone un factor de empobrecimiento, de discriminación, de desigualdad en cualquier parte del mundo pues, incluso en los países más avanzados son muchas las barreras, la primera de ellas es la falta de accesibilidad, que impiden nuestra inclusión, nuestra participación en la sociedad como ciudadanos de pleno derecho.

    Yo tengo discapacidad, tengo una vida independiente, he podido estudiar y sigo haciéndolo, trabajo en la profesión que elegí, tengo acceso a la atención sanitaria… pero soy la excepción, no la norma. Una excepción dolorosa y vergonzosa difícilmente entendible. Y cuando echo un vistazo a las estadísticas, no puedo evitar preguntarme qué hubiera sido de mi si mis padres se hubieran conformado con aquel desacertado primer diagnóstico, con aquel “su hija es retrasada”.

    Más información en: Vicky Bendito

  • 14 November 2019

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    Posteado en : Opinion

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    Efficient, open and transparent institutions for a strong democracy

    Federico Buyolo García, managing director of the ‘Alto Comisionado para la Agenda 2030’ of the Government of Spain gives us an overview of the Sustainable Development Goals established in the 2030 Agenda, particularly highlighting SDGs 16 and 17, those underpinning the activities of the FIIAPP.

    When we talk about the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development , which all countries have made their roadmap to design public policies, to generate multi-agent and multi-sector alliances, to transform the world so that no one is left behind, we are going beyond a vision of the future based on scientific evidence and values that represent a humanist vision of the world in which we live, rather we are dealing with a profound transformation targeting the creation of strong institutions to make democracy a space for social justice.

    The 17 objectives of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development give us a shared vision with which to build a new global social contract through which inclusive sustainable development will allow all people to develop their life project. A shared social justice and personal development action that centres on people.

    Accordingly, we cannot lose sight of the fact that citizen empowerment is the only way to achieve these 169 Sustainable Development Goals.

    It is time to open a space for radical collaboration where companies, institutions and citizens work in such a way that all their efforts are conducive to creating certainty in a world of constant change. Alliances that go beyond the sum of their actions, creating an ever-expanding vision that moves towards exponential transformation.

    We already possess the knowledge required to know where to aim our efforts towards inclusive sustainable development. The first 15 objectives of the 2030 Agenda clearly show all those integrated and integral actions needed to set up a global alliance. Actions based on a holistic vision in which we not only meet the challenges and threats of the present head on, but also move towards the building of an environmentally sustainable future of shared progress and social justice. Nonetheless, to build this knowledge we need to commit to innovation and creativity in order to obtain a more open and shared vision of problems and solutions and to understand that the best way to move forward together is through the transfer of knowledge.

    However, the essential values and transformations that are included in objectives 16 and 17 of the 2030 Agenda are just as important as the knowledge afforded by its first fifteen objectives. We tend to think that the importance of the different objectives corresponds to their numerical position in the list. But this is not the case, far from it. If we have already understood that the agenda is integral and integrated and therefore must be taken as a whole. It is also equally important to understand that the objectives in the lower positions are not only equally vital, but also essential to compliance with the other fifteen goals.

    Therefore, when we talk about Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions (Sustainable Development Goal 16) and Partnerships for the Goals (Sustainable Development Goal 17) we are referring to the very kernel of the 2030 Agenda, we are talking about systemic change to drive the achievement of the rest of the objectives, about the momentum of the institutions, about the politics and the ethics of an action that can only be transformative if it is based on human rights.

    Nevertheless, it should not be forgotten that the actions to achieve the 2030 agenda need to come from a radical collaboration between all stakeholders. We cannot ignore the fact that democratic institutions constitute the nucleus of the thrust towards and the guarantee of the changes that need to be implemented. In the last analysis, leading entails taking charge of reality and projecting towards an inclusive future. In this new era, democratic institutions must become engines of transformation, vectors of transparency, examples of efficiency and justice. Efficiency to prevent the wasting of resources and justice to ensure that we all have the same rights and freedoms.

    Sustainable development means having a thriving economy, an inclusive, environmentally sustainable and well governed society. Without strong institutions, we cannot move forward towards a just society. Without transparency, we will not have the confidence to build a fair society.

    It is time to convert vision into transformative action, action to change and improve people’s lives through the strengthening of an economy put at the service of society, on an environmentally sustainable planet with open, efficient and transparent institutions for a strong democracy.

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