25 November 2020
The 25 of November is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. At the International and Ibero-American Foundation for Administration and Public Policies (FIIAPP), we took a look at the situation worldwide and the role of international cooperation with the gender specialist, Cecilia Güemes.25 de Noviembre, Día Internacional de la Eliminación de la Violencia Contra la Mujer
Approximately 15 million teenage women (15 to 19 years old) around the world have suffered forced sexual relations at some point in their lives according to UNICEF. Globally, one in three women has suffered physical or sexual violence, mainly from an intimate partner, according to the UN . A total of 72% of all victims of human trafficking globally are women and girls and four out of five women victims of trafficking are used for sexual exploitation according to UNODC. In addition, at least 200 million women and girls between the ages of 15 and 49 have been subjected to female genital mutilation in 30 countries where representative data is available according to UNICEF.
Faced with this reality, 25 November is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. A specific type of violence that is exercised against women due to the mere fact that they are women: ‘Violence against women is not something some group made up – it refers to a specific type of violence directed at women and based on historical structural factors and the construction of roles where control, domination, and invisibility or the assignment of a specific role in the social representation of women is sought’, according to the president of the Research Group on Government, Administration, and Public Policy (GIGAPP), Cecilia Güemes.
A doctor in political science and a lawyer, Güemes’s career has been spent in the field of research in matters such as social and political trust, public policies, and social cohesion. In addition, she collaborates with the Carolina Foundation and is the author of publications such as ‘Women in Ibero-America: Government Tools for a Change that Has Already Begun’ and ‘It will be Law.The Fight for the Legalisation of Abortion in Argentina’.
For this specialist, public institutions play a key role in combating gender-based violence, something reflected in the commitments adopted in 2015, when 193 countries pledged to work towards compliance with the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The fifth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) is to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. With this in mind, this SDG establishes a number of targets such as eliminating all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including human trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation and approving and strengthening sound policies and applicable laws to promote gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels. According to Güemes, concrete actions of governments affect and shape social reality, so she defends the need for women and the gender perspective to be part of policy-making, that the gender perspective be integrated into all government actions and all areas, ‘not only that there are specific institutions dedicated to gender issues’, but that a budget be allocated to design, implement, and evaluate policies with a gender perspective and, finally, that civil servants in charge of managing the public be trained in the gender perspective.
The FIIAPP’s Commitment
The FIIAPP, as a cooperation agency that works closely with public institutions, is aware of the role of the Foundation in promoting collaboration between different social agents to create an environment of peace and sustainable development, from a gender perspective. This approach is applied from programmes funded by the European Union in various sectors such as security, the fight against human trafficking, access to justice in an inclusive way, the fight against corruption, and the mitigation of climate change. Programmes such as EUROsociAL+, a programme managed by FIIAPP in collaboration with other European agencies, are prioritising the gender approach in their action plans.
This is also the case of the EUROCLIMA+ programme in Latin America, through which the integration and involvement of women in policy-making and decision-making regarding the effects of climate change are sought. They are not, however, the only projects that apply the gender perspective. European programmes such as EL PAcCTO and A-TIPSOM , which fight organised crime in Latin America and human trafficking in Nigeria, respectively, also apply working methods based on gender equality.
In this way, the FIIAPP reaffirms its commitment to eradicating violence against women and the key role of cooperation to combat this problem, something which Güemes agrees with: ‘International cooperation is key insofar as it is capable of contributing with economic, human, and cognitive resources to the development of public policy, in monitoring and evaluating actions, and in the use of best practices, especially in societies that are resistant to these topics, where social roles are normatively established’.
Reading to raise awareness this 25N
‘There are lots of books that I would recommend where you get a peek at the change of era and in which the external and internal struggles that occupy women today are portrayed’, explains this Carolina Foundation collaborator. ‘Two Argentine authors that I really liked are Luciana Peker (Putita golosa and La revolucion de las hijas) and Tamara Tenenbaum (El fin del amor). I also recommend following her work on social media’.
In and from Europe, Güemes recommends Vanessa Springora’s recent work, Consent. ‘I liked it a lot as it reveals the hypocrisies and contradictions in Western societies’.
Finally, regarding contemporary authors, the president of GIGAPP recommends reading women authors who describe the tensions suffered by women who seek to question or break with gender roles and contribute to the work, not only of deconstructing, but of building a new society in their stories. ‘Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Olga Tokarczuk, Siri Hustvedt, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Vivian Gornick, to name some of the ones I liked the most’, she concludes.
By Cristina Blasco, ( @cbm_cris ). FIIAPP communication team.
29 October 2020
Faced with the global debacle caused by the pandemic, the European Union launches a forceful response that meets the emerging needs of partner countries and strengthens their institutions to cooperate and work hand in hand in the fight against COVID-19 and its consequences
Although it is not a war, many specialists already equate the consequences of the pandemic with those of a war. Putting debates about whether it is appropriate to use warlike language on hold, there is no doubt that the beginning of 2020 was something more than just the beginning of an ordinary year. A new decade had begun, one that will be marked by a global pandemic, the likes of which, in Spain, we were aware, due to the seriousness of the situation in our country in March. The outbreak of the pandemic will mark the 2020s just as great challenges have marked so many decades in the past. COVID-19 has meant that things have been upended, to a greater or lesser extent, in the lives of everyone and regarding the situation of each continent.
The case of Latin America is especially worrying. Coronavirus is a global threat which, although it does not distinguish between borders, has a differentiated impact due to the context of each region. Historical and structural challenges in Latin America have turned the continent into the global focus of the pandemic, which shows the need for solidarity and multilateralism to face this problem.
On 8 April, the European Commission adopted the European Union’s global response to COVID-19 to support its partner countries and leave no one behind in the fight against the pandemic, establishing the so-called Team Europe. It is an initiative based on the necessary joint work between the European institutions, the Member States and their implementing agencies, together with the development finance institutions. The political backup came from the Council of the European Union (EU) in its conclusions of 8 June.
Since last spring, the EU has mobilised around €36 billion, redirected in record time to meet the new needs created by the pandemic.
The activities carried out within the framework of Team Europe focus on the three priorities of the Commission. These are to provide an emergency response to the health crisis and humanitarian needs, to support the strengthening of research, health and water systems and, thirdly, to address the economic and social consequences.
These three priorities show that the European contribution to the global response to COVID19 does not only seek immediate solutions, but is focused on addressing the emerging needs of the recovery in the medium and long term. All this, with special attention on the achievement of the 2030 Agenda Sustainable Development Goals, with this year marking the 5th anniversary since their adoption and the beginning of a decade of action, as indicated by the UN. Thus, the European Green Deal and the Digital Agenda provide the backbone of the EU’s response to ensure that the recovery is also green and digital, based on sustainable human development.
In this context, FIIAPP, as part of the Spanish and European cooperation effort, is also an institution that is part of Team Europe. Furthermore, as a member of the European Practitioners’ Network, the Foundation is actively participating in strategic dialogue with its European partners, and within the network, with the European Commission. An exercise focused on contributing to the reception of Team Europe, for example, through the mobilisation of knowledge from the public sector.
Through this approach, FIIAPP, together with Spanish state bodies, has accompanied partner countries in their response to the pandemic and its consequences. More than 96 activities have been carried out in Latin America, the European Neighbourhood and the Sahel, mostly aimed at supporting vulnerable people and health systems, reinforcing the rule of law and strengthening economic systems.
In the Eastern Neighbourhood, FIIAPP supports the Georgian authorities in the preparation of a document analysing the economic impact caused by the COVID19 crisis. In Morocco, FIIAPP has supported the analysis of the impact of the pandemic on the inclusion of migrants, and in Nigeria it has organised an exchange of experiences on the impact of COVID-19 on female victims of trafficking. In Macedonia, for example, FIIAPP has supported the postal service to improve the protection of its workers against the coronavirus. In Latin America and the Caribbean, support has been given to the fight against misinformation about the pandemic, the acquisition of health and campaign material for border posts; as well as fiscal policies against the coronavirus. FIIAPP has also supported countries in Latin America and the Caribbean in the promotion of a sustainable recovery after COVID-19 through the EUROCLIMA+ programme.
All this has taken place in a context marked by mobility restrictions that have created a race against time to adapt to the circumstances without stopping cooperation. In this sense, FIIAPP has rapidly adapted to online medium by launching tools such as ConnectFIIAPP. It has been able to continue its Twinning and TAIEX (Technical Assistance and Information Exchange) activities and make valuable contributions to the Team Europe approach. In addition, this digital advance will enable the complementing and enriching of the current offer of institutional support, as well as strength the resilience and adaptability of the Twinning and TAIEX instruments.
To help respond in a structured way to immediate needs in partner countries, and from the Team Europe perspective, FIIAPP, together with other organisations from the EU Member States, is supporting the international cooperation service of the European Commission in the identification and prioritisation of demands. The inter-institutional dialogue methodology of the current regional programmes of the EU in Latin America has been capitalised on for this exercise, which is called COVID Roundtables. In a joint and coordinated manner from the EU Delegations in the countries, work is being done to detect these needs. Working together with partner public administrations in order to articulate support the EU and its Member States will be able to offer them from their ongoing technical cooperation actions. In a first pilot exercise, three “COVID Roundtables” have been established in Argentina, Ecuador and Costa Rica, with FIIAPP being the main facilitator of the latter two.
The work has been intense, but there is still a long road ahead. FIIAPP faces the situation with the conviction that international cooperation is vital to ensure that no one is left behind in this decade marked by a global pandemic, which undoubtedly requires a global response to which FIIAPP is fully committed so that the recovery can be green, digital and inclusive.
28 September 2020
FIIAPP celebrates the International Day of Universal Access to Information and works towards this right through its projects
The International Day of Universal Access to Information is a day of global recognition designated by the General Conference of UNESCO which has been observed since 2016. The resolution, in part promoted by civil society groups in search of greater transparency, states that “the right to seek, receive and impart information is an inseparable part of the right to freedom of expression”. This same document points out that both freedom of expression and universal access to information are cornerstones for building inclusive knowledge societies.
Freedom of expression is a right recognised by Resolution 59 of the United Nations General Assembly, approved in 1946, as well as by Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), which provides that the fundamental right to freedom of expression includes the right “to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers”. In this way, freedom of information can be defined as the right to have access to information that is not classified as restricted and that is in the hands of public entities.
For this reason, having laws that guarantee access to information is an essential factor in any democratic society, since it guarantees greater transparency in the internal processes that take place within it. The right to information grants greater freedom and empowerment to citizens.
This day is especially significant for the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), in particular SDG 16, which requires guaranteeing public access to information and the protection of fundamental freedoms. In line with this objective, FIIAPP projects seek to contribute to this universal right.
One of the projects in whose management the Foundation participates is EUROsociAL+, through which it seeks to support the improvement of social cohesion in Latin American countries, as well as their institutional strengthening. Specifically, the project’s governance area, which works towards transparency and access to information in Latin America, will launch the “Legislative Transparency Toolbox” which is carried out through collaboration between the Transparency and Access to Information Network (RTA) and Parlaméricas.
Also in the region, the project Support for the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda in Paraguay is in operation, which aims to promote the country’s sustainable development through the acceleration of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and SDGs. To achieve this, two main objectives have been set: on the one hand, that the country has an efficient governance system that includes official statistical data to facilitate monitoring and evaluation, and on the other, that there are better public policies to effectively implement the 2030 Agenda, in particular SDG 5 (gender equality) and SDGs 13 and 15 (protection of the environment).
On the other hand, on the African continent the Supporting Transparency and Anti-Corruption in Ghana project aims to reduce corruption and improve accountability in the country. The project is supporting the Ghanaian Government in developing the Ghana National Anti-Corruption Plan (NACAP). Also, together with Ghanaian civil society organisations, it has participated in forums that have aimed to promote the approval of the Access to Information Act in Ghana.
How is it possible to empower citizens through access to information?
What these projects have in common is that they guarantee transparency by strengthening good governance, and if we understand the right to information as being a human right, this turns out to be the basis for the development of many other civil and universal rights since it does not just guarantee that citizens are fully aware of the truth, but also requires that government procedures are transparent. Therefore, having a law on access to information turns out to be a key factor for every society and country that claims to be egalitarian as it helps to prevent acts of corruption, crimes against humanity and to reduce inequalities.
The former director of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, explained access to information as a “commitment by governments to formulate, approve and apply policies and laws on the right to information in order to ensure respect for this human right. This requires efficient enforcement mechanisms and a culture of transparency in all institutions”.
For this reason, at FIIAPP we commemorate the World Access to Information Day every day through our work and we will continue to fight so that all regions across the world, especially those most disadvantaged, can fully enjoy all their rights and belong to a more informed, fair and free society.
30 July 2020
An expert from the A-TIPSOM project tells us why cooperation is more necessary than ever to fight human trafficking today.
In accordance with the Protocol to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime, human trafficking is defined as “the action of capturing, transporting, transferring, welcoming or receiving persons, resorting to the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, kidnapping, fraud, deception, abuse of power (…) for the purpose of exploitation”. According to this same document, exploitation can take different forms, whether sexual, forced labour or services, practices analogous to slavery, servitude or organ removal.
The current health and food emergency triggered by Covid-19 has increased the vulnerability of potential victims to any type of exploitation, mainly in countries that already had poorly developed infrastructure. The situation of poverty and food shortages provides the ideal scenario for criminal organisations to increase their opportunities to deceive, especially regarding women and girls at risk, offering them false promises of a better job and future.
The coordinator of the A-TIPSOM project in Nigeria, Rafael Ríos, explains how these criminal organisations have used the pandemic crisis as an opportunity to reach and recruit their victims: “90% of the Nigerian population makes a living from street hawking and with the closing of businesses they are unable to carry out this activity. Statistics say that Nigerians survive on less than a euro a day, their mission is to go out onto the street to try to sell something. By making that daily income impossible, they become victims who are much more vulnerable, because they are desperate and they will do anything to earn that money”.
A-TIPSOM is a project funded by the European Union (EU) and managed by FIIAPP, which aims to reduce human trafficking and migrant smuggling in Nigeria and between that African country and the European Union. To achieve this, the project addresses the problem through five main lines known as the five Ps: Politics, Prevention, Protection, Persecution and Partnership.
Humantrafficking rates in Nigeria have become a focus of concern for the international community. In order to eradicate this illegal practice, the Nigerian government launched the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) in 2003 and enacted the Law Against Trafficking in Persons in 2015.
International cooperation, a key tool to eradicate human trafficking
Victims of trafficking are often transferred from one community to another, especially from rural to urban areas and from developing to developed countries through false promises. The involvement in this chain of these criminal networks, which operate from different geographical points, requires joint cooperation between countries in order to effectively combat this type of illegal business.
According to the United Nations, migrants are the group most vulnerable to being exploited and having their lives placed at risk. Every year, thousands of people die of suffocation in containers, perish in the middle of the desert or drown in the sea while being smuggled to another country.
Rafael Ríos points out that cooperation, today more than ever, has become essential: “the interruption of cooperation at this time would mean a second victimisation for the women and girls who are trafficked”. And he adds: “We are talking about female victims who have been trafficked and who have suffered nightmarish situations solely because of their interest in reaching a new destination. Our project not only runs prevention campaigns to make Nigerian women understand what human trafficking is and prevent them from falling into the hands of these networks, but we are also working to improve their living conditions in Nigeria so that they can find a job”.
Human trafficking and irregular migration prosper when there is a lack of sustainable preventive measures. The Citizens’ Association to combat trafficking in human beings and all forms of gender violence (ATINA), warns that in order to prevent human trafficking, attention must first be paid to the causes that lead to this situation.Traffickers tend to exploit and take advantage of the needs of potential victims, whether they are basic needs, such as housing and food, or emotional needs, such as love and belonging. Ríos points out that improving the living conditions of the victims is a key factor since it obviates the need for them to emigrate to another country, putting their lives at risk in doing so.
The cross-border dimension of the problem adds an extra complexity that requires it to be addressed by multiple agencies, both governmental and international, to coordinate a response with a multidisciplinary approach that covers criminal justice, human rights, investment and development.
On World Day against Trafficking in Persons, FIIAPP ratifies its support and commitment to cooperation in the fight against organised crime that impedes the development of countries and puts the lives of the most vulnerable people at risk.
04 June 2020
FIIAPP takes part in World Environment Day by highlighting the EUROCLIMA+ programme, an example of more than 10 years of work to protect the environment and combat climate change
EUROCLIMA+ is a regional cooperation programme between the European Union and Latin America that addresses the challenges facing the region in light of the transformations that climate change is already causing. Its objective is to reduce its impact and its effects in the 18 partner countries, promoting mitigation and adaptation, resilience and sustainable investment in the region. Currently, the programme is implemented through a consortium made up of five EU Member State cooperation agencies (FIIAPP, AECID, GIZ, EF, and AFD) plus two United Nations agencies (UN Environment and ECLAC).
The signing of the Paris Agreement in 2016, the treaty promoted by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change with the goal of surpassing the Kyoto Protocol, with more ambitious targets in terms of reducing emissions and limiting temperature increases (below 2º, ideally 1.5º), requires the signatory countries to develop national plans to reduce GHG emission levels. These commitments must be reflected in the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), which are reviewed every five years in order to further this ambition. The objective of the summit scheduled for 2020 in Glasgow, now postponed to 2021 due to the COVID19 epidemic, was to present these national reviews. Likewise, the commitments expressed in the NDCs must be accompanied by the design of climate plans and policies that guarantee they will be implemented, as well as transparency and accountability mechanisms vis-à-vis the rest of the parties to the Convention.
It is here that the EUROCLIMA+ Programme comes in, supporting actions that allow partner countries to fulfil the commitments reflected in their respective NDCs. Over these ten years, a significant number of actions and projects have been launched in order to support these processes, working at the request of the countries, preserving the horizontal relationships that characterise European cooperation, and promoting south-south cooperation to increase the impact with peer learning.
The work of the FIIAPP Foundation in this scenario has focused on four lines of action, out of the six the programme’s activity is currently structured into: Plans and Policies, Transparency and Data, Action for Climate Empowerment and Gender and Vulnerable Groups. All of them are approached with the objective of strengthening the governance of the countries by supporting them in developing their public policies, which is the hallmark of FIIAPP.
At FIIAPP, and within the framework of EUROCLIMA+, we have accompanied the process of preparing the draft Framework Law on Climate Change in Chile, which is currently being debated in congress and which we are hopeful will be passed, by supporting the preparation, participation and public consultation processes that the Chilean Ministry of the Environment launched with the aim of legitimising the law and feeding into the text contributions from the different levels of government, sectors and civil society. In addition, we have joined GIZ in supporting the development of the Long-Term Climate Strategy (LTS) that the country has just presented, linking us to the Action for Climate Empowerment component (Article 12 of the Paris Agreement), which includes the LTS.
Along the same lines, we are also supporting the Peruvian Ministry of the Environment in working with indigenous organisations. This involves providing support in consulting indigenous communities about the Regulation of the Framework Law on Climate Change, approved in January of this year. A broad process that deepens the need to incorporate citizen participation in legislative processes, and which will allow for greater appropriation by the population, creating demand for climate plans and policies for this purpose and which will result in the creation of a Indigenous Climate Platform, the second being implemented in the region.
In addition to working at the national level, we have supported and are supporting actions that include a regional, sub-regional and sub-national approach. This is the case of the work carried out in generating climate scenarios in Central America, in which we decisively contribute to the strengthening of climate services in these countries so that they can skilfully anticipate the impacts of climate change on their populations and economies. This work comes under the scope of adaptation, which promotes the use of meteorological data by developing collection, storage and presentation tools, providing training on how to use them, and developing climate models adapted to each country.
At the sub-national level, we are working on processes that have a broad impact on reducing emissions and are scalable to a national level. This is the case for the action ‘Development of a GHG Emission Reduction Plan in the Livestock Sector in Salta Province, Argentina’, which will allow one of the country’s most strategic sectors to adapt to the objectives set by Argentina in its NDCs. In addition, the plan will be able to be implemented in regions with similar characteristics.
Finally, FIIAPP is excelling in supporting the actions that the countries are beginning to design in the area of Action for Climate Empowerment (Article 6 of the UNFCCC, Article 12 of the Paris Agreement). We have started mapping the region, undertaking the thematic study ‘Action for Climate Empowerment and its Transformative Potential in Latin America’; we have begun supporting Chile, helping it to launch its first National Strategy for Climate Empowerment and Capacities, and we have also worked to support the educational component of ACE in Uruguay, in collaboration with the Ministry of Housing, Territorial Planning and Environment (MVOTMA) and the Uruguayan Agency for International Cooperation.
FIIAPP has also been actively involved in implementing the methodology that, in its new phase, the EUROCLIMA+ programme will follow in relation to the countries: the Country Dialogue, a long-term support process aimed at identifying demand; balancing progress and support in updating plans and priorities for implementing and/or updating NDCs; coordinating the implementation of EUROCLIMA+ actions; and aligning EUROCLIMA+ actions with the EU’s political dialogue with the country. This methodology has been inspired by the one developed by EUROsociAL+, an EU programme for social cohesion in Latin America led by FIIAPP, as well as by the work of the NDC Partnership, commissioned by Germany’s economic cooperation ministry. Over the past few years, we have promoted its implementation and piloting in four countries, together with the German cooperation agency GIZ, which has provided us with very valuable knowledge that is proving to be fundamental in achieving a working methodology that translates the programme’s collaborative logic and philosophy into the results required to meet the commitments made under the Paris Agreement.
07 May 2020
To mark Europe Day, celebrated on 9 May, Silvia Prada and Myriam Erquicia from the FIIAPP’s Brussels office explain the keys to understanding the European Union's cooperation policy, the institutions it comprises and its relationship with implementing agencies such as FIIAPP
We still have a lot to learn about this new coronavirus, and the real consequences of the global crisis it is causing. What we do know for sure is that in order to understand it better and overcome it (here and in other latitudes where its ravages may be even greater), without leaving anyone behind, solidarity, concerted action and cooperation are more necessary than ever. Together we are stronger and we achieve greater impact. As this pandemic once again teaches us, the natural place of multilateralism and cooperation is at the centre of the external action of the European Union (EU) and its member states.
Values such as solidarity and cooperation are part of Europe’s DNA. 86% of EU citizens support development aid; and 70% think that the fight against poverty in developing countries should be one of the EU’s priorities.1 Furthermore, the European Union and its member states are the largest donor of Official Development Assistance (ODA) with €75.2 billion in 2019, 55.2% of global ODA.2
For some citizens, the EU still seems a complex entity, even though they hear from it almost every day. We’re going to try to clear up some questions, such as what is its cooperation policy, what institutions are in charge of it and what is the link with implementing agencies such as FIIAPP.
What is the European Union’s cooperation policy?
The EU’s cooperation policy is one of the axes of external action, along with trade policy and security policy.
The EU’s powers in the area of cooperation are granted by the Treaties and have to be exercised in coordination with the Member States and other international actors. The main objectives of the EU as established in the Treaties are the eradication of poverty, sustainable development and the promotion of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. Therefore, the EU’s activities in cooperation entail financial contribution by the partner countries and collaboration with them to improve governance, in accordance with common values.
The main frame of reference for EU development aid policy is the European key response to the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals: the new 2017 European Consensus on Development .
What institutions are in charge of it?
Several of the institutions that make up the EU are in charge of development cooperation.
The role of the European External Action Service, in particular that of the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, currently Josep Borrell, is of particular relevance. As ex officio Vice-President of the European Commission, he ensures the coherence of development aid policy by coordinating the work of all the Commissioners whose portfolios have an external dimension with that of the group of Commissioners whose names correspond to one of the priorities of the new Commission: “A stronger Europe in the world”, and which includes the Commissioner for International Partnerships J. Urpilainen and the Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, O. Várhelyi.
In fact, the community executive plays a central role in development. It negotiates cooperation agreements, draws up and executes development policy, providing aid to partner countries, through financing actions managed directly or by its partners. Two of its General Directorates stand out.
On the one hand, DG NEAR (Directorate General for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations), which implements actions in support of reforms for democratic consolidation in the southern and eastern neighbourhood and to help candidate and pre-candidate EU member countries move towards alignment with the EU body of law (“acquis”); promoting prosperity, stability and security in our immediate neighbourhood. An example of this support is the Twinning programme, recently extended to the other partner countries as well.
On the other hand, the DG for International Cooperation and Development, known as DEVCO, which, under the leadership of the Commissioner for International Partnerships, designs the policy of partnerships for development in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Asia; ensuring that it is consistent with other community policies, is aligned with the 2030 Agenda and contributes to peace and stability. Its lines of action correspond to the Commission’s current priorities: the Green Deal, digitisation, migration and the EU’s relations with Africa.
The Council of the European Union, meeting in the format of Development Ministers of the Member States, determines, adopts and applies the development cooperation policy. It is assisted in this by the Working Party on Development Cooperation, known as “CODEV”, which also examines and approves the legislative proposals of the European Commission regarding development cooperation policy.
The European Parliament for its part advises and approves the EU budget, including that dedicated to development cooperation. It can also adopt resolutions on development cooperation in its Committee on Development (DEVE) or Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET).
In order to achieve the SDGs as soon as possible, the effectiveness of development cooperation is another fundamental principle for the EU, which is being put into practice through exercises such as joint programming of aid between the EU and its Member states. Furthermore, in the current financial context, in which the Council, the Commission and the Parliament are drawing the new architecture for European development cooperation, in the interests of greater efficiency and flexibility, one of the keys to the negotiation is the proposal that DEVCO made two years ago to merge most of the multiple financing instruments into a single one, known as NDICI (Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument).
What is the link with the implementing agencies such as FIIAPP?
In order to achieve the objectives of its cooperation policy, the European Union needs partners to implement its development actions. These partners may be actors from civil society, international organisations (including international financial institutions and United Nations agencies), the private sector, or the Member States themselves through their cooperation agencies.
FIIAPP is part of the Spanish and European cooperation system. As an implementing agency, following an accreditation process with the EU, the Foundation carries out programmes and projects via delegated cooperation, which is one of our hallmarks with respect to other actors. This makes us, mainly through the European Practitioners’ Network, part of the EU’s external action, and privileged interlocutors of the European Commission, since the EC is an observer member.
Our link with the EU’s development cooperation policy finds expression in dialogue with our natural partners, DG DEVCO and DG NEAR, both with their central services and with the EU delegations on the ground, focusing both on the present and the future. We act as facilitators, accompanying actions financed by the EU to support public policy reform processes in the partner countries where we work.
This link is essential. Now more than ever it is crucial in order to learn more about this coronavirus and its impact on our partner countries. An example of dialogue is the active contribution of FIIAPP as an actor in Spanish cooperation to the implementation of the European Commission’s “Team Europe” initiative to support partner countries in combating COVID-19. Through constant dialogue with Commission teams in Brussels and on the ground, offering our added value: experience, ideas and working methods in mobilising knowledge of the public sector and placing it at the service of external action; and above all, our ability to react and re-adapt quickly, within the framework of, among others, the regional programmes in Latin America and the Twinning programme.
Silvia Prada, head of FIIAPP’s Brussels office
Myriam Erquicia, officer with FIIAPP’s Brussels office