28 September 2020
La FIIAPP celebra el Día Internacional del Acceso Universal a la Información y trabaja a favor de este derecho a través de sus proyectos
El Día Internacional del Acceso Universal a la Información es un día de reconocimiento global designado por la Conferencia General de la UNESCO y celebrado desde el año 2016. La resolución, en parte impulsada por grupos de la sociedad civil en busca de una mayor transparencia, expresa que “el derecho a buscar, recibir y difundir información es parte indisociable del derecho a la libertad de expresión”. Este mismo documento señala que, tanto la libertad de expresión como el acceso universal a la información son piedras angulares para construir sociedades del conocimiento inclusivas.
La libertad de expresión es un derecho reconocido por la Resolución 59 de la Asamblea General de las Naciones Unidas, aprobada en 1946, así como por el Artículo 19 de la Declaración Universal de Derechos Humanos (1948), que dispone que el derecho fundamental a la libertad de expresión incluye el derecho de “investigar y recibir informaciones y opiniones, y el de difundirlas, sin limitación de fronteras, por cualquier medio de expresión”. De esta manera, la libertad de información puede definirse como el derecho a tener acceso a la información que no está clasificada como restringida y que se encuentra en manos de entidades públicas.
Por este motivo, contar con leyes que garanticen el acceso a la información es un factor imprescindible de toda sociedad democrática, ya que garantiza una mayor transparencia en los procesos internos que ocurren dentro de ella. El derecho a la información otorga una mayor libertad y empoderamiento a los ciudadanos.
Este día tiene especial relevancia para la Agenda 2030 y sus 17 Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible (ODS), en particular el ODS 16 que exige garantizar el acceso público a la información y la protección de las libertades fundamentales. En línea con este objetivo, desde los proyectos de la FIIAPP se busca contribuir a este derecho universal.
Uno de los proyectos en cuya gestión participa la Fundación es EUROsociAL+, a través del cual se busca apoyar la mejora de la cohesión social en los países latinoamericanos, así como el fortalecimiento institucional. En concreto, el área de gobernanza del proyecto, que trabaja en favor de la transparencia y acceso a la información en América Latina, lanzará la “Caja de herramientas de transparencia legislativa” realizada a través de la colaboración entre la Red de Transparencia y Acceso a la Información (RTA) y Parlaméricas.
También en la región, se encuentra funcionando el proyecto Apoyo a la implementación de la Agenda 2030 en Paraguay que tiene como objetivo promover el desarrollo sostenible del país a través de la aceleración de la implementación de la Agenda 2030 y los ODS. Para lograrlo se han planteado dos objetivos principales: por un lado, que el país cuente con un sistema de gobernanza eficiente y que incluya datos estadísticos oficiales que faciliten el monitoreo y evaluación, y por otro, que se cuente con mejores políticas públicas para implementar con eficacia la Agenda 2030, en particular el ODS 5 (igualdad de género) y los ODS 13 y 15 (protección del medioambiente).
Por otro lado, en el continente africano el proyecto Apoyo a la Transparencia y Anticorrupción en Ghana apunta a reducir la corrupción y mejorar la rendición de cuentas en el país. El proyecto está apoyando al gobierno de Ghana en la elaboración del Plan Nacional de Lucha contra la Corrupción de Ghana (NACAP). También, junto a organizaciones de la sociedad civil ghanesa ha participado en foros que han tenido como objetivo impulsar la aprobación de la Ley de Acceso a la Información en Ghana.
¿Cómo se logra empoderar a la ciudadanía mediante el acceso a la información?
Estos proyectos tienen en común garantizar la transparencia mediante el fortalecimiento de la buena gobernanza, y si entendemos el derecho a la información como un derecho humano, este resulta ser la base para el desarrollo de muchos otros derechos civiles y universales puesto que no solo se garantiza que la ciudadanía esté en pleno conocimiento de la verdad, sino que, además, exige la transparencia en las gestiones de los gobiernos. Por lo tanto, contar con una ley de acceso a la información resulta ser un factor clave para toda sociedad y país que pretenda ser igualitario ya que contribuye a evitar actos de corrupción, crímenes de lesa humanidad y a reducir las desigualdades.
La exdirectora de la UNESCO, Irina Bokova, explicaba el acceso a la información como un “compromiso de los gobiernos para formular, aprobar y aplicar políticas y leyes sobre el derecho a la información a fin de velar por el respeto de este derecho humano. Para ello se necesitan mecanismos de aplicación eficientes y una cultura de transparencia en todas las instituciones.”
Por eso mismo, desde la FIIAPP conmemoramos el Día Mundial de Acceso a la Información todos los días a través de nuestro trabajo y continuamos luchando para que todas las regiones del planeta, en especial aquellas más desfavorecidas, puedan gozar plenamente de todos sus derechos y de pertenecer a una sociedad más informada, justa y libre.
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
16 April 2020
FIIAPP shows its commitment as a key actor in cooperation to respond to the coronavirus
Some scholars say that the earliest great vestige of human evolution was not the discovery of fire or the invention of the wheel. As anthropologist Margaret Mead said to a student: “It is a fractured, healed femur.”
In the animal kingdom, a fractured bone means death. The first bone that was healed marked the beginning of humanity. Caring for others is a sign of evolution and in the context of a health crisis, cooperation between people and institutions to save the greatest number of lives is the greatest exponent of humanity and evolution.
It is just a month since the WHO declared the coronavirus a global pandemic, however, the consequences of COVID-19 already point to a shift in paradigms.
In this scenario, the European Union is already working to provide a solid response to the spread of the coronavirus and its consequences. According to the European Commissioner for International Alliances, Jutta Urpilainen: ‘As TeamEurope, we must be united.The European Union and its member states are responding.We are working hard to contain the spread of the coronavirus, both in Europe and beyond.’
As members of that #TeamEurope, the FIIAPP is already developing specific actions to fight the global pandemic, at home, in Europe and further afield.
One example of this is the work of the cooperation projects that the European Union finances and the FIIAPP manages. A job that has been redirected in accordance with the countries’ needs regarding the mitigation of the effects of the pandemic.
To mark International Health Day, which was celebrated this month, which this year has gained a special significance, it is important to explain the specific and direct measures the projects have developed to combat COVID-19. Different measures, but with a common objective, that will enable us to achieve the mission we are all talking about: #esteVirusLoParamosUnidos.
Bridging the Gap: Accessible information.
Among the top searches on the internet in recent weeks are ‘quarantine’, ‘confine’ and ‘virus’. The health crisis has caused a boom in our thirst for information and, therefore, the Bridging the Gap project is working to adapt such information for people with disabilities. The project is working with the Paraguayan government, which has launched a special accessible communication service about COVID-19 for people with disabilities. Bridging the Gap has worked on two areas: firstly, developing a communication service that connects deaf people with hearing people and organisations or services that they may need through a chat; and secondly, it has also contributed to purchasing equipment and software for the communication department of the National Secretariat for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (SENADIS). These improvements have also been possible thanks to the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), the implementing agency of the Bridging the Gap project in Paraguay.
EL PAcCTO: COVID channel
How is each State addressing the fight against the pandemic? The EL PAcCTO project has launched the COVID channel, a tool for the security, justice and prison systems of Europe and Latin America, enabling them to exchange information and experiences. The objective of the information channel is coordination, cooperation and prevention of COVID-19 to guarantee the health of the population. Regarding the security forces, a colonel from the Civil Guard has been appointed to coordinate the COVID channel with several Latin American countries and to share information on the needs caused by the health crisis in Spain.
EL PAcCTO: Support for AMERIPOL: against fake news
Hoaxes and fake news are spreading like wildfire through social networks. The World Health Organization is calling this problem an “infodemic“. The state of alarm has also caused an increase in the use of technologies, which is adding another internet related problem: cyber attacks. The current situation has led to the proliferation of new types of scams. In times of crisis and insecurity, many cybercriminals are taking advantage of the vulnerable situation to scam people when shopping on line for masks or medicines, for example.
In light of this situation, the project to support Ameripol proposed the holding of video conferences channelled through the Executive Secretariat and the Ameripol UNAs, to spread and encourage best practices from the European Union in the context of the spread of COVID-19. A video conference has been organised on detecting misinformation campaigns aimed at social and political destabilisation, as well as anticipating new types of cybercrime and scams by individuals who are using COVID-19 as bait to swindle people and steal their personal and banking information.
EUROsociAL+: social cohesion against Covid-19
EUROsociAL+ has implemented tools which are especially useful to strengthen the management of emergency measures required by the coronavirus. The programme is receiving and responding to requests for support from Latin American countries needing to adopt urgent measures in matters such as early warnings to avoid gender violence which is exacerbated by confinement, social protection systems, unemployment funds, transparency in institutions and the migrant population. EUROsociAL+ is encouraging the adoption of a gender approach throughout the programme and the accompanying public policies to improve the physical, economic and political autonomy of women; an approach that focuses on carers; carers ( 70% women ) who, according to programme sources, are systematically invisible, underpaid and
who are proving essential to saving our lives.
FIIAPP is still working, at a distance, without leaving anyone behind.
By Cristina Blasco, ( @cbm_cris ). FIIAPP communication team.
26 March 2020
We commemorate World Meteorological Day, which is held on 23 March and which highlights the relationship between meteorology and climate change and the work of EUROCLIMA+ in this regard
Torrential rain and droughts are water-related meteorological phenomena, all increasingly extreme anywhere on the planet. This year, World Meteorological Day, under the heading of “climate and water”, is dedicated to these and other similar phenomena and focuses on the climate change effects which manifest themselves through water.
According to data from the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), humans cannot survive more than three days without water and there are currently 3 billion people worldwide who do not have basic facilities to wash their hands. Furthermore, knowing this, it must be taken into account that in the next 30 years the world demand for fresh water will increase between 20% and 30%.
With the aim of commemorating the creation of the WMO on 23 March 1950 within the UN, this day also serves to highlight the contribution made by National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) to the security and well-being of societies; and, why not, to reflect on the importance of meteorology in the global context of climate change in which we live today.
Water, a shared asset
Extreme meteorological phenomena, the result of the climate change we all experiencing worldwide, are one of the greatest global threats. Specifically, those related to water pose a major risk due to their impacts both on sustainable development and on people’s safety. According to the WMO Secretary General, Petteri Taalas, in the organisation’s statement about 23 March, “The changes in the global distribution of rainfall are having important repercussions in many countries. Sea levels are rising at an ever-increasing rate due to the melting of larger glaciers, such as those in Greenland and Antarctica. This is exposing coastal areas and islands to an increased risk of flooding and the submergence of low-lying areas.”
Rising rivers or floods are a source of peace and conflict, as most rivers and other freshwater areas cross borders, and decisions made by one country regarding the management of water resources often have an impact on other countries. In addition, food security is closely related to water: for example, the concentration of rainfall at certain times of the year or in certain places affects agriculture, movements and, ultimately, the survival of millions of people all around the world.
Ample evidence of the chosen heading’s international significance is to be found in the fact that water and climate are the cornerstones of Sustainable Development Goal 6 (Clean water and sanitation) and 13 (Climate action), both included in the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development, which contain the global priorities for the next 10 years.
Every drop counts for the EUROCLIMA+ project
As expressly detailed by the WMO, data on water resources are currently incomplete and scattered, which greatly hinders joint work between countries and international cooperation to face global challenges, such as climate change.
The EUROCLIMA+ project is working along these lines, hand in hand with AEMET in Central America, where, together with the different countries’ institutions, they are generating climate scenarios to anticipate the impacts of climate change and plan adaptation measures. In this sense, the project, financed by the EU and with the FIIAPP participating in the management, has its sights set on reviewing the impact, vulnerability and needs of adapting to climate change.
The usefulness of the scenarios, in the words of the project specialist and AEMET meteorologist Jorge Tamayo, depends on having information so as to know “what is going to happen and what measures can be applied”, and also that such information can “be used by those responsible for water management, for planning”, for example “if they have to make a greater number of reservoirs or have to resize those that they currently have, to try to mitigate these effects at least by knowing them.”
Working together to adapt or mitigate climate change is the same as working together for a more resilient future, as EUROCLIMA+ demonstrates.