12 December 2019
9 December is International Anti-Corruption Day and ARAP Ghana, a project managed by FIIAPP, is accompanying Ghanaian institutions in their fight against this crimeGroup photograph from an event during Anti-corruption and Transparency Week in Ghana
INTERNATIONAL ANTI-CORRUPTION DAY
The United Nations has established 9 December as International Anti-Corruption Day. The purpose of this international day is for the media and the organisations involved to contribute to raising awareness of this problem among the public at large.
By corruption we mean “the abuse of power, of functions or means to obtain an economic or other benefit.” If we refer to the etymological origin of the Latin “corruptio”, we find that the original meaning of the term is “action and effect of breaking into pieces.” Corruption is a scourge which, as stated in the United Nations Convention against Corruption, approved on 31 October 2003, threatens the stability and security of societies and undermines justice. As its Latin root indicates, it “breaks apart” both the institutions and the ethical and democratic values of the societies that suffer from it.
In addition, it is a transnational phenomenon in which organised crime usually takes part, resulting in other types of crime such as trafficking in human beings and money laundering.
To combat it, it is essential to promote international cooperation and technical assistance and, for this international cooperation agents such as FIIAPP play a key role.
CORRUPTION IN GHANA
Corruption continues to be a problem that has permeated all sectors of Ghana’s society and economy. With its devastating effects, it impedes sustainable development and is a threat to human rights. It could be said that corruption has been identified as one of the main causes of poverty, deprivation and underdevelopment. In the particular case of Ghana, the prevalence of corruption has resulted in poor provision of services and a lack of access to other basic services such as health and education. Corruption is also a threat to Ghana’s democratic ideals, in particular the rule of law, justice and equality before the law.
According to the 2018 Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index, Ghana ranks 78th out of 180 countries.
THE ARAP-GHANA PROJECT
The Accountability, Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption Programme (ARAP), funded by the European Union and implemented by FIIAPP, has been supporting the efforts of the Ghanaian government to reduce corruption for three years.
The aim of the project is to promote good governance and support national reform, in order to improve accountability and strengthen anti-corruption initiatives throughout the country. To this end, it works together with the relevant government institutions and other national strategic partners while at the same time improving accountability and respect for existing legal structures.
In addition, it acts as a support programme for the government in implementing the National Anti-Corruption Action Plan (NACAP), Ghana’s national anti-corruption strategy ratified by Parliament in 2014, which aims to create a democratic and sustainable Ghanaian society based on good governance and endowed with a high degree of ethics and integrity.
ANTI-CORRUPTION AND TRANSPARENCY WEEK
In light of this problem, from 2 to 9 December Accra, the country’s capital, held the Anti-Corruption and Transparency Week (ACT) in which the Government, the public and private sectors, academia, the media, civil society and the general public all took part. The week was organised by the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) supported by the ARAP programme.
The purpose of ACT Week was to create a platform for assessing the impact of the NACAP in the first five years of its implementation and strengthening the commitment of the implementing partners in the remaining five years of the NACAP; to raise awareness among Ghanaians of the perverse effects of corrupt practices; to advocate for sustained collaboration and inter-institutional partnership in the fight against corruption as well as for the need to provide adequate resources to anti-corruption agencies; and to promote the use of international cooperation instruments in the fight against corruption.
The week included a large number of activities, both nationally and regionally. These included the international forum on money laundering and asset recovery, international cooperation in legal and other areas; the forum on integrity for youth; the NACAP high-level conference; the presentation of integrity awards; and the observance of international anti-corruption and human rights days.
The work of ARAP will continue not only during the week but every day until the end of the programme in December 2020, because the fight is not just for one week, but for every day of the year.
Text created with the collaboration of Sandra Quiroz, communication specialist of ARAP Ghana
31 October 2019
October 9 is World Post Day, which celebrates a form of communication that, despite all the advances made, continues to play a leading role in society. FIIAPP is working in North Macedonia to improve the quality of its postal services.
On October 9, 1874, the General Postal Union was founded within the framework of the Bern Convention. It would be renamed the Universal Postal Union (UPU) in 1878 and be the organization that regulated postal services worldwide. In 1948, this institution became a specialized agency of the United Nations.
According to the United Nations, the UPU is responsible for promoting and developing communication between nations, thereby enabling closer relations between postal services. Furthermore, for this three-year cycle, this institution wants to highlight innovation, integration and inclusion as being the three strategic cornerstones by which it is governed.
According to UPU data, every year around 368 billion letters and 6,4 billion packages are delivered by five million postal workers.
Due to new trends, which are currently changing the way we communicate, the UPU’s General Director, Bishar A. Hussein, points out that postal services “must be reinvented, adopt digitalization, redefine their value propositions and develop new products and services. They also need political support and investment, as well as a regulatory framework adapted to their activities”
World Post Day
October 9 saw the celebration of World Post Day, which was first declared at the 1969 UPU Congress held in Tokyo, Japan. On this occasion, it coincided with the 145th anniversary of the founding of the aforementioned UPU.
“It is worth reflecting on just how much our organization has helped humanity. The best way to celebrate our past is to fight for a better future. In this task, we were guided by the need to help humanity overcome its challenges, so that we can secure the future we all want for our planet. This is the best way to bring development and progress to the world”, said Bishar A. Hussein, General Director of the UPU.
There is no doubt that the postal sector contributes to the social and economic development of countries despite being an old but very useful means of social communication.
Although World Post Day does not have its own motto, it is celebrated in over 150 countries, who perform a range of activities such as the presentation and promotion of new postal services and products, rewarding employees for the work they do, the organization of exhibitions and trade fairs, the issuing of new stamps, the holding of conferences and workshops, as well as the sale of souvenirs and the holding of sports, cultural and educational events.
CORREOS and the Sustainable Development Goals
CORREOS (the National Postal Service of Spain) contributes to the achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by focusing on three fundamental mainstays: people, markets and supply chain.
In relation to SDG 13 on Climate Action, this nationally owned company has implemented cleaner distribution and delivery thanks to its 500 zero-emission vehicles, and has reduced its CO2 emissions by 13% compared to 2013.
Furthermore, CORREOS participated in the #ODSéate campaign, which ran from September 16 to 27, with the aim being to implement goal number four, namely that by 2020 the entire Spanish population must be familiar with the 2030 Agenda and respond to the changes that it proposes.
Furthermore, CORREOS is issuing a series of ‘Solidarity Stamps’, and on this occasion it dedicated it to the 2030 Agenda with a set of stamps that feature the logo of this proposal together with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
FIIAPP and CORREOS
The objective of the project funded by the European Union and managed by FIIAPP entitled ‘Strengthening the Capacities of the North Macedonia Postal Agency’ is to improve the quality of the postal services provided by the aforementioned company and the training of its employees. The project is set to last 18 months. The main focal points areas of the project are the regulatory framework, analytical accounting, postal inspection, letter boxes and market analysis.
Furthermore, it will lay the bases for preparing and adopting a new postal sector strategy. In particular, it will improve the administrative and regulatory capacity of the Postal Agency.
Project coordinator, Eva Picos, goes on to highlight the liaison work being done by FIIAPP and points out that, “FIIAPP has driven Spain’s participation in this project forward at the operational level by acting as go-between with the European Union. In general, the EU supports and guides us on a day-to-day basis in addition to being the institution that sees to the entire management process”.
26 September 2019
Since 2018, International Sign Language Day has been commemorated on September 23 and we at FIIAPP wish to join this celebration by showing the current situation of deaf people and how this disability and sign language have been welcomed by states and society
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “466 million people worldwide suffer from disabling hearing loss, 34 million of them children.” Disabling hearing loss is understood to be a hearing loss greater than 40 dB in the better hearing ear in adults, and greater than 30 dB in the better hearing ear in children. In this regard, the WHO emphasises that the majority of people with disabling hearing loss live in low- and middle- income countries.
According to the World Federation of the Deaf, there are approximately 72 million deaf people worldwide. More than 80 percent live in developing countries and, collectively, they use more than 300 different sign languages.
Turning to specific figures, in the European Union, France is the country with the largest number of sign language users with 300,000, followed by Spain with 100,000 and the UK with 77,000.
The CNSE Foundation emphasises that the “deaf community forms a linguistic and sociocultural minority and sign language is the element of cohesion in this group”. But what do we mean by deaf community?: “With the term deaf community we refer to the social fabric formed by deaf people who use sign language and share experiences and goals. They are people with awareness of a common identity that maintain an individual commitment to the group, cooperating in one way or another with it,” says Amparo Minguet, vice president of the State Confederation of Deaf People (CNSE).
“Sign language was frowned upon; the educational system did not allow it to be learnt. Our group has been shackled – and I do not say it figuratively – throughout its history. But society, which in the past hid us away and was ashamed of our natural language, has changed,” acknowledged Luis J. Cañón, former president of the State Confederation of Deaf People.
Starting in the 70s, various groups of people reclaimed sign language and culture. Different scientific disciplines, through studies and research, ratify the existence of this language and its culture, thus giving importance to the preservation of its cultural values and traits.
The situation of sign language in different countries
Currently, there are eight states that officially recognise sign language in their constitutions. Other countries have opted for state recognition of sign language implicit in the development of legal rules and public policies, generally in education.
In 1988, the European Parliament unanimously approved a resolution asking all countries to recognise sign language.
In the case of Africa, countries such as Uganda, Kenya and South Africa have recognised it and provided the deaf community with the necessary resources for their inclusion.
Central America and Latin America for their part currently have integration policies for people with disabilities.
Also, New Zealand considers sign language as an official language, unlike Turkey, which has no official recognition of it.
International Sign Language Day
The United Nations General Assembly denotes September 23 as International Sign Language Day. This international day was observed for the first time in 2018, when the Assembly established that “early access to sign language and to services in this language, including quality education in that language, is vital for the growth and development of the deaf and critical for the achievement of the sustainable development goals.”
The Assembly also emphasises the importance of considering and applying, focusing on the issue at hand, the principle of “nothing about us without us.”
The World Federation of the Deaf (WFD), consisting of 135 national associations of the deaf as representatives of approximately 70 million deaf people worldwide, was responsible for proposing that International Sign Language Day be held on September 23. This date was chosen in order to commemorate the establishment of the WFD in 1951 in Rome.
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is a United Nations international human rights instrument designed to protect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities. This is the first human rights convention open to signing by regional integration organisations in which a paradigm shift in attitudes and approaches to people with disabilities is established.
2030 Agenda and the SDGs
The fundamental principle of the sustainable development goals (SDGs), agreed in the 2030 Agenda, is ‘leaving no one behind’. In this sense, a new model has begun to be developed that takes into account the diversity of abilities in society, focusing on women and girls with disabilities, since they are at greatest risk of vulnerability and social exclusion. As highlighted by the Spanish Committee of Representatives of People with Disabilities, CERMI, there is increasing debate on such matters as “the relationship between disability and poverty, the contribution that people with disabilities can make to the rest of society, the relationship between disability and technological development, and others.”
Both society and institutions must come together to convey the needs of people with disabilities to improve their current situation. In this sense, international cooperation plays an important role in carrying it out, since it is a primary tool so that governments give visibility to this sector of society.
SDG 5 on gender equality, SDG 4 focused on quality and inclusive education, SDG 8 on decent work and SDG 10 on reduced inequalities are closely related to the importance of inclusion of people with disabilities. Likewise, if we talk about inclusion, we must highlight SDG 11, on sustainable cities and communities, in which the concept of universal accessibility must be integrated when making essential infrastructures in basic health services.
Bridging the Gap
FIIAPP manages the project Bridging The Gap, funded by the European Union, the objective of which is to reduce the social exclusion of people with disabilities in middle- and low-income countries in Africa and Latin America. The beneficiary countries of this project are Ecuador, Paraguay, Burkina Faso and Ethiopia.
According to the permanent secretary of the National Multisectoral Committee for the Protection and Promotion of Persons with Disabilities in Africa, Boukary Savadogo, at the annual event held by Bridging the Gap in November 2018 in Madrid: “in Burkina Faso people with disabilities are not welcome”, but to improve this situation, this country “is aligned with the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda”.
Bridging the Gap also contributes to the commitment to encourage and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all people, the aim of the tenth Sustainable Development Goal.
29 August 2019
The project addresses access to justice for people in vulnerable situations. This documentary video presents a paradigmatic case: that of the Mapuche woman Lorenza CayuhanLorenza Cahuyan in an image from the documentary
Access to justice is a hallmark of the EUROsociAL+ programme, which is funded by the European Union and managed by FIIAPP, and is one of the dimensions through which the fight against exclusion and inequality is being organised.
Despite the notable advances in this area in the Latin American region, there is still a need to improve and guarantee access to justice for certain at-risk groups in order to strengthen social cohesion. Within that framework, the Brasilia Rules on Access to Justice for people in a vulnerable situation, which was approved by the Ibero-American Judicial Summit, are a key instrument for guaranteeing access to justice and contributing to social cohesion in the region. Since the beginning of EUROsociAL in 2005, the programme has supported the countries in the region as well as regional networks, not only in initially defining the Brasilia Rules in 2008, but also in revising and updating them in 2018 and in their dissemination and implementation at the national level in Latin American countries.
The case of Lorenza Cayuhan, which is presented in the video, is paradigmatic in this regard because it shows multiple discriminations (intersectionality of discrimination) for being a woman, Mapuche, pregnant and deprived of freedom, as was ultimately recognised by a ruling of the Chilean Supreme Court of Justice.
EUROsociAL+ Democratic Governance Policy Area
25 July 2019
Money laundering is closely related to crimes such as drug trafficking, corruption and organized crime. At FIIAPP we work to fight this problem through a wide range of projects
The concept of “money laundering” arose during the 1920s in the United States. American mafias, dedicated to the smuggling of alcoholic beverages, created a network of laundries to hide the illicit origin of the money derived from this business.
As explained by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), money laundering is “the method used by infractors to hide the illegal origins of their wealth and protect their income, with the goal of flying under the radar of institutions in charge of investigation and law enforcement”.
The United Nations has the Financial Action Task Force, which sets standards to organize the legislative architecture of the fight against money laundering by organized crime .
UNODC also emphasizes that individuals and terrorist organizations employ techniques similar to those practised by people who are involved in money laundering to hide their resources. All these techniques carry with them crimes such as corruption or organized crime.
In this regard, the Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund , Min Zhu, notes that “money laundering and terrorist financing are financial crimes that have economic consequences . They can threaten the stability of a country’s financial sector or its external stability in general. Effective regimes to combat money laundering and terrorist financing are essential to safeguarding the integrity of markets and the global financial framework, as they help mitigate the factors that lead to financial abuse.”
Along these lines, we must emphasize that money generated by criminal activities is difficult to hide. Over the years, States have reinforced the mechanisms necessary to identify, seize and confiscate that money wherever it is. “Measures to prevent and combat money laundering and terrorist financing, therefore, are not just a moral imperative, but an economic need,” according to Zhu.
2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goal 16
Spain, together with the 193 countries of the United Nations, pledged to comply with the 2030 Agenda, approved by the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015. In this context, the non-governmental organization Transparency International (IT) has published a report, which takes April to June 2018 as its reference, in order to examine the progress of Spain in relation to Sustainable Development Goal 16, based on promoting a just, peaceful and inclusive society, which contains goals related to transparency and fighting against corruption . This document focuses on the situation of illicit financial flows, bribery and corruption in all its forms, transparent and accountable institutions, public freedoms, and the right to access information.
In addition, the report highlights that, although Spain has made great strides at the legislative level on this matter, “it is necessary that the institutions constituting the first line of prevention and fighting against corruption, such as the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor, remain totally independent from political power.” Likewise, “Spain has the challenge of achieving a homogeneous and effective legal framework in all matters related to public integrity and accountability, and at all territorial levels.”
FIIAPP works on the fight against money laundering
FIIAPP is working on the fight against money laundering through a variety of projects.
EL PAcCTO is a European Union programme implemented by FIIAPP and Expertise France with the support of IILa and Camões. The main goal of this project is the fight against transnational organized crime and the strengthening of the institutions responsible for guaranteeing citizen security in 18 countries in Latin America.
“EL PAcCTO aims to address various challenges and, thanks to the exchanges in working groups and the presentation of practical cases, also identify the difficulties and weaknesses specific to Latin America and identify possible coordination difficulties between the agents in the fight against money laundering”, highlights Jean Dos Santos, an EL PacCTO project expert.
Additionally, a project called European Support for Bolivian Institutions in the Fight against Drug Trafficking and Related Crimes places special emphasis on money laundering. The project has sought to improve capability through training courses. It has focused on strengthening inter-institutional coordination and international cooperation and has given aid support to overcome the fourth round of the Mutual Evaluation of the Financial Action Task Force Group of Latin America.
“Whether or not the Bolivian State can remain off the famous black or grey lists comprised of States that have neither established prevention measures against money laundering nor committed themselves to doing so depends in large part on passing this Mutual Evaluation”, emphasized Javier Navarro, National Police Inspector and expert on this project.
Following this same line of work, the EU Law Enforcement Support Project in the fight against drugs and organized crime in Peru seeks to improve the effectiveness of training schools, inter-institutional cooperation and Peruvian intelligence systems in order to fight drugs, organized crime and money laundering.
Likewise, EU-ACT projects on Action against Drugs and Organized Crime and SEACOP are also active in the fight against money laundering, a problem closely related to drug trafficking and organized crime.
“Drug trafficking organizations are present in different countries. The materials may be supplied by one country, others may be transit countries, others destination countries, etc. Money laundering may take place in yet other countries. Therefore, if this is not addressed from a transnational standpoint, it is impossible to deal with,” explains José Antonio Maté, EU-ACT Project Coordinator for the Central Asia area.
With the ARAP-Ghana project , ‘Accountability, Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption of Ghana’, the goal is to reduce corruption and improve accountability in the African country, taking into account the money laundering that corruption brings. Ghana has created the National Anti-Corruption Plan (NACAP), of which this project is part.
Finally, in the El PacCTO:Supporting AMERIPOL project it is expected that money laundering will be incorporated into the technological platform for the exchange of police information that this project is promoting in Latin America.
27 June 2019
On the occasion of World Environment Day, celebrated on 5 June, and World Oceans Day, commemorated on 8 June, we highlight the situation and the consequences environmental pollution is currently having and how FIIAPP, through various projects it manages, is helping in the fight to protect the environment
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), environmental pollution has reached alarming proportions, in figures, 9 out of 10 people breathe toxic air and 7 million die every year from environmental and domestic pollution.
The Director General of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, points out that “air pollution poses a threat to everyone, although the poorest and most marginalised people are worst affected”. In this regard, the WHO notes that over 90% of deaths related to air pollution occur in low and middle income countries, mainly in Asia and Africa, followed by low and middle income countries in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, Europe and the Americas.
Air pollution is considered an important risk factor, especially for noncommunicable diseases. The data show that it causes a quarter (24%) of adult deaths from heart disease, 25% of deaths from strokes, 43% of deaths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and 29% of deaths due to lung cancer.
Also, according to a study published in the ‘European Heart Journal‘, pollution is responsible for 800,000 deaths a year in Europe and 8.8 million worldwide.
World Environment Day
The first conference related to environmental issues was held in Stockholm from 5 to 16 June 1972 under the auspices of the United Nations. This meeting is known as the Conference on the Human Environment and its objective was to achieve a common vision on basic aspects related to protecting and improving the human environment.
On 15 December 1972, the General Assembly adopted a resolution that designated 5 June as World Environment Day. In addition, on that same day, the General Assembly approved another resolution that led to the creation of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).
In 2019, World Environment Day has focused on air pollution. “It’s time to act forcefully. My message to governments is clear: tax pollution, stop subsidising fossil fuels and stop building new coal plants. We need a green economy, not a grey economy, “the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, highlighted in his speech.
SDG 13: Adopt urgent measures to combat climate change and its effects
In order to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change, countries adopted the Paris Agreement at COP21, which entered into force in 2016. In it, the countries committed themselves to work to limit the increase in global temperature to less than two degrees Celsius.
The targets that are intended to achieve this Sustainable Development Goal include: strengthen the resilience and ability to adapt to the risks related to climate and natural disasters; improve education and awareness of climate change mitigation; put the Green Climate Fund into operation by capitalising on it as soon as possible and increase capacity for effective planning and management in relation to climate change in the least developed countries.
World Oceans Day
The United Nations General Assembly designated 8 June as World Oceans Day. The oceans cover more than 70% of the Earth’s surface. However, only 1% of this area is protected. In addition, the oceans contain 96% of the Earth’s water and absorb around 25% of the CO2 that is added to the atmosphere year after year due to human activity, thus reducing the impact of this greenhouse gas on the climate.
“In the last 150 years, approximately half of live corals have been lost. Pollution by plastic in the oceans has multiplied tenfold in the last 40 years. One third of fish stocks are overexploited. The dead zones – submarine deserts where life does not prosper due to a lack of oxygen – are increasing rapidly, both in size and in number, “said Antonio Guterres.
SDG 14: Oceans, Seas and Marine Resources
The Oceans Conference was held between 5 and 9 June 2017, it was the first United Nations conference to work towards achieving SDG 14, its objective was to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources through sustainable development.
In addition, this Sustainable Development Goal has a number of targets including the following: prevent and reduce marine pollution of all kinds; regulate fishing exploitation and end overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and destructive fishing practices; conserve at least 10% of coastal and marine areas in accordance with national laws and international law; and facilitate the access by small-scale artisanal fishermen to marine resources and markets.
At present, various brands are reflecting the problem that our seas currently suffer in their advertising campaigns. For example, the Reina Sofía Foundation has presented an animated short film, Lemon, which represents the problem of plastics in nature.
According to scientists, by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the sea. They also warn that one million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals die each year as a result of plastic contamination. And, as if that were not enough, they highlight that microplastics have been found in 70% of the salt, molluscs and crustaceans we consume in our country.
FIIAPP and its contribution to the environment
FIIAPP manages several projects focused on caring for the environment. The EUROCLIMA+ programme is funded by the European Union and the climate governance component is managed by FIIAPP. It aims to promote environmentally sustainable and climate-resilient development in 18 Latin American countries, because greenhouse gas emissions from urban transport in the region continue to increase.
If we talk about climate change, Beatriz García-Pozuelo, EUROCLIMA+ senior technician, points out that “it is expected that by 2100 the temperature in Madrid will have increased by 4 ºC. This means that living in Madrid would be more like living in Saudi Arabia or the Arab Emirates.”
In addition, FIIAPP manages Cuba-renewable, a project to promote renewable energy sources and energy efficiency in Cuba. This project supports the effective implementation of the policy for the prospective development of renewable energy sources and efficient energy use and an appropriate regulatory framework.
“The use of renewable energy has created mountain hospitals, rural schools and, ultimately, allowed the population to access energy in a more equitable manner,” says Maite Jaramillo, coordinator of the Cuba-Renovables project. In addition, she points out that, as Cuba is a country rich in renewable resources, the development of these resources “would make an important contribution to the environment”.
In addition, the Assistance Programme against Transnational Organised Crime, El PAcCTO, is implementing various activities among security forces and bodies in Europe, Latin America and internationally in order to promote joint policies to combat environmental crimes.
Similarly, the project ‘Accountability, Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption in Ghana’, ARAP-Ghana, whose representatives at Ghanian Public Prosecutor’s Office and Environmental Protection Agency have visited Spain in order to acquire knowledge and good practices in the field of environmental crimes.