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.
05 March 2020
The FIIAPP manages projects that work with gender approaches and promote the fight against the inequality encountered by women
It sounds paradoxical, but it is not. To be able to talk about equality between men and women, you first have to talk about inequality. “Finally, a female candidate for the presidency of the European Commission.” Ursula von der Leyen said it in her speech when she was still a presidential candidate for the European executive. The word ‘finally’ is an example of the differences between reality as experienced by men and women. Differences that translate into inequalities.
She continued, “40 years ago Simone Veil became the first female president of the European Parliament. I am running today thanks to her and other iconic figures.” Veil is a model for Von der Leyen, but she could well be for Latin American women who have taken the green scarf to the street, or for those who have taught the world that ‘the rapist is you’. Both Veil, Von der Leyen and the thousands of Latin American women mentioned, live a particular reality because they are women. Being aware of this, the international cooperation projects managed by the FIIAPP and financed by the European Union apply the gender perspective in their actions.
Marie Dominique de Suremain is coordinator of the gender equality area for Expertise France in EUROSOCIAL+, one of the projects financed by the EU in Latin America and managed by IILA, Expertise France and the FIIAPP itself under the coordination of the FIIAPP.
“The gender area is an innovation at EUROSOCIAL+; we organise work around three areas: physical, political and economic autonomy” Suremain explains. Physical autonomy addresses the fight against gender-based violence, since appropriate institutional responses are required to back the complaints. Therefore, EUROSOCIAL+ promotes tools that allow the development of effective protection mechanisms. The gender area also drives changes in masculinities. According to Sureiman, “It is about generating collective rethinking of gender, specifically around masculinity as a policy to address some phenomena related to violence and inequality.” Political autonomy addresses the problems encountered by women to access certain positions. “We have realised that women are often prevented, not only from accessing the positions, but once they access, from carrying out their work,” says Sureiman. Finally, economic autonomy promotes policies for reducing the feminisation of poverty. We promote reforms to improve labour inclusion and avoid discrimination, and results are sought in salary differences, type of employment, part-time work, unemployment rates, and informality.
“In addition to this economic and political backwardness, the most worrying issue is to reduce the high rates of femicide and violence against women. It is therefore a priority to expand the gender perspective in all institutions, to back public policies and guarantee the existence of comprehensive equality plans,” says the gender area coordinator.
Living together without discrimination, an approach based on human rights and gender
The project “Living together without discrimination, an approach based on human rights and gender” works to strengthen Moroccan public instruments and policies to prevent and combat racism and xenophobia towards the migrant population. The project promotes the protection of the fundamental rights of migrants while giving particular consideration to the inclusion of the gender approach. “We are accompanied by technical assistance that specialises in gender to ensure the inclusion of this perspective in all interventions,” explains Lucia Molo, project technician at the FIIAPP.
The project promotes the creation of tools to help Spanish and Moroccan partner institutions ensure a gender perspective. These include a gender action plan for the project, the checklist listing the phases to be performed to ensure gender perspective, as well as an explanatory document that guarantees the use of inclusive language.
EUROCLIMA+ is a programme funded by the European Union that facilitates regional dialogue and supports institutions to achieve adaptation to climate change and develop mitigation policies in Latin America. At EUROCLIMA+ they are aware that climate change has gender-specific implications, so the programme is committed to equality.
EUROCLIMA+ promotes the gender perspective through actions such as the collection and use of gender-disaggregated information and the establishment of gender-sensitive indicators or the creation of methods for involvement and consultation of women, as well as monitoring, evaluation and accountability from a gender perspective. To that end, EUROCLIMA+ addresses gender in the programme’s logical framework and indicators, as well as in the different theme components, so as to maximise the structure and mandate of EUROCLIMA+.
“The need for women’s empowerment in conflict zones is a central element when formulating development strategies. In the Sahel region, which is ravaged by terrorism, women suffer the concrete effects of a specific violence against them. If women see their rights limited systematically in States that are in peace, the difficulties increase in situations of war.” These are the words of Beatriz Moreno de la Vara, support technician of the GAR-SI SAHEL project.
The Sahel is a geographical area of great political instability, which causes problems regarding irregular migration and the presence of terrorist groups. In the face of this reality, security and development are therefore the cornerstone of the European Union’s strategy for the Sahel region.
From the GAR-SI SAHEL project, there is a need to have a gender approach not only for the specific protection of women in conflict situations, but also as a commitment to female empowerment in the field of the security forces.
One of the proposals carried out within the framework of the project is the training in gender and Human Rights for the units created, such as that developed in Senegal. These courses have also been promoted in Mali and Niger in collaboration with other relevant players in the area, such as EUCAP Sahel and the International Organisation for Migration, creating synergies around the fifth Sustainable Development Goal: gender equality.
In addition, at the GAR-SI SAHEL project we are committed to increasing the presence of women in these units, which currently have three female agents in Senegal and one in Mali.
By Cristina Blasco, (@cbm_cris). FIIAPP communication team.
30 January 2020
With the 2030 Agenda in mind, the FIIAPP manages European cooperation projects in Algeria and Morocco to improve the educational systems of both countries
When Albert Camus won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957, he wrote a letter of thanks to one of his primary school teachers. Without you, without the affectionate hand you extended to the small poor child that I was, without your teaching and example, none of all this would have happened, wrote one of the most significant writers of the twentieth century. Albert Camus was born into a humble family of French settlers in Algeria. His mother was almost illiterate and his father died during World War I when he was little. However, despite the poor little child that he was (his words), his teacher, a man named Louis Garmain, made sure to guarantee Camus’s right to education. A right to which millions of minors do not have access.
According to UNESCO, there are more than 260 million children in the world who do not attend school and 617 million children and adolescents who cannot read. We can unequivocally affirm that there are not enough Garmains to remedy this. But it is necessary to mention that there are public institutions, agreements, the will of countries and international cooperation. And, fortunately, guaranteeing inclusive, equitable and quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities is one of the sustainable development goals that the international community has set out in the 2030 Agenda and to which the work of the FIIAPP Contributes actively.
The FIIAPP and education
Aware of the value of education in ensuring the sustainability, peace and development of societies, the General Assembly of the United Nations proclaimed 24 January International Education Day. Committed to this reality, the FIIAPP manages several projects funded by the European Union that work in Algeria and Morocco in this dimension.
“Of the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals signed in 2015 in the 2030 Agenda, number four is the quality of education and I think it’s the most important one because all the others in one way or another depend on it for solving poverty in the world, achieving peace and bringing about the well-being of all the inhabitants of this planet,” explains Pilar Garcés, vice-minister of universities and research of Castilla y León and head of the two twinning projects financed by the Union European, and managed by the FIIAPP in Algeria and Morocco.
The FIIAPP in Algeria
Professor at the University of Valladolid, Antonio Bueno coordinates a project managed by the FIIAPP in Algeria in support of the Algerian Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. Bueno works hand in hand with the professor of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research of Algeria, Amina Benbernou, to improve Algeria’s academic potential. “The aim is to reinforce the teaching skills of teachers in research and improve the administration’s management skills,” says Benbernou.
A twinning between Spain and Algeria is established for this purpose, through which various specialists travel to Algeria to work alongside the Algerian institutions. Efforts focus on improving the governance of higher education institutions, in line with the standards of the Bologna Process and the European Higher Education Area. In this way, the project provides the necessary tools to improve higher education in Algeria.
For Bueno, “Sharing educational ideas is based on the reality that all citizens who receive them have the same rights and duties and are called to the same mission: that of the progress of humanity.” Through this project, Spain brings the work of highly qualified professionals to Algeria. “Spain is well positioned at the level of pedagogy and monitoring in digital education and synergy. The contribution it can make to Algeria is to support this topic with high-level specialists,” says the Algerian professor.
According to Bueno, the fact that international cooperation allocates resources to education is very significant for societies: “Education is surely one of the areas in which cooperation offers the best results in the short, medium and long term, and although wealth may not be immediately perceived, the truth is that it produces it in abundance.”
The FIIAPP in Morocco
Improving university education in Morocco. With this objective, the FIIAPP manages a twinning project with Morocco. “Higher education has its shortcomings, there are many more private than public universities, which can lead to a kind of “decompensation” and produces a certain inequality among the population,” says the head of the project and Deputy Minister for Universities and Research of Castilla y León, Pilar Garcés.
Through the work of specialists, the project not only promotes improvement in educational organisation, management and legislation, but also explores solutions to the problem of overpopulation in the Moroccan higher education system. “There should be more infrastructure to be able to have a really important and strong higher public education,” says Garcés.
Therefore, specialists from the Junta de Castilla y León work with their Moroccan counterparts on introducing techniques, methods and tools that serve to support the higher education system in Morocco. Among the objectives of the project financed by the European Union is the implementation of an ECTS system to assess qualifications, and the accompaniment in the development of a new national strategy in this area.
For Garcés, “education is one of the most important issues in the life of any human being, because it provides social peace and well-being and enables people to get out of poverty, or reduces violence.” Therefore she agrees with Bueno and very much appreciates the European and Spanish institutions’ financing and development of cooperation and twinning projects: “I think it’s a very important duty that governments should take it even more seriously than they are at the present time, because although it’s true that the economy is important for a country to progress, education is even more so,” she concludes.
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.