21 June 2021
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Every year, hundreds of prosecutors, judges, teachers, police officers and meteorologists, among others, set out from the Spanish public administrative bodies on missions to collaborate with the institutions in other countries on drawing up laws or public policies. In the last year, FIIAPP has mobilised over 700 professionals from the public sector to take the knowledge and experience held by Spanish public administrative bodies abroad.
A regional network offering legal assistance to migrants, refugees and asylum seekers from Latin America. A policy to promote the digitalisation of administrations and guarantee cybersecurity in Ukraine. Police training and protocols on how to neutralise terrorist attacks on public spaces in the Sahel. A integrated registration and care system for victims of institutional prison violence in Argentina, Chile and Costa Rica. Meteorological scenarios to mitigate the effects of the climate crisis in Central America.
These are just five examples of the changes promoted through over 70 projects around the world in which FIIAPP has mobilised the Spanish public sector expertise. We build bridges for dialogue with other administrations to generate public policies that benefit people and the planet. On Public Service Day, we focus on the public expertise that makes these cooperation projects possible.
Our public talent abroad
Flexibility, the ability to listen actively, the desire to adapt to other cultures and a commitment to the common good are the main common denominators of the experts who decide to embark on an international mission within the framework of their work: “Going to Algeria on a twinning project has allowed me to strengthen the ties between two academic systems, between two countries and between two peoples” in the words of Antonio Bueno, Professor of Interpretation at the University of Valladolid. Dolores Moreno, Forensic Doctor and former director of the National Institute of Toxicology and Forensic Sciences has seen in Central America “a vocation for public service that united me, beyond all the cultural differences, with my forensic colleagues” in a project to fight organised crime.
Guardia Civil Colonel Javier Hernández highlights what he has been learned from the Senegalese, Ghanaian and Kenyan anti-terrorism gendarmeries: “It is always possible to do things differently. Each country has its ways, rhythms, customs and influences. We have to be open to them, adapting our procedures to the circumstances, seeking collaboration without imposing, generating trust and establishing ties that allow our collaboration to continue”. In the same vein, María Luisa Iglesias, a prosecutor who is working on a project relating to criminal and financial investigations in Albania, says: “I am learning that there is no single way of doing things, accepting what is different and bringing it back to public service in Spain.”
Mónica Sánchez-Bajo from the Spanish Office for Climate Change has been able to share the Spanish experience in public policies for adaptation to climate change with other Latin American countries “in a much-needed technical exchange to address the most global challenge the planet currently faces.”
These are just some examples that reflect the dedication and commitment of the people who are part of Spain’s Public Administration. FIIAPP will continue working to mobilise public expetise through public technical cooperation, sharing knowledge and promoting public policies for people and the planet.
25 May 2021
The Spanish government recently presented Africa Focus 2023, a Spanish foreign policy action plan for its relations with African countries. FIIAPP, a participant in Spanish activities abroad, will continue to implement this plan through public technical cooperation. We have been doing this with projects that address migration management and the fight against human trafficking as well as the fight to combat Jihadist terrorism and corruption.
Shared interests, development potential and growing geopolitical weight make Africa is a strategic partner for Spain and the European Union. This is an enormous, complex region, with significant political, economic and social diversity . Africa faces major common challenges, from instability in regions like the Sahel and the scourge of terrorism to vulnerability to the effects of climate change, economic and social development and security and control over migration routes with an integral approach.
These challenges do not affect African countries alone. The consequences affect the entire planet, including the European Union. Which is why Spain and the European Union are working to improve relations with Africa , offering support in its efforts to address these challenges as far as possible.
The EU-African Union Summits will consist of meetings and dialogue between Africa and the European Union. The document “Towards a Global Strategy with Africa” was published last year by the European Commission and establishes five priority lines of association: ecological transition and access to energy; digital transformation; sustainable growth and employment; peace and governance; and migration and mobility. The strategy will be used as a framework for strengthening relations with Africa ahead of the 6th EU-AU Summit scheduled for this year.
Spain has also compiled its main strategies for relations with the African continent in its 3rd Africa Plan. With the basis premise “Spain and Africa: challenge and opportunity“, it advocates a new approach to Africa based on shared interests and a broad consensus among the main Spanish players on the continent.
The strategic objectives in the 3rd Africa Plan define the main areas of action: ensure peace and security in the region, foster inclusive, resilient economic growth, institutional strengthening and working for orderly, regular and safe mobility. All this considering five cross-cutting principles: differentiation; association; multilateralism; human rights and gender equality; and unity of action.
The 3rd Africa Plan defines the general lines that will govern Spain-Africa relations in the coming years. To implement this strategy, the Spanish government has published the Focus Africa 2023 action programme. The document will guide the activities of all government institutions in Africa and specify activities until the end of the current legislature in 2023.
Focus Africa 2023 is a part of the recently presented External Action Strategy 2021-2024. It is also aligned with the objectives and priorities of the African Union’s 2030 Agenda and 2063 Agenda . The action plan elucidates the four main objectives of the 3rd Africa Plan and establishes seven main areas.
Partners for Peace and Security
Security is an essential prerequisite for implementing development policies. Africa 2023 Focus pays special attention to the Sahel region and establishes it as a priority area to work by the Union. The document cites the work of the Rapid Action Groups (GAR) as examples of good practices in the region. We work with these Guardia Civil units to ensure regional stability through the GARSI-Sahel project, which is managed by FIIAPP. We also work with the GAR to better protect public spaces against terrorist attacks as part of the CT Public Spaces project in Ghana, Kenya and Senegal.
We also work in countries including Mauritania, supporting maritime security; Morocco, promoting the development of the Presidency of the Public Prosecutor’s Office in collaboration with the General Prosecutor’s Office and in Mozambique , where we are helping to strengthen judicial institutions and anti-corruption mechanisms.
Partners for the development of sustainable, fair and inclusive economies, African regional integration and the fight against climate change
Economic growth and the fight against climate change must go hand-in-hand with social cohesion policies to ensure that no one is left behind. Spain will work with African countries to implement policies that encourage a just transition. Regional integration is another priority, and initiatives such as the African Continental Free Trade Area and the Economic Community of West African States will receive support.
We are about to start a new project to support civil society in local governance in Angola. The objective is to contribute to economic growth and social development in the country through inclusive, heterogeneous and effective participation by civil society in the local governance process.
Partners to boost Spanish trade, business presence and investment in Africa
The priority sectors identified are in this area are agri-food; water, sanitation and waste treatment; engineering and consulting; energy, particularly renewable energy; transport infrastructures; chemicals and pharmaceuticals; and digital transformation, a priority for the European Union and Spain alike.
Effective intellectual property and patent management is essential to ensure investment and business development. In Egypt , we are supporting improvements to the Egyptian Patent Office, particularly in the area of digitalisation. We also have a project that is working to digitalise education in Algeria in collaboration with the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research.
Partners for strengthening global public services – health, water and sanitation
Africa Focus 2023 prioritises strengthening the health systems in African countries. The pandemic has highlighted the need for strong, resilient health systems able to cope with future challenges similar to COVID-19.
Humanitarian action partners
Humanitarian action will focus on food security and nutrition, protection and education in emergencies. Another priority area is the protection of women and girls in conflict situations.
Partners to promote gender equality and empower women and girls
In line with the government’s intention to develop a feminist foreign policy, it is doubling down on its commitment to support the empowerment of women and girls in all its foreign activities. Among the measures proposed are the promotion of a Women, Peace and Security agenda and more determined interventions to stamp out female genital mutilation.
The gender perspective is a transversal approach applied to all the projects in which FIIAPP is a participant. However, this aspect is getting particular attention in Morocco through the Living Without Discrimination project and in Burkina Faso through the Bridging the Gap disability programme.
Partners for migration and mobility management. Collaboration in the fight against irregular migration and human trafficking networks and encouraging orderly, legal and safe migration
Irregular migration and human trafficking are risky for their victims. Spain is collaborating with security forces in Africa to deal with this problem. FIIAPP is assisting with the fight through projects such as A-TIPSOM. This European cooperation project works to combat human trafficking and irregular migrant smuggling in Nigeria , prioritising women, girls and boys, the main victims of trafficking.
With the National Police Joint Investigation Teams we work through the ECI Niger project to support the government of Niger in the fight against criminal networks , irregular immigration and human trafficking. In Senegal we are also working to improve this problem through the POC project to quash irregular immigration and trafficking.
Development cooperation plays a fundamental and essential role in putting the actions in Africa Focus 2023 into practice. FIIAPP is working in Africa to further the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals by fostering knowledge sharing with public institutions. We do this under the auspices of the European Union, following the guidelines set out in the External Action Strategy 2021-2024, the 3rd Africa Plan and, now, by Africa Focus 2023. The success of the projects in Africa shows the need to continue cooperating in the region and promoting development-oriented public policies to improve citizens’ lives. Public cooperation, for people and the planet.
23 April 2021
Although it is now common for several countries to jointly face global challenges, this is a relatively new phenomenon. The first commitment to multilateralism can be found just a century ago, in 1919, with the creation of the League of Nations. This first attempt was not very successful and demonstrated the difficulties that can arise when national interests have to be set aside for a greater cause.
During the last few decades the geopolitical scene has undergone major transformations such as a shift in the centres of power towards Asia and the Pacific, the loss of US hegemony, the appearance of new actors and the questioning of international institutions such as the WHO, the OECD and the IMF. We live in a time of fragmentation and volatility in which nationalism, individualism and mistrust challenge progress towards a more interconnected, global and united world. This makes it essential that actors such as the UN, the European Union and the states themselves reinforce their commitment to multilateralism in order to face the challenges of the present and the future. Starting with the recovery from a global pandemic that has reminded us of the importance of globalisation and the need to regulate global challenges.
The UN has been committed to multilateralism for 75 years. A clear example of this commitment is the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). These common objectives, to which all UN member countries have committed themselves, address complex issues that transcend borders such as climate change, the eradication of poverty and reducing inequality.
Among all the SDGs, number 17 “Alliances to Achieve the Goals” is, perhaps, the most relevant. Despite being the last on the list, it is essential for achieving the other goals. International alliances and multilateralism are the basis for guaranteeing a joint response to challenges that are insurmountable at the national level.
As the most advanced integration process at the global level, the European Union is one of the actors most committed to multilateralism and to strengthening international alliances. Earlier this year, the European Commission presented a new strategy to strengthen the EU’s contribution to multilateralism based on universal norms and values.
In this strategy, the European Union establishes dialogue, multilateral governance and international cooperation as essential strategic priorities to ensure a safer world and a sustainable and inclusive global recovery. The European Union is clear that cooperation and joint work as Team Europe is the only possible way.
The European Union’s commitment to multilateralism is strongly supported by Spain. The External Action Strategy 2021-2024 presented at the end of January includes regional integration and the reinforcement of multilateralism as one of its four substantive strands. Spain has the determined will to contribute to improving global governance mechanisms by supporting integration processes and promoting a more integrated, effective and reinforced multilateralism.
Both the European Union and Spain include international cooperation as a fundamental tool for achieving these objectives. FIIAPP is working via public technical cooperation to accompany public policy reform processes, but also to generate spaces of trust and alliances between administrations.
Through the regional programmes in which the Foundation participates, harmonised responses are being generated in the face of shared challenges. This generates common standards, policies and values and encourages rapprochement in international forums in favour of multilateral governance and sustainable development which benefits citizens.
FIIAPP is firmly committed to multilateralism, dialogue and joint work between actors from around the world. Public technical cooperation offers public institutions the opportunity to foster dialogue and the exchange of experiences, as well as to consolidate not only relationships but also shared links with citizens around the world.
05 March 2021
After decades of energy inefficiency, technological innovations have led to some enormous improvements in the responsible use of energy. However, the pressing need to curb climate change requires more efforts in this area.
Energy efficiency means optimising the use of resources to produce energy. As well as consuming fewer resources, it means reducing emissions. This is essential to gradual decarbonisation and to keep the increase in the planet’s temperature to a maximum of 1.5ºC. Companies and individuals have become more acutely aware of the finite nature of fossil fuels, their increasing cost and their environmental impact.
The international community made a global commitment in the 2015 Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda. The goal for 2030 is to ensure that everybody has access to electricity and to increase energy efficiency and the use of renewable sources of energy.
This general objective is specified in two of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Among the aims of SDG7 “Affordable and clean energy” is to double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency from 2015 to 2030. As the UN Energy Progress Report points out, although things are improving, there is still much to be done. SDG11 “Sustainable cities and communities” also warns of the concentration of the population in cities and the need to develop adequate, energy efficient urban infrastructures.
To this end, in 2012 the European Union enacted a series of binding measures to promote energy efficiency with Directive 2012/27 / EU. In 2020, under the European Green Deal, the European Union committed to a more demanding objective of improving energy efficiency from 20% to 32.5% compared to 1990 levels.
With the 2030 Agenda and with European and Spanish cooperation as its point of reference, FIIAPP has been working on cooperation projects with public administrations around the world for more than 20 years. With the maxim of benefiting citizens, several of the projects implemented by the Foundation have included the promotion of public policies to foster energy efficiency among their objectives.
For example, under the EUROCLIMA + cooperation programme, we are currently working in collaboration with Paraguay to promote clean technologies and energy efficiency. As part of the “Promotion of the Efficient Use of Biomass in Paraguay” action, the Vice Ministry of Mines and Energy and the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development (MADES) are receiving support to develop a calculation tool for SMEs to carry out self-diagnosis of energy consumption and identify potential savings points.
In the field of Public Technical Cooperation, the team is working to design and run a national dissemination campaign targeting the agro-industrial sector. The purpose of this campaign is to instil the concept of energy efficiency and its benefits in economic, social and environmental aspects in the productive sector.
FIIAPP also works closely on energy efficiency matters with Cuban public bodies. Cuba has launched a new roadmap for the country to gradually incorporate renewable energy sources and work on energy efficiency. The aim is that by 2030 at least 24% of the energy generated will be renewable with better efficiency. This would mean saving 1.73 million tons of fuel per year and avoid releasing 6 million tons of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere.
One of the actions of the Cuba-EU II Expert Exchange programme aims to improve energy efficiency in the Cuban hospitality sector. Three specialists from the Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute (IRC) are taking part in a Master’s Degree in Energy Conversion Systems and Technologies, at the Rovira y Virgilio University in Tarragona.
Alexander Maura is working on his thesis on solar energy-based conversion systems in a hotel in an isolated area that generates its own electricity using fossil fuels, Ricardo Domínguez’s thesis explores the use of biogas for refrigeration and air conditioning purposes of a pig farm while Carlos Luis Izquierdo is designing a grid-connected photovoltaic system at IRC to boost renewable energy and reduce emissions.
‘Cuba Renovables’ is another of the projects managed by FIIAPP to promote energy efficiency among Cuban institutions. The project is part of the “Cuba Energy Support Programme”, implemented through a programme of cooperation between the EU and Cuba. Its aim is to contribute to the effective implementation of the ‘Policy for the prospective development of renewable energy sources and energy efficiency’ in Cuba and its regulatory framework.
The project supports the new national policy promote rational use of energy by reducing consumption and increasing savings. Cuban institutions have already launched different awareness campaigns for the population. Companies also play an important role and work is being done to promote the production of equipment for private and industrial use that is more efficient in saving energy.
These projects are an example of the effort of the international community, the European Union and Spain to offer joint responses through cooperation to global problems such as climate change. With the 2030 Agenda, the SDGs and the European Development Consensus as a guide, FIIAPP encourages public institutions to share their experience, steering them to generate results, forge relationships of trust and strengthen values in societies.
19 February 2021
Democratising access to justice through community mediation is crucial to achieving greater social cohesion and social justice in Latin America
Larissa Estevan is a community mediation agent “driven by my love and commitment to the city where I grew up”, Samambaia, a region of Brasilia. “I became a community mediation agent after seeing a group of agents who enabled horizontal dialogue between recyclable material collectors, a very precarious profession in Brazil, university students and state representatives. At that meeting I fell in love with the Community Justice Programme”, explains Estevan.
Every day, Larissa Estevan works to “provide spaces for dialogue, law and justice in my territory.” One such case was that of Doña Ana, who went to her in the middle of a pandemic because her son had been arrested and she did not know what to do. “She was desperate when she came to us. It had been a month since he had been arrested and she had no information about him, and did not know where to go or how to seek help. We listened to Doña Ana and took the case to an assembly of the Community Justice Programme so that together we could think about possible guidelines, referrals and contacts so that she could exercise her right to have information about her son. Finally we put her in contact with the Ombudsman of the Federal District. A few days later, she called to thank us because she had found out where her son was being held and the Ombudsman’s Office had already provided her with a public defender”.
“Certainly, as long as there is inequality of powers, social justice will be necessary. The Community Justice Programme works to ensure that our community enjoys at least some of the social justice to which it is entitled, ” said Estevan.
European Union programmes such as EUROsociAL+ are working for greater social justice in Latin America so that citizens can have legal services and, ultimately, a better life. Specifically, the Democratic Governance area of the EUROsociAL+ programme, managed by FIIAPP through its Inclusive Justice line, is providing technical assistance to the Community Justice Programme of the Court of Justice of the Federal District and Territories of Brazil with technical support from the Council General of the Spanish Legal Profession.
Laura Cárdenas, communication consultant in the Governance area of the EUROsociAL+ programme
28 January 2021
“Just” – for whom? And a “transition” – to where? We analyse the concept and explain the contribution of EUROCLIMA+ with Cecilia Castillo, FIIAPP colleague and director of climate governance in the programme.Just Transition. For the planet and for people.
What is a Just Transition? Let’s break it down bit by bit.
Transition (Noun): The action and effect of passing from one mode of being, or of doing things, to another. This is how the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE) defines it and it is what the planet needs. Changing from a carbon-based economic model to a different one which is based on a decarbonised economy.
But what does this mean?
Although it seems like yesterday, six years have passed since reaching the milestone in the fight against climate change that was the historic signing in 2015 of the Paris Agreement. In other words, it was in Paris where a decision was taken about something that was agreed on by several persons. (This is how the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE) defines the word agreement). In the case that concerns us, the common decision was taken by several countries. Specifically 180, including Spain, China, France and the United States, which has just rejoined the agreement after the arrival of Joe Biden at the White House.
The Paris Agreement establishes a global framework in order that the planet and its inhabitants avoid dangerous climate change. How? Through the commitment made by signatories regarding global warming, in other words, that the temperature of the planet does not increase by more than 2°C and, if possible, is limited to at most an increase of 1.5°C.
Why is this significant? Because we know that the adverse effects of climate change derive from global warming. From warming caused by the emission into the atmosphere of greenhouse gases that is in turn a consequence of relying on carbon-based economies.
Therefore, to comply with the Paris Agreement, it is necessary to move from a carbon-based economic model to a different one based on a decarbonised economy. But what does decarbonise mean? ‘The terms decarbonise and decarbonisation are the correct ones to use when referring to the process of reducing carbon emissions, especially in the form of carbon dioxide‘. This is explained by the Foundation of Emerging Spanish ( Fundéu ) which it is advised by the RAE. The Fundéu also says:
‘Decarbonise is not the opposite of carbonise, a verb related to carbon, but rather refers to the process by which countries or other entities try to achieve a low-carbon emission economy’.
How can we make that transition?
According to the director of the Climate Governance area in the EUROLIMA+ programme, we must change the way we produce, the way we travel and the way we consume: ‘Decarbonisation can be achieved in different ways. Each country, depending on its particularities, will aim for a zero net emissions goal by tackling sectors with the greatest potential for reducing emissions: transport, building, industry, agriculture, forests and biodiversity’, the specialist affirms. In general, some of the measures that Latin American governments are already taking include:
-Investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency
-Reducing fossil fuel subsidies and redirecting them to sustainable economic sectors and activities
-Taxing emissions to send the market a clear signal (for example, with the “polluter pays principle”)
-Committing to electric transport (public and private)
The transition to a neutral economy and the adoption of these measures directly affects economic sectors such as coal mining and can lead to the progressive decline of many other sectors related to energy or transport. That is why making this transition is an opportunity, but it also poses new challenges so that progressive change from one model to another is socially just, without leaving anyone behind.
For example, explains the director of Democratic Governance, ‘the decarbonisation process in Latin America may destroy 7.5 million jobs, with electricity no longer being produced from fossil fuels’. However, according to a Report carried out jointly by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), such destruction of unsustainable jobs would be more than offset. ‘22.5 million jobs will be generated in renewable energy, new production of plant-derived food, forestry, construction and manufacturing’. Some examples of these new green jobs are in the field of organic farming, the sustainable rehabilitation of buildings, waste management, the protection and restoration of ecosystems, energy efficiency and renewable energies, among others.
For its part, the European Union (EU) has the European Green Deal, a roadmap to equip the EU with a sustainable economy that aspires to a climate neutral Europe by 2050 and outlines the necessary sustainable investments and financing tools available to ensure a just and inclusive transition that generates new jobs related to the promotion of renewable energies and more sustainable and resilient mobility and production models. In addition, the EU also has the Mechanism for a Just Transition (MTJ in its Spanish initials), a fundamental element which enables the transition to a climate neutral economy to be equitably carried out.
The EUROCLIMA+ programme
EUROCLIMA+ is the EU’s flagship programme for environmental sustainability and climate change mitigation in Latin America. Its objective is to reduce the impact of climate change and its effects on the continent. The programme works by assisting countries that are already beginning to address the just transition. The objective, during the process of transformation and green recovery, is to mitigate climate change while protecting the most vulnerable citizens and professionals. The latter being carried out through integration, creation, coordination, organisation and dialogue between the various sectors of energy, environment, work and social policies.
Currently, the programme is preparing the publication of a new study of topics, prepared by Teresa Cavero and Arantxa Guereña for FIIAPP, based on the analysis of the progress made in incorporating the Just Transition approach in national climate policies, taking into account the case study from six countries: Spain, Chile, Costa Rica, Panama, Peru and Uruguay.