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.
25 November 2020
The 25 of November is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. At the International and Ibero-American Foundation for Administration and Public Policies (FIIAPP), we took a look at the situation worldwide and the role of international cooperation with the gender specialist, Cecilia Güemes.25 de Noviembre, Día Internacional de la Eliminación de la Violencia Contra la Mujer
Approximately 15 million teenage women (15 to 19 years old) around the world have suffered forced sexual relations at some point in their lives according to UNICEF. Globally, one in three women has suffered physical or sexual violence, mainly from an intimate partner, according to the UN . A total of 72% of all victims of human trafficking globally are women and girls and four out of five women victims of trafficking are used for sexual exploitation according to UNODC. In addition, at least 200 million women and girls between the ages of 15 and 49 have been subjected to female genital mutilation in 30 countries where representative data is available according to UNICEF.
Faced with this reality, 25 November is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. A specific type of violence that is exercised against women due to the mere fact that they are women: ‘Violence against women is not something some group made up – it refers to a specific type of violence directed at women and based on historical structural factors and the construction of roles where control, domination, and invisibility or the assignment of a specific role in the social representation of women is sought’, according to the president of the Research Group on Government, Administration, and Public Policy (GIGAPP), Cecilia Güemes.
A doctor in political science and a lawyer, Güemes’s career has been spent in the field of research in matters such as social and political trust, public policies, and social cohesion. In addition, she collaborates with the Carolina Foundation and is the author of publications such as ‘Women in Ibero-America: Government Tools for a Change that Has Already Begun’ and ‘It will be Law.The Fight for the Legalisation of Abortion in Argentina’.
For this specialist, public institutions play a key role in combating gender-based violence, something reflected in the commitments adopted in 2015, when 193 countries pledged to work towards compliance with the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The fifth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) is to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. With this in mind, this SDG establishes a number of targets such as eliminating all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including human trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation and approving and strengthening sound policies and applicable laws to promote gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels. According to Güemes, concrete actions of governments affect and shape social reality, so she defends the need for women and the gender perspective to be part of policy-making, that the gender perspective be integrated into all government actions and all areas, ‘not only that there are specific institutions dedicated to gender issues’, but that a budget be allocated to design, implement, and evaluate policies with a gender perspective and, finally, that civil servants in charge of managing the public be trained in the gender perspective.
The FIIAPP’s Commitment
The FIIAPP, as a cooperation agency that works closely with public institutions, is aware of the role of the Foundation in promoting collaboration between different social agents to create an environment of peace and sustainable development, from a gender perspective. This approach is applied from programmes funded by the European Union in various sectors such as security, the fight against human trafficking, access to justice in an inclusive way, the fight against corruption, and the mitigation of climate change. Programmes such as EUROsociAL+, a programme managed by FIIAPP in collaboration with other European agencies, are prioritising the gender approach in their action plans.
This is also the case of the EUROCLIMA+ programme in Latin America, through which the integration and involvement of women in policy-making and decision-making regarding the effects of climate change are sought. They are not, however, the only projects that apply the gender perspective. European programmes such as EL PAcCTO and A-TIPSOM , which fight organised crime in Latin America and human trafficking in Nigeria, respectively, also apply working methods based on gender equality.
In this way, the FIIAPP reaffirms its commitment to eradicating violence against women and the key role of cooperation to combat this problem, something which Güemes agrees with: ‘International cooperation is key insofar as it is capable of contributing with economic, human, and cognitive resources to the development of public policy, in monitoring and evaluating actions, and in the use of best practices, especially in societies that are resistant to these topics, where social roles are normatively established’.
Reading to raise awareness this 25N
‘There are lots of books that I would recommend where you get a peek at the change of era and in which the external and internal struggles that occupy women today are portrayed’, explains this Carolina Foundation collaborator. ‘Two Argentine authors that I really liked are Luciana Peker (Putita golosa and La revolucion de las hijas) and Tamara Tenenbaum (El fin del amor). I also recommend following her work on social media’.
In and from Europe, Güemes recommends Vanessa Springora’s recent work, Consent. ‘I liked it a lot as it reveals the hypocrisies and contradictions in Western societies’.
Finally, regarding contemporary authors, the president of GIGAPP recommends reading women authors who describe the tensions suffered by women who seek to question or break with gender roles and contribute to the work, not only of deconstructing, but of building a new society in their stories. ‘Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Olga Tokarczuk, Siri Hustvedt, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Vivian Gornick, to name some of the ones I liked the most’, she concludes.
By Cristina Blasco, ( @cbm_cris ). FIIAPP communication team.
29 October 2020
Faced with the global debacle caused by the pandemic, the European Union launches a forceful response that meets the emerging needs of partner countries and strengthens their institutions to cooperate and work hand in hand in the fight against COVID-19 and its consequences
Although it is not a war, many specialists already equate the consequences of the pandemic with those of a war. Putting debates about whether it is appropriate to use warlike language on hold, there is no doubt that the beginning of 2020 was something more than just the beginning of an ordinary year. A new decade had begun, one that will be marked by a global pandemic, the likes of which, in Spain, we were aware, due to the seriousness of the situation in our country in March. The outbreak of the pandemic will mark the 2020s just as great challenges have marked so many decades in the past. COVID-19 has meant that things have been upended, to a greater or lesser extent, in the lives of everyone and regarding the situation of each continent.
The case of Latin America is especially worrying. Coronavirus is a global threat which, although it does not distinguish between borders, has a differentiated impact due to the context of each region. Historical and structural challenges in Latin America have turned the continent into the global focus of the pandemic, which shows the need for solidarity and multilateralism to face this problem.
On 8 April, the European Commission adopted the European Union’s global response to COVID-19 to support its partner countries and leave no one behind in the fight against the pandemic, establishing the so-called Team Europe. It is an initiative based on the necessary joint work between the European institutions, the Member States and their implementing agencies, together with the development finance institutions. The political backup came from the Council of the European Union (EU) in its conclusions of 8 June.
Since last spring, the EU has mobilised around €36 billion, redirected in record time to meet the new needs created by the pandemic.
The activities carried out within the framework of Team Europe focus on the three priorities of the Commission. These are to provide an emergency response to the health crisis and humanitarian needs, to support the strengthening of research, health and water systems and, thirdly, to address the economic and social consequences.
These three priorities show that the European contribution to the global response to COVID19 does not only seek immediate solutions, but is focused on addressing the emerging needs of the recovery in the medium and long term. All this, with special attention on the achievement of the 2030 Agenda Sustainable Development Goals, with this year marking the 5th anniversary since their adoption and the beginning of a decade of action, as indicated by the UN. Thus, the European Green Deal and the Digital Agenda provide the backbone of the EU’s response to ensure that the recovery is also green and digital, based on sustainable human development.
In this context, FIIAPP, as part of the Spanish and European cooperation effort, is also an institution that is part of Team Europe. Furthermore, as a member of the European Practitioners’ Network, the Foundation is actively participating in strategic dialogue with its European partners, and within the network, with the European Commission. An exercise focused on contributing to the reception of Team Europe, for example, through the mobilisation of knowledge from the public sector.
Through this approach, FIIAPP, together with Spanish state bodies, has accompanied partner countries in their response to the pandemic and its consequences. More than 96 activities have been carried out in Latin America, the European Neighbourhood and the Sahel, mostly aimed at supporting vulnerable people and health systems, reinforcing the rule of law and strengthening economic systems.
In the Eastern Neighbourhood, FIIAPP supports the Georgian authorities in the preparation of a document analysing the economic impact caused by the COVID19 crisis. In Morocco, FIIAPP has supported the analysis of the impact of the pandemic on the inclusion of migrants, and in Nigeria it has organised an exchange of experiences on the impact of COVID-19 on female victims of trafficking. In Macedonia, for example, FIIAPP has supported the postal service to improve the protection of its workers against the coronavirus. In Latin America and the Caribbean, support has been given to the fight against misinformation about the pandemic, the acquisition of health and campaign material for border posts; as well as fiscal policies against the coronavirus. FIIAPP has also supported countries in Latin America and the Caribbean in the promotion of a sustainable recovery after COVID-19 through the EUROCLIMA+ programme.
All this has taken place in a context marked by mobility restrictions that have created a race against time to adapt to the circumstances without stopping cooperation. In this sense, FIIAPP has rapidly adapted to online medium by launching tools such as ConnectFIIAPP. It has been able to continue its Twinning and TAIEX (Technical Assistance and Information Exchange) activities and make valuable contributions to the Team Europe approach. In addition, this digital advance will enable the complementing and enriching of the current offer of institutional support, as well as strength the resilience and adaptability of the Twinning and TAIEX instruments.
To help respond in a structured way to immediate needs in partner countries, and from the Team Europe perspective, FIIAPP, together with other organisations from the EU Member States, is supporting the international cooperation service of the European Commission in the identification and prioritisation of demands. The inter-institutional dialogue methodology of the current regional programmes of the EU in Latin America has been capitalised on for this exercise, which is called COVID Roundtables. In a joint and coordinated manner from the EU Delegations in the countries, work is being done to detect these needs. Working together with partner public administrations in order to articulate support the EU and its Member States will be able to offer them from their ongoing technical cooperation actions. In a first pilot exercise, three “COVID Roundtables” have been established in Argentina, Ecuador and Costa Rica, with FIIAPP being the main facilitator of the latter two.
The work has been intense, but there is still a long road ahead. FIIAPP faces the situation with the conviction that international cooperation is vital to ensure that no one is left behind in this decade marked by a global pandemic, which undoubtedly requires a global response to which FIIAPP is fully committed so that the recovery can be green, digital and inclusive.
28 September 2020
FIIAPP celebrates the International Day of Universal Access to Information and works towards this right through its projects
The International Day of Universal Access to Information is a day of global recognition designated by the General Conference of UNESCO which has been observed since 2016. The resolution, in part promoted by civil society groups in search of greater transparency, states that “the right to seek, receive and impart information is an inseparable part of the right to freedom of expression”. This same document points out that both freedom of expression and universal access to information are cornerstones for building inclusive knowledge societies.
Freedom of expression is a right recognised by Resolution 59 of the United Nations General Assembly, approved in 1946, as well as by Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), which provides that the fundamental right to freedom of expression includes the right “to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers”. In this way, freedom of information can be defined as the right to have access to information that is not classified as restricted and that is in the hands of public entities.
For this reason, having laws that guarantee access to information is an essential factor in any democratic society, since it guarantees greater transparency in the internal processes that take place within it. The right to information grants greater freedom and empowerment to citizens.
This day is especially significant for the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), in particular SDG 16, which requires guaranteeing public access to information and the protection of fundamental freedoms. In line with this objective, FIIAPP projects seek to contribute to this universal right.
One of the projects in whose management the Foundation participates is EUROsociAL+, through which it seeks to support the improvement of social cohesion in Latin American countries, as well as their institutional strengthening. Specifically, the project’s governance area, which works towards transparency and access to information in Latin America, will launch the “Legislative Transparency Toolbox” which is carried out through collaboration between the Transparency and Access to Information Network (RTA) and Parlaméricas.
Also in the region, the project Support for the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda in Paraguay is in operation, which aims to promote the country’s sustainable development through the acceleration of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and SDGs. To achieve this, two main objectives have been set: on the one hand, that the country has an efficient governance system that includes official statistical data to facilitate monitoring and evaluation, and on the other, that there are better public policies to effectively implement the 2030 Agenda, in particular SDG 5 (gender equality) and SDGs 13 and 15 (protection of the environment).
On the other hand, on the African continent the Supporting Transparency and Anti-Corruption in Ghana project aims to reduce corruption and improve accountability in the country. The project is supporting the Ghanaian Government in developing the Ghana National Anti-Corruption Plan (NACAP). Also, together with Ghanaian civil society organisations, it has participated in forums that have aimed to promote the approval of the Access to Information Act in Ghana.
How is it possible to empower citizens through access to information?
What these projects have in common is that they guarantee transparency by strengthening good governance, and if we understand the right to information as being a human right, this turns out to be the basis for the development of many other civil and universal rights since it does not just guarantee that citizens are fully aware of the truth, but also requires that government procedures are transparent. Therefore, having a law on access to information turns out to be a key factor for every society and country that claims to be egalitarian as it helps to prevent acts of corruption, crimes against humanity and to reduce inequalities.
The former director of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, explained access to information as a “commitment by governments to formulate, approve and apply policies and laws on the right to information in order to ensure respect for this human right. This requires efficient enforcement mechanisms and a culture of transparency in all institutions”.
For this reason, at FIIAPP we commemorate the World Access to Information Day every day through our work and we will continue to fight so that all regions across the world, especially those most disadvantaged, can fully enjoy all their rights and belong to a more informed, fair and free society.
30 July 2020
An expert from the A-TIPSOM project tells us why cooperation is more necessary than ever to fight human trafficking today.
In accordance with the Protocol to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime, human trafficking is defined as “the action of capturing, transporting, transferring, welcoming or receiving persons, resorting to the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, kidnapping, fraud, deception, abuse of power (…) for the purpose of exploitation”. According to this same document, exploitation can take different forms, whether sexual, forced labour or services, practices analogous to slavery, servitude or organ removal.
The current health and food emergency triggered by Covid-19 has increased the vulnerability of potential victims to any type of exploitation, mainly in countries that already had poorly developed infrastructure. The situation of poverty and food shortages provides the ideal scenario for criminal organisations to increase their opportunities to deceive, especially regarding women and girls at risk, offering them false promises of a better job and future.
The coordinator of the A-TIPSOM project in Nigeria, Rafael Ríos, explains how these criminal organisations have used the pandemic crisis as an opportunity to reach and recruit their victims: “90% of the Nigerian population makes a living from street hawking and with the closing of businesses they are unable to carry out this activity. Statistics say that Nigerians survive on less than a euro a day, their mission is to go out onto the street to try to sell something. By making that daily income impossible, they become victims who are much more vulnerable, because they are desperate and they will do anything to earn that money”.
A-TIPSOM is a project funded by the European Union (EU) and managed by FIIAPP, which aims to reduce human trafficking and migrant smuggling in Nigeria and between that African country and the European Union. To achieve this, the project addresses the problem through five main lines known as the five Ps: Politics, Prevention, Protection, Persecution and Partnership.
Humantrafficking rates in Nigeria have become a focus of concern for the international community. In order to eradicate this illegal practice, the Nigerian government launched the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) in 2003 and enacted the Law Against Trafficking in Persons in 2015.
International cooperation, a key tool to eradicate human trafficking
Victims of trafficking are often transferred from one community to another, especially from rural to urban areas and from developing to developed countries through false promises. The involvement in this chain of these criminal networks, which operate from different geographical points, requires joint cooperation between countries in order to effectively combat this type of illegal business.
According to the United Nations, migrants are the group most vulnerable to being exploited and having their lives placed at risk. Every year, thousands of people die of suffocation in containers, perish in the middle of the desert or drown in the sea while being smuggled to another country.
Rafael Ríos points out that cooperation, today more than ever, has become essential: “the interruption of cooperation at this time would mean a second victimisation for the women and girls who are trafficked”. And he adds: “We are talking about female victims who have been trafficked and who have suffered nightmarish situations solely because of their interest in reaching a new destination. Our project not only runs prevention campaigns to make Nigerian women understand what human trafficking is and prevent them from falling into the hands of these networks, but we are also working to improve their living conditions in Nigeria so that they can find a job”.
Human trafficking and irregular migration prosper when there is a lack of sustainable preventive measures. The Citizens’ Association to combat trafficking in human beings and all forms of gender violence (ATINA), warns that in order to prevent human trafficking, attention must first be paid to the causes that lead to this situation.Traffickers tend to exploit and take advantage of the needs of potential victims, whether they are basic needs, such as housing and food, or emotional needs, such as love and belonging. Ríos points out that improving the living conditions of the victims is a key factor since it obviates the need for them to emigrate to another country, putting their lives at risk in doing so.
The cross-border dimension of the problem adds an extra complexity that requires it to be addressed by multiple agencies, both governmental and international, to coordinate a response with a multidisciplinary approach that covers criminal justice, human rights, investment and development.
On World Day against Trafficking in Persons, FIIAPP ratifies its support and commitment to cooperation in the fight against organised crime that impedes the development of countries and puts the lives of the most vulnerable people at risk.