27 December 2023
As we take stock at the end of the year, we have chosen some of the most significant achievements of 2023. We continue to work towards stronger public systems for people and the planet
In the last days of December we tend to look back on all that we have achieved during the year. It is a time for reflection, but it is also a time for new resolutions and dreams. At FIIAPP we are well aware of this and our drive to continue building and improving public systems for people and the planet does not cease. Moreover, this year has been very special because we have completed 25 years of cooperation, sharing knowledge and experiences in more than 120 countries.
There are many achievements and they do not fit in a post of X or in a video. Not even in this blog. However, these 34 achievements are a sample of the tireless and enthusiastic work of our public sector professionals in cooperation.
With the firm conviction that public policies can and must improve people’s lives, they are committed to working with FIIAPP on a wide range of issues: justice, peace, development, environment, security, social policies, rights, digitalisation…
Our public administrations are full of talent and commitment.
These achievements are yours, they are ours.
Ukraine: new IT curriculum for early childhood, primary and secondary education to prepare 4 million students for a post-conflict digital future.
Somalia, Kenya and Djibouti: civil service training for the digital transformation of the administration.
Latin America and the Caribbean: Latin America and the European Union strengthen their Digital Alliance to ensure data protection and digital rights in both regions.
Paraguay: strengthening statistical capacity by integrating information on health, civil registry and migration, among others.
Latin America and the Caribbean: accompanying decarbonisation strategies and strengthening the capacities of climate services.
Cuba: updating energy policy by orienting it towards green energy (thermal districts, climate finance and agro-ecological value chains).
Guatemala and Dominican Republic: support for circular economy strategies and strengthening forest fire management.
Amazonia: launch of the Amazonian Network for Integrated Fire Management (RAMIF).
Lebanon: creation of the “Green Police” app for reporting environmental crimes.
Dominican Republic: positioned as a benchmark in the digitisation of justice in the Caribbean.
MERCOSUR: creation of an international protection order for victims of gender-based violence.
Peru and Bolivia: strengthening the capacities of police and justice institutions to curb organised crime by creating joint security and justice investigation teams.
Uruguay: support for sustainable certifications to guarantee exports in line with the EU regulation on deforestation.
Continental Africa: creation of a free trade area with a focus on young people, making the tools and opportunities offered by this treaty available to them.
Tunisia: development of municipal programmes on youth and sport.
Morocco: implementation of the youth card and support for a future youth law in the country.
Fight against terrorism and organised crime
Sahel: creation of 13 rapid action groups to ensure security in areas at high risk of organised crime. This presence has enabled the reopening of markets, schools and health centres.
Senegal, Ghana and Kenya: 300 security officers trained to protect public spaces from potential terrorist attacks.
Lebanon: publication of the first report on the state of human rights in the country, with the support of our project Community Policing.
8 African countries: Training in European legislation on regular migration for public officials responsible for migration management, civil society organisations and European embassies. In addition, we have developed e-learning platforms for European and African civil servants responsible for migration management and for civil society organisations.
Latin America and the Caribbean: creation of the Athens Network in 6 countries in the region to exchange information and control document fraud.
Colombia and Ecuador: implementation of the “One Stop Control” system to speed up the passage of people.
MERCOSUR and the Andean Community: implementation of border regulations and information exchange mechanisms to stop organised crime. Creation of a border management diploma course for officials from six pilot borders.
Fight against trafficking
Nigeria: creation of a national database for the investigation of trafficking networks and the protection of victims.
Dominican Republic, Haiti and Jamaica: equipping Interpol offices with state-of-the-art technology to provide a network for information and investigation of human trafficking and smuggling crimes.
Angola: implementation of participatory governance mechanisms, open governments and citizen laboratories.
Mexico: development of a fiscal model for social cohesion, strengthening revenue collection and the quality and transparency of spending.
Latin America and the Caribbean: reinforcement of drug observatories and institutional coordination against the laundering of assets derived from drug trafficking.
Chile: new approaches to drug policies such as socio-labour for young people with drug problems or mental health monitoring in juvenile homes.
Central Asia: implementation of treatment and care aimed at the specific needs of women with drug use problems, both in the community and in prisons.
Spanish cooperation: public technical cooperation is included in Spain in the new Law on Cooperation for Sustainable Development and Global Solidarity. This year we have mobilised more than 620 public professionals from more than 180 European institutions.
25th anniversary: we celebrate our 25th anniversary consolidating the commitment to cooperation of Spanish Public Talent. We also commemorated the 25th anniversary of the twinning programme, led in Spain by the FIIAPP.
European cooperation: we have managed to get the European Public Service Ministries to share a roadmap with the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation. Objective: to position public sector international cooperation as a driver of development.
20 November 2023
Agrivoltaic energy can be seen as the perfect fusion of agriculture and photovoltaics. It is about harnessing the use of the land beneath the solar panels for various crops and livestock. Solar farms are transformed from dry, barren plots of land to lush, lively spaces. This is a major step towards a more sustainable development
Carbon footprint reduction, crop production or job promotion are some of the benefits of agrivoltaic energy, a sustainable alternative for solar farm land. It is an increasingly common trend that offers a second life to abandoned soils dedicated exclusively to the exploitation of solar energy. However, these spaces have good growing conditions, as the solar panels protect them from the sun and adverse weather conditions.
Cuba and agrivoltaic energy: social, economic and environmental benefits
From a social point of view, the implementation of this new technology boosts job creation in the agricultural and energy sector, which helps reduce unemployment and improves people’s quality of life. In addition, through increased food production, it improves access to fresh and healthy food for the population, promotes environmental education and awareness of the importance of sustainability and the conservation of natural resources. Agri-violence promotes community participation in food and energy production, which contributes to strengthening social ties and fostering collaboration between communities.
Economically, it supports increased food and energy production, thereby reducing dependence on imports and improving food and energy security. Furthermore, agri-voltaics generates additional income for farmers by enabling them to produce both food and energy on the same piece of land, helping to improve the local and national economy as well as reducing production costs. Internationally, it is a very attractive technology for attracting foreign investment in this sector and promoting the development of sustainable and efficient technologies.
From an environmental point of view, by using the same land for food and energy production, it reduces the need to deforest new areas for the installation of solar panels, contributing to soil conservation by reducing erosion and water evaporation on the land. In effect, it promotes biodiversity by creating an environment conducive to the growth of different crops and plants, as well as beneficial insects and pollinators. On the other hand, the generation of clean energy through solar panels reduces greenhouse gas emissions and contributes to mitigating climate change.
FIIAPP committed to renewable energy in Cuba: exchanging experiences among professionals
In the framework of the EU-Cuba expert-exchange project to promote renewable energy sources and energy efficiency in Cuba, led by FIIAPP and financed by the European Union, the University of Sancti Spíritus “José Martí Pérez” (UNISS) and the sister project Renewable Energy Sources for Local Development (FRE-local) have been supported to increase their knowledge and capacities related to this technology, with the ultimate goal of creating agricultural power plants in Cuba and strengthening local development in the country through renewable energies, thus increasing the country’s competitiveness in the global market.
The exchange of experiences between specialists from peer institutions is the basis of the work developed in the FIIAPP, which aims to improve public systems for people and the planet.
The implementation of agrivoltaics in Cuba could be of great importance for the country, as it would allow for a more efficient use of available resources to produce food and energy. It would also help reduce Cuba’s dependence on fossil fuels to generate electricity, which would contribute to improving the country’s energy security and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This would be especially important in a country like Cuba, which faces significant economic and environmental challenges.
Therefore, in the framework of the Project in Cuba, UNISS professors have visited Italy and France, where they got to know different agroforestry plants, in collaboration with the Italian Association for Sustainable Agriculture (AIAS) and Learning Action for Nature and Development (LAND).
At the end of November, two experts from the Italian agency Agenzia nazionale per le nuove tecnologie, l’energia e lo sviluppo economico sostenibile (ENEA) and the Polytechnic University of Cartagena (UPCT) will travel to Cuba to carry out a workshop on the design and operation of agroforestry systems to support local sustainable development in rural areas.
Dr. Julio Pedraza Garciga, Professor at the Centro de Estudios de Energía y Procesos Industriales of the University of Sancti Spíritus “José Martí Pérez” (UNISS) in Cuba.
Dr. C. Kolima Peña Calzada, Professor at the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences of the University of Sancti Spíritus “José Martí Pérez” (UNISS) in Cuba.
Carolina González Quinteros, Technician of the EU-Cuba expert-exchange project to promote renewable energy sources and energy efficiency in Cuba, FIIAPP.
13 November 2023
The European Union's Twinning programme, launched in 1998 to support public policy reforms in EU candidate countries, turns 25Family photo during the "Institution Building Days 2023"
In 1998, the European Union launched the twinning programme to support candidate countries onm their path to EU membership in the institutional reforms needed to bring them closer to European policies and standards. Such has been its success that, after 25 years, more than 2,800 twinning projects have been completed, and the programme has extended its geographical reach globally, including Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa and Asia-Pacific.
The programme facilitates the twinning of two counterpart administrations by temporarily assigning one or more civil servants from a European country to work alongside their counterparts in the partner country’s public administration to strengthen their institutions and public policies in fields such as environment, health, justice, transport, digitalisation, forensic research, education, youth, fisheries policy, customs… In other words, it is about connecting public systems to work on specific challenges in the field of public policies.
In 1999, Spain signed an agreement with the European Commission to join the programme. Thos was the same year when FIIAPP was established as the sole managing entity for such programmes in Spain, in support of the National Contact Point in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Among others, we have improved the blood donation and transplant system in Croatia, strengthened the Ombudsman in Macedonia, improved the Patent Office in Egypt, supported the improvement of rail transport in Ukraine or accompanied the reform of the judicial system in the Dominican Republic.
Beyond the specific achievements of each project, this programme allows the EU to project its most distinctive added values in its external action, i.e. its regulatory standards, its public policy models and its founding values, such as the rule of law, social cohesion and democratic governance. Moreover, thanks to this programme, Spanish institutions such as the Ombudsman, the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office or the General Council of the Judiciary have built trust-based relationships with their counterparts in third countries and strengthened their own human capital with new knowledge and perspectives.
The “Institution Building Days”, organised by the European Commission, took place in Brussels on 17 and 18 October 2023, bringing together the National Contact Points for the Twinning programme. In this framework, Ricardo Sánchez-Blanco, National Contact Point at the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, stressed the importance of Twinning to facilitate the implementation of new European strategies such as Global Gateway. He also emphasized Spain’s firm commitment to mobilising the expertise of its public administrations, as reflected in the new cooperation law and in FIIAPP. He also highlighted Spain’s sound track record in Twinning programmes, having successfully implemented more than 350 projects in 34 countries and mobilised more than 5,000 civil servants.
Álvaro Martínez, FIIAPP’s Strategy Area Technician
18 October 2023
We present a series of talks between the European Union and Latin America on cooperation on cross-border crime, in the framework of the European EUROFRONT programme
One morning, a national police station in Spain receives a report of the theft of a vehicle. It was a top-of-the-range Maserati car. The first investigations led to the identification of the modus operandi used by the persons responsible for the theft.
A few days later, there was an increase in reports of the theft of high-end cars (Land Rover, BMW, Mercedes…) in several European countries, where a very similar theft system had been used. This circumstance leads the agents, coordinated through EUROPOL, to believe that they could be dealing with a single organisation. This is a case of organised crime, the definition of which implies that three or more people, over a prolonged period of time and seeking their own benefit or power, commit a series of serious crimes. Collaboration between police authorities allows the keys to be identified in order to bring the case to court.
As the investigation progressed, it was discovered that the vehicles were used to transport drugs in various European countries and that the gang organising the robbery was linked to a large drug trafficking network with a transnational presence. Once certain vehicle models, which are rare in Latin America, have reached the end of their useful life, the network sends them in containers to be sold in the region. Following the trail of the theft and the sale of is helping to unravel the web of connections that the cartel uses to weave the relationships that, to date, have allowed it to circulate its product.
How do connected crimes operate across borders?
The narrative description with which we have opened this article, based on real situations, does not correspond to any known criminal plot. However, this story could well represent a sum of criminal realities whose common factor is the use of borders as a vehicle. Such events are a major challenge for Europe and Latin America. Our objective is, therefore, to give practical expression to a set of complex, supra-regional threats that require the cooperation of multidisciplinary teams (police, judicial, penitentiary, specialised in migration and, above all, in the field of public management).
This is one of the greatest obstacles to the protection of human rights. A complex and multifaceted challenge, which we will unravel through expert voices in a series of video-conversations entitled “Dialogue between regions against border crime” and coordinated by the EUROFRONT programme.
Challenges of cross-border crime and coordination between EU programmes in Latin America
These video-conversations between EU-LATAM experts also involve the heads of four EU-funded programmes promoted by the FIIAPP and its partners, which extends to more than 30 countries in Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa. These colloquia reflect some of the work being carried out in some of these countries, so it is a small sample of the great work of the whole network.
All of them place at the centre of their methodology the exchange between specialists from Europe and Latin America, as equals, favouring the development of mutual capacities and the sum of wills. This is what each of the programme leaders tell us, and how they define their work:
– José Antonio Cambronero (EUROFRONT): “We work to strengthen and streamline border management in seven Latin American partner countries”.
– Agustín Fernández (EL PAcCTO): “This is the first programme that addresses the entire penal chain: police, judicial and penitentiary levels”.
– Manuel Rodríguez (Support Programme for the EU in the fight against drugs and organised crime in Peru): “Our objectives are to strengthen police, judges and prosecutors’ schools, increase inter-institutional coordination and optimise intelligence in the fight against drug trafficking”.
– Alfredo Díaz Sánchez (SEACOP: Programme on illicit maritime trafficking and associated criminal networks): “We are in 29 countries (Latin America, Caribbean and Africa) strengthening training and operational processes”.
Organised crime, drug trafficking and vehicle trafficking
We also had the testimony of representatives from Argentina, Ecuador, Spain and Paraguay who participated in the Regional Meeting on Cross-Border Crime organised by EUROFRONT. As Manuel Rodríguez pointed out at the beginning, “meetings such as the one held are fundamental for the coordination of actions, the human factor is important, as well as meeting and exchanging with the people with whom we will participate in the operations”.
In this dialogue, Álvaro Álvarez Santiago, Chief Inspector of the Itinerant Crime Section of the Spanish National Police, and John Esteban Game Villacis, Undersecretary of Public Security of Ecuador, discuss the challenges and activities that their respective countries are developing in the fight against organised crime.
For example, Ecuador is going to start the accession process to have a liaison officer at Europol, or that Latin America is creating the CLASI (Latin American Committee for Internal Security) to bring together different areas of police coordination. We will also see how various regional organisational actions “have been able to dismantle criminal organisations in several countries simultaneously”, in Álvarez’s words.
In relation to the civilian population’s perception of European cooperation, we would like to highlight Game Villacís’ words: “citizens need action against invisible organised crime and corruption, not just against everyday criminals”.
The conclusions of this block are, in turn, linked to what Alejandro Ñamandú tells us in the following video: “It would be clumsy not to exchange experiences between the different international police agencies”.
There is no doubt that drug trafficking is often at the centre of discussions on cross-border crime. In the words of Alfredo Díaz Sánchez, head of SEACOP, “although there are other illicit flows addressed in this programme, the main flow between Latin America and Europe is drugs”.
To broaden our vision in this regard, we attended the dialogue between Juan Antonio Sánchez Jiménez, Chief Inspector of the Central Narcotics Brigade of the Spanish National Police, and Carlos Alejandro Ñamandú, Commissioner General, Superintendent of Federal Investigations and Federal Police of Argentina.
In conclusion, we would like to highlight the words of Alejandro Ñamandú: “Investigation is not an exact science. The exchange of experiences is fundamental to grow as an investigator (…) Criminal organisations are very specialised, they cooperate with each other and that is why police groups worldwide have to collaborate”.
We return to broaden the focus with the fourth and final discussion, because, as Agustín Fernández of EL PAcCTO reminds us, “drug trafficking is not a single crime, it affects other crimes and must be tackled from an integral aspect with joint investigation teams”.
This is the crime with which we began the article and about which we can now learn more, thanks to the testimonies of Pedro Heriberto Lesme Servín, commissioner in the Department against organised crime of the Paraguayan National Police, and Jorge Carrascal, chief inspector and head of the Organised Crime Section in the Central Unit for Drugs and Organised Crime (UDYCO) of the Spanish National Police.
As Jorge Carrascal tells us, “criminal organisations use vehicle theft as an end in itself, reselling them in other countries to obtain economic profit”. In addition, adds Pedro Heriberto, “there are vehicles with increasingly higher technological quality and this generates new challenges”. Faced with this situation, “some countries may be more advanced in the fight against certain modus operandi, hence the importance of cooperation”, underlines Carrascal.
We see that one of the great challenges is to update the training of agents. Furthermore, as Jorge Carrascal emphasises, “we have to focus on borders, as criminal organisations change countries to make investigation more difficult“. This statement serves as a closing statement for these colloquia, which place the border at the service of the countries working against transnational crime. Among them, the eight EUROFRONT partner countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay and Peru), whom we thank for their contribution.
16 October 2023
One of the basic - and fundamental - human needs is the right to satisfy hunger. The right to food entails multiple actions and requires the existence of conditions and factors that make it possible to obtain food
Wars, occupations, plunder, robbery and domination have developed around the need to eat. The right to food is much more than being fed, it is the right to be fed in dignity and in an adequate manner that provides all the nutritional components a person needs to live a healthy and active life, as well as the means to access them. Undoubtedly, the entrenched socio-political factors of nutritional inequalities and their relationship to power imbalances need to be addressed if no one is to be left behind.
In this sense, the challenge of eradicating hunger and food insecurity in the world needs a universal agenda and country- and context-specific strategies, necessarily taking into consideration a people-centred and human rights-based approach. This requires concerted efforts that translate into political commitments to ensure the real implementation of ad hoc policies and programmes, as well as the mobilisation of sufficient resources to achieve a global guarantee of the human right to adequate food and the transformation of agri-food systems to provide healthy diets for all.
Malnutrition and poverty – a vicious cycle
While healthy diets are a cornerstone of good nutrition, it is important to recognise that there are many other determinants of nutritional status that are often associated with multidimensional poverty, such as universal access to health, safe water, sanitation, education, social protection, gender equality and women’s empowerment, requiring greater attention to preventive approaches across sectors.
For example, women and adolescent girls are particularly prone to poor diets and malnutrition due to their increased nutritional needs (e.g., during menstruation, pregnancy or breastfeeding) and factors such as social norms and gender inequality.
Investments to reduce malnutrition in women are important not only for their own health, but also for the health and nutrition of their children, given the relationship between maternal and child nutritional status. The vicious cycle of poverty and malnutrition is perpetuated throughout the life cycle and across generations, as low-birth-weight babies become stunted children and grow into undernourished adolescents and adults, with physical, cognitive and economic implications.
Challenges and interconnected solutions
All of the world’s challenges are interconnected, and so are their solutions. By promoting sustainable agrifood systems around the world, we reduce the number of poor and hungry people, help combat climate change and preserve natural resources for future generations. With less than 10 years to go to reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) deadline, we aim to accelerate the pace of progress through four pathways:
- Leverage investments to combat climate change and strengthen food systems.
Reduce poverty and improve food and nutrition security for healthier households, communities and food environments.
Address the causes of food crises and build community resilience.
Promote sustainable agricultural practices that protect biodiversity and build on nature-based solutions.
The FIIAPP committed to Food and Nutrition Security
At FIIAPP, we are working in the Food and Nutrition Security (FNS) sector from a systemic, multilevel and multi-stakeholder participatory approach to address the economic, social and environmental dimensions of the right to food. We do this through the European project EU4SUN, which is part of the European Union’s support programme for the implementation of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) 3.0 strategy.
With EU4SUN we seek to encourage and facilitate dialogues that contribute to human-centred social and institutional transformation and a just and green transition. How do we do this? By mobilising the public expertise of our administrations to develop Food and Nutrition Security policies in Latin America, the Caribbean and West Africa. Find out here all the details of the launch of the project on 11 October in Madrid.
EU4SUN accompanies and strengthens strategic partnerships with the SUN movement to advance more dynamic governance. We support, on a demand-driven basis, partner countries’ efforts to combat hunger and malnutrition in all its forms through technical assistance, peer-to-peer exchanges, dialogue and advocacy.
We join the FAO Strategic Framework which in turn supports the 2030 Agenda, and support the operationalisation of the efforts of the EU Nutrition Action Plan: better production, better nutrition, better environment and better lives, leaving no one behind.
Alba Rodríguez, coordinator of the European project led by FIIAPP, together with Expertise France, against hunger and malnutrition in Latin America and Africa: EU4SUN.
- Leverage investments to combat climate change and strengthen food systems.
26 September 2023
We believe in the power of institutions and public policies to create a better world.
Because they are the beginning of change, for more people, for longer.
In a world that no longer understands borders and needs global solutions to shared challenges.
We listen to the demands of countries, opening spaces for dialogue between equals in administrations, learning and offering tailor-made solutions.
We know that our institutions are full of public talent, of people committed to the value of the public sector.
We want their knowledge and experience to flow freely, back and forth, building trust between countries, bringing societies closer together.
We share European values, enriching them with new perspectives.
We mobilise all public sector efforts in this direction: public systems for people and planet.