• 14 July 2022

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    Category : Entrevista

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    “Co-chairing the Practitioners’ Network is a challenge but also an opportunity”

    Este 11 de mayo la FIIAPP ha asumido la copresidencia de la Practitioners' Network, la red que engloba a la mayoría de agencias de cooperación europeas, junto a la agencia holandesa SNV. Hablamos con Mariana Fernández, coordinadora de la FIIAPP para la copresidencia, sobre los retos que se presentan en esta copresidencia y lo que supondrá para la FIIAPP.

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    Question: What is the Practitioners’ Network?

    Answer: The Practitioners’ Network is an informal and voluntary network of European cooperation agencies accredited for delegated cooperation. In other words, we are agencies that implement cooperation projects financed by the European Union. This network was created in 2007 and currently has 22 members. It serves to pool all member agencies. In the end, we realize that, as we are dedicated to the same thing, we have common challenges to which we can look for solutions together, which is very useful for all of us and also allows us to foster a relationship of trust between agencies, as we are all regular partners in European Union projects. We often work together.

    Q: Why is it important for FIIAPP to be part of this network?

    A: At a strategic level for the daily work of the FIIAPP it is very important to be in this network and it is an opportunity because this network is a forum, a strategic and privileged platform for dialogue for the cooperation agencies, not only among the agencies as we were mentioning, but also vis-à-vis the European Commission, since it is an observer member of the network. Let’s say that it is a privileged space for exchange among us. In addition, as AECID is also a member, together we strengthen the position of Spanish cooperation in European cooperation, which at a strategic level is also very important for us and also allows us to give visibility to the work that FIIAPP does, especially our strengths or our areas of specialization. In the end, this helps us to position ourselves as an agency in issues that are a priority for us and in which we have experience and a lot to contribute.

    Q: This 2022 is a very special year for FIIAPP in the network, because we are taking over the co-presidency together with the Dutch agency SNV…

    A: Yes, the network has a rotating presidency and just this year we took over the presidency with the Dutch agency, which is called SNV. We started the chairmanship on May 11. This implies that we will have the representation of the Network before the European institutions, especially with the European Commission, which is very interesting because we will have the direct and periodic dialogue on behalf of the network with the Commission for a whole year.

    In addition, the agencies that hold the Presidency convene and chair both the network’s governance meetings, as well as represent the network in major forums and events of interest, such as the European Development Days, as will be the COP 27 in November, or the Paris Peace Forum. In addition, the Presidency sets the annual priorities of the network, the issues on which all the agencies will work together in the Network forum and also has a special role in organizing activities and events. The presidency will be responsible for ensuring the strategic continuity of the network.

    Q: What will be FIIAPP’s priorities for the co-presidency?

    A: Within the general objective of developing and promoting the role of the NP as a key driver for strengthening better European development cooperation, this year we want to continue to emphasize at the European level the importance of cooperation agencies within the European development architecture. We also want to work on the operationalization of the Team Europe approach and the spirit of Working Better Together, of which we have been talking so much lately, since in the end we realize that the NP is the materialization of these two principles.

    They are agencies that work together, looking for synergies according to their expertise in areas in which they have experience. It will also be especially important for the FIIAPP to continue to position the value of public sector knowledge or public technical cooperation, that is, the value of the knowledge of our administrations as a form of cooperation, since we are convinced of the importance of this cooperation for the improvement of public systems and the development of institutional capacities to provide services to citizens.

    In short, this presidency is, of course, a challenge, but also an opportunity for us. We are delighted to be able to contribute in such a direct way to the construction of the European cooperation architecture. And we are looking forward to implementing the work plan that we have prepared and that we believe will be of great added value, not only for the agencies of the network but also for the citizens.

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