• 30 December 2020

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    Category : Opinion

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    FIIAPP in 2020: Innovating and growing in the face of adversity

    During 2020, more than 200 COVID initiatives have emerged in FIIAPP on migration, security, gender and social cohesion issues, among others.

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    In January 2020 we started another year with the hope that it would be, at least, a little better than the previous one, both on the personal and professional levels.

    At FIIAPP, we had plans for many trips, events and important activities related to our projects. We had no idea what was coming, what we would have to deal with, just a couple of months later.

    By March, we were dealing with a global pandemic. There was talk that this virus would change everything in every corner of the planet: the way we mobilise, the way we relate to one another, and, of course, the way we work.

    One of FIIAPP’s main activities is the exchange of experiences between Spanish civil servants and their counterparts in the partner countries with which we work. What will happen from now on? How do we keep working? Fortunately, at FIIAPP we have grown in the face of adversity and we have shown our most ingenious side.

    At FIIAPP, more than 200 COVID initiatives have been promoted on various topics such as social cohesion, reducing inequalities, the fight against climate change, gender equality, security and development and of course digitisation, among many others.

    Under the motto “Team Europe”, the European Union and the Member States are working on a global response to the pandemic. One of the initiatives framed under this slogan are the COVID Round Tables. An exercise launched and coordinated by FIIAPP to combat COVID-19 worldwide through cooperation, which has come to stay and to nurture political dialogues through cooperation.

    These Round Tables have started with three pilot experiences, in Argentina, Ecuador and Costa Rica, in order to identify the demands resullting from the health emergency, channelling them in a structured and coordinated way to promote a response strategy.

    Gender-based violence has escalated with COVID-19 and the restrictions on mobility. Cooperation projects such as EL PAcCTO: Support to AMERIPOL and EUROsociAL+ have promoted initiatives that support women and girls exposed to violence.

    The pandemic has also given human traffickers more opportunities to exploit their victims. Rising poverty has multiplied the opportunities for criminal organisations to mislead more victims with promises of a job and a better future. The European project ATIPSOM draws on specialists from the National Police to combat trafficking and the illegal smuggling of migrants in Nigeria. The project has carried out various actions to mitigate risks for the victims, such as the creation of tweetchats, conversations through Twitter. In addition, information and public awareness have been promoted through the media, such as the weekly broadcast of a local radio program: “A-TIPSOM voice”.

    State security forces and bodies are front-line personnel in all countries. European projects such as EUROFRONT and MYPOL, among others, have trained people in managing confinement and the application of disinfectants, as well as delivering the necessary healthcare materials to fight COVID such as masks, gloves and disinfectant gels.

    The pandemic has shown us how much we depend on digital technologies to continue our daily lives; digitisation has come to stay and during 2020 FIIAPP has been involved in more than 70 actions through its projects and programmes in Latin America, the Neighbourhood and Sub-Saharan Africa. Projects including EL PAcCTO, Bridging the Gap, ARAP Ghana and ICRIME, as well as numerous Twinning projects have carried out specific activities related to digitisation such as Higher Education in Algeria or Civil Execution in Turkey.

    In addition, projects such as EU-ACT and Cuba-EU Expertise Exchange have delivered computer materials to the countries in which they are working so they can modernise and connect virtually to the activities being carried out. Likewise, FIIAPP itself has created the connect.fiiapp platform to give all the projects managed by the Foundation the possibility to carry out their activities remotely, in addition to making telecommuting possible for nearly 300 people from one day to the next.

    Spain has positioned itself as a key partner in European cooperation and the Foundation’s Board of Trustees stresses the fundamental nature of FIIAPP’s work. Work that, through its regional programmes in Latin America and the Caribbean, its cooperation projects in Africa and Twinning, contribute toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda, with the aim of leaving no one behind.

    The role of the public administrations and their staff is fundamental to our work. This year more than ever, all the institutions we work with have made an extraordinary effort to rise to the occasion. And looking at all that has been achieved, it is blindingly obvious that, between us all, we have met our stated objectives, in addition to the new ones that have arisen due to the pandemic, with great adaptability.

    It has been a hard, intense year, with many new situations to be faced both personally and professionally. But let’s remember the words of the poet Khalil Gibran: “No matter how long the storm, the sun always shines through the clouds again”.

    The views and opinions expressed in this blog are the sole responsibility of the person who write them.