On Aid Workers' Day we celebrate that in 2022 alone the FIIAPP has mobilised the public talent of 622 civil servants in international cooperation missions
A vocation for public service, flexibility and adaptability, active listening and fluency in other languages. These are the main requirements that civil servants have to meet to participate in international cooperation missions. In the last year, 172 institutions allowed their professionals to participate in this type of cooperation, which is key to the internationalisation of our public administrations. “This is a type of cooperation that is becoming increasingly important in European external action: Europe wants to share with the world its commitment to the rule of law, to social and territorial cohesion and effective access to rights as the basis of the social contract, to a welfare state that requires effective multilateralism based on rules. Normative power is what can make the difference with the cooperation of other powers and doing so hand in hand with institutions is crucial to advance with guarantees in the triple social, green and digital transitions that are fair at the global level,” explains FIIAPP’s Director of Strategy and Communication, Tobias Jung.
The process begins with the collection of demand in EU partner countries: the FIIAPP, with the EU delegations when they are European programmes, meet with a country’s institutions and listen to their priorities regarding the public policies or institutional reinforcement necessary to advance their development. At other times, the public administrations themselves take up this demand. The FIIAPP contrasts this information with the offer of the European institutions and a match is made, which takes the form of the formulation of a project. When the project is approved, the Spanish institutions, on the basis of the profile designed by FIIAPP, designate the experts who will travel to the country in question to support their counterpart institution. Most of them participate in short missions (7.3 days in duration), but in 2022, 72 officials travelled on missions lasting more than one year, which are the ones that ensure the sustainability of international partnerships.
The Ministries of Interior and Justice, together with the judiciary, are the institutions most involved in this type of cooperation, which the FIIAPP is trying to expand to involve municipalities, communities or universities or to incorporate more public talent in areas such as climate and digitisation, aligning with the European connectivity strategy known as Global Gateway.
Women represent only 30% of the cooperation mobilised from institutions and are more concentrated in the areas of inclusive public systems, social policies and public finance, where they account for 70, 60 and 50% respectively. Although in absolute numbers, because of their greater representation in the total number of public development workers, it is the Ministries of the Interior and Justice that mobilise the most female employees.
“We want to determine why there are fewer of them and remove the necessary obstacles to achieve a better gender balance in the cooperation of our institutions,” explains Jung. The FIIAPP is also working with the Civil Service to improve the regulatory framework for this type of mobilisation: “the public policies managed by our administrations are increasingly less borderless, so there is an appetite for development cooperation, but we need institutions to have well-defined mechanisms to enable the outflow of their public talent”.
The institutions most involved agree in appreciating the value of the knowledge and experience that their staff bring back to the institution when they return: new perspectives, new knowledge and institutions that are closer and more confident in tackling shared challenges together.