31 July 2019
Francisco Sancho, coordinator of the AECID in Bolivia, talks to us about the spanish cooperation and the project “European support for Bolivia’s special forces for fighting drugs”
What role does Spanish cooperation play in Bolivia?
Cooperation in general, and especially in Bolivia, before defining any work, is building dialogue.
Dialogue with the Bolivian institutions, with the Bolivian government, at both central and regional levels, with the municipalities and with local authorities. We must also conduct a dialogue with civil society and, based on this dialogue and all the information we receive, carry out an analysis and determine which specific actions and lines of work are most complementary for the Bolivian government and where we see our comparative advantages lying.
What are the priorities of Spanish cooperation in Bolivia?
Our priorities have been adjusted over the years as the country has grown and expanded, but we can set out four main priorities.
First, governability. For us, governability is the democratic core of a country, and above all it is the improvement of government’s administrative and management capabilities. In planning processes, as we do with the Bolivian Ministry of Planning. And also in gender equality issues as we do with the Ministry of Justice, through the Vice Ministry of Equality, paying very special attention to the issue of violence against women.
Financial aspects are also important, because there is a lot of infrastructure that requires very intense work as regards water, sanitation, and so on.
Thirdly, we have the area that can be grouped together and referred to as social cohesion, including health and education, the emphasis currently being on health, whereas previously it tended to be on education.
Bolivia being an intermediate income country, we are still working on primary care, but we have been moving more and more into covering Bolivia’s need for training of specialist doctors for the second level of medical care. And also, towards having at least five basic specialities catered to in hospitals so that patients referred from the first level of primary care can be treated at the second level.
Another very important area for us is that of heritage, culture and development, but always from the perspective of development and above all improvement of living conditions. The objective is to build on the interplay among Bolivia’s heritage, the conservation of that heritage and the country’s historical memory to develop a strategy, jointly, at national and regional level, aimed at promoting tourism and improving its citizens’ living conditions and incomes.
These are the four most important areas. Apart from this, we also do a considerable amount of work with NGOs, always within these four axes, everything being agreed in advance. The aim is to focus on these four areas and to work together on them, joining forces with the NGOs and the country.
And the priorities of Bolivia, regarding cooperation?
Bolivia’s priorities are exactly the same. We work with an analysis, with the country’s planning documents, and based on this dialogue, which we build at the social and institutional levels, we make a proposal for shared action based on our comparative advantages.
Based on these advantages, we have established the four work axes which I mentioned earlier: governance with special attention to the violence of women and planning management; health, especially as regards medical specialisation; issues relating to water and sanitation, where much progress has been made and where the Spanish water and sanitation fund’s programme, together with the government of Bolivia, has made a very significant effort. and finally, the area of heritage, culture and development.
How important is inter-institutional coordination between the AECID and the FIIAPP?
It’s essential. To achieve cooperation, inter-institutional relations are indispensable. No work can be done, especially in the area of cooperation, if there are not good inter-institutional relations.
The project “ European support for Bolivia’s special forces for fighting drugs ” is financed jointly by the European Union and Spain’s AECID and now we also have a budget from the FIIAPP.
Right from the start, both in the preparation of the first planning documents and later in the following steps, there have been very close relations between the AECID and the FIIAPP. They have always sent us regular information, which we appreciate, because it allows us to have clear knowledge of the progress and to detect the difficulties and make suggestions – only suggestions, because ultimate responsibility of course lies with the FIIAPP as implementer.
As part of this joint inter-institutional work, we also have to devise and put forward suggestions for resolving the problems that arise in the normal course of a project. I believe that this inter-institutional relationship is very important.
How has the joint work between the two institutions been for the development of the project to support the fight against drugs and human trafficking?
The fact is that, as I mentioned earlier, it’s a task that’s been carried out jointly from the very beginning, from conception. I should also mention that the European Union delegation has done a very good job of coordination in this respect.
We’ve worked on each of the points, paying special attention to detail. In all the meetings we’ve had, we’ve paid specific attention not just to how the project is evolving and to monitoring, but also to analysing problems and above all to joint proposals, in a consensual way.
I think this is the key word, consensus, finding one as regards the work dynamics and above all in problem solving.
What do you think are the main things achieved in the project thanks to this close collaboration?
The main thrust of this programme, which involves some very complex issues, is really the fight against drug trafficking and all related crimes.
The initial panorama was one of many national institutions, each with its own powers and its own roadmap and very little contact among them. This has been greatly improved. The programme of the FIIAPP, the European Union and ourselves has been the search for coordination and more pooling of resources among the institutions that work on this problem in the country. I believe that really important advances have been achieved.
Another achievement that can be highlighted is the training of human resources. This training is essential, not just because there have been many courses with specialists coming from Spain and other countries such as France to deliver this training, but because “train the trainers” sessions have been proposed so that this “installed capacity” can continue to produce without the presence necessarily of external support.
And, above all, the need, as we have commented many times with the FIIAPP, for this training to be formally set out in writing. And for job descriptions to include this need for training, because in many cases it provides some assurance as to the suitability of the person who is going to do the job. Thus, with the institutional and personal changes that are usual in any institution, the person occupying the position would be offered the possibility of training or, training already received would be taken into account.
And finally, when we speak of related crimes, especially for Spanish cooperation, the related crime that we wish to address most particularly is people trafficking. Especially, the trafficking of women, related in many cases with exploitation of sexual services, almost slavery, and also the trafficking of young people.
This line seems to us very important and sensitive because it has a very large incidence in the country. In this regard, the FIIAPP has been working on the preparation of a series of planning documents, at regional level and at the key level of the departments (provinces). It is a work that we complement, with our bilateral effort, together with the Bolivian Ministry of Justice and of course the NGOs.
All aspects of the programme are important, but for Spanish cooperation this line of work of related crimes, specifically people trafficking, is the one on which we have collaborated most insistently, given that it is a line of work that we also have in the country.
Would you highlight other examples of joint work between the AECID and the FIIAPP?
The relations between the FIIAPP and the Spanish-AECID cooperation are very close. We are sister organisations, we work together and obviously we do so in other countries too.
We also collaborate on regional programmes such as EUROsociAL+ where we have also been sharing experiences regarding people trafficking.
Here, the work of the FIIAPP and the AECID has been a permanent job for many years and in which we have many connections and relationships.
07 June 2019
Posteado en : Opinion
The director of FIIAPP, Anna Terrón, reflects on horizontal cooperation and knowledge transfer
As part of her participation in the seminar “La Agenda 2030 y el desarrollo en Iberoamérica. Retos para las políticas de cooperación internacional (The 2030 Agenda and development in Ibero-America. Challenges for international cooperation policies)”, organised by the Carolina Foundation, the director of FIIAPP highlighted the main ideas she talked about in her presentation “Cooperación horizontal y transferencia de conocimientos (Horizontal cooperation and knowledge transfer)”.
The first thing to underline is FIIAPP’s commitment to the 2030 Agenda both domestically and internationally, as well as the relevance of SDG 17, on public partnerships and peer-to-peer learning, and SDG 16, on rule of law and effective, transparent institutions. Implementing the agenda is vital to be able to talk about horizontal cooperation and it’s linked to two main ideas: the lessening in importance of income levels in mutual cooperation, and the greater importance of peer-to-peer learning.
As an aside, there is also the political question to consider of the importance of the strategic alliance between Europe and Latin America, which was highlighted in the joint communiqué from the European Commission and the High Representative for EU-Latin America, but is yet to be reflected in the new multiannual financial framework (MFF) or the new cooperation instruments for the 2021-2027 period, both of which are currently in the discussion phase.
For the distribution of cooperation funds from the European Union to Latin America a new concept of development in transition must be applied that isn’t based on average income, but rather should be established on the basis of the challenges posed by development traps, such as productive models, institutional weaknesses, inequalities, social cohesion, the climate threat, criminality, and the mobility of people, amongst others.
The importance of peer-to-peer learning
Adapting or reforming new policies usually creates uncertainty in governments, but that can be reduced with the experience of countries that have adopted them in the past. Peer-to-peer learning offers governments the chance to update their knowledge and guide their decision-making. European cooperation helps strengthen these kinds of knowledge exchange dynamics in public policies between countries.
The value of member state experience
Managing regional cooperation programmes has given European agencies an understanding of the needs of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as the most relevant experiences of both continents. All of this knowledge must be leveraged alongside the shared efforts of European cooperation as a whole for the gradual construction of a European cooperation system. To do that, progress must be made on mutual recognition of procedures and simplification of joint response formulation. The shared efforts between European and Latin American administrations is an investment and a commitment to global governance based on European values, rule of law and the social agenda.
The role of cooperation agencies
As part of the framework of new paradigms established by the global agenda, which is redefining international cooperation, it is vital for cooperation agencies to highlight the value of our experience and build, alongside the European Commission, a cooperation system based on peer-to-peer learning and commitments to the development agenda.
Peer-to-peer learning also makes it possible to share the same language, even when our languages are different, to share problems and challenges, and to become more capable of understanding and finding joint responses. The role of cooperation stakeholders should be based on partnerships between administrations and being by their side to help frame the policy reform processes in terms of comprehensive and coherent visions within sustainable development processes.
Technical cooperation as the basis of financial cooperation
I maintain that we must commit to financing based on the principle of “policies first”, where knowledge and technical assistance must enrich the political dialogues for making decisions on the actions to be supported. Implementing innovative financing mechanisms is in line with the agenda of the shared values we mean to build with Latin American partner countries.
FIIAPP in this context
FIIAPP’s mandate is to promote the participation of administrations in international cooperation projects. We are a development partner for the countries of Latin America, a stakeholder in Spanish cooperation, and an integral part of the European international cooperation system. All of the Spanish cooperation community is very strongly committed to the 2030 Agenda, bilateral cooperation and European cooperation with Latin America.
Some of our regional programmes, and the EUROsociAL programme, are already in synch with the innovative ideas of the future EU external action instrument, the NDICI. They are already working through triangular and horizontal cooperation with peer-to-peer learning to encourage the building of a European-Latin American space of shared values. These programmes go beyond the creation of platforms to share experiences and good practices. They build networks, institutionalise political dialogue mechanisms, renew development agendas and improve confidence between institutions.
16 May 2019
Rafael Ríos, coordinator of A-TIPSOM: the fight against people trafficking and irregular migration in Nigeria, explains how he has been adapting to the country, what his daily routine is like, and what it is like to work as a FIIAPP expatriate.
How long have you been in Nigeria? How have you adapted to this country?
I arrived on 16 July 2018. When you arrive in a new country, as you can imagine, it is not always easy. I remember hearing about other projects, from other colleagues who had been in or were in other countries, who said “the beginning is always the hardest”. For me this has been a bit simpler, or less complicated, and I’ll tell you why. In this country we already had the embassy staff, and they helped us with everything from the outset, arriving in the country, accreditations, looking for accommodation, the office, etc. We spent almost four months in a small office that they kindly lent us until we were able to move. I wish you could count on this kind of support every time you started a project.
What has been the most difficult aspect to adapt to, and the easiest?
The hardest part was perhaps the second week. During the first week everything is frenetic, you have so many things on your plate… But the second week was like coming back down to Earth. That’s when I really started to realize where I was, and the step that I’d taken. Such a long project with so many important challenges. The easiest thing was perhaps meeting people, dealing with the Nigerians, who I think are happy people who enjoy their country and who, in general, welcome newcomers quite readily.
Is this your first experience outside of Spain?
No, it’s not. Belonging to the National Police gives you opportunities like this, discovering other countries and destinations, doing what you enjoy and what you know best. Previously I’d done different jobs in African countries, on short-term missions in Mauritania, Guinea Bissau, Senegal, as well as in Europe, in Italy to be precise.
In light of this, is this proving to be very different to your previous missions?
The concept behind this mission is quite different. This one is long-term and involves a permanent deployment in another country plus working as an expert for FIIAPP . It’s something else entirely, and it’s a big professional challenge for me, since what we are trying to achieve with this project is very alluring, and at the same time very ambitious .
What is your work like, your daily routine?
Honestly, I think it’s not that different. Here, because of the hot weather, you get up and start work quite early. We get to the office, have meetings, go out to the different places we need to visit as part of the project. Usually we have lunch at the office and return home in mid-afternoon.
Is it very different from the routine you had in Spain?
As I said, it is a job that requires a lot of contact with one’s counterparts,which means you are often out of the office, and I find that quite interesting.
What is your relationship like with the FIIAPP team in Madrid?
Great! I would say that, in addition to having a great professional relationship, we talk every day, we share ideas, etc. We have even created bonds that are enabling us to achieve better results in the project, of that I am sure.
And with your colleagues in Nigeria?
The same. Several months on, the team in the field has been growing, with Nigerian personnel, which helps us a lot to understand their way of working, what they’re like, their customs.
How would you assess your experience of working as a FIIAPP expatriate?
It is very positive so far. I think it is helping me to understand how an institution like FIIAPP copes with so many projects and with the scope of the work it does. The training, its structure and its values are enabling me to acquire knowledge. When you belong to an institution like the National Police, sometimes you focus so much on your professional life that you do not realize how work is done elsewhere, so the project is helping to train me both professionally and personally .
Do you have any experiences or anecdotes about your arrival in or adaptation to the country?
Well, I could tell you several, but I’ll just say that I like saying good morning and learning new words in a dialect called Hausa, and in the building where we work I usually see two young people who like to teach me words like that: good morning, let’s go, go ahead… and it makes them laugh when they hear me pronounce them… Inakwana, which means good morning, is part of the day-to-day.
09 May 2019
Posteado en : Opinion
On the occasion of Europe Day, the head of the FIIAPP office in Brussels, Silvia Prada gave a presentation on the work carried out by the Foundation in its role in European cooperation and on what FIIAPP is doing in the European capital
The Foundation has had representation in Brussels for almost a decade. Recently, it opened its new headquarters in the Embassy of Spain in the Kingdom of Belgium.
The FIIAPP delegations represent the Foundation in its field of operation, framed within both the external action of Spain and the European Union. FIIAPP is a major player in European cooperation due to its expertise and experience: knowledge generated by its technical cooperation activities and the accompanying public policy reform processes nurture the external action of the European Union.
One of the main objectives of the office in Brussels is to contribute to improving the effectiveness and quality of the work of the Foundation, participating and contributing to the promotion of a structured dialogue with the agents for European cooperation. And in short, also to contribute to the strategic positioning of FIIAPP as an contributor to Spanish and European cooperation and an implementer of the 2030 Agenda.
This positioning is becoming more important, if that is possible, in the current European context. In response to the 2030 Agenda and the new European Consensus on Development, the new development policy of the EU is being drawn up in Brussels; the negotiation of the new budget for the period 2021-2027 is being finalised; and recently the communication from the European Commission to the Parliament and the Council, “The EU, joining forces for a common future” was published, which will mark relations with the region during the next decade. Above all, a context marked by the new political-institutional framework that will come about after the European elections of 26M.
What does the work in Brussels consist of?
The FIIAPP office in Brussels is the visible face of the Foundation, its eyes, ears and voice vis-à-vis the agents of European cooperation.
One of the keys to the work is the ability to anticipate. To identify the key information and understand how the main decisions related to the EU’s cooperation policy can affect FIIAPP; and how it can be influenced from an operational level. At the same time, to transfer to those involved in European cooperation the added value of the Foundation as an entity of the Spanish cooperation system, specialised in the promotion and management of the participation of public administrations in technical cooperation programmes; in particular, in accompanying public policy reform processes and in generating dialogues between public administrations of partner countries.
All this with a view to looking for and creating alliances, working in a network. That is, by participating in the activities of the Practitioners’ Network, a platform of European development agencies to exchange knowledge and practical solutions that contribute to improving joint work; FIIAPP has been a member of the Network since 2014 and DG DEVCO of the European Commission is present as an observer.
Also, participating in networking spaces, such as those provided by European Development Days and/or the various events organised in Brussels on topics or regions of interest to the Foundation.
The work on dialogue in Brussels is crucial and is structured around multiple aspects: such as Spanish cooperation, coordination with the representations of the Spanish public administrations in Brussels, mainly with the Permanent Representation of Spain before the EU; and in particular, regarding complementarity and harmony with AECID; in addition to the bilateral Embassy. In addition, with the EU institutions (essentially the European Commission, the European External Action Service and the European Parliament); the development agencies of the Member States with which FIIAPP is most involved and which are represented in Brussels (Expertise France and GIZ); without forgetting the important international organisations that are present in the capital of Europe.
What relationship is there with the European institutions?
The bulk of the coordination with the European institutions and especially with the Commission, which is carried out from the FIIAPP representation in Brussels, consists of being in permanent contact with the main partners of the Foundation: the services of the General Directorate of International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO) and the General Directorate of Neighbourhood and Enlargement (DG NEAR). And also with some of the sectoral General Directorates, those most important to the programmes and projects in which FIIAPP works.
The dialogue with the European institutions is articulated with a cross-cutting approach to the priority themes and regions; and with a view both to the present and future. The tasks range from the general monitoring of EU activities (financial framework, new external action instruments, delegated cooperation), to the identification of new opportunities for collaboration, to contributing to increasing coherence in negotiations regarding new projects; and the promotion of the construction of greater synergies of the Foundation’s activities, providing support to sectoral areas and FIIAPP programmes, mainly in support of ongoing programmes that DEVCO manages centrally from Brussels.
As part of this work on dialogue with the European institutions, coordination with the European Parliament and the European External Action Service, mainly through Renowned National Experts should also be highlighted.
15 November 2018
The 26th Ibero-American Summit takes place today and tomorrow. Germán García da Rosa, current director of the Public Administration and Social Affairs Area of FIIAPP and who has worked on the preparation of this biennial summit for many years, offers us some keys to it
How important is the Ibero-American Summit in the international politics of the participating countries?
This is a meeting of the highest political level, since it brings together the heads of state and government of the 19 countries of Latin American, together with Spain, Portugal and Andorra. From this meeting, a political declaration is made, which must be followed up on in the two-year period between each summit.
Every year foreign ministers of all countries meet with the aim of complying with the mandates issued by the heads of state and government during their respective meeting at the previous summit, and in the same way regular meetings are held at the ministerial level. At the level of governments, spaces of consensus are generated on common themes that are considered relevant. Both the General Secretariat, based in Madrid, and the pro tempore Secretariat, which the host country of each Summit holds, are dedicated to the coordination and preparation of Latin American meetings or forums. Civil society is also cited several times during the year to feed thematic documents that will reach the authorities. This means that there is a participatory scheme of governments and civil society that supports the summits, and not less important, a network of relationships at a regional level that strengthens the Ibero-American space in its various thematic vectors.
The summit is dedicated to sustainable development, but will gender also be present? What other topics will be relevant at the meeting?
From the moment that the theme of this Summit is framed within the Sustainable Development Goals and obviously the relevance of the 2030 Agenda for the region, the gender component will be very present. It is unthinkable to discuss a prosperous, inclusive and sustainable Ibero-America without considering the gender component. The Ibero-American cooperation considers it and for that reason the dedication to the subject is perceived in a transversal way in all Ibero-American programmes and commitments. Especially those related to the definition of new models of governance and social cohesion, the creation of alliances through dialogues, education, programmes, initiatives and projects that promote culture, the necessary innovation to move to new productive models through the spaces of knowledge, and transversally in all areas with the theme of gender.
What role does cooperation play in the framework of the summit?
It plays a central role since it is the basis for the verification of the work carried out by the Heads of Government of the 22 countries. In other words, Ibero-American cooperation is one of the pillars that support the Ibero-American summit system, a central motive for the holding of meetings and forums in the region.
It should also be noted that the Ibero-American cooperation model is unique: it has an integrating approach and its design considers horizontality in the relationship between states. Participation in Ibero-American cooperation programmes is voluntary, and each country evaluates its national priorities when deciding to take part.
Although cooperation is technical, it articulates financial cooperation on principles based on solidarity among countries; the programmes are the result of previous political dialogue. It is also part of the Ibero-American Cooperation Manual that has been updated periodically.
The areas of Ibero-American cooperation cover social cohesion, education, innovation and knowledge and culture and, as I mentioned, are applied in Ibero-American spaces. Its instruments are divided into programmes, initiatives and related projects.
Do you think that at the summit, practical solutions will be proposed to the proposals promoted by the 2030 Agenda?
Ibero-America has been working on and responding to the challenges proposed by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals through steps and procedures in each of the countries and through sovereign decisions, all the while fulfilling an intensely active international political agenda. Of course, the need to focus on a new sustainable development must have a regional perspective, but most importantly, a global approach is necessary. Most of the problems to be resolved through each of the SDGs are intrinsically related to actions and interrelations between the countries of the region. And, also, the way to face these and aim toward achieving them also depends on sharing successful experiences, a feature that Ibero-American countries have incorporated through the Ibero-American cooperation system.
The central axes of the SDGs include equality and care for the environment, take into account the right to productive and decent employment of people, transparency in governance and a clear relationship between the State and citizens. All these issues will be and have been dealt with in Ibero-American summits and in the meetings and forums fostered within them.
How is the FIIAPP linked to this summit?
FIIAPP is closely linked to the process of the Ibero-American Summits and follows up on their progress both in the political dialogue and in the maturity of their regional, triangular and South-South cooperation programmes. Our concentration on the improvement of public policies and better administrations with the countries in which we work means that we share many of the objectives of the summits; Latin America is also a priority region for the action of FIIAPP.
Furthermore, the Secretary of State for International Cooperation and for Ibero-America and the Caribbean, president of the Permanent Commission of the Board of Trustees of FIIAPP, actively participates in representing Spanish cooperation throughout the process of the Ibero-American conference and in particular in this upcoming Summit in Antigua, Guatemala.