24 February 2022
The Country Round Tables are an instrument for dialogue between a government and the EU to define the lines of action of European cooperation projects horizontally and according to demand
Education, health, justice, security, employment. How many sectors can fit into a country’s public system? How can these public systems be strengthened? Where should efforts be directed? What should be prioritised? How can we ensure that our cooperation is as effective and consistent as possible?
The FIIAPP’s mission is to strengthen public systems through international cooperation between public institutions, but what use are all these efforts if there is no consensus to give them meaning? Answering these questions is essential to FIIAPP.
For governments, public institutions, the European Union, European cooperation programmes and the implementing agencies of the programmes to answer these questions, the FIIAPP is organising the Country Round Tables ( #MesasPaís ).
Country Round Tables, a materialisation of the #PolicyFirst principle
What is the point of making huge investments if they are not based on a cohesive roadmap ? In other words, what is the point of spending €10 million building schools if the Ministry of Education does not have public policies that ensure a quality educational system and the Ministry of Inclusion does not guarantee a tolerant and respectful environment in schools? When it comes to cooperation, what use is all the effort if there is no interministerial strategy that gives it meaning?
“what use is cooperation without interministerial consensus in countries? “
The Policy First principle is an emerging concept in foreign action and European development cooperation based on prioritising dialogue on public policies. “It establishes mechanisms that facilitate policy dialogue with partner countries to steer programming and implementation of Team Europe‘s cooperation actions […] building shared political responses to global challenges ” explains Tobias Jung, director of Strategy and Communication at the FIIAPP.
In line with this strategy, the FIIAPP has promoted the Country Round Tables.
Continuous dialogue within governments
The Country Round Tables are promoted by the FIIAPP and framed in European cooperation programmes such as EUROsociAL+ and EUROCLIMA+. They are meetings of representatives of the main public bodies of a country and EU institutions, their cooperation programmes, public financial entities and the EU member states.
They are convened by the European Union and assisted by the FIIAPP, and are designed to identify country needs and draw up a roadmap to face the main challenges existing in the territory. It is a horizontal dialogue from which the strategic lines of the public technical cooperation projects (modality of cooperation between public institutions) emerge, which are then used by the partner country institutions to design and implement public policies.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has recognised FIIAPP’s effort to create the Country Round Tables:
“The Country Round Tables have proven effective for developing joint responses to crises such as COVID-19, and in advancing the Team Europe approach”, they explain in the report where they recognise the work of the Round Tables.
European cooperation programmes such as EUROCLIMA+ and EUROsociAL+ have used the Country Round Table methodology in several Latin American countries such as Argentina, Honduras and Paraguay:
– Country Dialogues, an undertaking by EUROCLIMA+ and its partners – EUROsociAL+ held a Country Dialogue round table in Argentina to address equality gaps in Latin America
The COVID-19 Round Table initiative
COVID-19 has shown us that pandemics and their associated crises require a rapid, coordinated and, above all, global response to protect people and counteract the social and economic consequences felt all over the world.
In May 2020, following the “Working Better Together” approach, the European Commission launched a pilot exercise called COVID-19 Round Tables led by the Delegations of the European Union in Argentina, Costa Rica and Ecuador in collaboration with the governments of each of these three countries. This initiative worked for several months to identify the demands derived from the health emergency, in order to prioritise them in a joint exercise with the government of the partner country to channel the response of the European actors in a structured and coordinated manner according to the capacities and speciality of each actor.
Giving all institutions a voice
At this point, I will go back to the question I started with and the answer is obvious : what use is cooperation without interministerial consensus in countries? Not much, which is why at FIIAPP we will continue to use tools for dialogue and listening that give all institutions a voice.
Cristina Blasco, technician from the department of
Communication and Strategy at the FIIAPP
20 December 2021
Posteado en : Reportage
The creation of a network offering legal assistance to migrants in Latin America, the dismantling of a network trafficking women and migrants in Niger, more than 2,000 trained Turkish judges and public prosecutors... these are just some of FIIAPP’s achievements in 2021.
Before we dive headfirst into 2022, we would like to look back at what 2021 has been like for FIIAPP. We have worked throughout this year to promote sustainable development, improve public systems and strengthen the bonds that exist between societies. As all this may seem a bit abstract, we want to highlight some concrete, tangible achievements that reflect the great daily work undertaken by the public talent in our institutions, mobilised by FIIAPP in more than 120 countries.
Latin America, a priority region
Social cohesion, gender, justice, security… these are just some of the many areas in which we have worked in Latin America this year. We have supported the start-up of a regional network in the region offering legal assistance to migrants. We also promoted the signing of the Lisbon Declaration, which strengthens dialogue and relations between Latin American and European judicial institutions.
In Central America, forensic scientists are now working together online to share knowledge on investigative techniques, while in Peru we have succeeded in implementing a new intelligence system to fight against organised crime. Uruguay, Honduras and El Salvador are developing their own long-term climate strategies. We have also accompanied National Action Strategies for Climate Empowerment in Chile, Uruguay, Costa Rica, Argentina and Panama.
Security and development
At FIIAPP we believe that security and development go hand-in-hand. Stability is an essential requirement for development to take place. We are therefore present in regions like the Sahel, with projects like ECI-Niger. Thanks to this project, it has been possible to dismantle a network trafficking women and migrants in Niger. In Nigeria, we have also created a network of more than fifteen West African countries through the ATIPSOM project in association with over 180 NGOs to strengthen organised civil society that works directly with potential victims of trafficking, both in the prevention of the crime and in obtaining information.
However, you don’t have to go so far to see international cooperation in action. In Turkey, a country neighbouring the European Union, more than 2,000 judges and prosecutors have received intensive training in key issues such as judicial independence, new technologies in the justice sector and the rights of victims. We have also supported Ukraine in its entry into the common EU airspace, helping the country to integrate its aviation security regulations.
These are just a few of this year’s achievements. From each project – and we manage more than 90 – we could highlight an action or result that has improved people’s lives. FIIAPP’s commitment to sustainable development, multilateralism and the #TeamEurope spirit will see us continuing to work to take Spanish and European cooperation further and further. Let’s hope for a 2022 with better public systems for people and the planet.
16 April 2021
Posteado en : Interview
The expert Fernando Peláez Longinotti, Head of the Economic-Tax Studies Area with the Uruguayan Tax Administration, tells us how the European Union's EUROsociAL+ programme , through its Democratic Governance area led by FIIAPP, is working together with the Paraguayan Tax Administration to reduce inequality by fighting against tax evasion.
Why is the fight against tax evasion such a powerful tool in combating inequality?
We are at a critical moment not only in the Latin American region but also at a global level in which there are latent fiscal needs. And tax systems produce results, but their full potential is never being realised, in any country. Therefore, it is necessary to see what type of actions we can carry out to maximise potential collection. Because evasion produces losses for the state and produces tax inequity, some pay more than others, it is not only a cash issue but an equity issue. It is a virtuous circle that we need to understand so the public administration can take action. Raising tax collection requires a relentless fight against fraud because it allows measures to be identified to prevent and reduce evasion levels and to improve the efficiency of public spending in providing public services, such as education and health.
What work have you carried out within the framework of EUROsociAL+ for the Paraguayan Subsecretariat of State for Taxation (SET) and what are its main conclusions?
Through a methodology developed by the Inter-American Tax Administrations Centre ( CIAT ), we measure non – compliance with corporate income tax to measure the trajectory and behaviour of the tax evasion rate in the country. Through this analysis, we were able to understand what percentage of potential tax is not being collected – which in the case of Paraguay is within the range of the countries in the region – and to see the trend relating to this phenomenon. In addition, through the analysis of microdata, specific cases could be identified with which the SET was able to take specific actions to increase collection from those companies.
Are there any differences in non-compliance between men and women regarding tax payments?
No, no differences. However, this work, in keeping with the gender mainstreaming of the EUROsociAL+ programme, adopted a unique approach strategy to include the gender perspective as it relates to tax evasion. The results revealed very useful data for the design of specific public policies to promote gender equality through female entrepreneurship. We saw that the proportion of women entrepreneurs is much smaller than that of male entrepreneurs, in a ratio of 35% women compared to 65% men, and that proportion is higher in some sectors such as agriculture, with a 1 to 9 ratio. On the other hand, there are sectors related to trades more traditionally linked to women where there is a greater representation of businesswomen, such as commerce, textiles and hospitality, where they represent more than 50%.
Furthermore, when analysing the average income level, it was determined that women are concentrated in the lower income levels. In conclusion, there are fewer women entrepreneurs, they have access barriers to certain sectors, and they have lower incomes. Of every 10 entrepreneurs in Paraguay, 3 are women compared to 7 men.
18 March 2021
Climate change has put three out of every ten households in Central America and the Caribbean at risk. Social vulnerability exacerbated by the effects of the pandemic must be added to this environmental vulnerability. Therefore, the implementation of comprehensive policies to reduce inequalities and alleviate poverty is a matter of urgency.
Individuals are affected differently by COVID-19. And it does not affect all territories to the same extent. Almost 60% of the population of Central America lives in urban areas, many of which are unplanned, according to UN-Habitat estimates. Neighbourhoods with high degrees of overcrowding and that are scattered, poorly connected and with hardly any services and infrastructures whose inhabitants have seen their vulnerability increased due to the pandemic. Specifically, the impact on informal settlements has been greater due to the inaccessibility of drinking water for proper sanitation, overcrowding in homes and the difficulty of access to health services. The pandemic has also had significant negative effects on the family economy since many people, mainly women, who live in settlements work informally. According to data from the International Labour Organization, 126 million women work informally in Latin America and the Caribbean. This represents almost 50% of the region’s female population.
“Since the pandemic began, the situation in the neighbourhood has been chaotic because we live very close to each other and up to 15 people live in very small houses. In my house, which has three rooms, there were three of us and now there are eight because my daughter and my grandchildren have had to come to live with us. I depend on a pension that the government gives me because of my disability, but it is very small”, Alicia Bremes explains to us from Pueblo Nuevo, a neighbourhood in the Pavas district of San José, Costa Rica. In August 2020, the districts of Pavas and Uruca together made up more than 15% of the entire country’s active COVID cases.
“How are we going to wash our hands if we don’t have access to water? Or how are we going to disinfect ourselves with gel if the price is so high?” laments Bremes, who has suffered the consequences of the pandemic at home. “One of my sons fixes cell phones and has been out of work for many months. I have another son with a disability who used to go to a psychiatric workshop every day and has suffered a lot because he no longer had anywhere to go. As he was nearly always out in the street, he caught COVID, suffered a very high temperature and had great difficulty in breathing, but recovered. But I have many neighbours, of all ages, who have passed away”, she says.
As Alicia Bremes explains, the situation in the poorer neighbourhoods is one of extreme vulnerability. “Many mothers in the neighbourhood had been working as cleaners in homes and were fired due to the pandemic. COVID has also reduced the street vending on which many families depend to be able to eat on a daily basis”, she says. Therefore, it is essential to focus on the needs of the most vulnerable groups and to try to cushion the effects of the pandemic that has quickly become a socio-economic as well as a health crisis.
In this context, the Council for Social Integration (CIS) asked the Secretariat for Central American Social Integration (SISCA), with the support of the Programme EUROsociAL+ of theEuropean Union, managed by FIIAPP, IILA and Expertise France, and in partnership with agencies and programmes of the United Nations, FAO, ILO and UN HABITAT, to prepare a “Recovery, Social Reconstruction and Resilience Plan for Central America and the Dominican Republic”. The Plan is a common regional roadmap and is made up of a series of strategic projects articulated around three axes of intervention: social protection, employment and sustainable urban development.
The Plan, which has been endorsed by the Councils of Ministers of Labour, Housing and Human Settlements of Central America and the Dominican Republic, focuses its efforts on reducing poverty and socio-spatial inequality, the most obvious territorial expression of which are the informal settlements, which are estimated to make up 29% of the Central American urban population. Despite national efforts over the last 15 years to reduce the population living in informal settlements, many people continue to live in this situation. In addition, there are risks derived from climate change, which exposes a growing number of inhabitants to the effects of extreme weather events such as hurricanes or landslides.
There is an urgent need to broaden our view and think of the neighbourhood as the environment that enables us to implement basic rights within the city, for which we will have to attend not only to the provision of housing, but also to ensure that these houses have the necessary infrastructures, services and facilities.
There are still many challenges ahead in order to turn the face of poverty and inequality into one of progress without leaving anyone behind. For this reason, additional financial resources must be urgently found for the implementation of the Recovery, Social Reconstruction and Resilience Plan, an instrument that will mitigate the effects of the pandemic and shape societies that are more resilient, socially more just and egalitarian and environmentally more sustainable.
Cristina Fernández, Senior Town Planning Architect of EUROsociAL+ and collaborator with Fundemuca
11 March 2021
David R. Seoane, a member of the Knowledge Management area, explains that FIIAPP does important work on global knowledge management as through its work to promote learning by administration bodies and support public policies that benefit people.
FIIAPP’s raison d’être as an institution is to promote learning between counterpart public administration bodies from different countries through the exchange and transfer of knowledge. The key raw material with which we work is therefore knowledge. We are a knowledge organisation.
Over the last few years, FIIAPP has made a firm commitment to ensure progress in the implementation of knowledge management as one of our cross-cutting priorities that allow us to grow as an organisation. This decision has led us to take important steps in the way we work that have allowed us to nurture our strategic planning and management, establishing synergies between the programming, monitoring and evaluation of public technical cooperation projects and other programmes in which we work. Throughout this ongoing process, we have always been certain that our roadmap toward a better FIIAPP inevitably involves the incorporating of innovation, continuous learning and good practices within our interventions.
We therefore classify the types of knowledge with which we work within the Foundation and that are indispensable to us. These are: strategic knowledge, methodological knowledge and procedural knowledge. This system allows us to define and organise knowledge that we consider critical to the development of the organisation’s functions and the achievement of its objectives.
Having useful knowledge at these three levels is key for our projects to translate into development results. In order to make better-informed decisions on a strategic level, we need to know the priorities of the international agenda, what kind of training is available to Spanish and European Public Administration bodies and what our partner countries need. At the methodological level, we have to use methodologies that ensure a horizontal, innovative transfer of knowledge that covers the real needs of our counterparts. Finally, on a procedural level, we follow solid and rigorous procedures that allow us to carry out economic, legal, logistical management etc. that meets the highest possible quality standards. In addition to effort and perseverance, we only need one thing for all this: knowledge.
On an ongoing basis, FIIAPP develops mechanisms and tools (guides, protocols, manuals, explanatory videos, information sessions, pilot exercises etc.) that allow us to capture, process and disseminate these types of knowledge, allowing us to progress efficiently and effectively. These three phases – capture, process and disseminate – make up the knowledge management cycle that the Foundation has adopted and that we strive daily to consolidate as the true culture of our collective work.
At FIIAPP, we believe that organisations learn, which is why we invest significant efforts and resources to improve our capacities to manage our knowledge better every day. This is the only way to live up to our essence and our true mission as an organisation.
David R. Seoane, Communication and Knowledge Management Technician at FIIAPP
11 February 2021
The SENSEC-EU cooperation project has spent 3 years working to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and accountability of Senegal's internal security services. To this end, many people have contributed their professional skills, one of them is Nuria Roncero, key expert in the border control and surveillance component, who tells us about her personal experience in this project.
All journeys into the unknown begin with mixed feelings. The uncertainty that commonly forms part of our life becomes clearer and more evident. They are the same sensations one has when starting a holiday going to a distant and unknown country. In this case, you have to add the professional responsibility you are engaged in when going to start a new project. Very exciting, because I love my work; I’m very fortunate.
This is how my trip to Africa began, with a suitcase full of many years of professional experience and personal anecdotes and ready to take charge of tasks that I had no knowledge about in terms of how border security and management is carried out.
It wasn’t about leaving my comfort zone, it was all self-driven.
After a trip in which my inquisitive look at what is different to me was mixed with looks back expressing the same thing, I arrived at my destination, Dakar, with my eyes closed because at two in the morning the darkness everything. The first weeks, in which I was bombarded with information, were followed by others which were more chaotic with border closures due to COVID, which at that time was beginning in our country and the rest of the world. All continents were affected and Africa was not going to be less so.
It was not easy. It wasn’t for anyone and it wasn’t for me either.
Africa has a different pace of life, different smells, different colours and different flavours from the ones I knew.
You have to dive into it all to understand the daily workings of a country that smile at you every day despite all the calamities and poverty. Interpersonal relationships also have their own codes, such as the fact that some handsome, well-built Senegalese man asks you about your family as soon as they meet you. A coffee with another female member of the work team clarified the matter for me. It is typical before being asked out on a date, to be asked if you are involved with anyone, whether you have children or not or any other type of personal relationship. This question is answered by naming family members or saying what one feels appropriate at the time, opening or closing the door to more intense interactions.21
Little by little I got to know all the people who were part of this project, Police, Gendarmerie, Customs, administrators from all the Ministries, personnel from all parts of the world who are working in and for this country, Spanish colleagues stationed here for one reason or another and who give you all their support.
And so, building professional and personal connections, supported by the technical team from Madrid, we were creating border posts in strategic places, police stations to fight against irregular immigration and human trafficking, as necessary for them as for us, hangars for police aircraft, river detachments to fight against all kinds of illicit trafficking, creating manuals from scratch to ensure that all the training that we have given to more than 400 policemen, gendarmes and customs officers becomes permanent.
We have trained ultralight aircraft and drone pilots and we have taught them to navigate and monitor, with new boats, the area of the “mangroves of Sine Saloum”, a very beautiful area, where every type of piracy imaginable goes on. We have made great efforts to ensure that there is a little more security in a country where “téranga”, the spirit of hospitality, is its watchword.
And after a year of hard work, having left behind my initial feelings of fear and uncertainty, I will soon be getting on a plane with no return ticket for the moment, leaving much of my professional experience and many emotions behind in this country. I can assure you that the suitcase I am taking back is loaded with unrepeatable experiences. It took me all this time to get to know the true essence of Africa and I am convinced that there is still much to discover and many codes to decipher.
But that will be for the next trip to Senegal.
Nuria Roncero, key expert in the border control and surveillance component of the SENSEC-UE project