• 31 July 2019

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    Posteado en : Entrevista

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    “Cooperation is building dialogue”

    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

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    Posteado en : Opinion

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    “Latin America should be more present in Europe and Europe more present in Latin America”

    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

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    Posteado en : Entrevista

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    FIIAPP Expatriates: Rafael Ríos

    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.

  • 11 June 2015

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    Posteado en : Opinion

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    Asylum and international protection

    On 15th and 16th June, a meeting is being held in Rabat on migration with these two key issues on the table: asylum and international protection.

    In recent months, the urgent need to manage migratory flows, an issue of vital importance for millions of people, has come to the forefront.

    It’s evident that, due to the continual crises of a diverse nature, both on the African continent and in the Middle East, we are currently seeing numerous examples of human beings who have left behind all they had in the hope of finding a better and safer life in neighbouring countries, or even in more distant and hitherto unfamiliar lands. The most recent tragedies in the Mediterranean demonstrate the magnitude of the desperation of these people, and the urgency of finding immediate and effective answers to this serious problem.

    Thus we are seeing countries in Europe, Africa, and other regions acknowledging the issue of migration as a central point on their policy agendas. Many of them have initiated actions to adapt and develop their migration policies to contribute concrete responses to the complex current situation. Examples of this are Mali, Morocco and Cape Verde, countries that have recently developed their national migration policies to respond to this phenomenon. This issue is also found at the heart of the European debate. The European Commission has presented its European Agenda on Migration, as well as preliminary proposals for a global intervention that improves the management of this problem.

    The FIIAPP is not on the sidelines in these debates. Ten intense years of continuous work in this area are testimony to its contribution through the Migration and Development programme, which supports national and international initiatives to facilitate the exchange of best practices and joint cooperation in this area.

    Specifically, the FIIAPP participates in the Rabat Process, the Euro-African Dialogue on Migration and Development, which provides a framework for consultation and coordination aimed at promoting the organisation of legal migration, fighting irregular migration and facilitating synergies between migration and development.

    Recently, as a consequence of the Fourth Euro-African Ministerial Conference on Migration and Development held in Rome in late 2014, the issues of asylum and international protection have taken on special importance and, therefore, today are priorities for the Rabat Process.

    Asylum and international protection, a central issue in the current context. 

    The multiple crises occurring at the moment are generating massive population movements. The area covered by the Rabat Process (North Africa, Central Africa, West Africa and the European Union) are directly affected both as a result of their own internal crises (the Ivorian, Central African, Malian and Libyan crises, and more recently the crisis in North Nigeria) as well as those of neighbouring countries (Eritrea, Somalia, Syria, etc.).

    One of the direct consequences of these crises is the considerable uptick in the number of refugees and asylum seekers requesting protection.

    It is in this context that the Rabat Process Support Project consortium, in which the FIIAPP participates, is organising on 15th and 16th June in Rabat a meeting on asylum and international protection, an event that will be co-chaired by Spain and Morocco.

    This thematic meeting will include the participation of national and international representatives and experts, and one of its goals is to promote spaces for collaboration and consensus on issues of asylum and international protection. It aims to identify lines of action that will make it possible to develop effective protection systems and strengthen regional cooperation in these areas and in the zone covered by the Rabat Process.

    Maxence Defontaine

    Communications Officer of the “Rabat Process” project

    More information on the Rabat Process and this upcoming meeting on this website: www.processusderabat.net.