13 May 2021
Posteado en : Interview
Interview with Javier Samper, head of the Support Unit with the General Directorate of International Legal Cooperation and Human Rights at the Ministry of Justice, on the international cooperation work undertaken by the Ministry of Justice with FIIAPP.
What does the Ministry of Justice do? What institutions does it cover?
The work of the Ministry of Justice, in relation to FIIAPP, is complex and has several different and distinct facets. On the one hand, logically, the Ministry of Justice is basically an actor in development cooperation. The Ministry of Justice is also entrusted with a coordinating role, that is, it works with other actors that are also essential for any development cooperation project in the field of justice, such as the General Council of the Judiciary, the State General Prosecutor’s Office, the Spanish General Bar Association, notaries and registrars.
Why is it important for the Ministry of Justice to be involved in international cooperation projects? What does it contribute?
The experts at the Ministry of Justice are important in very diverse situations. It is also one of the competences of the Ministry of Justice. In other words, it is part of the work carried out by the Ministry of Justice and it is an issue that is included in our planning, our actions and ,of course, that is included in the strategy of the Ministry of Justice abroad.
The Ministry of Justice works on projects managed by FIIAPP. How long have they worked together and how is the relationship between FIIAPP and the Ministry?
I would say that the relationship between FIIAPP and MINJUS is excellent, it is very streamlined, which is essential. We work hand in hand with the Justice and Rule of Law area and, as a public institution, I would say that the relationship began the moment FIIAPP was created. I am aware that from the moment FIIAPP became involved in the twinning programmes, which are managed by the European Commission’s NEAR DG, twinning programmes have been led by the Ministry of Justice.
One of the main projects on which FIIAPP works with the Ministry of Justice is EL PAcCTO, what does this project involve?
El PAcCTO is a programme with an innovative approach to international legal cooperation or international cooperation in the fight against organised crime in Latin America, but also with a Euro-Latin American perspective. It is not only about improving the approach taken by public administrations and public powers in Latin America. In fact, it is also about building the working relationship, the cooperative relationship that exists between Latin American and European institutions.
As well as El PAcCTO, the Ministry of Justice works with FIIAPP on other projects. Could you tell us about some of its achievements?
At the moment we have a great relationship with Turkey, where we are currently working on three training projects for judges and prosecutors, civil enforcement offices and also, on advanced forensic analytical methods involving the Institute of Toxicology and Forensic Sciences attached to the Ministry of Justice. In addition, there are, of course, several projects that are particularly significant to us because of the strategic importance of the subject at hand, and because it also has a novel approach. For example, the I-CRIME project, which mainly deals with the fight against organised crime in Central American countries.
By participating in cooperation projects, the Ministry of Justice shares its knowledge with its counterpart institutions, but are there also lessons to be learned?
Basically, the work is done by specific experts who travel to the beneficiary countries with the idea of transferring the knowledge and experiences that the Spanish administration has been accumulating over an extensive period, which, I believe, is highly valued abroad. The specialist comes back, not only with a large number of personal contacts in foreign administrations, which are then always enormously beneficial because they sometimes allow us to streamline procedures or use ideas, make consultations, etc. In addition, their work has forced them to analyse their situation, the situation in other states, a comparative analysis by gathering opinions from all kinds of specialists, from a multidisciplinary perspective. All this, logically, has a very beneficial impact when the official returns to the home administration.
What are the main challenges for justice in a globalised world?
The fight against terrorism, the financial freezing of organised crime, the fight against corruption, etc. However, I would say that all these issues have some common roots, not in terms of what happens at the beginning of the problem, but in the way of tackling them: good governance. Training in and the application of transparency measures in the adoption of public policies, this type of knowledge transfer, is what encourages and facilitates the international cooperation necessary to face all these challenges tomorrow. Which is why I believe that democratic governance is possibly our main challenge.
29 August 2019
Posteado en : Reportage
The project addresses access to justice for people in vulnerable situations. This documentary video presents a paradigmatic case: that of the Mapuche woman Lorenza Cayuhan
Access to justice is a hallmark of the EUROsociAL+ programme, which is funded by the European Union and managed by FIIAPP, and is one of the dimensions through which the fight against exclusion and inequality is being organised.
Despite the notable advances in this area in the Latin American region, there is still a need to improve and guarantee access to justice for certain at-risk groups in order to strengthen social cohesion. Within that framework, the Brasilia Rules on Access to Justice for people in a vulnerable situation, which was approved by the Ibero-American Judicial Summit, are a key instrument for guaranteeing access to justice and contributing to social cohesion in the region. Since the beginning of EUROsociAL in 2005, the programme has supported the countries in the region as well as regional networks, not only in initially defining the Brasilia Rules in 2008, but also in revising and updating them in 2018 and in their dissemination and implementation at the national level in Latin American countries.
The case of Lorenza Cayuhan, which is presented in the video, is paradigmatic in this regard because it shows multiple discriminations (intersectionality of discrimination) for being a woman, Mapuche, pregnant and deprived of freedom, as was ultimately recognised by a ruling of the Chilean Supreme Court of Justice.
EUROsociAL+ Democratic Governance Policy Area
18 July 2019
Posteado en : Opinion
Borja Díaz Rivillas, technician from the EUROsociAL+ programme, recounts the experience of Sergio Dos Santos, one of the coordinators of an accounting and tax support core (NAF).
Sergio Dos Santos Reis worked during his childhood and youth as a street vendor selling ice cream and washing cars in the suburbs of the city of Gobernador Valadares, in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. He knows very well what it is to live in an environment with few opportunities to prosper.
“Education changed the story of my life,” says Sergio. After completing a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree, he is now a professor of accounting sciences at the University of Vale do Rio Doce (Univale). For four years he has also been the coordinator of the accounting and tax support core ( NAF ) of his university. NAF is a free tax and accounting consultancy service for low-income people that Sergio runs with his students, who are previously trained by the tax administration, the Federal Revenue Service.
NAF is active in the university, but it also runs an itinerant service to help vulnerable members of society, including the community in which Sergio grew up. “They are areas with problems gaining access to microcredit or micro-entrepreneurship, people who do not have access to the internet, low-income people without resources to pay an accounting professional, people who do not have information or knowledge about their rights in relation to their retirement, pension or the procedures involved therein. We are talking about small businesses such as manicure and pedicure salons, hairdressers, steakhouses and cake vendors, among others. NAF helps them,” he explains.
Univale’s NAF also supports itinerant non-profit social organizations , such as Associação dos Catadores Materiais Reciclados ( Ascanavi ), which works in very underprivileged neighbourhoods affected by drugs and prostitution.
“They are people who have sometimes suffered sexual violence, physical violence, who have not had the opportunity to get an education, and who dedicate themselves to garbage collection to survive through recycling. NAF goes to that community to do job orientations, analyses and accounting and tax document support for the association,” Sergio says.
How does NAF transform the lives of these people? “I’ll give an example. One day we talked with a mother who has a child with a disability. For five years she had been unfairly deprived of a benefit to which her son’s situation entitled her. When we solved her problem and we got the tax administration to reimburse her for the amounts they had unfairly withheld, she cried. She told us that she would be able to use that money to pay for medicines, to eat, and to feed her son. The story strongly impacted my life, because we solved something that was very complicated for her and very simple for us.”
But NAF also transforms the lives of the students . “In our line of study we have courses on ethics and citizenship. While working in NAF, the student sees theory put into practice. Students interact with the reality of the country by doing things for others and exercising citizenship . I see the joy in the faces of the students when they see that they can transform peoples’ lives,” says Sergio.
NAF emerged in Brazil in 2011. Today, thanks to the support of EUROsociAL+, through its alliance with the Federal Revenue Service of Brazil, they are already operating in more than 650 higher education institutions in 10 Latin American countries. In this new phase of the EUROsociAL we are pushing for a more social character, promoting help for people in a situation of vulnerability, in areas with high-informality and weak State presence where NAF act as a bridge between the tax administration and citizens, linking realities that are still very distant.
Borja Díaz Rivillas, Senior Expert in Democratic Governance for the EUROsociAL+ Programme
15 November 2018
Posteado en : Interview
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.