• 29 August 2019

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    Posteado en : Reportage

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    EUROsociAL+ and the case of Lorenza Cayuhan

    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

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    Posteado en : Opinion

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    Breaking barriers: how to bring taxation closer to the most vulnerable groups in Latin America

    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

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    Posteado en : Entrevista

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    “It is unthinkable to discuss a prosperous Ibero-America without considering the gender component”

    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.