19 December 2019
Alma Martín Pérez, a support technician in the EU-Cuba Exchange of Experiences programme to promote renewable energy sources and energy efficiency reflects on programme participation at COP25 and the results of the summit.
The COP25 World Climate Summit expected more ambitious agreements on climate change neutrality by 2050. The frantic level of discussions and negotiations from the almost 200 countries participating in the summit relentlessly sought a last-minute consensus. Nonetheless, the CO2 emissions market and other relevant issues were postponed until Glasgow COP26, scheduled for November 2020.
Over two weeks, representatives from countries, international organisations, institutions and civil society produced figures that testify to the urgent need for action: The oceans are receiving 13,000,000 tonnes of plastic annually, increasing acidification of the seas is affecting fishing and impacts on food security. Three quarters of the planet are under threat, over one million species are at risk of extinction, greenhouse gases have reached a new high. The next 50 years will see 250 million to 1 billion environmental refugees. The data is overwhelming. Commitments are needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and avoid the temperature rising by over 1.5 degrees.
Nonetheless, COP25 was not only about raising the alarm and the environmental emergency. It also offered spaces for awareness and dialogue to address environmental issues from a multi-disciplinary approach: biodiversity, gender, migration, town planning, industry, finance, technological development, etc. A wide range of topics to ensure that both specialists and the general public alike learn of the situation as it stands, without giving way to drama and pessimism, because there is still time to act.
Accordingly, FIIAPP worked closely with the High Commissioner for the 2030 Agenda, Cristina Gallach, helping to organise COP and promoting different activities, such as the panel on “Energy transition and economic investment opportunities in Cuba” in collaboration with the project coordinator Maite Jaramillo, Felice Zaccheo (European Commission Head of the Regional Programs Unit for Latin America and the Caribbean), Marlenis Águila (Director of Renewable Energies at the Cuban Ministry of Energy and Mines), Elaine Moreno (General Director of the National Energy Office in Cuba – ONURE), Ramsés Montes (Director of Energy Policy at ONURE) and Eric Sicart (Fira Barcelona). This event falls within the scope of the EU-Cuba Experience Exchange programme to promote renewable energy sources and energy efficiency, which is funded by the European Union and managed by FIIAPP. The main elements of the programme were highlighted at this event, along with the opportunities and challenges facing Cuba in developing renewable sources and using energy efficiently.
Island countries are directly subject to the consequences of climate change and are aware of how strongly environmental protection is linked to sustainable economic and social development. Formed by specialists from MINEM and ONURE, the Cuban delegation invited to the COP used the panel to announce the country’s ambitious policy to substantially reduce the use of hydrocarbons and carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 by progressively increasing renewable energy sources and enhancing their use in the electric power generation matrix.
Beyond the COP, the international community has begun to take steps towards ecological transition. However, the challenge is to do so in time and justly and fairly to prevent a worsening of existing inequalities. The responsibility for change requires public policies by countries, international and regional organisations aimed at decarbonising the economy, adapting the current system to the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda.
Even though the agreements reached at COP are not those envisaged, one thing has become evident in the course of the summit, namely, the interest of Spanish society in strengthening climatic action and in progressing towards CO2 emission neutrality. It is time to act and seek joint solutions.
21 November 2019
We interview Jesús Agudo Ordóñez, leader of the Twinning project “Forensic training towards advanced examination methods in Turkey” and expert adviser with the National Institute of Toxicology and Forensic Science, who talks to us about forensic science and what it contributes to this project being carried out in Turkey.
What is the main objective of this Twinning project?
The objective is to strengthen and improve the methods used in forensic laboratories in Turkey. To do this, arrangements have been made for Spanish forensic science specialists to collaborate with their Turkish colleagues.
The Spanish forensic science specialists basically come from three sources: firstly, the National Institute of Toxicology and Forensic Sciences, occasionally joined by medical examiners from legal medicine institutes; secondly, the Criminology Laboratory of the Civil Guard, and lastly the Forensic Science Laboratory of the National Police.
They’re all forensic science laboratories, one of them being civil, which is our laboratory belonging to the Ministry of Justice, and the other two, the National Police and Civil Guard laboratories, coming under the Ministry of the Interior.
What do you think this project can bring to Turkey?
This project will help Turkey above all to standardise the methods used in investigations in forensic laboratories. It’s true that Turkish forensic laboratory technicians have a very high level, probably comparable with most European countries. Perhaps the most important added value that Spanish experts can provide is precisely — and this is one of the aims of the project — that of making the techniques used in Turkish laboratories uniform and standardised and ensuring they are certified.
What activities will be carried out to achieve these objectives?
Forty activities are planned over two years. Practically every week there is some activity and some form of travel by the technicians of the institute or the laboratory of the Police or the Civil Guard. These technicians usually travel in pairs and we organise seminars and training cycles in Turkey, attended by Turkish technicians from the same field as the Spaniards sent there.
At the National Institute of Toxicology we’re dedicated to forensic science from, shall we say, a human perspective. We don’t have engineers here, but all the specialists here are experts, graduates or postgraduates in biomedical sciences. Therefore, our activity is focused on the study of crime in general, including those crimes that have occurred and their effects at an organic level, at the level of tissues, in short at the level of people.
The National Police and the Civil Guard also work in this field, but perhaps what makes them different from us is that they provide training on other, more police-specific sciences such as ballistics, sound and image engineering, voice recording and digital recording of crimes that don’t so much affect the person, the body or the human, but tend to be more technological, more “cyber”-related. So, there are training plans for all these areas.
How does having specialised forensic experts help countries?
Forensic science helps guarantee and improve the quality of police investigations for crime prevention and prosecution. Police sciences are fundamental; they are the backbone of society to maintain order and justice. Specifically, the National Institute of Toxicology belongs to the Ministry of Justice, and for a society to have the existence of order and justice at its core is fundamental for the development of interpersonal relationships and of all kinds of professional and business initiatives.
Therefore ultimately what we’re talking about is ensuring countries’ prosperity and wealth and making sure their citizens feel safe in their dealings with one another and in initiating projects with economic impact that contribute to the enrichment and growth of their country.
What added value does FIIAPP bring to the project?
FIIAPP is a structural element of this cooperation, without whose involvement it would be very difficult to carry out this type of project. Ultimately what the people who take part in these projects contribute, both the beneficiaries, Turkey in this case, and the collaborators, Spain, is scientific know-how, in this case forensic science know-how. But it’s essential to have a body to perform organised administrative and economic tasks. So FIIAPP is the necessary body, the cement needed to make the project cohere. Without FIIAPP, projects would not have much future or make much sense.
Do you think international cooperation is important for receiving knowledge and contributing it to other countries?
For the peripheral countries of Europe, for countries that have applied for EU membership, for other countries that may not yet be eligible to apply or haven’t applied but are in its orbit, I think it’s very important because it’s about propagating the way of doing things we have in Europe.
It’s a way that’s widely recognised in the field of forensic science and that is compared internationally with other areas of influence such as the US and Asia, and it’s important that countries close to Europe or looking to be part of it in the future start adopting these kinds of methods, getting used to working with quality criteria, standardisation of methods so that when the day comes for closer approximation or full membership, everything will be that much easier and the people working in those countries will have learnt how to work in the European context.
Constant communication between the institutions of the member country, Spain, and the beneficiary country, Turkey, is important, with FIIAPP as a coordinator. It’s also important not to lose touch with the European Commission which is driving and funding this project. It would also be a good idea to maintain, as we have done on occasion, a close relationship with them to help solve those little things that may be small obstacles and try to improve day-to-day operation of the projects.
07 March 2019
Project coordinator Francisca Guzmán reflects on the importance of legislative adaptation to the country in this matter
Morocco has a long history in the regulation of the carriage of dangerous goods by road. The country has been a signatory of the European Agreement concerning the international carriage of dangerous goods by road (ADR) since 2001 and ten years later, in 2011, Law 30/05 was published that regulates the carriage of dangerous goods in the country. This establishes the framework for this mode of transport but refers local transport to the effective application of the international agreement.. Going a step further on this path, the FIIAPP now manages, in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Works, a twinning project in Morocco that, funded by the European Union, is committed to safety in the carriage of dangerous goods by road based on the ADR.
This project aims to improve safety and strengthen the structure and activities related to the carriage of dangerous goods by road, and its main objective is the preparation of the regulatory texts mentioned in Law 30/05.
The necessary regulations for the application of ADR in domestic transport, adapted to the intrinsic characteristics of the country, have already been developed by the Spanish specialists participating in this project. The Moroccan Administration, after the legal wording of these texts has been adapted to the Moroccan legislative technique, will begin the administrative procedure for the approval and publication of the set of laws that will regulate not only the carriage of dangerous goods, but also all fields which concern and are affected by this carriage.
The carriage of dangerous goods is multifaceted, meaning that many ministries, professional sectors and organisations are involved, hence the complexity of this twinning which, although it actually belongs to the Moroccan Ministry of Transport, affects and requires collaboration and cooperation by other ministries and agencies of the Moroccan administration. Hence the complexity, the difficulty and the captivating nature of the project, which concerns a large part of the administration of a country, numerous professional and economic sectors and, best of all, affects all citizens. We must not forget that the ultimate objective is to make the carriage of dangerous goods safer, since these goods are transported at all hours, every day. Suffice to mention the carriage of gas bottles, which is very common in this country.
Therefore, taking into account the progress made with the project and aware of the difficulties entailed by legislative publications in all countries, we can confirm, without fear of error, that Morocco is at the starting point of the application of ADR in its territory, which will mean a very important added value for this country, and it will be the first country in this area to fully apply this agreement. This will help Morocco to become the first country in North Africa and the Atlantic façade to apply ADR to its internal transport, always adapted to the intrinsic characteristics of this territory.
The international scope of the project has facilitated the introduction of the Moroccan administration into the international groups of the United Nations where the details of the ADR rules are discussed, approved and debated. This will give Morocco the opportunity to discuss, propose, and understand the situation of this mode of transport in the rest of the countries that have signed the ADR agreement. In addition, it will enable Morocco to achieve an important, prominent status in its regional area, in particular, with regard to North African countries and the Mediterranean basin.
Thus, after effective application of the texts in Morocco, the country will be the leader of this type of transport in its region. All this will assist economic consolidation, consolidation of the road transport sector and, most of all, it will help to make transport safer, which will directly affect the citizens of this country, its infrastructures and the environment. Once again, cooperation will have provided a country with the necessary tools to drive economic and social development and good governance .
16 August 2018
Delia Ferreira is President of the NGO Transparency International and in this interview, she tells us about some advances against corruption as well as challenges that are still pending
How can we bring about a cultural change in our societies regarding the phenomenon of corruption, so that it stops being seen as a natural phenomenon?
The fact that corruption is normal is a central problem in our societies. Corruption appears when it is installed structurally as the normal way of doing business or to get aid or whatever you need from the State in the way of services. This is a problem that has to do with rebuilding certain agreements about the basic values of a society. For years these agreements have been broken as has the understanding about what was good and what was bad in societies. Even if one analyses what the perception of a very small child is about what is fair or unfair, it is much clearer than the perception that this child is going to have when he (she) permeates social criteria over the years. We must work hard on education and discuss again what is acceptable and what is not, because, when corruption becomes the norm, there is no longer an effective antidote, because in the fight against corruption the partner that we really need is a society that is mobilised, citizen by citizen, aware of what should be allowed and what should not. Conditions must be created to promote or channel that social energy.
What are the challenges for international coordination in the fight against corruption from examples of global institutionalised corruption like the Lavo Jato case?
Large-scale corruption, like the Lava Jato case, poses different challenges for the justice system than the corruption cases seen previously, however big they were in monetary terms, because this is a global phenomenon and, therefore, requires a global response and cooperation, not only at the country level but also between all agencies. This is one of the problems faced by the justice system when it wants to investigate these cases. Not only access to banking information, tax information, information on money laundering organisations, which should be made far easier for the judges and prosecutors who are investigating, but also the need for international cooperation.
This is why the procedural rules must be changed in many countries and the international conventions on fighting corruption must be altered, because we continue to face this type of problem in a situation in which money is moved from one country to another with a mouse click on a computer, in a matter of seconds, and it disappears off the radar. Here, we are confronted with the same mechanisms for dealing with the government as we had in the 19th century: the judge prepares an official letter that goes to the government, the government sends it to the government of another country, which sends it to a judge, and that judge says that he lacks a detail and returns it, and months go by, if not years, before the information is obtained. Also, if the money moves from one country to another, or from one social structure to another, or to another fiscal paradise in a matter of seconds, it is impossible to follow its trail, which is essential for investigating corruption.
Recently , an Anti-Corruption Legal Aid Centre (ALAC) was inaugurated in Chile, with the support of EUROsociAL+ , a programme managed by FIIAPP. What is the value of this centre for allegations of corruption and how will it serve as a link between the State and citizens?
ALACs already exist in our chapters in over 60 countries. The idea behind these centres is to support victims of corruption or those who know of cases of corruption and want to report them and do not have the legal or judicial support needed to do so. ALACs have allowed us to trigger allegations of corruption in many countries around the world, because it is no longer an individual citizen but an organisation that is linked with the Public Prosecution Service and can channel the complaints and follow them through.
In many of these countries what we have are agreements with their bar associations that allow us to have top-level legal advice from lawyers who work on the cases pro bono and provide, through ALACs, contact with those who want to go to court and do not know how. Also, these ALAC centres have provided us with a great deal of information on how corruption operates in the countries, direct, first-hand information that would have been difficult to gather otherwise, since corruption operates in total secrecy, receipts are not handed out for corruption except in exceptional cases in which a record was kept of the accounting, as happened with Odrebrecht, which had a section of the company devoted to these structured operations.
To what extent does corruption have different effects on women?
An important sector in which to find a gender difference is in relation to access to services and allowances that are linked to petty corruption. This is because women are responsible for care-giving tasks and, therefore, we are the visible face that is requesting the aid, because poverty has been feminised and the poorest sectors are those that need the cooperation of the State in the provision of those services.
Another factor that specifically punishes women, or does so in a more substantial manner, is the area of exchange currencies. In many petty corruption cases, sexual favours are demanded or they give rise to situations of harassment in which women are victims twice over.
The corruption barometer, which is one of International Transparency’s measuring tools, shows that in the region, areas of public policy like health, education and social plans are perceived as being the most corrupt or the most prone to corruption, and these are the areas clearly linked to care-giving tasks and requesting allowances. So, corruption has a different effect on men and women.
The other two areas of the state in which different effects can be observed are the police and the courts. When the police and the courts are affected by corruption, the women who have to resort to them in cases of discrimination, domestic or gender violence, femicides, rape or harassment face the fact that, when they defend their rights in an area dominated by corruption, instead of finding protection and a guarantee of these rights, they end up being victims.
14 June 2018
The cross-border nature of the crimes faced by customs surveillance requires international cooperation and coordination efforts by the institutions responsible
In Spain, the Customs Surveillance Service is a Sub-Directorate General attached to the Tax Agency’s Customs and Excise Duties Department and belonging to the Ministry of Finance and Public Function. It is made up of officials who are considered law enforcement officers (customs and excise officers and judicial police officers) who work all over Spain and in its airspace and territorial waters. The tasks it undertakes essentially consist of curbing petty and large-scale smuggling and combatting drug trafficking and other similar crimes, money laundering, tax evasion and the informal economy. All of these have an increasingly global dimension.
In regard to international cooperation on customs surveillance, coordination and cooperation between national and European bodies and with third states are of vital importance , both in general for the public and the State and in particular for the organisations involved in this cooperation, such as the Tax Agency’s Sub-Directorate General of Customs Surveillance.
The scale of the illegal activities dealt with by us as an organisation takes various forms: firstly, because these are activities that extend beyond state borders and, secondly, because the perpetrators take advantage of the differences in legislation between the states and look for loopholes so that they can carry on their criminal activities.
In this sense, therefore, the fight against this complex type of crime faces many difficulties, although it tends to end in success. In most cases, the flow of information and the coordination between the operational resources of the different countries are what makes this success possible.
The twinning project named “Improving maritime surveillance in Turkish customs”, which is managed by FIIAPP, is currently taking place between the Spanish and Turkish customs services. The project is intended to improve the knowledge and techniques of both States so as to bring about internal improvement and implement new techniques and new operational tactics in our searches and routine work that will help us to devise and have a new vision of how we can operate against these mafias.
Laura Rebollo Villarino is the head of Air and Sea Operations and CECOP, which report to the Tax Agency’s Sub-Directorate General of Customs Surveillance
About the Project
The aim of the Improving Maritime Surveillance in Turkish Customs project, which is financed by the European Union and managed by FIIAPP in collaboration with Douanes & Droits Indirects, is to try to improve the surveillance ability of Turkey’s maritime customs service. It also seeks to ensure that the country fulfils the obligations in this area set by the European Union for Member States.
Since last November, experts from Spain’s IEF (Institute of Fiscal Studies) and AEAT (State Tax Administration Agency) have been working with their Turkish counterparts to improve the skills and procedures of the country’s customs surveillance, from illegal trade to forgery and other related offences. Spain and Turkey have similarities in this area as both countries have a long coastline and also have to cope with a strait that forms a bottleneck for shipping. Both countries also form a bridge between two continents, so that the risks and threats they face are very similar.
08 June 2018
CIVIPOL has been the technical cooperation operator of the French Ministry of the Interior since 2001. Its activities are mainly carried out at the international level and it is essentially financed by the European Union. Yann Jounot is the General Director of CIVIPOL and he speaks to us in this interview about the consultancy's work and his work with FIIAPP
What is CIVIPOL and what does it do?
CIVIPOL is the French Ministry of the Interior’s consulting and service company. Its role is to enhance the work of experts at the international level, particularly in the context of development projects financed by the European Commission, the World Bank, etc.
In addition, the company is involved in all the areas belonging to the Ministry in France: Police, Territorial Government, Civil Security and also civil status and mine clearance.
Which sectors and geographical areas are a priority for CIVIPOL?
The priority geographical areas for CIVIPOL are those covered by the Ministry of the Interior. On the one hand, West Africa, in particular the Sahara region, and the Maghreb region and the Middle East. On the other, in recent years the company has also developed its activities, particularly in East Africa and in English-speaking Africa in general (Nigeria and Kenya, for example).
One of CIVIPOL’s main activities is managing projects financed by the European Commission. In this regard, how do you view FIIAPP and what is your relationship with the Foundation?
FIIAPP is a historic and strategic partner for CIVIPOL. The Foundation shares with CIVIPOL the objective of supporting public policies, and our staff has long maintained day-to-day relations with FIIAPP’s justice and security sectors, which are our regular contact points.
Which projects are CIVIPOL and FIIAPP currently collaborating on?
We are currently collaborating on 10 projects, mainly in the areas of security, within a wide geographical area. These projects include: strengthening the police in Myanmar; GAR-SI Sahel and the fight against organised crime in the horn of Africa. Not to mention projects that are now being prepared or negotiated, which are part of a privileged bilateral cooperation between France and Spain on security issues.
CIVIPOL and FIIAPP have recently signed an agreement for a project in Senegal. What does this agreement involve? Why work with FIIAPP?
CIVIPOL wanted to collaborate with FIIAPP because this will allow the project to benefit from the knowledge of Spanish experts in internal security issues. The agreement lays down the legal conditions setting out the rules and financial conditions for this collaboration.
What is the aim of the project in Senegal?
The project should enable Senegal’s internal security services to have better equipment to fight terrorism and organised crime and to control and monitor its borders. The project will also help to improve internal security by improving the security of the general public and their property.