18 July 2021
Posteado en : Opinion
Crisis and instability prevail in a complex time for Lebanon. We at FIIAPP are working with the country's institutions to support a local, community-friendly police model that respects human rights and the rule of law. Consuelo Navarro, coordinator of the "Promoting Community Policing in Lebanon” project and its human rights expert, Laia Castells, tell us about the current situation in the country and the progress being made in promoting cooperation despite the circumstances.
The political, economic and social crisis continues to impact on Lebanon. Indeed, owing to the cost-cutting plan launched by the Government, the prices of basic products have risen drastically, not to mention the serious electrical crisis caused by the lack of gas and oil reserves, thus keeping the country mired in an increasingly worrying economic recession.
In recent days, the national electricity company, Electricidad del Líbano (EDL), has been forced to ration service throughout the day, causing long periods of power outages. There were particularly tense moments in Beirut in the first week in July on account of the limited and irregular 4 hours of electricity a day, while in other regions, such as Tripoli, people are receiving only 2 hours’ service a day. The private electricity companies, which are replacing the state electricity service in this time of cuts, are making generators and gensets available to the public. Nonetheless, these companies are likewise suffering from the shortages of the fuel necessary to keep them operational. Indeed, they have said they will be unable to maintain the level of supply demanded for much longer unless they are given access to a greater quantity of subsidised oil or gas.
Fuel cuts are also affecting the transport sector and internal travel around the country. Long queues of cars, trucks, motorcycles and vans are commonplace at petrol stations as they seek to buy a maximum of 10 litres of petrol or gas at prices way beyond the purchasing power of a sizeable portion of the local population on account of the current level of inflation of the Lebanese pound.
These power cuts and the lack of access to transport are making it very difficult for people to carry out any type of economic, political or social activity. Tensions and social anxiety are on the rise as street demonstrations increase with each passing day.
Despite these challenges, the Project and its team continue working to plan, adapting to the situation in the country, doing everything possible to maintain the level of commitment of all stakeholders through personal visits, telephone calls and, when the electricity permits, permanent online communication between team members and their national counterparts.
This commitment is readily attested to by the holding of the first Project Steering Committee Meeting virtually on 6 July from Beirut. This Project Work Plan launch meeting brought together over 30 representatives of Lebanese institutions and the entire FIIAPP and CIVIPOL team, made up of both field and Madrid-based members. The Steering Committee unanimously approved the work plan proposed, a real success story given the current, difficult state of affairs.
Consuelo Navarro, coordinator of the Promoting Community Policing in Lebanon project
Laia Castells, human rights expert for the Promoting Community Policing in Lebanon project
15 July 2021
We interview Dolores Moreno, a forensic pathologist and ICRIME project expert in the fight against organised crime in Central America
Dolores Moreno is a forensic pathologist and has been a member of the National Corps of Forensic Pathologists for over 25 years. She has been director of the National Institute of Toxicology and Forensic Sciences attached to the Ministry of Justice and has worked as a FIIAPP expert in Central America as a participant in the ICRIME project in its fight against organised crime.
What has been the greatest achievement of your experience as an expatriate expert?
ICRIME works with twelve forensic organisations in seven countries. After several visits and continuous contact with their workers, having the opportunity to get to know them, understand their needs and drafting the improvement proposals in keeping with project goals has, I think, been one of my greatest work-related achievements.
What are you most proud of?
Of having quickly adapted to the central American culture and of having developed a relationship of trust with the directors of forensic institutions in the region.
I am also proud of having been able to rally high-level experts from our ministries and involve them in our project.
How has your mission as an aid worker and at the same time a public official contributed to improving the lives of people and/or the planet?
Cooperation with the public institutions of these countries allows us to share knowledge and the experience acquired in our civil service. We collaborate in making these public institutions more effective and efficient. To do so, we apply management and quality criteria, working on professional training and technological improvement, which results in better service to the public, greater legal security and better management of public resources.
What is the main value of the public aspect for you?
Public Administrations don’t try to obtain the maximum profit from the services they provide. Consequently, the parameters to be taken into account when selecting a service will only be those of suitability and the achievement of the expected results. I think this is very important when providing basic services such as those related to security and justice.
This does not mean that a public service should not be efficient, on the contrary, public officials have become more committed to the administration of resources and are increasingly being trained in efficiency management, albeit never losing sight of social well-being and without putting citizens at risk.
What have you learned?
During this time I have had the opportunity to delve into how these organisations operate, which has allowed me to learn from their best practices in management, in the organisation of certain procedures and in the way to solve common problems.
I have also witnessed the commitment of the staff in these institutions who, despite cultural differences, share a vocation of public service with us.
13 July 2021
We interviewed the tax specialist Cristina García-Herrara, Director of Studies at the Institute for Fiscal Studies and expert in the EUROsocial cooperation programme
Cristina García-Herrera is a specialist in taxation and Director of Studies of the Institute for Tax Studies. In this interview she tells us about her experience as an expert on the programme regarding tax cooperation with Latin America EUROsociAL.
What has been the greatest achievement of your experience as an expert on the FIIAPP–EUROsociAL+ programme?
My greatest achievement in this project is having helped the Institute for Fiscal Studies to continue to be a key partner in the EUROsocial programme, assisting the IEF in its longstanding work in building stronger public finances in Latin American countries with the support and help of specialists and public employees in Spain.
What are you most proud of?
I am very proud of the role that the Spanish Ministry of Finance, and the Institute in particular, has played in the EUROsocial project over these years, due to the high degree of involvement of public-sector employees, the enthusiasm that exists about contributing to the improvement, the strengthening of public finances in Latin American countries and about a job well done by the entire team.
How has your assignment contributed to improving the lives of people and the planet?
I believe that through fiscal policy, the EUROsocial programme contributes from both a tax and budgetary perspective as a key element for the development of countries and the improvement of people’s living conditions. Changes in the structure of public income and expenditure have an impact on the distribution of households’ disposable income, on the securing of the fundamental right to equality, on the improvement of public services and ultimately on the achievement of a solid welfare state that provides a better life for all and, in particular, for the least fortunate.
What is the main value of the public aspect of this for you?
For me, the main value of the public aspect is the protection of general interests. In times of economic crisis, as is the case with the pandemic that we are still experiencing, the public response from countries has been solid. It has demonstrated the relevance of continuing to be committed to State intervention in the economy to correct market failures.
What have you learned from this experience?
I have learned a lot, both personally and professionally. I have been able to share and exchange ideas with officials and policy makers from a large number of countries. But, above all, I have learned the importance of peer collaboration. Assistance to Latin America is always a win-win, we receive more than we give, and that improves us, both professionally and personally.
29 June 2021
Orelvis Bormey, one of the businesspeople who took part in the 2nd Cuba-EU Expert Exchange programme, tells us about his experience and the support he received from the programme
Why is it important for Cuba to strengthen its entrepreneurial capacities at this time?
Reinforcing entrepreneurial capacities in Cuba now means adapting. The economic-social model envisaged by the country is constantly shifting, along with the measures adopted to make the new forms of economic management more flexible. This requires enterprise, which is the same as creating, revolutionising, adding, changing and transforming. This is more important now than ever before, because of the need for sovereignty and economic independence.
How has the 2nd Cuba-EU Expertise Exchange Programme helped you?
The 2nd Cuba-EU Expert Exchange Programme has allowed me to make a qualitative and quantitative leap forward. Sharing time, experiences and insights with the European teachers has given me a different perspective. It has allowed me to see situations and manage them with professional tools, rather than simply talking about problems or difficulties with decision-makers. The programme’s courses promote proactivity, constant responsibility for coordination, communication and process improvement as essential habits for managers.
What specific activities have you taken part in?
- European Diploma in Management Teaching, graduated on 12 February 2016
- Continuity Conference, May 2016.
- Continuity Conference, January 2018.
- Continuity Conference, April 2019.
- Foreign Trade Trainer Training Course, May 2021.
What benefits has working with this programme had for your business?
The programme continuously analyses case studies, practical training exercises that focus on the use of professional techniques and tools that have helped me manage our activities with flexibility, considering a multifactorial analysis for decision-making and always valuing its economic and social role for the stability and growth of the business.
Many situations have arisen, some expected, others much less so:
- There has been a shortage of essential raw materials, affecting production plans.
- Contracts have been terminated due to situations beyond the control of the parties.
- Increases in the prices of raw materials and inputs.
- Technology cannot be replaced due to import restrictions.
- Financial constraints on expanding production capacity or on guaranteeing the inventory levels required for a peak marketing period.
In general, we have always found a solution and I can assure you that the programme has had a significant impact. It has taught us how to manage scenarios when unforeseen events arise, what to do when there are limitations on implementing a programme of activities and ensuring that a system works effectively.
Is your product the first non-state product to be sold in Cuban airports? In your opinion, how important is this?
Maní BORMEY was added to the products on offer at “Abel Santamaría” International Airport in Villa Clara and later it was made available in other airports due to the popularity of the products. Its presence there is significant because it allows travellers to identify and buy a Cuban product that is as deeply rooted in our culture as tobacco and rum. This is why it is very important to praise it, to honour it, to ensure that our processing and presentation distinguishes us as a product for different occasions.
Do you think this type of experience is important for the foreign expansion of companies and in attracting investment from abroad? If so, why?
Training is essential for individual and national development, to see other cultures and business experiences that are summarised and analysed by experts and academics. Being professionally prepared for the foreign expansion of companies and investment from abroad means guaranteeing local and national development.
Do you plan to participate again in cooperation programmes such as the 2nd Cuba-EU Expert Exchange Programme?
I’m looking forward to taking part. The teamwork achieved in BORMEY allows everyone to continue to improve their professional skills and develop the manufacture of peanut-based products, providing new perspectives for research and innovation.
Would you recommend working with cooperation programmes such as the 2nd Cuba-EU Expert Exchange?
Yes, especially as they make you realise that at any time and any place there are opportunities to develop and explore ideas and business. It is possible to look for tools, information, establish communication, computer systems and controls and even establish working links with multidisciplinary teams and satisfy tangible and intangible needs.
25 May 2021
Posteado en : Reportage
The Spanish government recently presented Africa Focus 2023, a Spanish foreign policy action plan for its relations with African countries. FIIAPP, a participant in Spanish activities abroad, will continue to implement this plan through public technical cooperation. We have been doing this with projects that address migration management and the fight against human trafficking as well as the fight to combat Jihadist terrorism and corruption.
Shared interests, development potential and growing geopolitical weight make Africa is a strategic partner for Spain and the European Union. This is an enormous, complex region, with significant political, economic and social diversity . Africa faces major common challenges, from instability in regions like the Sahel and the scourge of terrorism to vulnerability to the effects of climate change, economic and social development and security and control over migration routes with an integral approach.
These challenges do not affect African countries alone. The consequences affect the entire planet, including the European Union. Which is why Spain and the European Union are working to improve relations with Africa , offering support in its efforts to address these challenges as far as possible.
The EU-African Union Summits will consist of meetings and dialogue between Africa and the European Union. The document “Towards a Global Strategy with Africa” was published last year by the European Commission and establishes five priority lines of association: ecological transition and access to energy; digital transformation; sustainable growth and employment; peace and governance; and migration and mobility. The strategy will be used as a framework for strengthening relations with Africa ahead of the 6th EU-AU Summit scheduled for this year.
Spain has also compiled its main strategies for relations with the African continent in its 3rd Africa Plan. With the basis premise “Spain and Africa: challenge and opportunity“, it advocates a new approach to Africa based on shared interests and a broad consensus among the main Spanish players on the continent.
The strategic objectives in the 3rd Africa Plan define the main areas of action: ensure peace and security in the region, foster inclusive, resilient economic growth, institutional strengthening and working for orderly, regular and safe mobility. All this considering five cross-cutting principles: differentiation; association; multilateralism; human rights and gender equality; and unity of action.
The 3rd Africa Plan defines the general lines that will govern Spain-Africa relations in the coming years. To implement this strategy, the Spanish government has published the Focus Africa 2023 action programme. The document will guide the activities of all government institutions in Africa and specify activities until the end of the current legislature in 2023.
Focus Africa 2023 is a part of the recently presented External Action Strategy 2021-2024. It is also aligned with the objectives and priorities of the African Union’s 2030 Agenda and 2063 Agenda . The action plan elucidates the four main objectives of the 3rd Africa Plan and establishes seven main areas.
Partners for Peace and Security
Security is an essential prerequisite for implementing development policies. Africa 2023 Focus pays special attention to the Sahel region and establishes it as a priority area to work by the Union. The document cites the work of the Rapid Action Groups (GAR) as examples of good practices in the region. We work with these Guardia Civil units to ensure regional stability through the GARSI-Sahel project, which is managed by FIIAPP. We also work with the GAR to better protect public spaces against terrorist attacks as part of the CT Public Spaces project in Ghana, Kenya and Senegal.
We also work in countries including Mauritania, supporting maritime security; Morocco, promoting the development of the Presidency of the Public Prosecutor’s Office in collaboration with the General Prosecutor’s Office and in Mozambique , where we are helping to strengthen judicial institutions and anti-corruption mechanisms.
Partners for the development of sustainable, fair and inclusive economies, African regional integration and the fight against climate change
Economic growth and the fight against climate change must go hand-in-hand with social cohesion policies to ensure that no one is left behind. Spain will work with African countries to implement policies that encourage a just transition. Regional integration is another priority, and initiatives such as the African Continental Free Trade Area and the Economic Community of West African States will receive support.
We are about to start a new project to support civil society in local governance in Angola. The objective is to contribute to economic growth and social development in the country through inclusive, heterogeneous and effective participation by civil society in the local governance process.
Partners to boost Spanish trade, business presence and investment in Africa
The priority sectors identified are in this area are agri-food; water, sanitation and waste treatment; engineering and consulting; energy, particularly renewable energy; transport infrastructures; chemicals and pharmaceuticals; and digital transformation, a priority for the European Union and Spain alike.
Effective intellectual property and patent management is essential to ensure investment and business development. In Egypt , we are supporting improvements to the Egyptian Patent Office, particularly in the area of digitalisation. We also have a project that is working to digitalise education in Algeria in collaboration with the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research.
Partners for strengthening global public services – health, water and sanitation
Africa Focus 2023 prioritises strengthening the health systems in African countries. The pandemic has highlighted the need for strong, resilient health systems able to cope with future challenges similar to COVID-19.
Humanitarian action partners
Humanitarian action will focus on food security and nutrition, protection and education in emergencies. Another priority area is the protection of women and girls in conflict situations.
Partners to promote gender equality and empower women and girls
In line with the government’s intention to develop a feminist foreign policy, it is doubling down on its commitment to support the empowerment of women and girls in all its foreign activities. Among the measures proposed are the promotion of a Women, Peace and Security agenda and more determined interventions to stamp out female genital mutilation.
The gender perspective is a transversal approach applied to all the projects in which FIIAPP is a participant. However, this aspect is getting particular attention in Morocco through the Living Without Discrimination project and in Burkina Faso through the Bridging the Gap disability programme.
Partners for migration and mobility management. Collaboration in the fight against irregular migration and human trafficking networks and encouraging orderly, legal and safe migration
Irregular migration and human trafficking are risky for their victims. Spain is collaborating with security forces in Africa to deal with this problem. FIIAPP is assisting with the fight through projects such as A-TIPSOM. This European cooperation project works to combat human trafficking and irregular migrant smuggling in Nigeria , prioritising women, girls and boys, the main victims of trafficking.
With the National Police Joint Investigation Teams we work through the ECI Niger project to support the government of Niger in the fight against criminal networks , irregular immigration and human trafficking. In Senegal we are also working to improve this problem through the POC project to quash irregular immigration and trafficking.
Development cooperation plays a fundamental and essential role in putting the actions in Africa Focus 2023 into practice. FIIAPP is working in Africa to further the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals by fostering knowledge sharing with public institutions. We do this under the auspices of the European Union, following the guidelines set out in the External Action Strategy 2021-2024, the 3rd Africa Plan and, now, by Africa Focus 2023. The success of the projects in Africa shows the need to continue cooperating in the region and promoting development-oriented public policies to improve citizens’ lives. Public cooperation, for people and the planet.
13 May 2021
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.