• 24 February 2022

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    Posteado en : Opinion

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    What use are cooperation efforts without an interministerial consensus in the countries?

    The Country Round Tables are an instrument for dialogue between a government and the EU to define the lines of action of European cooperation projects horizontally and according to demand

    Education, health, justice, security, employment.  How many sectors can fit into a country’s public system? How can these public systems be strengthened? Where should efforts be directed? What should be prioritised? How can we ensure that our cooperation is as effective and consistent as possible?   

    The FIIAPP’s mission is to strengthen public systems through international cooperation between public institutions, but what use are all these efforts if there is no consensus to give them meaning?  Answering these questions is essential to FIIAPP.   

    For governments, public institutions, the European Union, European cooperation programmes and the implementing agencies of the programmes to answer these questions, the FIIAPP is organising the Country Round Tables ( #MesasPaís ).   

    Country Round Tables, a materialisation of the #PolicyFirst principle   

    What is the point of making huge investments if they are not based on a cohesive roadmap ? In other words, what is the point of spending €10 million building schools if the Ministry of Education does not have public policies that ensure a quality educational system and the Ministry of Inclusion does not guarantee a tolerant and respectful environment in schools? When it comes to cooperation, what use is all the effort if there is no interministerial strategy that gives it meaning?  

    “what use is cooperation without interministerial  consensus in countries? “ 

    The Policy First principle is an emerging concept in foreign action and European development cooperation based on prioritising dialogue on public policies. “It establishes mechanisms that facilitate policy dialogue with partner countries to steer programming and implementation of Team Europe‘s cooperation actions […] building shared political responses to global challenges ” explains Tobias Jung, director of Strategy and Communication at the FIIAPP.  

    In line with this strategy, the FIIAPP has promoted the Country Round Tables.   

    Continuous dialogue within governments  

    The Country Round Tables are promoted by the FIIAPP and framed in European cooperation programmes such as EUROsociAL+ and EUROCLIMA+.  They are meetings of representatives of the main public bodies of a country and EU institutions, their cooperation programmes, public financial entities and the EU member states.  

    They are convened by the European Union and assisted by the FIIAPP, and are designed to identify country needs and draw up a roadmap to face the main challenges existing in the territory. It is a horizontal dialogue from which the strategic lines of the public technical cooperation projects (modality of cooperation between public institutions) emerge, which are then used by the partner country institutions to design and implement public policies.   

    OECD recognition  

    The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has recognised FIIAPP’s effort to create the Country Round Tables:   

    “The Country Round Tables have proven effective for developing joint responses to crises such as COVID-19, and in advancing the Team Europe approach”, they explain in the report where they recognise the work of the Round Tables.   

    European cooperation programmes such as EUROCLIMA+ and EUROsociAL+ have used the Country Round Table methodology in several Latin American countries such as Argentina, Honduras and Paraguay: 

    Country Dialogues, an undertaking by EUROCLIMA+ and its partners EUROsociAL+ held a Country Dialogue round table in Argentina to address equality gaps in Latin America  

    The COVID-19 Round Table initiative  

    COVID-19 has shown us that pandemics and their associated crises require a rapid, coordinated and, above all, global response to protect people and counteract the social and economic consequences felt all over the world.   

    In May 2020, following the “Working Better Together” approach, the European Commission launched a pilot exercise called COVID-19 Round Tables led by the Delegations of the European Union in Argentina, Costa Rica and Ecuador in collaboration with the governments of each of these three countries.  This initiative worked for several months to identify the demands derived from the health emergency, in order to prioritise them in a joint exercise with the government of the partner country to channel the response of the European actors in a structured and coordinated manner according to the capacities and speciality of each actor.  

    Giving all institutions a voice 

     At this point, I will go back to the question I started with and the answer is obvious : what use is cooperation without interministerial consensus in countries? Not much, which is why at FIIAPP we will continue to use tools for dialogue and listening that give all institutions a voice.  

    Cristina Blasco, technician from the department of 

    Communication and Strategy at the FIIAPP 

     

  • 20 December 2021

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    Posteado en : Reportage

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    A 2021 full of challenges… but, above all, achievement

    The creation of a network offering legal assistance to migrants in Latin America, the dismantling of a network trafficking women and migrants in Niger, more than 2,000 trained Turkish judges and public prosecutors... these are just some of FIIAPP’s achievements in 2021.

    Before we dive headfirst into 2022, we would like to look back at what 2021 has been like for FIIAPP. We have worked throughout this year to promote sustainable development, improve public systems and strengthen the bonds that exist between societies. As all this may seem a bit abstract, we want to highlight some concrete, tangible achievements that reflect the great daily work undertaken by the public talent in our institutions, mobilised by FIIAPP in more than 120 countries.  

    Latin America, a priority region  

     Social cohesion, gender, justice, security… these are just some of the many areas in which we have worked in Latin America this year. We have supported the start-up of a regional network in the region offering legal assistance to migrants. We also promoted the signing of the Lisbon Declaration, which strengthens dialogue and relations between Latin American and European judicial institutions.  

    In Central America, forensic scientists are now working together online to share knowledge on investigative techniques, while in Peru we have succeeded in implementing a new intelligence system to fight against organised crime.  Uruguay, Honduras and El Salvador are developing their own long-term climate strategies. We have also accompanied National Action Strategies for Climate Empowerment in Chile, Uruguay, Costa Rica, Argentina and Panama.
     

    Security and development  

    At FIIAPP we believe that security and development go hand-in-hand. Stability is an essential requirement for development to take place. We are therefore present in regions like the Sahel, with projects like ECI-Niger. Thanks to this project, it has been possible to dismantle a network trafficking women and migrants in Niger. In Nigeria, we have also created a network of more than fifteen West African countries through the ATIPSOM project in association with over 180 NGOs to strengthen organised civil society that works directly with potential victims of trafficking, both in the prevention of the crime and in obtaining information.  

    However, you don’t have to go so far to see international cooperation in action. In Turkey, a country neighbouring the European Union, more than 2,000 judges and prosecutors have received intensive training in key issues such as judicial independence, new technologies in the justice sector and the rights of victims. We have also supported Ukraine in its entry into the common EU airspace, helping the country to integrate its aviation security regulations.  

    These are just a few of this year’s achievements. From each project – and we manage more than 90 – we could highlight an action or result that has improved people’s lives. FIIAPP’s commitment to sustainable development, multilateralism and the #TeamEurope spirit will see us continuing to work to take Spanish and European cooperation further and further. Let’s hope for a 2022 with better public systems for people and the planet.   

  • 02 December 2021

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    Posteado en : Interview

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    “The tenacity of researchers has been key to Spanish science”

    We interview Enrique Playán, director of Spain’s State Research Agency, an institution with which FIIAPP works on international cooperation projects. This agency promotes scientific and technical research and funds R+D+i activities.

    Why is cooperation in the field of research important?

    International cooperation is the basis of scientific development. Sometimes this is because you have to contact people who do not live in the same country, whereas in others, it is necessary to solve problems that go beyond the limits of a given country. Scientific cooperation is also part of international cooperation at a political level. Scientific diplomacy is a fundamental element in relationships between countries. Science is an area in which understanding is the general norm and which therefore has plenty to teach other types of political relations. I am not aware of disputes in international scientific cooperation, for example.  

    Is the response to the pandemic a clear example of scientific cooperation? 

    Indeed, in cases where there is a serious humanitarian situation, science still responds more from a perspective of sharing knowledge and cooperation. This has been the case in the case of the pandemic, but it is not an exception, it is the general rule.  

    Another example of cooperation in this area is the twinning project between Tunisia and Spain in which the State Research Agency participates. Why are such projects important?

    Tunisia’s project for capacity-building and institutional reform is not only of importance to Tunisians. These issues, including institutional reform and ensuring the best possible skills, are also very important in Spain. Research groups established through relationship between the two countries have a long history.   

    Reunión entre investigadores españoles y tunecinos en la Agencia Estatal de Investigación
    Meeting between Spanish and Tunisian researchers at Spain’s State Research Agency

    What is the relationship like between Tunisia and Spain?  

    Spain’s relations with Tunisia have been privileged due to numerous historical affinities. It is very important that these relations intensify through this Spanish/Tunisian outreach project and the scientific systems in the future.  

    The problems of water, agriculture and food in Tunisia and Spain are very similar. The management of brackish water, scarcity, floods, the relationship of water with energy, food etc. are issues that are problems of first magnitude for Spain and in which we find an affinity in the problems we face, in the solutions and varied approaches between countries that is very enriching in terms of research activities.  

    Is Spain a point of reference in the field of research?

    In many ways, yes. Spain has a great capacity to carry out research and to be among the leading countries in general and in some scientific disciplines in particular. The tenacity of researchers here has been key. Although in many aspects and at many times the necessary levels of investment required for research have been lacking, extensive programmes have ensured that Spanish science is among the very best in the world 

    Mention the key role of female researchers. At FIIAPP, we believe that it is fundamental to highlight the #PublicTalent of Spain’s national, regional and local administration.

    I have complete faith in Spain’s scientific system and the ability of its professionals and the research managers in universities and research centres, as well as in the agency itself and other public funders I believe that we have high-quality human resources at our disposal and that their skills have to be protected to enable them to continue to make Spanish science a leading light in the international environment 

    Why is research important for the development of a country?

    Because research is the driving force behind well-being. When I say well-being, I include development and economic growth, but I am not limiting myself to that alone. Research is the fuel that powers companies and sets them apart. Ensuring that Spain’s progress is fuelled by a knowledge-based economy is a priority of the first magnitude. It is what will make Spain grow even in times of economic downturn, distinguishing itself from its neighbours and setting it apart from aspects that so characterised the twentieth century, such as the availability of natural resources and other activities that do not have an added value based on knowledge.   

    Our young people’s job prospects to a large extent rest on us having the capacity to generate employment with high added value and that requires a lot of training. Research is not a policy that can be isolated from the country’s progress, but should rather be linked to other aspects, such as business development and education. All these factors have to be put on the table so that this shift towards a knowledge economy can take place. 

     

  • 15 October 2021

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    Posteado en : Reportage

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    “Rural women have served as an example of resilience to COVID-19”

    Ana María Yunpanqui is one of the few women mayors that Peru has. And the first in the history of its municipality, Pomata, in Puno, whose lake represents one of the most significant basins in South America.

    Ana María Yupanqui did not have it easy. Belonging to the Aymara ethnic group, which she herself considers “very sexist”, she was one of the few rural women who managed to continue with their education. She managed to finish high school and study outside her municipality to graduate as a Contadora (accountant) in Puno. “I wanted to do something for my community, and although basically not even my family supported me, I was confident I could do it, even if I was a woman and a young one“, explains the mayor of Pomata, a municipality of around 20,000 inhabitants. 

    At 33 years old, she is one of the 19 women who has managed to become mayor in Peru, the first in the history of her municipality. She believes that she won the elections because people, tired of corruption, chose to give a woman the opportunity to exercise another type of leadership. “There are leaders who can’t accept being governed by a woman. But the peopleput their trust in us and as a woman I can’t let them down, because I can serve as an example for others in years to come”, she stresses.  

    “We have many problems, our population earns their living purely from agriculture, livestock and fishing, and gender violence has a very significant impact on the lives of our women. The pollution of the lake is also a key issue”, explains the mayor.   

    Ana María Yupanqui comes from a rural area and knows all about the needs of rural women who, in this COVID-19 crisis, have been among the hardest hit. As she points out, in remote villages, especially the most marginalised ones, measures are needed to ease the burden of care and share it out better between women and men. Sufficient basic services and infrastructures are also needed to support women’s domestic and care work that is unpaid, which is exacerbated by the crisis. “We have to empower rural women so they can stand up for themselves”, says Pomata.  

    The EUROsociAL cooperation programme, financed by the European Union and managed by the FIIAPP, is working to improve the governance of Lake Titicaca and meet the demands of the main environmental and social challenges of its population, the majority of which are from Aymara and Quechua indigenous communities that live at an altitude of 4,200 metres, with little State presence and high rates of poverty and marginalisation.   

    Specifically, the Democratic Governance area of the EUROsociAL+ programme, managed by the FIIAPP, through its Territorial Development line, has accompanied the Binational Autonomous Authority of Lake Titicaca (ALT) in the implementation of a strategy for coordination between various levels of government that also incorporates other non-institutional actors. The ALT has also taken lessons learnt from the European experience, for better management of water resources and sanitation projects that reduce inequality, vulnerabilities and social exclusion. 

  • 14 August 2021

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    Posteado en : Entrevista

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    #PublicExpertise: inclusive disability policies in Cambodia

    We interviewed Laura Diego, an expert on disability from the Ministry of Social Rights and 2030 Agenda who has promoted inclusive social protection disability policies in Cambodia.

    What has been the greatest achievement of your experience as an expatriate expert?

    Being able to offer more than ten years of national and international experience in public policies directed towards people with disabilities that could be of use to the National Council on Social Protection, the Cambodian institution that sought the support of SOCIEUX.  

    What are you most proud of?

    The General Directorate for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, for which I work, has taken part in a number of international projects, especially in European Neighbourhood Policy countries (Tunisia and Ukraine) and in Latin America. My work on this mission has opened up the chance for other international actors to get to know the work we do in countries where Spain has less presence or fewer historical, social, commercial etc. ties.   

    How has your assignment helped to improve the lives of people and the planet?

    The aim of the mission was to map and assess Cambodia’s existing social protection policies, including those that focus on disability. As a result of this work, my colleague (a Greek expert on disability from the WHO) and I have offered conclusions and recommendations to the Cambodian institution on the way forward for social protection policies aimed at people with disabilities in Cambodia which may improve the living conditions of people with disabilities and their families, and in general, of Cambodian society as a whole.  

    What is the main value of the public sector for you?

    The main value of the public sector is that it means we work for everybody, seeking the general interest of society as a whole, which I believe is very important today in a globalised world in which there are groups with conflicting interests.  

    What have you learned from this experience? 

    This experience has made it easier for me to get to know a part of the Cambodian reality, a country whose recent history has been very difficult, in which a large number of international actors operate such as the main United Nations organisations, the World Bank, various cooperation agencies international (Australia, Japan, the US, the EU etc.), NGOs from a number of different places with a wide range characteristics etc. This multiplicity of actors has its pros and cons, although the important thing is that the Cambodian government is committed to improving the living conditions of people with disabilities and their families. 

  • 30 July 2021

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    Posteado en : Reportage

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    Corruption: the hidden face of trafficking

    Every year more than 1.7 million women and girls are victims of sexual exploitation. Although the criminal networks and pimps are the ones committing these crimes, they are often able to act thanks to corrupt officials who allow these activities or even participate in them. On World Anti-Trafficking Day, we focus on this dimension of human trafficking and on the commitment of the Latin American Prosecutors' Offices to combat it.

    Gabriella is 15 years old, but her ID card says she has just turned 19. For two years, a network of pimps has had her locked in a brothel where they sexually exploit her. Six months ago she managed to escape from them. When she saw a police station in the distance, she thought she was safe. On arrival, she was seen by a police officer, who led her into a room and took a statement from her. When Gabriella finished speaking, the police officer left the room for a moment to make a call. Fifteen minutes later, a car turned up at the police station to take her back to the brothel from which she had escaped. The next day, the policeman stopped by to get the pimps to return the favour.

    Gabriella does not exist, but her story is lived every day by more than 1.7 million women and girls who are victims of sexual exploitation. Although pimps are often singled out, corrupt officials who look the other way or cover up these crimes are equally responsible. “Corruption is a scourge that permeates all structures, both public and private. The area of human trafficking is not outside this”, affirms María Soledad Machuca, a prosecutor with the Specialised Unit for Crimes Against the Economic Order and Corruption in Paraguay.

    Some public officials not only look the other way, they even actively participate in or benefit from sexual exploitation. “Often corrupt officials negotiate with traffickers and exploiters for payment in bribes or sexual favours in which the victims themselves are the exchange currency used to make these payments”, explains María Alejandra Mángano, a prosecutor with the Prosecutor’s Office for Trafficking and Exploitation of Persons in Argentina .

    For Rosario López Wong, a coordinating prosecutor with the Specialised Prosecutors for Trafficking Crimes in Peru, one of the problems that facilitate trafficking is advanced warning about police operations: “We feel great frustration when a planned victim rescue operation is not carried out or is halted because the traffickers have been alerted and the victims have been hidden, even minors.”

    Other officials give licences for cafeterias to brothels, falsify identity documents to make girls appear to be of legal age or intimidate victims so they do not report crimes, as Marcelo Colombo, a prosecutor with the Office of Human Trafficking and Exploitation in Argentina, describes: “There are public officials who threaten victims and witnesses, either so they do not denounce the acts of corruption or so they do not appear as witnesses at the trials”.

    The Latin American Prosecutor‘s Offices, within the framework of the Ibero-American Association of Public Ministries (AIAMP), work to detect and combat the public corruption that conceals trafficking. The Public Ministries are aware of the importance of working together and cooperating to end this scourge. “We are strengthening the cooperation and coordination between the Specialised Units for People Trafficking and Anti-Corruption in order to carry out an effective and timely investigation,” explains Carina Sánchez, a prosecutor with the Unit for the Fight against Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation in Paraguay.

    At FIIAPP, through programmes such as EUROsociAL+, EL PAcCTO and A-TIPSOM, we are working to promote cooperation between public administrations and jointly combat human trafficking. We do this by addressing the criminal chain as a whole. This implies working with both the police dimension (investigation and detention), going through the judicial route (drafting legislation and prosecuting in accordance with current laws) and finishing off with the penitentiary dimension (application of the penalties imposed).

    With the # FiscalíasContralaCorrupciónylaTrata campaign, we reveal  the hidden face of sexual exploitation. Although corrupt officials are only one part of an administration, detecting these ‘bad apples‘ is essential to ending trafficking. As Sergio Rodríguez, the head of the Argentine Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office, states: “There is no human trafficking without corruption“.