05 March 2021
After decades of energy inefficiency, technological innovations have led to some enormous improvements in the responsible use of energy. However, the pressing need to curb climate change requires more efforts in this area.
Energy efficiency means optimising the use of resources to produce energy. As well as consuming fewer resources, it means reducing emissions. This is essential to gradual decarbonisation and to keep the increase in the planet’s temperature to a maximum of 1.5ºC. Companies and individuals have become more acutely aware of the finite nature of fossil fuels, their increasing cost and their environmental impact.
The international community made a global commitment in the 2015 Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda. The goal for 2030 is to ensure that everybody has access to electricity and to increase energy efficiency and the use of renewable sources of energy.
This general objective is specified in two of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Among the aims of SDG7 “Affordable and clean energy” is to double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency from 2015 to 2030. As the UN Energy Progress Report points out, although things are improving, there is still much to be done. SDG11 “Sustainable cities and communities” also warns of the concentration of the population in cities and the need to develop adequate, energy efficient urban infrastructures.
To this end, in 2012 the European Union enacted a series of binding measures to promote energy efficiency with Directive 2012/27 / EU. In 2020, under the European Green Deal, the European Union committed to a more demanding objective of improving energy efficiency from 20% to 32.5% compared to 1990 levels.
With the 2030 Agenda and with European and Spanish cooperation as its point of reference, FIIAPP has been working on cooperation projects with public administrations around the world for more than 20 years. With the maxim of benefiting citizens, several of the projects implemented by the Foundation have included the promotion of public policies to foster energy efficiency among their objectives.
For example, under the EUROCLIMA + cooperation programme, we are currently working in collaboration with Paraguay to promote clean technologies and energy efficiency. As part of the “Promotion of the Efficient Use of Biomass in Paraguay” action, the Vice Ministry of Mines and Energy and the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development (MADES) are receiving support to develop a calculation tool for SMEs to carry out self-diagnosis of energy consumption and identify potential savings points.
In the field of Public Technical Cooperation, the team is working to design and run a national dissemination campaign targeting the agro-industrial sector. The purpose of this campaign is to instil the concept of energy efficiency and its benefits in economic, social and environmental aspects in the productive sector.
FIIAPP also works closely on energy efficiency matters with Cuban public bodies. Cuba has launched a new roadmap for the country to gradually incorporate renewable energy sources and work on energy efficiency. The aim is that by 2030 at least 24% of the energy generated will be renewable with better efficiency. This would mean saving 1.73 million tons of fuel per year and avoid releasing 6 million tons of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere.
One of the actions of the Cuba-EU II Expert Exchange programme aims to improve energy efficiency in the Cuban hospitality sector. Three specialists from the Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute (IRC) are taking part in a Master’s Degree in Energy Conversion Systems and Technologies, at the Rovira y Virgilio University in Tarragona.
Alexander Maura is working on his thesis on solar energy-based conversion systems in a hotel in an isolated area that generates its own electricity using fossil fuels, Ricardo Domínguez’s thesis explores the use of biogas for refrigeration and air conditioning purposes of a pig farm while Carlos Luis Izquierdo is designing a grid-connected photovoltaic system at IRC to boost renewable energy and reduce emissions.
‘Cuba Renovables’ is another of the projects managed by FIIAPP to promote energy efficiency among Cuban institutions. The project is part of the “Cuba Energy Support Programme”, implemented through a programme of cooperation between the EU and Cuba. Its aim is to contribute to the effective implementation of the ‘Policy for the prospective development of renewable energy sources and energy efficiency’ in Cuba and its regulatory framework.
The project supports the new national policy promote rational use of energy by reducing consumption and increasing savings. Cuban institutions have already launched different awareness campaigns for the population. Companies also play an important role and work is being done to promote the production of equipment for private and industrial use that is more efficient in saving energy.
These projects are an example of the effort of the international community, the European Union and Spain to offer joint responses through cooperation to global problems such as climate change. With the 2030 Agenda, the SDGs and the European Development Consensus as a guide, FIIAPP encourages public institutions to share their experience, steering them to generate results, forge relationships of trust and strengthen values in societies.
25 February 2021
Posteado en : Interview
In this interview, José R. Rojo Rodríguez, General Director of the Institute of Refrigeration and Air Conditioning of Cuba, tells us about the importance of the IRC and the cooperation work which they have been carrying out together with the EU-Cuba Facility for Expertise Exchanges II, funded by the European Union and managed by FIIAPP
What is the Institute of Refrigeration and Air Conditioning?
The Institute of Refrigeration and Air Conditioning (IRC) is a national reference centre for the refrigeration sector in Cuba. Our corporate purpose is to provide scientific-technological services, conducting applied research in matters of refrigeration, air conditioning and ventilation.
We have more than 40 years of experience providing specialised solutions in these areas, with a highly qualified professional staff that carries out projects that range from the project itself to the supplying and provision of specialised technical assistance, called “turnkey projects”.
What are your main areas of work?
Our main activity consists of services for science and technological innovation works, in the national territory and abroad, technical assistance, feasibility studies, surveys, diagnoses, knowledge management and technological management by applying new technologies. We also carry out tests on refrigeration and air conditioning equipment, to certify its quality and verify its energy efficiency, both for national and foreign legal entities, provided that the latter are domiciled, established or authorised to operate in the country.
At IRC we also organise training sessions, technical events, seminars and conferences on refrigeration, air conditioning and ventilation, and we carry out standardisation work, such as: development of quality specification standards, technical requirements and energy consumption rates and technological processes within these specialist areas, as well as marketing raw materials and idle materials.
Which IRC jobs would you highlight due to their relevance to energy efficiency in Cuba?
At IRC, we have experience in developing turnkey projects for refrigeration facilities for different products and in different locations in Cuba, among which are the following: the Frigorífico San Pedrito with three freezing tunnels, the Contramaestre refrigerator for citrus fruits, the refrigerator of the Mariel Special Development Zone and the Camarones de Guajaca processing plant.
We also have laboratories that certify the quality of the refrigeration and air conditioning equipment that Cuba produces or imports and we run several specialised courses in refrigeration and air conditioning that can also be taught online through the GESTA virtual platform, the Centre for Business Management, Technical and Administrative Achievement of the Ministry of Industries of Cuba.
How is the EU-Cuba Facility for Expertise Exchanges II Programme supporting this issue? Could you mention some specific activities?
IRC’s participation in the programme has enabled us to deepen our expertise along the lines of energy efficiency and the use of all residual energy sources. This has already made it possible to work on reducing energy consumption in facilities belonging to several organisations. Likewise, this experience and the knowledge acquired has multiplied and has reached more people through the courses given by our centre to all the personnel interested in these topics.
Support for the programme has been very important for us in facilitating the participation of 3 IRC specialists on a Master’s Degree in Energy Conversion Systems and Technologies, at the Rovira y Virgilio University of Tarragona, Spain, which has allowed us to raise the scientific level of our specialists. They are already preparing their final Master’s theses, which have also been linked to the issues we are working on with the EU-Cuba Facility for Expertise Exchanges II Programme.
Within the framework of the Programme and in relation to this Master’s Degree, what results do you hope to obtain from this training?
The participation of our specialists on the Master’s Degree will allow us to open new lines of work that will influence the use of residual energies to protect the environment and expand the use of renewable energies in refrigeration and air conditioning in our country.
19 February 2021
Democratising access to justice through community mediation is crucial to achieving greater social cohesion and social justice in Latin America
Larissa Estevan is a community mediation agent “driven by my love and commitment to the city where I grew up”, Samambaia, a region of Brasilia. “I became a community mediation agent after seeing a group of agents who enabled horizontal dialogue between recyclable material collectors, a very precarious profession in Brazil, university students and state representatives. At that meeting I fell in love with the Community Justice Programme”, explains Estevan.
Every day, Larissa Estevan works to “provide spaces for dialogue, law and justice in my territory.” One such case was that of Doña Ana, who went to her in the middle of a pandemic because her son had been arrested and she did not know what to do. “She was desperate when she came to us. It had been a month since he had been arrested and she had no information about him, and did not know where to go or how to seek help. We listened to Doña Ana and took the case to an assembly of the Community Justice Programme so that together we could think about possible guidelines, referrals and contacts so that she could exercise her right to have information about her son. Finally we put her in contact with the Ombudsman of the Federal District. A few days later, she called to thank us because she had found out where her son was being held and the Ombudsman’s Office had already provided her with a public defender”.
“Certainly, as long as there is inequality of powers, social justice will be necessary. The Community Justice Programme works to ensure that our community enjoys at least some of the social justice to which it is entitled, ” said Estevan.
European Union programmes such as EUROsociAL+ are working for greater social justice in Latin America so that citizens can have legal services and, ultimately, a better life. Specifically, the Democratic Governance area of the EUROsociAL+ programme, managed by FIIAPP through its Inclusive Justice line, is providing technical assistance to the Community Justice Programme of the Court of Justice of the Federal District and Territories of Brazil with technical support from the Council General of the Spanish Legal Profession.
Laura Cárdenas, communication consultant in the Governance area of the EUROsociAL+ programme
21 January 2021
Posteado en : Opinion
The MYPOL project has had to adapt to the outbreak of COVID-19 and the current situation in Myanmar in order to continue promoting the reform of its police force. María José Urgel, FIIAPP’s project coordinator, offers us an overview of MYPOL and the reassessment of its aims and activities.
MYPOL is a FIIAPP-led European delegated cooperation project tasked with providing support to the Myanmar Police, offering a preventive and effective service and respecting international standards, human rights and gender awareness.
In order to achieve this ambitious goal, two offices have been set up in the country, one in Yangon and one in Nay Pyi Taw. From the field and in coordination with the FIIAPP headquarters in Madrid, we have focused on several areas of police intervention: improvements to criminal investigation and crowd management, modernisation of human resources and professional training, improved accountability and legal frameworks and ensuring a closer relationship between the police, civil society and the media.
For a little over a year and a half, FIIAPP has also incorporated a gender perspective in MYPOL. Today, it has a gender strategy and a women, peace and security programme in place, mainstreaming gender in the five areas of intervention and implementing the entire strategy at the institutional level.
Four partner cooperation agencies cooperate on the project– NICO from Northern Ireland, GIZ from Germany, DCAF from Switzerland and CIVIPOL from France – who pass on specific technical knowledge to the Myanmar police with a main focus on training, preparation of procedural guides and protocols and awareness-raising activities.
The exchange between public administrations, a fundamental characteristic of FIIAPP, is provided by the Spanish National Police, which heads up the mass management area.
In order to understand the context of MYPOL, the country’s history should be taken into account. Much of the current situation has been shaped by long years of military dictatorship, a protracted civil war with various ethnic groups coexisting which is still to be resolved and big social and cultural barriers that hinder the equality sought for women. There is also significant poverty that has been accentuated by Myanmar’s internal conflicts.
Since 2011, the country has been transitioning towards democracy, a process that has yet to be consolidated. In recent years, ethnic tension in the north of Rakhine state, better known as the Rohingya crisis (the Rohingya being a Muslim minority in a predominantly Buddhist country), has seen a dramatic increase in violence in the area, adding to tensions between the international community and Myanmar.
COVID-19 and the initial underestimation of its impact took us by surprise, representing an additional challenge. Within a few months, many of the training activities had to be temporarily suspended due to restrictions imposed by the government. This also affected the joint dialogues between the representatives of MYPOL, the police and the authorities.
In addition, in recent months, the MYPOL project has had to work within a complex political climate prior to the elections held in Myanmar last November, with mobility restrictions due to COVID-19 and continued violence in some areas of the country.
Nevertheless, the ability to adapt to change and the creativity employed by the entire team in order to adjust the strategy for MYPOL has ensured that the implementation of our activities represents an important contribution to the country, without losing sight of the project’s initial objectives. After a great deal of internal reflection, the decision was made to focus efforts on the following areas, among others:
– The strengthening of our capacity within MYPOL in gender matters, seeking to ensure that the experts who lead the different thematic areas of the project identify the most important gender aspects on which to work and measure their impact. As part of this institutional reinforcement, we have implemented our own sexual harassment and discrimination policy which is mandatory for all MYPOL personnel and which has been accompanied by a series of awareness-raising courses.
– The preparation of information brochures and the consolidation of police action coronavirus protocols which have been distributed throughout the capital.
– The provision of virtual workshops to replace face-to-face activities.
– The preparation of election orientation guides for police trainers that have focused further on the protection of freedoms and human rights, respect for the media and the provision of a safe environment, especially for women.
– The preparation of forensic action manuals and protocols to apply gender perspectives in police interviews. Guidelines have been drawn up regarding police arrest, following international security and human rights standards.
– The creation of new bodies in MYPOL, including the Critical Incidental Management Team which is responsible for analysing the COVID-19 situation in the country and its impact on the evolution of the project.
– The renovation of police unit training facilities and the provision of the equipment required to carry out criminal investigations correctly.
As part of this drive to adapt to change, we have kept two elements very much in mind – the importance of establishing local alliances and the need to strengthen relationships with our four partners.
Local alliances have helped us understand the consequences of all these changing circumstances. We have increased the number of national advisers and advisers specialising in police and gender matters as well as strengthening our alliances with civil society, especially with women’s organisations that have worked on gender awareness within the police for many years.
Strengthening relationships with our counterparts has helped us to better understand how the different approaches and specialist areas of our partners can be used in a more strategic way in the face of the current situation.
FIIAPP has taken advantage of all the opportunities for improvement that have presented themselves, even in the most difficult moments for the project. We have learned that taking advantage of difficulties has helped us to learn lessons from the social change processes undertaken and identify our achievements, limitations and potential in order to improve our work, this being an area we will continue to be committed to.
María José Urgel, coordinator of the FIIAPP MYPOL project
30 December 2020
Posteado en : Opinion
During 2020, more than 200 COVID initiatives have emerged in FIIAPP on migration, security, gender and social cohesion issues, among others.
In January 2020 we started another year with the hope that it would be, at least, a little better than the previous one, both on the personal and professional levels.
At FIIAPP, we had plans for many trips, events and important activities related to our projects. We had no idea what was coming, what we would have to deal with, just a couple of months later.
By March, we were dealing with a global pandemic. There was talk that this virus would change everything in every corner of the planet: the way we mobilise, the way we relate to one another, and, of course, the way we work.
One of FIIAPP’s main activities is the exchange of experiences between Spanish civil servants and their counterparts in the partner countries with which we work. What will happen from now on? How do we keep working? Fortunately, at FIIAPP we have grown in the face of adversity and we have shown our most ingenious side.
At FIIAPP, more than 200 COVID initiatives have been promoted on various topics such as social cohesion, reducing inequalities, the fight against climate change, gender equality, security and development and of course digitisation, among many others.
Under the motto “Team Europe”, the European Union and the Member States are working on a global response to the pandemic. One of the initiatives framed under this slogan are the COVID Round Tables. An exercise launched and coordinated by FIIAPP to combat COVID-19 worldwide through cooperation, which has come to stay and to nurture political dialogues through cooperation.
These Round Tables have started with three pilot experiences, in Argentina, Ecuador and Costa Rica, in order to identify the demands resullting from the health emergency, channelling them in a structured and coordinated way to promote a response strategy.
Gender-based violence has escalated with COVID-19 and the restrictions on mobility. Cooperation projects such as EL PAcCTO: Support to AMERIPOL and EUROsociAL+ have promoted initiatives that support women and girls exposed to violence.
The pandemic has also given human traffickers more opportunities to exploit their victims. Rising poverty has multiplied the opportunities for criminal organisations to mislead more victims with promises of a job and a better future. The European project ATIPSOM draws on specialists from the National Police to combat trafficking and the illegal smuggling of migrants in Nigeria. The project has carried out various actions to mitigate risks for the victims, such as the creation of tweetchats, conversations through Twitter. In addition, information and public awareness have been promoted through the media, such as the weekly broadcast of a local radio program: “A-TIPSOM voice”.
State security forces and bodies are front-line personnel in all countries. European projects such as EUROFRONT and MYPOL, among others, have trained people in managing confinement and the application of disinfectants, as well as delivering the necessary healthcare materials to fight COVID such as masks, gloves and disinfectant gels.
The pandemic has shown us how much we depend on digital technologies to continue our daily lives; digitisation has come to stay and during 2020 FIIAPP has been involved in more than 70 actions through its projects and programmes in Latin America, the Neighbourhood and Sub-Saharan Africa. Projects including EL PAcCTO, Bridging the Gap, ARAP Ghana and ICRIME, as well as numerous Twinning projects have carried out specific activities related to digitisation such as Higher Education in Algeria or Civil Execution in Turkey.
In addition, projects such as EU-ACT and Cuba-EU Expertise Exchange have delivered computer materials to the countries in which they are working so they can modernise and connect virtually to the activities being carried out. Likewise, FIIAPP itself has created the connect.fiiapp platform to give all the projects managed by the Foundation the possibility to carry out their activities remotely, in addition to making telecommuting possible for nearly 300 people from one day to the next.
Spain has positioned itself as a key partner in European cooperation and the Foundation’s Board of Trustees stresses the fundamental nature of FIIAPP’s work. Work that, through its regional programmes in Latin America and the Caribbean, its cooperation projects in Africa and Twinning, contribute toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda, with the aim of leaving no one behind.
The role of the public administrations and their staff is fundamental to our work. This year more than ever, all the institutions we work with have made an extraordinary effort to rise to the occasion. And looking at all that has been achieved, it is blindingly obvious that, between us all, we have met our stated objectives, in addition to the new ones that have arisen due to the pandemic, with great adaptability.
It has been a hard, intense year, with many new situations to be faced both personally and professionally. But let’s remember the words of the poet Khalil Gibran: “No matter how long the storm, the sun always shines through the clouds again”.
29 October 2020
Faced with the global debacle caused by the pandemic, the European Union launches a forceful response that meets the emerging needs of partner countries and strengthens their institutions to cooperate and work hand in hand in the fight against COVID-19 and its consequences
Although it is not a war, many specialists already equate the consequences of the pandemic with those of a war. Putting debates about whether it is appropriate to use warlike language on hold, there is no doubt that the beginning of 2020 was something more than just the beginning of an ordinary year. A new decade had begun, one that will be marked by a global pandemic, the likes of which, in Spain, we were aware, due to the seriousness of the situation in our country in March. The outbreak of the pandemic will mark the 2020s just as great challenges have marked so many decades in the past. COVID-19 has meant that things have been upended, to a greater or lesser extent, in the lives of everyone and regarding the situation of each continent.
The case of Latin America is especially worrying. Coronavirus is a global threat which, although it does not distinguish between borders, has a differentiated impact due to the context of each region. Historical and structural challenges in Latin America have turned the continent into the global focus of the pandemic, which shows the need for solidarity and multilateralism to face this problem.
On 8 April, the European Commission adopted the European Union’s global response to COVID-19 to support its partner countries and leave no one behind in the fight against the pandemic, establishing the so-called Team Europe. It is an initiative based on the necessary joint work between the European institutions, the Member States and their implementing agencies, together with the development finance institutions. The political backup came from the Council of the European Union (EU) in its conclusions of 8 June.
Since last spring, the EU has mobilised around €36 billion, redirected in record time to meet the new needs created by the pandemic.
The activities carried out within the framework of Team Europe focus on the three priorities of the Commission. These are to provide an emergency response to the health crisis and humanitarian needs, to support the strengthening of research, health and water systems and, thirdly, to address the economic and social consequences.
These three priorities show that the European contribution to the global response to COVID19 does not only seek immediate solutions, but is focused on addressing the emerging needs of the recovery in the medium and long term. All this, with special attention on the achievement of the 2030 Agenda Sustainable Development Goals, with this year marking the 5th anniversary since their adoption and the beginning of a decade of action, as indicated by the UN. Thus, the European Green Deal and the Digital Agenda provide the backbone of the EU’s response to ensure that the recovery is also green and digital, based on sustainable human development.
In this context, FIIAPP, as part of the Spanish and European cooperation effort, is also an institution that is part of Team Europe. Furthermore, as a member of the European Practitioners’ Network, the Foundation is actively participating in strategic dialogue with its European partners, and within the network, with the European Commission. An exercise focused on contributing to the reception of Team Europe, for example, through the mobilisation of knowledge from the public sector.
Through this approach, FIIAPP, together with Spanish state bodies, has accompanied partner countries in their response to the pandemic and its consequences. More than 96 activities have been carried out in Latin America, the European Neighbourhood and the Sahel, mostly aimed at supporting vulnerable people and health systems, reinforcing the rule of law and strengthening economic systems.
In the Eastern Neighbourhood, FIIAPP supports the Georgian authorities in the preparation of a document analysing the economic impact caused by the COVID19 crisis. In Morocco, FIIAPP has supported the analysis of the impact of the pandemic on the inclusion of migrants, and in Nigeria it has organised an exchange of experiences on the impact of COVID-19 on female victims of trafficking. In Macedonia, for example, FIIAPP has supported the postal service to improve the protection of its workers against the coronavirus. In Latin America and the Caribbean, support has been given to the fight against misinformation about the pandemic, the acquisition of health and campaign material for border posts; as well as fiscal policies against the coronavirus. FIIAPP has also supported countries in Latin America and the Caribbean in the promotion of a sustainable recovery after COVID-19 through the EUROCLIMA+ programme.
All this has taken place in a context marked by mobility restrictions that have created a race against time to adapt to the circumstances without stopping cooperation. In this sense, FIIAPP has rapidly adapted to online medium by launching tools such as ConnectFIIAPP. It has been able to continue its Twinning and TAIEX (Technical Assistance and Information Exchange) activities and make valuable contributions to the Team Europe approach. In addition, this digital advance will enable the complementing and enriching of the current offer of institutional support, as well as strength the resilience and adaptability of the Twinning and TAIEX instruments.
To help respond in a structured way to immediate needs in partner countries, and from the Team Europe perspective, FIIAPP, together with other organisations from the EU Member States, is supporting the international cooperation service of the European Commission in the identification and prioritisation of demands. The inter-institutional dialogue methodology of the current regional programmes of the EU in Latin America has been capitalised on for this exercise, which is called COVID Roundtables. In a joint and coordinated manner from the EU Delegations in the countries, work is being done to detect these needs. Working together with partner public administrations in order to articulate support the EU and its Member States will be able to offer them from their ongoing technical cooperation actions. In a first pilot exercise, three “COVID Roundtables” have been established in Argentina, Ecuador and Costa Rica, with FIIAPP being the main facilitator of the latter two.
The work has been intense, but there is still a long road ahead. FIIAPP faces the situation with the conviction that international cooperation is vital to ensure that no one is left behind in this decade marked by a global pandemic, which undoubtedly requires a global response to which FIIAPP is fully committed so that the recovery can be green, digital and inclusive.