• 17 February 2022

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    Posteado en : Entrevista

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    “We offer tools on the ethical behaviour of officials in challenging situations”

    EUROsociAL+ ha acompañado a la Autoridad Nacional del Servicio Civil de Perú (SERVIR) en la elaboración de una guía para fortalecer la integridad en la gestión pública en la que se establecen soluciones para tratar los problemas y dilemas éticos que se pueden encontrar los servidores públicos.

    Para ello la guía ofrece información sobre el marco legal y ético aplicable, así como pautas de actuación ante posibles situaciones que generen conflicto de intereses.

    En esta entrevista damos voz al responsable de buen gobierno del área de gobernanza democrática de EUROsociAL+, Borja Díaz y a los autores de la publicación, Manuel Villoria, Catedrático de Ciencias Políticas y de la Administración de la Universidad Rey Juan Carlos de Madrid y César Cruz, profesore de la Universidad Carlos III para que nos detallen el proceso de creación y el contenido de este manual.

    What are public ethics?

    There is no doubt that ethics are needed to be able to live in society. Further still, we need ethics to be able to coexist in society justly. Public ethics seek a minimum agreement that can be generalised to be able to live together justly. This guarantees long-term stability in societies. 

    Public ethics therefore refers to ethics that seek to establish a moral standard common to societies, morality of a universal and generalisable nature, which also respects private and reasonable conceptions of goodness. 

    Public ethics are different from public sector ethics, since the former are the ethics of an entire society, free of fundamentalism, and which allow everyone to live together while respecting our differences. For its part, public sector ethics are also referred to as political ethics, a type of professional ethics, and consist of firmly defined and established standards of behaviour, which prescribe what public employees must do, in terms of public service duties, principles, virtues and benefits for society. 

    How was the need for a guide to ethical dilemmas for public administration identified?

    Since 2020, the National Civil Service Authority of Peru (SERVIR) has been working on a model for improving integrity in the Peruvian Public Administration with a massive impact and a practical approach. With this strategic approach, the need for a self-learning guide document was identified to provide concept, reflection and action instruments for dealing with the typical ethical problems and risks to integrity facing the Peruvian public sector. It would be a document on which to base strategies and training actions with wide coverage. Both its content and the cases included in the guide are associated with the real situation in Peru, but it has other uses. It can be applied to other situations in Latin American countries. 

    The guide is based on the belief that public employees want to do things well and ethically. This is crucial, although unfortunately, despite their good intentions, inappropriate administrative practices, habits and rituals are rooted in our organisations, which are not analysed with the moral thoroughness expected of a good public service. Because of this, it persists and leads to the ethical stagnation of the public sector. Therefore, the guide also contains elements to analyse and question this type of practices from a moral standpoint and to strengthen the ethics and integrity of the public service through analysis and moral confrontation, based on a pragmatic approach and associated with the moral development of our institutions. 

    Could you give us some examples of cases where this guide would be useful?

    The guide is designed to offer tools to strengthen the moral behaviour of public officials, with case studies, and guidelines for action in ethically challenging situations. There are numerous examples. In extreme situations where it is necessary to correct the course of unethical administrative routines and practices such as dealing with unclear and biased public procurement processes; personnel and people management policies without the human factor and integrity; in cases where position and authority lacks effective control or supervision and may lead to bribery and other corrupt practices; or nepotism and favouring family members, friends or third parties for profit, making key administrative decisions without  due process, objectivity and impartiality. 

    The guide includes a selection of 78 cases classified by policy area, type of administrative activity and type impact on ethics and integrity. 

    How did EUROsociAL+ work with Peru to publish this guide?

    One possible approach to the fight against corruption is the regulatory-sanctioning approach, based on closer regulation, strict enforcement and firm prosecution, however, recent studies have shown it to be of only limited value in preventing corruption. 

    Based on these observations, a strategic approach has been devised in addition to the previous one, based on encouraging public integrity understood as adherence to and compliance with shared ethical values, principles and norms, to maintain and prioritise the public interest above private interests, in the public sector. 

    Faced with this complex problem, SERVIR asked the EUROsociAL + programme for support to strengthen the Peruvian public integrity system in the field of human resource management by introducing values, standards and guidelines in the Peruvian regulatory framework for the implementation of a new culture of integrity; and developing civil servants’ skills, with emphasis on management personnel, to manage a culture of integrity in the civil service. 

    As a result of this collaboration and based on different diagnoses, EUROsociAL+ advised on the preparation of the guide and final consultancy reports, a tool that was also shared through virtual seminars and workshops. 

    To see the full guide: 

    Practical guide to deal with ethical problems and dilemmas: strengthening integrity in Peruvian public management 

     

  • 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. 

  • 12 August 2021

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    Posteado en : Reportage

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    Post-pandemic youth: jobless and the most vulnerable

    On the occasion of International Youth Day we highlight the work of Spanish and European cooperation programmes to promote youth development worldwide

    Though less vulnerable to infection, the under-24 population has been greatly affected by the impact of the pandemic: lockdown, the closing of schools, children’s’ centres and those serving adolescents and young people. Work wise, according to the International Labour Organization, one in six young people is unemployed due to the crisis caused by COVID-19. A situation that has contributed to exacerbating inequalities, leaving behind the most vulnerable in this group.

    Children and adolescents are the present and future of society. Therefore, it is essential to adapt public policies to their needs, particularly those aimed at promoting youth employment. We at FIIAPP encourage the exchange of experiences and cooperation to promote public policies aimed at sustainable development that take young people into account. How do we go about this?

    Taller sobre empleo y juventudEUROsociAL+ supports the exchange of experiences and technical assistance to enable countries to provide the same opportunities to their entire young population in a crisis context. Through this FIIAPP-led European programme numerous activities have been undertaken targeting young people: promoting the prevention of teenage pregnancy in Panama, facilitating the access of young people to the labour market, or promoting the social work performed by university students as a lever for social inclusion. The foregoing are just a few examples of the dedication of EUROsociAL+ to creating public policies targeting a priority group such as Latin American youth.

    The SOCIEUX+ project also works to enhance youth employability. In Peru, for example, over 20,000 people have received training in different areas of knowledge such as IT, sales, administration, etc. The programme has contributed to this training by collaborating in updating the training model in skills for employability together with the Ministry for Labour and Employment Promotion. This training will enable them with to break into the labour market more effectively.

    Another of the activities undertaken by SOCIEUX+ in Peru involves promoting youth employment in the forestry sector. This initiative seeks to foster employment for youth that is green and sustainable over time; which will be formal, decent and of high quality. Moreover, promoting this type of employment seeks to improve the conditions of the young population to avoid regional emigration caused by the lack of opportunities. Lastly, it endeavours to put an end to the poverty being caused by an activity exclusively focused on cutting down forests, often illegally, and transporting the wood outside the region. The programme also plans to embark on another action targeting young people in Mauritania. In this case, work will be carried out to train young businessmen and businesswomen in Mauritania and to support entrepreneurship.

    Looking ahead to the next few years, at FIIAPP we will be working together with AECID and the British Council on a new project in Tunisia aimed at boosting the social and economic inclusion of the vulnerable members of Tunisian youth. The country’s youth carry important demographic weight. Young people under 35 years of age constitute 57% of the population. Despite this, and almost a decade after the 2011 revolution, a large part of Tunisian youth continues to be excluded from the political agenda and economic opportunities.

    The EU4Youth for Tunisia programme seeks to strengthen local governance through more inclusive, transparent, efficient and participatory actions; to enhance the capacities of the part of Tunisian civil society involved in culture and sports, to increase the professional integration and employability of vulnerable members of the country’s youth, and to promote business creativity in culture and sports.

    Unless the youth is provided with the right conditions to grow and develop, society will not advance either. Accordingly, in a context in which young people are increasingly vulnerable, public policies need to be redirected and adapted to their needs. Thinking of young people is looking to the future.

  • 22 July 2021

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    Posteado en : Entrevista

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    #PublicExpertise: Guaranteeing access to justice in Latin America

    We interviewed Joaquín Delgado, a lawyer from the Madrid Provincial Court. As a FIIAPP expert, he has worked to guarantee access to justice through the EUROSOCIAL programme.

    As a FIIAPP expert, Joaquín Delgado has worked to guarantee access to justice for vulnerable people through the EUROSOCIAL+ programme. 

    What has been the greatest achievement of your experience as an expert on the FIIAPP–EUROsociAL+ programme?

    Without a doubt, my greatest achievement is the collaboration with FIIAPP/EUROsociAL in the genesis and implementation of the “Brasilia Rules on Access to Justice for Vulnerable People”, which began in 2007 and continues today.  

    First, I participated in designing and drafting the so-called 100 Brasilia Rules, through to their approval in the Plenary of the Ibero-American Judicial Summit (CJI) that took place in Brasilia in 2008 at the Ibero-American Judicial Summit, which brings together the presidents of the Supreme Courts and Supreme Courts of Justice and the heads of the Judicial Councils from 23 Ibero-American countries.  

    Subsequently, I collaborated with FIIAPP/EUROsociAL in what was a pioneering inter-network action at that time, promoting these Rules to ensure they had the support of the main Ibero-American justice system operators and officials networks:  the Ibero-American Association of Public Ministries (AIAMP), the Inter-American Association of Public Defenders (AIDEF), the Ibero-American Federation of Ombudsman (FIO) and the Ibero-American Union of Lawyers Associations and Groups (UIBA).  

    After updating the Rules approved by the CJI in 2018, FIIAPP/EUROsociAL commissioned me to prepare a Practical Guide to the Brasilia Rules, which came out in 2019.  

    I am currently collaborating in elaborating and developing a strategy to gain approval for an international treaty or agreement on access to justice for vulnerable people. To this end, a Technical Team has been created in which COMJIB, SEGIB, CJI, the Ibero-American Programme for Access to Justice and the Spanish Ministry of Justice are participating, with technical support from FIIAPP/EUROsociAL.  

    What are you most proud of?

    I am very proud to have had the opportunity to contribute, through my work and jurisdictional experience, to the creation of an instrument that has proved very useful in improving the judicial protection of the most vulnerable and, therefore, to improve the effectiveness of their rights 

    There is little point in recognising a right that is not fulfilled. It is not enough for the legislation to include rights, but rather it is necessary to create mechanisms that allow them to be respected and for their effective enforcement. And this is the key role for justice in ensuring the effectiveness of both traditional civil and political rights, as well as economic, social and cultural rights.  

    Which is especially significant as a consequence of the pandemic, because it disproportionately affects vulnerable populations, which are exactly those who have the greatest obstacles to gaining access to justice:  debt and insolvency problems; people who lose their jobs and/or are forced into the underground or informal economy and/or have difficulties in meeting their financial commitments or housing tenancies; victims of online fraud, or gender violence; inmates in prisons and detention centres; people in informal settlements, etc.  

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

    The 100 Brasilia Rules include a series of concrete measures and recommendations to overcome obstacles to judicial protection arising from age (minors and elderly people), victimisation, disability, migration and displacement due to internal conflicts, poverty, gender, belonging to minorities or deprivation of liberty, among other causes.  

    They are aimed at those responsible for judicial public policies, in such a way that the content of the Rules is taken into account in their design and implementation, improving the legal and institutional framework for access to justice for the most vulnerable in society. But it is also aimed at the officials and operators of the justice system, so that they are able to grant the most vulnerable better treatment that is appropriate to their particular circumstances.  

    Now we have to go one step further: the principles and content of the Brasilia Rules must be included in a binding international instrument (international treaty or agreement) that is configured as a benchmark for the actions taken by public bodies in the design, execution and monitoring of public policies, as well as in the performance by the different people who carry out their functions in the judicial system.   

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

    People are the raison d’être of the public sphere, so meeting their needs must be the end goal for public institutions.  In the field of justice, we must ensure that the judicial system constitutes an effective guarantee of the rights of all people, regardless of their economic, physical-sensory capacities, gender, whether they belong to a minority, etc. in line with the United Nations 2030 Agenda Sustainable Development Goals, where Goal 16 refers to “the provision of access to justice for all”.   

    What have you learned from this experience?

    The most important lesson I have learned relates to the relevance of establishing mechanisms that enable effective collaboration between the different people and bodies that are involved in a certain action aimed at improving some aspect of the workings of the judicial system (collaboration principle). Which is especially significant in a scenario as complex as justice, in which judges, prosecutors, public defenders, lawyers and other legal professionals are involved; but in which the police, public registries, penitential institutions, experts, etc. and especially companies and citizens also participate and/or collaborate in one way or another, either themselves or through civil society organisations.  

    And these collaboration mechanisms must be facilitated not only at the local and national level, but also at the international level in such a way that the judicial systems of different countries can share their experiences and move forward together in designing values-based measures and products that improve access to justice for all people.  

    In this context, I want to highlight the work that FIIAPP/EUROsociAL has carried out in recent years, which has provided the necessary support so that the different actors in the Latin American judicial systems have collaborated effectively in improving access to justice for vulnerable people: forums for debate and exchange of experiences, protocols, etc. and especially support in the drafting and effectiveness of the 100 Brasilia Rules. 

  • 16 April 2021

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    Posteado en : Entrevista

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    “Tax evasion is not only a cash issue but also an equity issue”

    The expert Fernando Peláez Longinotti, Head of the Economic-Tax Studies Area with the Uruguayan Tax Administration, tells us how the European Union's EUROsociAL+ programme , through its Democratic Governance area led by FIIAPP, is working together with the Paraguayan Tax Administration to reduce inequality by fighting against tax evasion.

    Why is the fight against tax evasion such a powerful tool in combating inequality?

    We are at a critical moment not only in the Latin American region but also at a global level in which there are latent fiscal needs. And tax systems produce results, but their full potential is never being realised, in any country. Therefore, it is necessary to see what type of actions we can carry out to maximise potential collection. Because evasion produces losses for the state and produces tax inequity, some pay more than others, it is not only a cash issue but an equity issue. It is a virtuous circle that we need to understand so the public administration can take action. Raising tax collection requires a relentless fight against fraud because it allows measures to be identified to prevent and reduce evasion levels and to improve the efficiency of public spending in providing public services, such as education and health. 

    What work have you carried out within the framework of EUROsociAL+ for the Paraguayan Subsecretariat of State for Taxation (SET) and what are its main conclusions? 

    Through a methodology developed by the Inter-American Tax Administrations Centre ( CIAT ), we measure noncompliance with corporate income tax to measure the trajectory and behaviour of the tax evasion rate in the country. Through this analysis, we were able to understand what percentage of potential tax is not being collected – which in the case of Paraguay is within the range of the countries in the region – and to see the trend relating to this phenomenon. In addition, through the analysis of microdata, specific cases could be identified with which the SET was able to take specific actions to increase collection from those companies. 

    Are there any differences in non-compliance between men and women regarding tax payments? 

    No, no differences. However, this work, in keeping with the gender mainstreaming of the EUROsociAL+ programme, adopted a unique approach strategy to include the gender perspective as it relates to tax evasion. The results revealed very useful data for the design of specific public policies to promote gender equality through female entrepreneurship. We saw that the proportion of women entrepreneurs is much smaller than that of male entrepreneurs, in a ratio of 35% women compared to 65% men, and that proportion is higher in some sectors such as agriculture, with a 1 to 9 ratio. On the other hand, there are sectors related to trades more traditionally linked to women where there is a greater representation of businesswomen, such as commerce, textiles and hospitality, where they represent more than 50%.  

    Furthermore, when analysing the average income level, it was determined that women are concentrated in the lower income levels. In conclusion, there are fewer women entrepreneurs, they have access barriers to certain sectors, and they have lower incomes. Of every 10 entrepreneurs in Paraguay, 3 are women compared to 7 men.  

  • 18 March 2021

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    Posteado en : Opinion

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    For reconstruction policies that leave no one behind

    Climate change has put three out of every ten households in Central America and the Caribbean at risk. Social vulnerability exacerbated by the effects of the pandemic must be added to this environmental vulnerability. Therefore, the implementation of comprehensive policies to reduce inequalities and alleviate poverty is a matter of urgency.

    Individuals are affected differently by COVID-19. And it does not affect all territories to the same extent. Almost 60% of the population of Central America lives in urban areas, many of which are unplanned, according to UN-Habitat estimates. Neighbourhoods with high degrees of overcrowding and that are scattered, poorly connected and with hardly any services and infrastructures whose inhabitants have seen their vulnerability increased due to the pandemic. Specifically, the impact on informal settlements has been greater due to the inaccessibility of drinking water for proper sanitation, overcrowding in homes and the difficulty of access to health services. The pandemic has also had significant negative effects on the family economy since many people, mainly women, who live in settlements work informally. According to data from the International Labour Organization, 126 million women work informally in Latin America and the Caribbean. This represents almost 50% of the region’s female population. 

    “Since the pandemic began, the situation in the neighbourhood has been chaotic because we live very close to each other and up to 15 people live in very small houses. In my house, which has three rooms, there were three of us and now there are eight because my daughter and my grandchildren have had to come to live with us.  I depend on a pension that the government gives me because of my disability, but it is very small”, Alicia Bremes explains to us from Pueblo Nuevo, a neighbourhood in the Pavas district of San José, Costa Rica. In August 2020, the districts of Pavas and Uruca together made up more than 15% of the entire country’s active COVID cases. 

    “How are we going to wash our hands if we don’t have access to water? Or how are we going to disinfect ourselves with gel if the price is so high?” laments Bremes, who has suffered the consequences of the pandemic at home. “One of my sons fixes cell phones and has been out of work for many months. I have another son with a disability who used to go to a psychiatric workshop every day and has suffered a lot because he no longer had anywhere to go. As he was nearly always out in the street, he caught COVID, suffered a very high temperature and had great difficulty in breathing, but recovered. But I have many neighbours, of all ages, who have passed away”, she says. 

    As Alicia Bremes explains, the situation in the poorer neighbourhoods is one of extreme vulnerability. “Many mothers in the neighbourhood had been working as cleaners in homes and were fired due to the pandemic. COVID has also reduced the street vending on which many families depend to be able to eat on a daily basis”, she says. Therefore, it is essential to focus on the needs of the most vulnerable groups and to try to cushion the effects of the pandemic that has quickly become a socio-economic as well as a health crisis. 

    In this context, the Council for Social Integration (CIS) asked the Secretariat for Central American Social Integration (SISCA), with the support of the Programme EUROsociAL+ of theEuropean Union, managed by FIIAPP, IILA and Expertise France, and in partnership with agencies and programmes of the United Nations, FAO, ILO and UN HABITAT, to prepare a “Recovery, Social Reconstruction and Resilience Plan for Central America and the Dominican Republic”. The Plan is a common regional roadmap and is made up of a series of strategic projects articulated around three axes of intervention: social protection, employment and sustainable urban development. 

    The Plan, which has been endorsed by the Councils of Ministers of Labour, Housing and Human Settlements of Central America and the Dominican Republic, focuses its efforts on reducing poverty and socio-spatial inequality, the most obvious territorial expression of which are the informal settlements, which are estimated to make up 29% of the Central American urban population. Despite national efforts over the last 15 years to reduce the population living in informal settlements, many people continue to live in this situation. In addition, there are risks derived from climate change, which exposes a growing number of inhabitants to the effects of extreme weather events such as hurricanes or landslides. 

    There is an urgent need to broaden our view and think of the neighbourhood as the environment that enables us to implement basic rights within the city, for which we will have to attend not only to the provision of housing, but also to ensure that these houses have the necessary infrastructures, services and facilities. 

    There are still many challenges ahead in order to turn the face of poverty and inequality into one of progress without leaving anyone behind. For this reason, additional financial resources must be urgently found for the implementation of the Recovery, Social Reconstruction and Resilience Plan, an instrument that will mitigate the effects of the pandemic and shape societies that are more resilient, socially more just and egalitarian and environmentally more sustainable. 

    Cristina Fernández, Senior Town Planning Architect of EUROsociAL+ and collaborator with Fundemuca