02 December 2021
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.
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.
14 August 2021
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.
12 August 2021
Posteado en : Reportage
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?
EUROsociAL+ 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.
30 July 2021
Posteado en : Reportage
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“.
22 July 2021
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.
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