International agenda of Spanish Cooperation

A mother and child beneficiaries of a Spanish Cooperation project

Post-2015 Development Agenda

Once the Millennium Declaration and the MDGs are no longer valid, the new universal development agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will replace our international cooperation agenda for development.

The international agenda for development which has been focused on achieving the Millennium Development Goals since the year 2000, is now facing the establishment of a new agenda from this year which has been in the design stages over recent years and will be finalised in the final SDGs approval meeting, and will then be in force between 2015-2030.

On an international level, starting with the publication of the SDG Proposal Document, backed by the General Assembly in September 2014, and the Synthesis Report of the United Nations Secretary General in December 2014, the Spanish Cooperation will participate in the negotiations schedule until July when they will come to an end with the Summit for adopting the Post-2015 Agenda in September.

On a national level, an extensive consultative process, which began in 2013 with the assignment of the first academic Report, has been followed to establish Spain's Position. The first National Consultation was carried out in September 2013. One year later the proposal for Spain's position, which was drawn up in collaboration with the General State Administration, the Autonomous Communities and the Cooperation Council, was finalised. A second National Consultation was carried out in September 2014 at the Congress of Deputies.

 

After the consultation process and discussion days, Spain's position has been laid out in two important documents:

Spain's position is structured in two blocks: Principles and aims:

The principles for the new Post-2015 Development Agenda are the following:

  • Recognition of the MDGs, their principles, values and achievements, including reflection on any goals that were not fulfilled or any absent components.
  • Universal development agenda, in order for there to be some aims shared by all and some different goals for the specific reality of the countries in question.
  • The agenda should be focused on people with the aim of eradicating poverty and reducing inequality with an approach based on rights, gender and development sustainability.
  • The fight against poverty and development should be linked with sustainability in all of its aspects, including the processes affecting the future of the planet, such as climate change and the loss of biodiversity. It should be a transformative agenda.
  • Middle-Income Countries must be included both due to their inequality and sustainability problems, and the responsibility they must take on regarding the provision of Global Public Goods.

The twelve aims proposed are the following:

  • Eradication of poverty and reduced vulnerability.
  • Reduced inequality: equitable development.
  • Environmental sustainability.
  • Democratic governance and human rights. Peace and security.
  • Gender equality and empowerment of women.
  • Food safety and nutrition.
  • Health: universal care.
  • Quality education for all.
  • The right to water and sanitation.
  • Inclusive and sustainable economic growth. Creation of employment.
  • Sustainable energy for all.
  • Global Partnership for the new development agenda.

All of this illustrates Spain's position for both the negotiation of the 17 SDGs and the six essential elements mentioned in the Synthesis Report by the United Nations Secretary General.  The priorities of Spain's position for the whole agenda can be summarised regardless of the number of aims or negotiation of principles and these priorities should be reflected throughout the Post-2015 Development Agenda:

  • Eradication of poverty.
  • Reducing inequality.
  • Sustainability in all aspects.
  • A rights-based approach.
  • A gender-based approach.

Post-2015 Financing for Development Agenda

While negotiating the aims or development 'purposes', the agenda for the 'means', which facilitate achievement of these aims, is also negotiated. This is the Financing for Development Agenda, which started with the Monterrey Consensus (2002) and its subsequent revision in the Declaration resulting from the Doha Financing for Development Conference (2008).

The convening of the 3rd Financing for Development Conference which is to be held in Addis Abeba on 13-16 July 2015 is a key milestone in this financing agenda.

Internationally and as a source document for negotiations, the Report from the Committee of Experts was presented in July 2014 for Financing Sustainable Development.

In order to establish Spain's position in the financing agenda, the following steps are being followed:

  • December 2014 – January 2015: Constitution of an Academic Group to present a report to the Spanish Cooperation.
  • 25 February 2015: Workshop between the Academic Group and General State Administration, mainly with the Ministers with competencies in this area.
  • 9-10 March 2015: Conferences on 'Tax and Equality' in Antigua, Guatemala. Focused on the taxation programmes in Central America, it will be linked to the Post-2015 Financing for Development Agenda regarding mobilisation of domestic resources.
  • 25 March 2015, Discussion day on Spain's position on Development Financing in Salamanca with all parties involved in order to channel their participation in building Spain's position.

During this work schedule, the main priority areas regarding Spain's position will be discussed further:

  • National public financing: mainly the taxation part, in the two strands of revenue and expenditure, by means of strengthening the national capacity to design and manage a suitable tax system.
  • International public financing: good coordination is fundamental in the discussion being carried out in the DAC in which Spain is playing an active role. New ODA agreements and support for the new TOSD (Total Official Support for Development) measure are of vital importance for the financing for development agenda. Furthermore, in this section we will also study the medium and long-term opportunities brought about by innovative financing mechanisms, mainly Financial Transaction Tax.
  • International transparency, international coordination on tax matters, including the fight on tax evasion, money laundering, action to clamp down on tax havens etc. and coordination of the specific measures put in place by the G20. These measures include reducing transfer pricing practises by multinationals and promoting an automatic exchange of tax information.
  • Other measures where Spain will be positioned within the framework for the European Union's common position are trade policies, direct foreign investment, remittances and financial inclusion and management of foreign debt. All of this will be carried out using an approach to create coherence among development policies.
  • Governance of the international financial system by means of coordinating IFIs with the United Nations System and the international development Agenda.

Likewise, Europe's position will be established over the course of the semester. The Communication by the Financing for Development Commission (published in February 2015) and the negotiation of the conclusions drawn by the Financing for Development Council, will be ready by the end of May 2015.

The ongoing work with the General State Administration and the Cooperation Council will enable this work schedule and the content of Spain's position to be followed up.

 

International Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction

From 14 to 18 March, the Japanese city of Sendai held the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR). This conference aimed to review the years of application of the Hyogo Framework for Action, adopted in 2005 in the framework of the Second World Conference, and approve a new framework for action defining the new commitments of the international community for Post-2015 in terms of DRR.

The conference participants successfully agreed on the document Sendai Framework for Action on DRR 2015-2030, along with a Political Declaration and a Resolution that welcomes and promotes voluntary commitments from the various parties involved to develop the framework for action.

Among the many topics broached throughout the Conference in Multi-stakeholder dialogues, parallel events and several presentations, the following stand out due to their innovative nature:

  • The link between DRR and Climate Change.
  • The risks linked to Global Health (epidemics).
  • The importance of designing inclusive resilience strategies with participation from local communities.
  • The role of the insurance sector in DRR.
  • The Safe Schools programme.
  • Resilient tourism.
  • New technological threats.
  • Relocating populations post-disaster.

Some of these topics (such as the importance of the fight against climate change to prevent disaster risks, the necessary involvement of the private sector in DRR policies and the participation of populations affected by the decision-making, where the main role women play is highlighted) were reflected in the approved Framework for Action.

The Spanish Delegation, led by the Ministry of the Interior and with participants from the Directorate General of Civil Protection and Emergencies and the Secretary of State for International Cooperation on Development, made a political declaration during the Plenary and actively participated in two Ministerial Round Tables entitled "Governance of risk disaster" and "International Cooperation in support of a Post-2015 framework for action", and in two Multi-stakeholder Dialogues, as well as following the evolution of the negotiation on the final draft in the Main Committee.

 

Beijing +20 and CSW (Committee on the Status of Women) Conference

Between the 9 and 20 March, the 59th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) was held in New York, with the main aim of reviewing and assessing the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action 20 year after being adopted in  1995 during the IV World Conference on Women, held in Beijing: Equality, development and peace, as an important historical encounter for progression towards gender equality.

Spain, a pioneer in the fight to improve conditions for women and children, sent a delegation led by the Secretary of State for the Ministry of Health, who were accompanied by the Director for Equal Opportunities and the Director of the Women's Institute, as well as by the Director of horizontal multilateral cooperation and Gender specialists from the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation and from the Office of the Secretary General for International Development Cooperation.

Spain's intervention in the opening of the 59th session, entitled 'Making progress on gender equality and empowering women and children: for a transformative Post-2015 Agenda', highlighted the difficulty involved in this progress and the need to include indicators which help to measure the result.

Spain reinforced its commitment to gender-related matters by means of the aims set out in the strategic plan for equal opportunities 2014-2016, an instrument which aims to eliminate gender discrimination and achieve equality between men and women.

Besides participating in bilateral meetings and other round tables, the Spanish delegation organised a parallel event at the UN headquarters with the title 'From Beijing to Post-2015'.

In the end, the following documents were approved during the session:

 

COP 21: Climate Summit in Paris

International negotiation on climate change in the United Nations is experiencing a historic moment. In December 2015, the Paris will have to agree on a new legally-binding, international treaty establishing the global framework for the fight against climate change from 2020 onwards. It will be applicable to all countries and therefore positions need to be urgently mobilised on all levels and negotiation accelerated regarding the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The last Conference on Climate Change (COP20) held in Lima established the work schedule until December 2015 with the adoption of the “Lima. This document states that all countries should present their greenhouse gas emission reduction aims to the Paris Summit with enough notice so that it is possible to assess their contribution to the Agreement. In order to assess whether the contributions of the countries are fair and ambitious and also if they are enough to maintain the increase in the average global temperature below 2 degrees centigrade, the UNFCCC Secretariat published them on its web page and produced a synthesis report.

In Lima, we also worked on identifying a document with a summary of the elements that the countries would like to see reflected in the Paris Agreement. After the first negotiation session this year in Geneva, this text became the official negotiation text which will be worked on over the coming months. Furthermore, the recognition of the Conference amongst the UNFCCC Parties stands out with the announcement of a total of 10.2 billion dollars for the Green Climate Fund for the next four years. Spain has pledged 149 million dollars.

The challenges the countries are going to face from now until Paris are summarised in the following points:

  • The transition towards a clear and concise negotiation text that identifies options for the discussion on behalf of the ministers - The legal form of the new agreement.
  • Adaptation and financing in a context where developing countries look to balance it with mitigation.
  • The financial package used to support the mitigation and adaptation actions for climate change in the most vulnerable developing countries.
  • Designing an agreement that is flexible, long-lasting and can maintain the increase in the global average temperature below 2 degrees centigrade.
  • Being aware of the different capacities and responsibilities of the countries in a constantly evolving context.
  • Financing: clarify how to finance mitigation and adaptation, which makes an agreement difficult in terms of the percentage weight that each country should take on to reduce emissions.

The Spanish Office of Climate Change will coordinate Spain's position where the Spanish Cooperation will pay an active role.