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Spain: cooperation – a forgotten skill

Andrés R. Amayuelas, President of the Coordination Group of Non-Governmental Development Organisations (Coordinadora) in Spain, member of the IFP (International Forum of National NGO Platforms), shares an analysis of the situation in Spain with us: social policies at a standstill and meagre Official development assistance.

The start of November marked one year of the current Spanish government in power. A good time to analyse the performance of the government and the legislature regarding social policies intended to eradicate poverty and inequality. Neither the Government nor the Parliament pass, according to the evaluation carried out by the political advocacy platform Poletika, to which Coordinadora belongs.

There have been some positive gestures, such as raising the minimum wage by around 8%, approval of a national pact against gender violence, the elaboration of a draft bill on climate change and the energy transition, and the creation of the Non-Legislative Commission on the Rights of Children and Adolescents. Nevertheless, a risk exists: all of these initiatives could remain mere statements of intent unless they are accompanied by a clear roadmap and underpinned with budgetary resources. Otherwise nothing will have been achieved, or we will even have taken a step backwards in crucial matters such as a minimum income for vulnerable families, a national pact for education or taking in refugees. Spain has achieved only 11% of the resettlement and relocation quota it committed to in September 2015 as part of the plan approved by the European Council.

Spain also falls short in international cooperation. The General State Budget of 2017 allocated a mere 0.21% to Official development assistance (ODA). Far from the figure of 0.4% which NGDOs demand for 2020, as a step towards 0.7%. The figures cited by the Executive for 2018 are characterised by the same insignificance, as long as the Executive ignores the proposals of the international community and of Spanish society which have been calling for this item of the budget to be re-instated.

At a time when the Spanish authorities believe the country is back on the path to economic growth, it is essential that the Government increases its contribution to the fight against extreme poverty and inequality, both inside and outside Spain. It must, therefore, recognise and support the role of cooperation in development. For 2018, it must increase ODA to at least 0.3% of gross domestic income (GNI). Furthermore, at least 150 million euros must be set apart for humanitarian aid.
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This text is a summary of a longer article published in Spanish in the ’3.500 milliones’ blog of the El País newspaper and published on the website of Coordinadora