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Congress approves new cooperation law that earmarks 0.7% of GNI for development aid

Congress this Thursday approved by a large majority a new law on international cooperation for sustainable development and global solidarity, promoting a “deep and wide” reform that, among other things, stipulates that Spain allocates 0.7% of the gross national income (GNI). ) 2030 development aid and recognizes the figure of the cooperator.

A large majority of MPs supported the amendments in the Senate, where the final text went ahead with a vote in favor of the PP and against Vox.

The new rule requested by the sector and adopted by the International Cooperation Law of 1998 affects the institutional, regulatory and budgetary pillars of the Spanish cooperation system, which have been weakened by a decade of cuts. It tries to adapt in an “effective” way to challenges such as the climate or the food crisis, including ecological approaches, as well as feminists, in its interventions. The approval of the text opens the period in which the reforms proposed by the law should be developed.

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The main innovation of the new legislation is that at the horizon of 2030, at least 0.7% of the Gross National Income (GNI) is planned to be allocated to Official Development Assistance (ODA), with interim targets set through the Plan Directors.

The government set a target of reaching 0.5% by the end of the current legislature, but the forecast in the General State Budget (PGE) is that it will reach 0.34% in 2023, still far from this commitment.

The law also stipulates that 10% of the ODA will be allocated to humanitarian actions, the creation of the new Spanish Fund for Sustainable Development (FEDES) and the preparation of the new Statute of Cooperation Persons. These last two issues, as well as the planned reform of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), should be addressed on the back side.

Similarly, the text argues that the so-called decentralized cooperation – carried out by autonomous communities and local and formal entities – is “one of the hallmarks and strengths” of Spanish cooperation and “an important contribution to the system. More democratic cooperation and good governance based on complementarity and co-responsibility.” Said cooperation shall be developed in accordance with their respective autonomy statutes and autonomous laws, as the general lines established by their legislative assemblies or parliaments.

Among its principles, it asserts that gender equality, “from an advanced feminist approach”, as “an essential, transversal and distinctive element of Spanish cooperation to reduce inequality between women and men, to eliminate the gender gap, to fight against all forms of violence and discrimination and to promote the empowerment of women “.

Foreign Minister José Manuel Albarez went to the Congress of Deputies to attend the vote and intervened to thank “all the groups that believe in cooperation” and made the new law a reality.

As the minister explained during the parliamentary process, the new law incorporates the Paris Agreements against climate change, which the previous law did not, while “recognizing and honoring” the work, the call and the commitment of the more than 2,600 cooperators that they represent. The best values ​​of Spain”.

The government has been asking for maximum consensus around this law since the beginning of the drafting of the text. In the Senate, the text received 260 votes in favor and only two against. In the lower house, it received 201 votes – PSOE, Podemos and their legislative partners -, 52 against and 92 abstentions. In addition to the PP, Junts and three deputies of the mixed group also abstained.

NGOs celebrate approval

Development NGOs welcomed the adoption of the law. “We appreciate positively that the process of its development was opened for participation,” said the ONGD coordinator of the state platform of social organizations and regional networks dedicated to international cooperation. As he explains, the last two years have been “intensive work, rich dialogue with the government and political groups, in which the proposals of various actors of cooperation have been taken into account.”

According to him, the new law indicates the path that “must be taken from now on for this public policy to come out of a decade of weakness” and its approval could be a “turning point” and the beginning of a new stage of cooperation. . “For years, Spain has provided cooperation far below the needs of millions of people who suffer from poverty and inequality; cooperation that is far from the declared values ​​of seeking global justice and equality among peoples; Cooperation that Europe has lagged behind. The approval of this law today should give the final closure of this stage.”

“Now begins the period in which the reforms proposed by the law should be implemented. 2023 will be a year of intensive work in this regard,” says the ONGD coordinator. Specifically, he said, “it will be the year for the articulation of the reforms specified by law: the reform of AECID and the reform of the current Cooperation Council, the revision of the statute of cooperation persons, which improves their working conditions, the revision of requirements.” Bureaucratic subsidies to avoid extremely complex processes or the provision of the new Spanish Fund for Sustainable Development (FEDES), which makes financial cooperation sustainable, responsible and efficient”.

“Nearly unanimous support for this law should reflect the direction.” As civil society organizations, we will be vigilant and available to ensure that this is the case,” concludes the NGO coordinator.

According to the information of the agencies.

Source: El Diario





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