Mind the gap, it’s about cooperation

By Julia Pastor, in Madrid | In a context of crisis that is becoming worse and worse, and with the arrival of the new government lead by Mariano Rajoy, Spain’s cooperation challenges need to be revised. The unavoidable decrease in resources must be faced by an improved, more finely tuned project selection and the need for greater transparency must be satisfied by including the goals that each project intends to attain, as well as the publication of both the conditions and of the actual results obtained by each and every project. These are some of the conclusions reached during a number of conferences held recently in Madrid, precisely regarding this subject.

The conference organised by the NGO DECIDE, Democracy, Citizenship and Development, counted with the collaboration of several speakers, among them the president of the organization Pablo Bandeira, who is also a professor at the University San Pablo CEU. According to Bandeira,

“the predictability of our allocation of aid to recipient governments has no correlation with their respect for human rights or their public management efficiency; we have improved our coordination with other donors but we still do not publish the objectives and results of the projects; we continue to select recipients indiscriminately lacking clarity.” To work towards improving all of these aspects is Spain’s challenge. It seems complicated but Bandeira assures “it isn’t. There are examples of organisms that are doing it and the information technology is available at minimum cost. The government only needs to want to do it.”

The role of the NGOs as an integral part of the cooperation and support to the development framework, and its current situation, as well as the smaller ones that have lesser financial capacity and are being swept off the map, were also aspects analysed at the conference. Bandeira was self-critical. In his opinion,

“besides increasing our private resources, and in order to not decrease our capacity and have legitimacy with governments, we should ‘do things’ and justify them with ‘invoices’ and become transparent by presenting the results of our projects.” Also, the president of DECIDE believes we should look to combine the NGOs’ role as public service providers with making a “political difference in Spain and host countries to improve the quality of aid, here, and the quality of government, there.”

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