International cooperation model of Catalonia presented to the United Nations
Catalonia has participated in the United Nation's Development Cooperation Forum, which was held in New York City this week. The forum aimed to discuss the role of local governments in international cooperation.
There is an initial problem regarding the relation between decentralised development cooperation and the United Nations (UN). At an organisational level, the UN only differentiates actions from Member States and NGOs. This in turn puts local level communities in the same bin as NGOs, which not only undermines the institutional and representational importance local and regional government have, but creates practical issues in terms of coordination and levels of interlocution. There is an initial problem regarding the relation between decentralised development cooperation and the United Nations (UN). At an organisational level, the UN only differentiates actions from Member States and NGOs. This in turn puts local level communities in the same bin as NGOs, which not only undermines the institutional and representational importance local and regional government have, but creates practical issues in terms of coordination and levels of interlocution.
The Catalan Government spoke of its development cooperation policies this Tuesday in a session where cities and joined local governments elaborated on their relationships with both NGOs and the UN. Among the attendees were decentralised governments such as the Basque Country\u2019s and Flanders\u2019, multilateral organisations, international networks of development NGOs and state governments.
During his speech, the Catalan Director for Cooperation and Development, David Minoves, defended the local role of international cooperation. According to him, the proximity and capacity of local governments to construct consensus among its administrations is an \u201Cadded value\u201D which can help to \u201Cmake things more effective\u201D.
Before the conference, Minoves spoke with CNA and affirmed that the Catalan Government is doing all that it can to make policies for international cooperation. The Catalan Government currently has collaborations with ten agencies in the United Nations. \u201CCatalonia is not yet a state, and this is limiting, but it does not mean we cannot profit from all of the possible opportunities,\u201D said Minoves.
Right now the international cooperation agenda has its sights set on New York City, where in September the UN will host a world-wide summit to evaluate its \u2018Millennium Development Goals\u2019 (MDGs). The MDGs are structured according to ambitious objectives for 2015; they include eradicating by half poverty and hunger, promoting gender equality, reducing infant mortality rate and combating HIV/AIDS as well as malaria, among others. Since the 2015 deadline was fixed in 2000 and the objectives are still very far from being reached, the September UN conference will review the MDG goals in their entirety. The ambition is not to reduce the goals but to make the objectives more realistic while the means are better identified, coordinated and thus strengthened.
The economic crisis is forcing many economies around the world to cut costs- in some cases drastically \u2013 to help developing countries. Rich states are reducing their Development Official Aid (DOA) amounts. \u201CCooperation is another public policy and it cannot be suppressed overnight\u201D, said Minoves, who remains very critical of the Spanish Government\u2019s decision to cut development aid to reduce public deficit.
The Catalan Government has opted for an increase in aid to help the rhythm of economic recovery in Catalonia, and according to Minoves, \u201Cunder no circumstances has the budget been cut\u201D. He also stated that governments must be held accountable for their cooperation management, \u201Cjust like any other public policy\u201D.