The Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) is the main management body for Spanish cooperation, which combats poverty and works for sustainable human development. Its Charter states that the agency was created to foster full development, conceived as a fundamental human right, with the fight against poverty as part of the process for building this right. To this end, the Agency follows the guidelines of the 4th Master Plan, in accordance with the international agenda of the Millennium Development Goals and with a focus on three crosscutting axes: gender perspective, environmental quality and respect for cultural diversity.
AECID reports to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation through the State Secretariat for International Cooperation and Ibero-America (SECIPI). Act 23/1998, of 7th July, on International Development Cooperation, considers the Agency to be the managing body of Spanish cooperation and defines its purpose by its priorities: fostering development and equilibrium relations, preventing and addressing emergency situations, promoting democracy and driving relations with partner countries. To do this, it uses technical cooperation, economic and financial cooperation, humanitarian aid and education for development and to raise social awareness.
Together with its partners, the Agency works in over 30 countries through its network of Cooperation Technical Offices, cultural centres and training centres.
25 YEARS FIGHTING POVERTY
In 2013, the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) celebrated 25 years of work in favour of sustainable human development and combating poverty.
Throughout these 25 years, the Agency has been able to position itself as a fundamental tool in Spain’s contribution to international development and, above all, as a conveyor of Spanish citizens' solidarity.
AECID, as an institution of Spain's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, is intended to foster and manage Spain's public policies for international cooperation. Over the years, the Agency has established international alliances and reinforced Spain's relations with other countries, and institutions such as the UN Agencies. This work has contributed to the recognition of a “Spain Brand” for solidarity and cooperation, highlighting Spain as a partner committed to global society.
These 25 years of cooperation have brought about many achievements and contributions by Spanish citizens in favour of international development. These contributions include the progress made in malaria research through the Mozambique research centre, achievements in health and habitability thanks to water and sanitation-related actions in Latin America, the institutional strengthening and fostering of democratic systems in partner countries, the promotion of equal opportunities for men and women, the preservation of the environment while promoting rural development and food security, and other achievements relating to governance, the strengthening of peace, the eradication of child labour, access to education, etc.
Humanitarian Action is also one of the strong points of Spanish cooperation thanks to the actions of AECID throughout these years. The Agency intervened in events such as Hurricane Mitch, the 2004 tsunami, the earthquakes in Peru, Iran and most recently in Haiti, floods, food crises such as the one in the Horn of Africa or the current one in Sahel, and conflict-triggered crises such as the ones in Syria and Mali, where it represented the solidarity of Spanish citizens towards the affected population.
In the cultural sphere, throughout these 25 years the agency has worked with the core conviction that culture is a driving force for development. Through its cultural centres across Ibero America and Sub-Saharan Africa, the AECID has favoured cultural creation and provided training for local cultural players to turn each country's cultural sector into a new opportunity for development. Through the Agency, Spain also funds programmes for culture and innovation in Ibero America that arose from the various Ibero-American summits held to date, such as Ibermedia, Ibermuseos, Iberescena and the Ibero-American Programme for Science, Technology and Development (CYTED).
AECID has also contributed to strengthening the fabric of Spanish civil society and building a better informed society committed to sustainable human development and to the causes and consequences of poverty through its actions on education for development. This is attested by the networks of teachers for development that AECID has developed to strengthen both formal and informal education in solidarity values, and research on the processes involved in sustainable development and general development cooperation.
AECID also aims to favour the presence of Spanish experts in international bodies dedicated to international cooperation through its many calls for experts and voluntary workers in bodies such as the United Nations. Similarly, the Agency manages scholarships for foreign students in Spanish institutions and promotes international internships for Spanish citizens and the exchange of knowledge between Universities in Spain and those in partner countries.
In this new global context, AECID shall continue to export its experience in development to other countries, to focus its actions and to improve the coordination, efficiency, quality and transparency of Spanish public aid, as laid down in the 4th Master Plan of Spanish Cooperation. Its core objective is to contribute to improving the living conditions of people everywhere in the world, managing aid ― the aid of Spanish citizens ― to maximise its impact, thereby remaining an essential contributor to the efforts of the international community in the fight against poverty.