Policy application by the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID)

Objetivos clave de la medida:

Although both the Management Plan and the Strategy apply over the whole of Spanish Cooperation, implementation falls in large part to the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID in the Spanish acronym), which is attached to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation.
Implementing cooperation in the culture and development sector is entrusted to AECID’s Cultural and Scientific Relations Directors, and is informed by what is established in General Subsidy Law 38/2003, of 17 November 2003, and in Royal Decree 794/2010, of 16 June, 2010, which regulate subsidies and aid in the field of international cooperation. This is essentially managed along four channels:

  • Direct bilateral implementation via the network of the AECID’s Cooperation Abroad Units (UCE in the Spanish acronym): Technical Cooperation Offices, Culture Centres and Training Centres; as well as through the cultural actions of Spain’s Embassies in Spanish cooperation member countries.
  • Bilateral cooperation, generally through international cooperation subsidies awarded to public institutions in member countries.
  • The bilateral channelling of resources through NGDOs and other, generally non-profit, private entities, through competitive subsidy applications.
  • Multilateral cooperation through voluntary contributions to regional and international funds.

Spanish Official Development Aid (AOD in the Spanish acronym) in the culture and development sector is basically spread across two SRC codes from the DAC, 16061: "Culture and recreation”, and 41040: "Preservation of historical, artistic and archaeological heritage". The sum of both has amounted, in the 2007-11 period, to a total of 356,546,763 Euros, which means an annual average of slightly more than 89m Euros, which represents, in turn, 1.98% of the gross AOD total. 73% of these funds have been directly channelled bilaterally, with the remaining 27% through international organisms.

Característica principal de la medida:

In the multilateral field
It is worth highlighting the inclusion of a specific subject slot for culture and development in the wake of the joint creation, with the United Nations, of the Fund for Millennium Development Goals, which is solely financed by Spain. This subject slot is managed through joint programmes in 18 countries from Latin America, Africa and Asia, concentrating on respect for cultural rights, social inclusion and culture’s contribution to development. The cultural dimension has an underlying, across-the-board presence in other subject slots, such as conflict prevention and peace building, as well as gender and the empowerment of women, plus youth, employment and migration.

In recent years, Spain has become a privileged member of UNESCO, highlighting support for the Global Alliance for Cultural Diversity. Spain has supported disseminating and raising the profile of the Convention and the Global Alliance, as well as strengthening the capabilities and development of cultural policies and industries. It has also contributed to the International Fund for Cultural Diversity (IFCD), and lent its support to the “Cultural Indicators” project. For more information, see Annex I.

In the Ibero-American field, Spain is one of the main contributors to various cultural cooperation programmes adopted by the Ibero-American Summits, such as Ibermedia in the cinematographic arena; Iberescena for the stage arts; Ibermuseos, in the field of museums and museum studies; Iberoquestas, to give support to youth orchestras and spread musical diversity; Iberrutas, for the protection of migrant rights from an intercultural perspective; and Iberarchivos, to promote archive development in Ibero-America.

Furthermore, Spain also supports specific initiatives promoted by the Ibero-American General Secretariat (SEGIB in the Spanish acronym) and by the Organisation of Ibero-American States for Education, Science and Culture (OEI in the Spanish acronym). Through SEGIB, Spain contributes to the consolidation of Ibero-American Cultural Space, to promoting small and medium cultural and creative enterprises. Through its OEI trust fund, Spain supports the development and implementation of the Ibero-American Cultural Charter; the Programme for Artistic Education, Culture and Citizens; the Mobility Programme for Ibero-American Culture Professionals; and the biennial organisation of the Euro-American Cultural Cooperation Campus, a forum for reflection, exchange and the promotion of networks within the field of Ibero-American cooperation.

In the bilateral field
In developing the Spanish Cooperation Culture and Development Strategy, AECID has created a series of specific programmes:

  • ACERCA, the main aim of which is to support and drive human resources training processes in the cultural sector as a contribution to development and to collective wellbeing. Between 2007 and 2009 the Programme managed a total of 103 training activities in 22 countries, with the participation of 2,450 women and 2,270 men.
  • FORMART, providing support for culture and education development cooperation projects and initiatives. It encompasses artistic and audiovisual education, public literacy, heritage, museums and education, citizenry and diversity, and languages and interculturality.
  • Heritage for Development Programme, whose specific objective is the use of cultural heritage to generate sustainable development in receptor communities. To these ends support is lent to actions which provide value and sustainable management to cultural heritage, aimed on the one hand at improved habitability, institutional reinforcement, better management capabilities and economic development, while on the other at protecting identity, cultural heritage and collective memory.
  • Programme to reinforce the role of the public institutions in culture, the objective of which is to lend support to Ministries of Culture and equivalent institutions in member countries in the drafting and implementation of strategic culture plans, specific staff training and improvements to working operational conditions. To date, the programme has supported cultural institutionalism in Niger, Mali, Mozambique, Ecuador, Peru, Paraguay, Uruguay, Guatemala, Costa Rica and El Salvador.

Cultural development cooperation abroad is managed through the UCEs mentioned above, among which we would highlight the Network of Spanish Cultural Centres (CCE in the Spanish acronym) abroad. Currently this Network is present in 16 countries and is made up of 19 Centres in Latin America and Equatorial Guinea.
CCEs are open forum spaces which aim to encourage exchange and mutual knowledge, in collaboration with local counterparts. They provide participatory spaces in cultural life and for the exercise of citizen involvement. Their objectives include: to complement local cultural policy; to provide training tools for local cultural agents; to provide tools and resources for creative reinforcement and for local cultural entrepreneurial initiatives; to promote the exchange and circulation of cultural agents in the region and energize the projection of Spanish cultural diversity and plurality.

Following these lines of action, below we highlight certain CCE Network-promoted Programmes:

  • Promoting and raising awareness of gender equality through culture.
  • Support for local cultural and creative enterprises, strengthening their position as an economic sector.
  • Training cultural managers, with the aim of achieving professionalism in the local cultural sector.
  • Promote reading, with special emphasis on children and the young.
  • Support for decentralising cultural activity (urban and rural), encouraging access for “other” audiences.
  • Work with migrant and indigenous populations and with those in danger of exclusion, in order to improve and increase recognition of their cultural rights
  • Increase and enrichment of cultural exchange between Ibero-American cultural agents, strengthening the Ibero-American Cultural Space.

Within the framework of the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expression, the following AECID-driven channels of action stand out:

  • Artistic residencies for creative Ibero-Americans: in collaboration with Mexico’s FONCA (National Fund for Culture and the Arts), the aim here is to offer Ibero-American artists and curators spaces in which to develop specific projects, stimulating co-existence with local agents and encouraging the creation of Ibero-American networks which drive mutual knowledge.
  • Invisible Art: strives to promote cultural cooperation between Spain and the African continent. Among its more prominent working approaches are promoting the presence, in international events such as Madrid’s International Contemporary Art Fair (ARCO in the Spanish acronym), of artistic expressions originating from African countries, with the purpose of helping to raise their profile and position them in international forums. As a continuation of this project, the “África.es” initiative has been in place since 2008, in collaboration with Casa África. The initiative is successful, on the one hand, in driving African art at international contemporary art events and in its own creative spaces, while on the other hand it also incentivises the relationship and recognition between galleries, museums and cultural agents and the African artists themselves.
  • “In an Afro-Caribbean key”: this is a network project between the CCEs of Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic, the general aim of which is to raise the profile of the rich and diverse Afro-descendent musical expressions of the Caribbean coast of Central America, the Dominican Republic and Haiti, through the study, reclaiming and dissemination of its varying rhythms.

Within the field of cultural integration in sustainable development policies, but from the point of view of international cooperation, the civil society is involved through two AECID project competitive calls for applications, one of which is specifically for non-governmental development organisations and the other which is open to agents from the Spanish civil society and abroad. Within the field of cultural cooperation, projects have been funded which respond to the following working approaches:

  • Support for the creation of cultural and creative business incubators.
  • Dissemination of, and support for, African and Latin American cinema.
  • Improvement of sexual and reproductive health from an intercultural perspective.
  • Citizen participation.
  • Cultural tourism.
  • Communications and ICT.
  • Cultural projects aimed at promoting the insertion of groups in danger of exclusion.
  • Support for indigenous and Afro-descendent cultural expressions in Latin America.
  • Projects aimed at generating income through the updating and commercial promotion of artisan products.

Principle challenges in policy application
Certain difficulties arise when it comes to putting into practice provisions established in Articles 13 and 14 of the Convention, linked, in large measure, to the recent incorporation of the cultural field as a specific sector in the development cooperation agenda. At a conceptual level, the very definition of culture is not always clear, nor is it shared by the different agents. At a methodological level, there is a lack of instruments to facilitate the extension of culture as an underlying, across-the-board factor with regards to other sectors of cooperation, as well as of specific indicators, base approaches and informational systems which would allow for the adequate management of data and contribute to improving the management cycle of interventions in their different phases: identification, planning, execution, follow-up, evaluation and feedback. At an institutional level, human resources and funding allocated to the sector are restricted when compared to other sectors. Furthermore, in various Spanish Cooperation member countries, sector counterparts are weak and their receptive capacity and external resource management capabilities are limited. In addition, being linked to the definition of identities, the sector is highly sensitive from a political perspective.

Resultados esperados a través de la implementación de la medida:

Being a relatively recent field of intervention for Spanish Cooperation, it is difficult to arrive at evaluations in terms of impact. At first glance, one would say that some of the most prominent effects concern raising awareness of the role of the cultural dimension in development processes, the contribution to mutual knowledge, the promotion of creativity the strengthening of institutional capacities and the creation of national and international labour networks, both between AECID and other public and private entities working in the cultural cooperation field, as well as between Spanish civil society agents and those of member countries.

On the other hand, along with the Secretariat of the MDG Fund, AECID has supported the inclusion, within the culture and development slot, of an across-the-board dimension of knowledge management, aimed at improving practice and, at internal level, promoting the generation of specific indicators to assess compliance with the Culture and Development Strategy.

Objetivo(s) de la Convención 2005 de la UNESCO
Cultural Domain(s)
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