SPAIN - ACTORS AND DECISION-MAKING
Key institutions involved in policy-making are shown in the figure below. Overall development policy is directed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores y de Cooperación, MAEC). It is responsible for bilateral cooperation and multilateral contributions (except to international financial institutions and the EU). While the MAEC used to be Spain’s prime ODA provider, drastic cuts to its budget (63% between 2009 and 2013, far more than any other ministry) have reduced this share to an estimated 36% (US$958 million or €745 million) in 2013. The Ministry of Finance and Public Administrations (MINHAP), which manages Spain’s EU contributions, will channel the largest ODA share (41%) in 2013.
The current government has restructured the MAEC by abolishing the former Secretariat of State for International Cooperation and creating a new Secretariat of State for International Cooperation and Ibero-America. This integration had led to a downgrading of development issues within the ministry. The MAEC also supervises the state development agency AECID, which manages the FONPRODE fund.
The Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad, MINECO) and the MINHAP recently gained in weight in Spain’s development policy structure by opposing approval of some funds channeled through FONPRODE due to budgetary constraints.
Spain’s sub-national state actors, the autonomous communities (Comunidades Autónomas) and local administrations are estimated to account for 9.2% of total ODA in 2013. While some of them have their own bilateral programs, 65% (2012) of all ODA provided by these actors is channeled through NGOs. However, their role in Spain’s development system is currently on the decline, as almost all of them have slashed their development budgets during the economic crisis, amounting to an ODA decrease of 70% between 2009 and 2013.
The Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo, AECID) is responsible for the implementation of Spain’s development policy. AECID designs and manages bilateral development programs and humanitarian aid and also provides funding to NGOs. In 2011, AECID had 43 country offices and 1320 staff, 57% of which worked in the field. AECID is currently losing much of its capacity for action, as its budget has decreased by 70% since 2011 to US$339 million (€264 million) in 2013.
The Spanish Parliament’s two chambers (Congress and Senate) each have Development Committees (Comisiones de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo), which debate and vote on laws related to development and can request information on all development matters. While there used to be a high level of consensus regarding development issues, current budget cuts have led to tense debates and amendment proposals by the opposition, which are usually blocked by the PP’s absolute majority.
Advisory and coordination bodies
There are several bodies for policy coordination between ministries (the Inter-ministerial Commission for Development Cooperation), the central and regional governments, and an advisory council composed of representatives from the government, civil society and the private sector. However, the OECD DAC Peer Review 2011 assessed the impact of these advisory and coordination bodies on policy-making as rather weak and recommended a review of their usefulness in strengthening coordination. The Inter-ministerial Commission has recently gained in some importance by blocking the approval of some FONPRODE grants in 2012.
Spain’s civil society, including secular and Catholic NGOs, is a significant player in development, although it has lost much of its previous power in mobilizing public support for development issues. The OECD DAC Peer Review 2011 found a high level of NGO inclusion in policy dialogue, but none of their recent campaigns succeeded in stopping current budget cuts. The NGO umbrella association CONGDE (Coordinadora de ONGD-España) coordinates NGO activities and regularly interacts with government actors. While NGOs have traditionally implemented large shares of bilateral ODA (27.7% in 2011; OECD DAC average: 16.1%), they are strongly affected by current ODA reductions, as many of them rely heavily on public funding, both from AECID and sub-national governments.
the Spain profile