8 May 2008. AECID workers at Torrejón de Ardoz air base, Madrid, delivering 13 tons of humanitarian aid supplies to help communities affected by the Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar. Photo credits: EFE/Kote Rodrigo.

Friday, 26 November 2010. Two workers at Port-au-Prince Airport, Haiti, controlling medical supplies to combat cholera delivered by the Spanish Cooperation Agency for International Development. Photo credits: EFE/Orlando Barría.

A team made of 45 health professionals, fire fighters and emergency professionals in Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport, ready to travel to Indonesia as part of a humanitarian mission, led by AECID, whose goal was to help the communities affected by the earthquake that struck the Central Sulawesi province in September 2018. Photo credits: EFE/J.J. Guillén.

AECID, 30 years administering international cooperation

The Spanish Cooperation Agency for International Development (AECID) is celebrating its 30th birthday. Since its inception, AECID has been responsible for administering international cooperation, fighting poverty and focusing on sustainable development across the world.

On 22 November 1988, the Spanish Cooperation Agency for International Development (AECID) came to life to save lives, an aim it has been achieving for 30 years. AECID, whose primary focus is sustainable human development, is the main foreign assistance organisation in Spain.

The 30th anniversary of AECID was celebrated in the Reina Sofía Museum, at an event that was held also in the honour of the 30 aid workers who have worked for AECID since it was established. Presided over by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Josep Borrell, the event was attended by the Secretary of State for International Cooperation and for Latin America and the Caribbean, Juan Pablo de Laiglesia; the Secretary of State for Global Spain, Irene Lozano; the Director of AECID, Aina Calvo; and many other Spanish dignitaries.

The Minister thanked the workers and voluntary staff from the Agency. He highlighted the fact that they often carry out their work in complex situations. He said that unfortunately he could not increase AECID budget, but he would transfer ‘to Cooperation all funds that are not spent by other agencies reporting to the Ministry.’

For three decades, AECID has taken care of the people in need, trying to raise the living standards of vulnerable people. Cooperation strategies and projects have been carried out continuously in many different areas that are drivers for development, for instance, it has supported economic growth and promoted gender equality, it has increased access to safe water, supported education, cultural and scientific programmes, and fought climate change.

AECID carries out its purposeful work and delivers humanitarian aid in the field through its 31 Technical Cooperation Offices, 19 Cultural Centres and 4 Training Centres in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Cooperation in Africa, Asia and the Americas

Some of AECID’s most relevant programmes are the Manhiça Health Research Centre (CISM) and Manhiça Foundation. Manhiça is a Mozamibcan city where Spanish scientists from the Hospital Clínic Barcelona and the University of Barcelona, through Clínic Foundation, have done valuable work since 1996 to stop tropical diseases like malaria.

In 2004, AECID started collaborating with Doctors of the World Spain in Sahrawi refugee camps. Their goal is to reduce both child mortality and the number of women who die from pregnancy- or childbirth-related complications (maternal mortality).

In Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador, AECID has worked for over two decades to improve access to essential medicines so that the priority health care needs of indigenous peoples, women and extremely poor people can be satisfied.

Since 2005, AECID has supported ACERCA, a programme centred on culture for development in Latin America, Africa and Asia. More specifically, ACERCA is a training project for local artists, craftspeople and professionals in the field of culture who are interested in improving the cultural offerings in the member countries.

Full programme of activities

AECID celebrated its 30th birthday organising a number of activities such as the photography exhibit ‘Huellas’ in Atocha Station, Madrid. The exhibition included 40 photos by AECID photographer Miguel Lizana. His pictures show the work done by the workers and volunteers who participated in the numerous projects carried out by the Agency.

Besides, on 27 and 28 November, the Agency will hold an international meeting on cultural heritage and development in Casa América, in Madrid. At the event, one of the activities of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018, participants will discuss cultural heritage as a tool for building democratic societies embracing diversity and committed with sustainable development.

On 3 December, AECID will hold the 10th Vicente Ferrer Education for Development Award, which gives recognition to educational institutions that raise awareness and encourage participation in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals among citizens, especially among children and adolescents.

Finally, on 13 December, in the assembly hall at AECID, the future of global development policies will be discussed by former Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNPD) and former UN Deputy Secretary-General, Mark Malloch Brown, and the former Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP) and former Chef de Cabinet to UN Secretary-General, Susana Malcorra.

Spain’s Cooperation relaunch

AECID’s 30th anniversary is taking place simultaneously with the relaunch of Spain’s Cooperation as a platform for implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In addition, the 5th Master Plan for Spain’s Cooperation 2018-2021 was adopted in March 2018. The Plan, to be implemented in Latin America, the Maghreb, West Africa and the Sahel, includes environmental, social and economic development goals; reviews migration and safety protocols; and considers reaching new Country Partnership Frameworks.