Spain and Mexico step up cooperation and share response strategies to COVID-19
The State Secretary for International Cooperation, Ángeles Moreno Bau, has finalised her “virtual” visit to Mexico today by an in situ visit to Mexico House in Madrid where, upon an invitation of its director, Ximena Caraza Campos, she visited the exhibitions by the painters Pedro Friedeberg and Alfredo Castañeda. 

This brings to the end a trip planned before the outbreak of the pandemic, which has proven to be “very fruitful and satisfactory” under this new form of foreign diplomacy by video-conference.

Between 8 and 11 June, Ángeles Moreno Bau has met with various Mexican authorities to share the Spanish Cooperation Response Strategy to combat COVID-19 and agree on an agenda of joint action on cultural, educational, socio-economic, health and gender matters. She also held a meeting with executives from leading Spanish companies with activities in Mexico that are developing important social programmes.

Her meeting with the Under-Secretary for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights, Martha Delgado, served to address the leadership of the United Nations in fighting the coronavirus and the multilateral agenda of Spain and Mexico, with a special focus on the upcoming Ibero-American Summit in Andorra and Mexico’s current pro tempore Presidency of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Spanish acronym: CELAC). She shared her intention to re-launch the work of these forums for agreement.

They also looked into the possibility of organising a seminar on international relations and feminist foreign policy in collaboration with the Spanish Diplomatic School, the Institute of Governance of Florence and the Matías Romero Institute of Mexico.

At the meeting with the Director of the Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperation (Spanish acronym: AMEXCID), Laura Elena Carillo Cubillas, they addressed the digital gap in education and the need to speed up programs geared towards migration, gender vulnerability and post-graduate training and research grants in the field of the health emergency.

The Director of AMEXCID also highlighted Mexico’s role as a preferential partner for cooperation in Latin America, given the close ties that have existed for the last three decades between the cooperation systems of the two countries.

Ángeles Moreno Bau also had the chance to analyse the socio-economic repercussions of the pandemic in Mexico and joint action projects with representatives of the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UN-Women and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC)

In addition, at the Business and Development Board, made up of 28 Spanish companies with a presence in Mexico, the State secretary saw first-hand the “impressive” work being carried out. There was full agreement on promoting “now more than ever” the Public-Private Development Alliances – the hallmark of Spanish Cooperation, above all in times of budget cuts.

Since the earthquake in 2017, Spanish foundations and companies have been involved in different development cooperation projects in the region.

The business response to the pandemic is materialising through the direct donation of medical equipment, the distribution of food packages, financial facilities to customers and employees, economic contributions, offers of free services to hospitals and to healthcare workers and digital education, among other actions. For Ángeles Moreno Bau, this reflects “the profound commitment to Mexican society in these difficult times”.

The State secretary also spent a day in meetings with the Mexican cultural industries and with various public institutions in this field. In her meeting with the Director of Cultural Diplomacy of the Secretariat for Foreign Affairs, Enrique Márquez Jaramillo, they reviewed the commemoration programmes scheduled for the coming months, the synergies with the Cervantes Institute, and agreed to use areas in the Spanish Cultural Centre in Mexico and Mexico House in Spain to highlight cultural links.

With the Under-Secretary for Culture, Marina Núñez, they reviewed the projects planned in three areas: commemorations, the Joint Culture Committee within the framework of the 13th Meeting of the Binational Commission, and cultural-technical cooperation, including the exhibitions to be displayed in the coming months.

Her final meeting with the Under-Secretary for Medium and Higher Education of the Secretariat for Public Education, Juan Pablo Arroyo, served to discuss the digital challenge in education. The two parties outlined their classroom and virtual content projects to tackle the digital gap.

“We must ensure that during the pandemic, children, young people and university students remain in education – knowledge will be a factor in the recovery”, claimed the State secretary, who considers that the coronavirus seriously affects the most vulnerable, who are “the first to miss out on education and the last to recover it”.

For the State Secretary for International Cooperation, this virtual experience has been “very enriching and beneficial”, allowing cooperation ties to be strengthened between the two countries that are “friends and strategic partners”.


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