PRESS RELEASE 133
Ministry of Foreign Affairs celebrates International Cooperative Day with interactive dialogue between Their Majesties the King and Queen and several cooperation workers overseas
08/09/2020

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation has celebrated International Cooperative Day today, 8 September, at Viana Palace with interactive dialogue by video-conference between Their Majesties the King and Queen of Spain and several Spanish cooperation workers overseas. The latter explained their daily work during the live broadcast of the event, organised by the State Secretariat for International Cooperation.


Due to the restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was limited to the physical presence of eight people: Their Majesties the King and Queen of Spain; the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Arancha González Laya; the State Secretary for International Cooperation, Ángeles Moreno Bau; the new Director of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (Spanish acronym: AECID), Magdy Martínez Solimán; the Director of the International Foundation and for Ibero-America of Public Administration and Policies (Spanish acronym: FIIAPP), Ana Terrón; the President of the NGDO Coordinator, Andrés Rodríguez Amayuelas, and the fireman of the City Council of Madrid, Gonzalo Velasco, an occasional cooperation worker with the emergency surgical hospital START.  


King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia heard accounts from each of the cooperation workers, who from the different countries where they are located told of the challenges of the coronavirus in their lives and those of the vulnerable populations where they live, among others.


From Beirut, the Country Director of the NGO Acción Contra el Hambre en Líbano [Action against Hunger in Lebanon], Beatriz Navarro, recalled the 125 cooperation workers that have lost their lives in the year to date, and spelt out the desperate situation in the country following the huge explosion in the port of the capital a month ago. The King and Queen enquired after the emergency situation there and the humanitarian actions of Spanish Cooperation.


For her part, the General Coordinator of Spanish Cooperation in El Salvador, Cristina Aldama, with 26 years of experience, reported on the exacerbation of the situation of women, girls and teenagers as a result of the pandemic, with 44 cases of feminicide between March and May and more than 1,200 reports of physical and sexual violence. The defence of the rights of women, she said, is a priority of our cooperation, hence the implementation of the campaign Libre de violencia en Emergencia [Free of Violence in an Emergency], which encourages women in El Salvador to report offences.


During his speech from Panama, the Director of the United Nations Humanitarian Response Deposit, Francisco Quesada, specified that as a result of COVID operations alone, up to 650 tonnes of aid have been sent to some 30 countries in the region, which include health material, personal protective equipment, medicine and other consumables.


From Mozambique, the nurse Maria José Castro stated that, although she only originally went there for a month, she has now been there for 20 years. Queen Letizia, who travelled to the country last year with Spanish Cooperation, is familiar with the rural community development programmes in the fields of health and education that Maria José Castro runs from the centre for orphaned children where she lives in Casa do Gaiato. 

And lastly from Asia, Lilia Pérez, Project Manager for the Technical Cooperation Office of the AECID in the Philippines, told those attending of the efforts to promote human rights, peace and justice in the Philippines.


This is the first time that the King and Queen have presided over International Cooperative Day. Felipe VI spoke of his recognition and admiration for cooperation workers, whom he encouraged to continue fostering greater awareness among citizens of the challenges of development that all societies face with the aim of continuing to work together for a more prosperous, sustainable, fairer and more equal world.


For her part, Minister González Laya praised the cooperation workers, whom she considered to be the best cooperation asset and a reflection of solidarity. She also highlighted Spain’s commitment to the 2030 Agenda and the opportunity of a crisis such as the present one to boost a transforming recovery.


Lastly, the State Secretary for International Cooperation, Ángeles Moreno Bau, stated that International Cooperative Day is a tribute to all those people who professionally dedicate their lives to international cooperation which, with 45 years of experience, constitutes a hallmark of our democracy and enriches it.


 

Every year, coinciding with International Cooperative Day, AECID publishes a report with the updated figures on Spanish Cooperation, which can be accessed by clicking on the following link:  https://bit.ly/34YVICm


-NON OFFICIAL TRANSLATION-


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