The Government of the Canary Islands will allocate a budget of 6 million euros to international cooperation for 2023 with the aim of reaching the figure of 8.2 million euros in 2024, according to Juan Francisco Trujillo, the director general of External Relations of the regional government, to representatives of 52 NGOs, trade unions and companies at a meeting in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria where he informed them of the new call for Development Aid 2023.
Trujillo indicated that the item for international cooperation “disappeared from the regional budgets from 2009 to 2018”, when it reappeared with some 700,000 euros, with a commitment at the beginning of the legislature to increase the amount progressively to move towards a budget “more in line with the weight of the Canary Islands, its solidarity nature and its historical ties with Africa and Latin America”.
Thus the budget in 2022 reached 4.2 million euros, rising in 2023 to 6 million and the commitment is to add another two million in 2024 to reach 8.2 million euros, even so he pointed out that cooperation in the Canary Islands “is already solvent and constant, something of vital importance for the stability” of the organisations dedicated to carrying out these projects, as reported by the Canary Islands Government in a press release.
The annual amounts are distributed between Humanitarian Aid and Development Cooperation. In this regard, Trujillo explained to the organisations that the plan is to publish the new call for Development Cooperation projects at the end of March for some 3 million euros, which is “30 percent more” than last year.
In the area of international cooperation, 76 projects were carried out in 2022, of which 58 were for development cooperation with 33 projects in 12 African countries, including eleven projects in Mauritania and ten in Senegal.
Cooperation projects were also allocated to nine Latin American countries with 21 projects, including Venezuela and Uruguay with four projects each, as well as Cuba, Guatemala and Peru. Canary Islands aid also reached Asia with four projects in India and Indonesia, while the remaining 18 were humanitarian aid projects.
Participation in a local project to rehabilitate the basic education school to provide daily care for 800 children in San Luis, Senegal, the training of nurses in Mauritania and the recovery of “street children” in Senegal were other cooperation projects highlighted by the director general to the organisations gathered on Thursday, including Manos Unidas, the Red Cross, the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Cáritas Diocesana and Solidaridad Médica España, among others.
This year, NGOs will be able to apply for aid for their projects from the publication of the new call for proposals and will have until 30 September 2024 to implement them.
In the 2021-2023 International Cooperation Strategy, priority countries were set as West Africa because of its proximity, and Latin America because “this is where the Canarian diaspora is located”. As for the objectives and commitments, they were set in 2022 in the Second Master Plan for International Cooperation, since the previous one was from 2009, where it was established to reach 8 million in 2024.
On the other hand, he highlighted the “immediate” needs, framed in the area of humanitarian aid, where the meeting of the Humanitarian Agreement of the Spanish Cooperation Agency is framed, made up of 13 autonomous regions, the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and the Agency itself, which will meet in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on 27 March, when the Presidency will be transferred to the Canary Islands.
Syria and Turkey will play a central role in the meeting, as they will be the target countries of a new humanitarian project due to the catastrophe caused by the recent earthquakes to “help them to gradually emerge from the situation in which they find themselves”.