The Basque Country furthers its commitment to development cooperation
All public institutions, including local government, need to coordinate with regards to anti-poverty and development cooperation to "truly provide a boost for southern countries".
Given the current crisis, the Basque authorities have approved an austerity budget, but the tough economic situation has not adversely impacted the aid allocated by the Basque Government to cooperation and development, which remain unchanged. Furthermore, the Agency for Development Cooperation has been recently set up with the "mission of consolidating and improving these policies," as the Lehendakari explained, before he went on to stress that cooperation aid is part of "the hallmark of our progressive principles, of solidarity, equality and fostering individual freedom".
The economic crisis and the need of governments to find solutions that alleviate hardship "must not, under any circumstances, detract from the response that inequalities around the world also deserve and require". The Lehendakari thus undertook to uphold his Government's commitment to back cooperation and development in underprivileged countries.
The Lehendakari stressed that "inequality between countries affects us all" and that the commitment to cooperation must not "merely be a gesture of solidarity with the most unfortunate". He went on to explain that "we cannot conceive a sustainable social economy where a thousand million people go hungry, thousands of children under the age of five die from avoidable diseases, where drinking water is not available for a large part of the population or where agriculture production does not cover basic needs".
The Lehendakari was speaking at the III Municipia Seminar, featuring the slogan "Constructing Government, Driving Development". The seminar was an opportunity for 30 institutional and technical representatives of international cooperation and town and city councils to discuss the challenges facing local public cooperation in terms of development policies, the teachings of direct municipal cooperation and the twinning programs or goals of the Municipia program.
The presence of local government is fundamental for cooperation. The public institutions are now joined by the Agency for Development Cooperation, which has been set up with "the mission of consolidating and improving these policies".