ADRA Spain director speaks in Spanish Congress

Olga Calonge, director of ADRA Spain and vice president of the Coordinator-Association of Organizations for Development, appeared on Wednesday, March 20, at the International Development Cooperation Commission of the Congress of Deputies of Spain, representing Third Sector organizations.

Invited by the Joint Parliamentary Group, Calonge explained the position of NGOs on the recent Law 1/2023 on Cooperation for Sustainable Development and Global Solidarity. In addition, she emphasized the need for Spain to fulfill the budgetary commitments made regarding Development Aid (ODA).

Diverse organizations, united with the same solidarity purpose

The Coordinator-Association of Organizations for Development, in which ADRA Spain is integrated, is a platform that currently encompasses more than 600 organizations. This also includes different regional coordinators. They are organizations deeply rooted in Spanish society, of different sizes, of different origins and of different specialization. 

Among others, other NGOs are part of the Coordinator-Association, such as Acción contra el Hambre, Cáritas Española, Médicos del Mundo, Save the Children, Oxfam Intermón, Ayuda en Acción, Religious Foundation for Health or Tierra de Hombres.

For a more effective cooperation policy

“There are organizations,” she explained, “as diverse as Spanish society is and as this parliamentary arch is, with nearly 17,000 volunteers, with 8,000 workers. There is also a social base of more than three million people managing an annual budget in this area of cooperation, humanitarian action and citizen education of more than 900 million euros.”

The director of ADRA Spain also explained that these organizations reflect and question what the cooperation policy can be like, so that it is more effective and responds to the global challenges of this moment.

“Steps have been taken, it is true. We have assumed commitments, it is true, but we are failing to fulfill them, and non-compliance, ladies and gentlemen, is not gratuitous,” Calonge explained, in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals.

“The case of 0.7% is perhaps the easiest, the most tangible, the most verifiable. Our historical debt as a State with impoverished countries increases every day. If we measure the difference between the commitments that we have said we are going to make and what our real contribution has actually been – and these are verifiable and also [have] verifiable data – we will realize that, so far, this century, since 2000 until 2022, there are more than 119,000 million euros, and we have to break this inertia, we have to put an end to all these non-compliances.”

Calonge explained that the Coordinator-Association of NGOs for Development is “proud” of the Cooperation Law approved in February 2023. “It was a law discussed, it was a law in which we all spoke, it was a law that was quite consensual because we were capable of reaching an agreement in a context, in a world that is polarized, tense, and, yet, we were an example of consensus, agreement and of thinking about a much broader law with high ambition.”

But the Coordinator-Association of NGOs for Development considers it “essential” and “fundamental” to move forward, now, in the development of this law. “We believe that we have a lot of work left to do because it is a comprehensive law, it is a transformative law, it is an ambitious law, and it means working on very relevant aspects. One of them, regulatory and institutional reforms.”

Calonge also explained that we must move forward in financing development aid in the general budgets of the State. “It seemed essential to us that, in this year 2024, there was solid progress,” he explained. “We know that the call for general elections, the slowness in forming the government and the institutional weakness of the cooperation system, which we have been dragging on for a long time, make this whole process much, much more complicated.”

To read the orginal article, please go here

*Daniel Forcada, Head of Communications at ADRA Spain.