Spain´s budget for next year was published last Saturday revealing more austerity measures that will try to reduce the public debt in 2013, expected to increase up to a 90% of the GDP due to losses on bank rescues among other expenses.
This astonishing numbers will keep undermining the already weak Spanish’s development cooperation sector that has already suffered cuts of a 70% since 2010 and is having a fatal impact on millions of people who live in poverty around the world.
We have to remember that thanks to international cooperation in the last ten years, for example, 40 million children worldwide have been granted access to school, the number of women dying during childbirth has decreased by over 50% and the number of children dying before age 5 has declined by almost 20%.
These cuts on international development are unacceptable. In a context of economic crisis, governments should protect the most vulnerable and make them a priority over other expenses that should be secondary. José Maria Vera, Intermon Oxfam’s director in Spain, pointed out in a recent interview that only the Valencia’s bank bailout exceeded all Spanish ODA in 2010. He also mentioned the extension of 1,800 million Euros that the government approved for the defense budget, in order to buy planes, helicopters and weapons, stating that this additional spending exceeds the cooperation and humanitarian aid from Spain for the past two years.
In only three years Spain has decreased its allocation to ODA from 0.46% of GDP in 2009 to 0.16% in 2012 making it impossible to achieve the famous 0.7% target to contribute to end extreme poverty and achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
These cuts are not only menacing basic needs of million of people around the world, but also putting in jeopardy a sector that has taken years to build and employs over 8000 qualified people.