Country Profiles

Spain

Context

After the municipal and regional elections held in May 2023, in which the parties of the progressive coalition government obtained a poor result, the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, decided to anticipate the general elections to July. Against polls that pointed to a possible change of government, the conservative block in opposition has failed to win a sufficient majority to form a government. Nor has the progressive bloc won a sufficient majority, which was obtained instead through negotiations with other minority parties.

Spain

On the 16th of November 2023, Spain’s parliament empowered, with absolute majority, acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez to assemble a new government, following two failed investiture attempts from right-wing opposition leader Alberto Núñez Feijóo.

The new coalition government, between the Socialist Party and SUMAR, supported by Basque and Catalan nationalists as well as other minority powers. will have four vice-presidents, held by women, and 22 ministries, 12 women and 10 men.

In his investiture speech, the Spanish Prime Minister called for tackling worldwide inequities, advance feminism and gender equality, and strengthen multilateralism to solve global challenges. Sánchez outlined gender equality and climate change as two of eight governing priorities for his next term. Hopefully the new setting will offer the opportunity to continue the political and financial progress made in cooperation and support for SRHR/FP.

Policies & funding

abigail ekouevi

At the beginning of 2023, Congress approved, by a large majority, Law 1/2023 on cooperation for sustainable development and global solidarity. This law updates the legal framework of the Spanish cooperation system, aligning it with the 2030 Agenda, adopts a feminist, environmental and human rights approach, and establishes a clear and inexcusable path for cooperation funds to reach 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI) by 2030.

More recently, in the context of the electoral campaign for the general elections held, the main political parties signed a document of public commitment to cooperation for development. The initiative, promoted by the National Platform for NGOs, is consistent with the new cooperation law and, in addition to reaffirming the commitment to the 0.7%, focuses on aspects such as the completion of the reform of the cooperation system, the importance of strengthening humanitarian action, along with quality of funding, the recognition of NGOs as actors in cooperation and the promotion of greater ambition in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

The New Action Plan 2023-2024 to implement the Spanish guideline for a feminist foreign policy during 2024-2025 was also launched. The plan aims to strengthen Spain’s feminist foreign policy in two directions: integrating a gender-based approach in all the actions of the Spanish foreign policy; and fostering Spain’s priorities to advance gender equality worldwide. The priorities include: Women, peace, and security; Human rights; Elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls; Women’s participation into democratic institutions; and Women’s economic empowerment. The plan is the result of joint coordination and contributions of the High-Level Advisory Group on Feminist Foreign Policy, a multistakeholder space where SEDRA is participating, and composed by development NGOs, feminist organizations, think-thanks, universities and private sector.

In addition to the new cooperation law, national legislation favourable to SRHR/FP, gender equality and LGTBIQ+ rights has also been passed in 2022-23, including legislative pieces on comprehensive for equal treatment and non-discrimination; on the comprehensive guarantee of sexual freedom; SRH and the voluntary interruption of pregnancy; and for the real and effective equality of trans persons and for the guarantee of the rights of LGTBIQ+ persons.
In 2022, Spanish contributions to UNFPA benefitting SRHR achieved 11 million Euros, of which almost 9 million were for SRH/FP, in addition to strengthening health systems for access to family planning; responding to GBV; pursuing the elimination of harmful practices such as child marriage and FGM; and advocating in the area of gender equality. Regions contributed to this support. Part of the Spanish SRH/FP spending in 2022 included the Basque Country Government’s contributions to UNFPA Supplies Partnership programme, result of the parliamentary advocacy work of SEDRA-FPFE through the APPG at regional level. The government of Catalonia also supported UNFPA’s programme ‘Scaling up Gender Based Violence Prevention, Risk Mitigation and Referral Systems for Service Delivery and Response’ with the aim of improving the SRH of girls and women and eliminating GBV and FGM, and a programme based on Community Response to Combat Gender Based Violence among Women and Girls in East Jerusalem.

In addition to that in 2022 the Spanish government contributed to IPPF with a grant of 200,000 Euros to its Arab World Regional Office based in Tunis.
In 2023, Spanish ODA is expected to amount to 4.4 billion Euros and to represent 0.34% of the country’s GNI. This represents an increase of 912 million Euros or 28%, compared to the previous years. The Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) managed an ODA allocation of 588 million Euros, a 54% increase compared to the 2022.

In 2023, UNFPA contributions will increase, with 750.000 Euros allocated as core funding and 700.000 to the Supplies Partnership -. A strategic framework agreement with the UN agency is also expected in the first semester of that year.

Internationally vocal

Spain held the Presidency of the Council of the EU during the second half of 2023, which represented an opportunity and challenge to contribute to the advancement of gender equality and women’s rights, including SRHR/FP, both within the EU and at global level through its cooperation policies. Despite the possibility of a change of government during this six-month period, the agenda of the Spanish Presidency was implemented and included relevant events in international cooperation and the SRHR sector in the country.

chamiya mohamad

At the Summit of the European Union and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (EU-CELAC Summit) held in Brussels on 17 and 18 July, the representatives of the countries of both regions addressed the need to cooperate on various issues. The Civil Society Forum held in the same city the previous days issued a declaration that included among its demands the defence of women’s rights, including SRR, but the subsequent declaration of the EU-LAC Summit reflected vague commitments to gender equality, omitting any reference to SRHR, and limited itself to expressing the need to strengthen bi-regional cooperation, without specifying funding commitments either.

Moreover, the acting Minister for Health of the Government of Spain, José Miñones, signed Spain’s declaration of intent to join the UNAIDS Global Alliance of actions to end all forms of HIV-related stigma and discrimination. In the framework of the General Debate of the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), a High-Level Meeting on Feminist Foreign Policy was held on 20 September with the aim to discuss how to implement this approach to foreign policy and sharing commitments among governments. Spain promoted a Political Declaration which was signed by representatives of governments of countries of the Feminist Foreign Policy Plus (FFP+) group, including Albania, Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, France, Germany, Israel, Liberia, Luxembourg, Mexico, Mongolia, Rwanda, Sweden, The Kingdom of the Netherlands and Tunisia.

In the same space, a High-level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage was held on 21 September during which the acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation of the Government of Spain, José Manuel Albares, delivered an inter-regional joint statement on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights on behalf of 60 governments from 5 continents. These governments express their readiness “to work with UN agencies and civil society partners to achieve universal health coverage that fully integrates and promotes SRHR” for all.

Key documents

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