Spanish society has always shown solidarity, even during the worst years of the economic crisis. Surveys show that the Spanish are concerned about global problems like poverty, climate change and terrorism worldwide.
The commitment of Spanish citizens to countries and communities that have suffered most from inequality and poverty is reflected in public policy and international cooperation, whose initiatives are undertaken by the General Administration of the State and by the Autonomous Communities and local entities, as well as universities, companies, civil society, non-governmental development organisations (NGDO) and trade unions.
This is a collective effort by many players who are committed to sustainable, fair development. The International Cooperation for Development Law in 1998 coordinated all these initiatives around the defence and promotion of human rights, equality and non-discrimination, inclusive human development and the promotion of sustainable economic growth.
Commitment to international cooperation
Even in the toughest years of the crisis, international cooperation was fully supported by Spanish citizens. For 89% of the Spanish, development aid is ranked third amongst the priorities of foreign policy, behind climate change and terrorism. This can be gleaned from the nationwide survey about the main international concerns carried out by the Elcano Royal Institute in Autumn 2018 on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Constitution.
This data is confirmed by successive studies of the Sociological Research Centre (CIS) and the Eurobarometer. According to the survey European Union Citizens and Development Cooperation by Eurobarometer, the Spanish (81%), along with the Cypriots (93%) and the Maltese (82%) are the Europeans who most clearly advocate that the fight against poverty in developing countries should be a priority for the EU. In this study, 66% of the Spanish people surveyed said that fighting against poverty should also be one of the priorities of the government, the highest percentage amongst the countries consulted.
More than 2,600 people are professionally dedicated to international cooperation for development and humanitarian action. These are professionals who work in cooperation sectors stretching from inclusive economic development and democratic governability to humanitarian aid, also involving work in basic services like health, education and access to water and sanitation or work in essential sectors such as rural development and food safety, gender equality, the environment and the fight against climate change or support to the cultural sector from a development perspective.
Their work is firmly based on solidarity and a commitment to Human Rights. It takes beyond Spanish borders the commitment of Spanish society to playing active role in the achievement of a better world, as well as its determination to contribute to improve the living conditions of people all around the world.
The approval of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in September 2015 which Spain drove forward and subscribed to along with the rest of the international community, means a new, high-level commitment to making an active contribution to compliance with Sustainable Development Objectives (SDO) not just in Spain, but also in those countries that do not enjoy the same level of development. The commitment to sustainable, inclusive global development is also a commitment to fair, inclusive globalisation which respects and promotes diversity in the context of the 2030 Agenda.
In addition to the commitment of citizens to cooperation and development, the Spanish also support NGOs. According to data taken from the study The collaboration of the Spanish with non-profitmaking entities carried out by Kantar Millward Brown for the Spanish Fundraising Association in 2018, 86% of Spanish adults have collaborated at some time with an NGO (food, clothes, signing causes etc.) and 55% have done so economically. What’s more, 8 out of every 10 believe that the work of NGOs is very important.
The report Reality of the member and the donor in Spain 2017 of said associations calculates at around 3,980,000 the number of members of any NGO, meaning revenue of more than 456 million Euros in membership fees.
According to the Study on the Collaboration of the Spanish with NGOs and the Donor Profile in 2016, the fight against hunger and the development of poor countries and child assistance are the situations which people are most sensitive to (both obtaining 35%), followed by the support for emergency situations (18%) and the defence of human rights (12%).
Tolerant to immigration
In terms of tolerance and commitment to the migratory problem, the Spanish are ahead of their EU partners as reflected by the Eurobarometer Autumn 2018, which shows that 86% of the Spanish are in favour of a common European policy on migration. The perception of the migratory phenomenon in Spain is also more positive when compared with other EU member states: 58% of the Spanish believe that its impact is positive, compared with 50% of Europeans as a whole.