If it is not inclusive, cooperation is not sustainable

Reducing inequalities, leaving no one behind, is in the DNA of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Also in the objectives and goals that it proposes, and that underline the need to strengthen and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all people, guarantee equal opportunities and eliminate all discriminatory laws, policies and practices.

In this context, the question becomes especially urgent: what can and should cooperation agencies do to advance towards achieving effective equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGTBI) people in countries with who work? What is your role in helping to guarantee the protection of the rights of this group in contexts in which they continue to suffer from exclusion, marginalization and violence?

LGBTI people are often trapped in cycles of poverty due to the social and legal discrimination to which they are subjected. This has a direct impact on their economic opportunities and their ability to access public services and the effective exercise of fundamental rights.

Therefore, approaching and confronting these situations of structural discrimination through cooperation contributes to a greater impact in the task of reducing existing pockets of poverty and promoting social cohesion in the partner countries. It is the essential element of a real commitment to the construction of more just, peaceful and inclusive societies.

In addition, the discrimination of LGTBI people generates economic costs and burdens for the development of society as a whole. From a human capital approach, inequality in access to employment and the labor market means that a country’s economy does not fully benefit from the potential of LGTBI people, either because they remain unemployed or because they can only access jobs where they do not fully use their knowledge and skills.

Discrimination against LGTBI people generates economic costs and burdens for the development of society as a whole

More and more studies point out how those cooperation programs that do not take into account the barriers that LGTBI people face in certain countries and that ignore the stigmatization to which they are often subjected, run the risk of widening the gaps even more existing, and therefore not being effective in helping to eradicate inequality.

When taking into account the situation of LGTBI people in cooperation policies for sustainable development, it is important to do so from a multidimensional vision of poverty and remember that it is, in addition to an effective tool to combat it, a necessary element to achieve real progress in terms of gender equality and an essential dimension of good democratic governance.

The protection and promotion of the rights of LGTBI people is not only relevant from the point of view of cooperation for sustainable development, but it is, ultimately, an inescapable obligation for international cooperation agencies, derived from adopting a human rights-based approach.

This approach is fundamental when it comes to understanding the need to advance in the effective consideration of affective, sexual and gender diversity in international cooperation policies.

As the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has pointed out for decades, the rights-based approach shows that human development also consists of ensuring basic freedoms, placing people at the center of policies sustainable development with the purpose of guaranteeing the well-being and dignity of all people in all parts of the world.

The Spanish Cooperation does not yet have a specific strategy on how to mainstream the effective consideration of the specific needs of LGTBI people

The rights perspective helps to effectively and prioritize the needs of the most excluded communities and groups, especially when their situation of vulnerability derives from public policies, regulations and discriminatory practices.

The current Master Plan for Spanish Cooperation includes an express commitment to promote the empowerment of all people for the full exercise of their rights, political participation and accountability, ensuring non-discrimination. In this context, it expressly refers to discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, with special attention to people in situations of greater vulnerability.

However, Spanish Cooperation does not yet have a specific strategy in this area, nor systematized guidelines or tools on how to mainstream the effective consideration of the specific needs of LGTBI people when guaranteeing their access under conditions of equality. to health, education, decent work or housing. Nor on how to promote their full participation in political, social, economic and cultural life.

This does not mean that there are no concrete actions aimed at guaranteeing the right of LGTBI people to benefit from sustainable development. This is demonstrated by the various actions or projects promoted through the Network of Cultural Centers and Training Centers of Spanish Cooperation, with multilateral organizations, with Spanish NGDOs, with civil society organizations (especially in Latin America and the Caribbean ) or through support for specific studies in the field of humanitarian action, for example.

But, without a doubt, the current reform process of the Spanish system of international cooperation, the future Law of Cooperation for Sustainable Development and Global Solidarity, the preparation of a new Master Plan for Spanish Cooperation and a new Statute of the Agency Spanish Cooperation for International Development (AECID) are the ideal opportunity to consolidate a powerful and sustained line of work on this issue, so that it can finally become a hallmark of Spanish Cooperation, as it has been for decades. It belongs to Spanish society.

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