Policy & Global Development, Chagas

ISGlobal Presents Its Report: Spanish Development Aid and the Challenges of Global Health

The paper highlights the key role of cooperation as an instrument of spanish foreign policy and recommends the reform of Spain's international aid model


The presentation at the CaixaForum in Madrid of a report published by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) entitled Spanish Development Aid and the Challenges of Global Health, a Recipe for Change highlighted the vital importance for Spanish foreign policy of cooperation in global health matters and the need for radical reform to ensure the impact and quality of Spanish aid.

In the opinion of Gonzalo Fanjul, author of the report, "The prestige of Spanish aid has been based more on the volume of our expenditure than on the quality of our programmes, and a radical reform of the system is now needed to minimise the repercussions of the very worrisome cuts in funding. Otherwise, millions of people in the poorest countries in the world will suffer irreparable losses, and Spain's influence on the global agenda will be diminished". 

Spain's contribution to global health funding fell by 83% between 2009 and 2011, a decline that has seriously weakened our influence in the international debate. While noting that recent cuts in development aid will only aggravate this problem further, the report goes on to say that it is, nonetheless, still possible to gain ground if we adopt new forms of collaboration and reform Spain's international cooperation model using criteria based on the quality and effectiveness of its aid. The report also discusses how the shortcomings of the current model affect Spain's role in the area of health matters. On this topic, Rafael Vilasanjuán, the director of the ISGlobal Think Tank, comments, "Every euro we invest in saving lives counts. In times of crisis when resources are more limited it is essential to remember that money spent on improving global health and promoting development in areas where people are forced to live in extreme poverty is still the best investment in terms of the stability and safety of the world as a whole".

Spanish cooperation in the area of health is also affected by the serious shortcomings that currently plague the aid system as a whole, particularly the lack of an overall strategic focus and the problems involved in evaluating the impact and quality of aid.  Many successful projects exist, but objective evidence of positive outcomes is scarce. In this context, ISGlobal is proposing a road map for global health matters to the new Spanish government. This document advocates the following measures: commitment to establishing a budgetary floor for development aid and preventing further cuts in funding; a strategy review based on proven and transparent criteria; the creation of an expert advisory board; and geographical, sectoral and thematic concentration of efforts on areas where Spanish resources will have the greatest impact.  

This report, the first in a series by the ISGlobal Think Tank that will analyse different aspects of global health and development.  


Download paper: "La ayuda española al desarrollo y los retos de la salud global"

Photo album of the presentation