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Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Germany, and ECLAC Partner to Strengthen Feminist Foreign Policies and International Cooperation for Development

22 May 2024|Briefing note

Through a community of practice involving Chile, Colombia, and Mexico, Germany, and ECLAC, the capacities of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Agencies will be strengthened for the design and implementation of feminist foreign policies and international cooperation for development.

Within the framework of the VII Regional Conference on Trilateral Cooperation with Latin America and the Caribbean 2024: "Overcoming obstacles, building bridges," sponsored by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) of Germany and the Brazilian Cooperation Agency (ABC), the project "Strengthening Feminist Foreign Policy and International Feminist Cooperation" (CoPEF) was launched and presented, recently approved as part of the call on October 25, 2023, by the Regional Fund for Triangular Cooperation in Latin America and the Caribbean (BMZ/GIZ).

The introductory remarks were made by Christof Kersting, the Director of the Regional Fund for Triangular Cooperation with Latin American and Caribbean Partners (BMZ/GIZ), and Ana Güezmes, Director of the Division for Gender Affairs, ECLAC.

Christof Kersting highlighted that "it is the first time that feminist development cooperation policy, one of the four current priorities of the BMZ, is the main focus of a triangular cooperation measure, which for all of us is a mutual learning experience of new cooperation formats."

Ana Güezmes from ECLAC pointed out that "facing a multiplicity of complex global and regional challenges to accelerate the achievement of substantive gender equality requires decisive and collaborative actions that transcend national borders and are based on the exchange of knowledge and experiences between countries and their institutions." The transformation proposed by the CoPEF project involves changes within both the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and international cooperation agencies, she emphasized.

The event featured interventions by high-level authorities from partner countries, both from Foreign Ministries and Cooperation Agencies, who highlighted the importance of the project not only for the participating countries but for the entire region.

Alicia Bárcena, Secretary of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, the first Global South country to adopt a feminist foreign policy in 2020, consistent with its historical commitment to gender equality, indicated that feminist foreign policies are "innovative and essential strategies for eliminating structural barriers to the full exercise of the rights of women and girls. The cooperation project that now brings us together is a mechanism for dialogue and coordination of experiences, good practices, and public policies to implement measures that assist in our great struggle for substantive equality as an indispensable condition for inclusive development."

Fabiola Soto Narváez, Director of Multilateral Cooperation Policy, Forums, and Mechanisms at the Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperation (AMEXCID), stated that "the CoPEF project is a great contribution, understood as a space for reflection and dialogue that can lead us to find those means to operationalize a feminist foreign policy that can truly be measured and quantified."

Elizabeth Taylor, Deputy Minister of Multilateral Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Colombia, proposed that "this project is a historic milestone as it is the first triangular cooperation measure on gender equality." She emphasized that "we are making history. Its implementation will allow us to exchange practices, design guidelines, strategies, and actions and inspire other countries in the region and the world to advance in the fulfillment of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Regional Gender Agenda. This is a unique opportunity for Colombia."

Mónica Barrios, Coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean at the Presidential Agency for International Cooperation of Colombia (APC-Colombia), highlighted that "women are leaders in peacebuilding and leaders in caring for life and the planet. Officially adopting a feminist foreign policy and international cooperation means placing equality at the center as a transformative element of both the country and its international relations. This project will undoubtedly be a fundamental contribution that will nourish that objective not only for partner countries and organizations that are part of it but for the entire region."

Carla Serazzi, Director General of Multilateral Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile, stated that this project is a very significant step for the country and added that "it not only allows us to strengthen our regional ties but also shows once again our coincidences in principles, visions, interests, and shared objectives with Colombia and Mexico. The adoption of a feminist foreign policy by the Chilean government responds to the decision to place gender equality at the center of public policies, including foreign policy."

Enrique O'Farrill, Executive Director of the Chilean Agency for International Development Cooperation, also referred to the project, stating that "its implementation and the impact it will have on partner countries will be a motivation for regional cooperation to integrate a more transversal and inclusive perspective in which women and girls have a place, significantly contributing to its impact and sustainability."

Rita Walraf, Deputy Head of Unit G30 (Principles of sectoral and bilateral development cooperation, emerging economies) at the BMZ, congratulated the participation of partner countries and ECLAC, highlighting that "this project not only promotes horizontal learning but also multilateralism through gender equality as its main objective." "We are proud to be part of this milestone and great step forward for achieving gender equality and strengthening multilateralism with our partners in Latin America and the Caribbean. From the BMZ, we will closely accompany this important measure."

Towards the conclusion of the event, Ana Güezmes emphasized that "the project is designed with a sense of collaborative, determined, and open community, calling for placing gender equality and women's rights at the center, not only of cooperation projects linked to social dimensions but also to the environmental and economic dimensions of development." She also stressed that its development and results will contribute to intergovernmental forums such as the III Ministerial Conference on Feminist Foreign Policies (Mexico, 2024); the Second Meeting of the Regional Conference on South-South Cooperation in Latin America and the Caribbean (Santiago, 2025), and the XVI Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean (Mexico, 2025).

The event video is available on the ECLAC YouTube channel: