Periodic Report Spain

Executive summary

Spain is a country which, in its very Constitution, encompasses cultural and linguistic diversity as a basic premise, and all norms which are established, regardless of at what level, must respect this principle.

 In general terms, the evaluation of the implementation of the Convention during the period in question is satisfactory.

In the international arena, the framework document Culture and Development Strategy for Spanish Cooperation, which necessarily informs all actions and three-year Management Plans, takes much of its inspiration from the Convention, and takes it very much into account in its strategic approaches. Substantial resources have been dedicated to it, and collaboration has been lent to implementing the Convention with UNESCO in a range of ways. The Management Plans carried out by AECID (the Spanish Agency for international development cooperation) contain evaluation mechanisms, and are presented to various collegiate bodies (including public administrations and representatives from civil society), as well as before Parliament. The result has been positive, and the intention is to carry on along the same lines.

At an internal level, substantial differences have been noted depending on the geographical scale in question. At national level, a wide range of actions have been carried out, norms have been set, plans, programmes and strategies have been drafted which take cultural diversity into account, almost always applying the Convention and, though at times indirectly, responding to the objectives of facilitating access to culture, cultural production and the realities of minorities.

The Autonomous Communities have also kept the Convention very much in mind when passing laws or setting norms, in much the same way as the State, directly responding to the Convention or even without doing so, but always in accordance with its spirit and the ends being pursued. A marked difference has been observed between those “historical” communities and the rest; the former have, in general, applied the Convention more extensively.

The picture changes when we address the level of local administration, which from the very outset comes up against the varying realities referred to. In Spain there are 8,114 Local Bodies, and this figure contains the entire possible repertory of composition, population size, budgetary and decision-making capability.

 It is worth noting that during the period since the Convention’s ratification, the allotting of municipal funds designated to Cooperation with municipalities from other countries has undergone a sustained upward trend, even exceeding 1% of total budget in some of them. Equally, the introduction of practices linked to Local Agenda 21 and its cultural and participatory component led to more than half of the Spanish populace living in areas in which it has been introduced.

From there we can conclude that, though there is a clear lack of knowledge of the specific content of the Convention, it is still evident that the conditions driving a large share of its statements are taken into account in the daily policies of Spanish Town Councils. For the upcoming period, the objective adopted will be how to act within this area, in particular through the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces, of which all are members, and which has collaborated with this report by disseminating the survey.

This also presents the advantage that these are in closest contact with civil society, and said improvement would have an impact on other fundamental aims, such as to continue to raise the convention’s profile in civil society.

Continuing with civil society, a number of initiatives have been carried out, such as the annual holding of the Ibero-American Congress of Culture, further activities as part of the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue, publications, workshops and seminars carried out by AECID, the design and dissemination of an informational kit (“Diversities”), and the continuing efforts of varying UNESCO offices located across Spain, as well as UNESCO’s university chairs.