The Spanish International Cooperation Agency (AECI) has traditionally not played a key role in the coordination of donors, but in the field it has participated, to a greater or lesser degree, in several groups, depending on the capabilities and the vision of each Technical Cooperation Office (OTC).
The new 2005–2008 Master Plan has incorporated the main international commitments on aid efficiency and has given new momentum to harmonisation, together with other elements and essential guidelines of the current process of change of Spanish development cooperation, as was described in another paper presented in this forum.
As part of this process of change there are, beyond the explicit political will, two essential elements that could smooth the path towards progress vis-à-vis harmonisation in the near future.
These elements are: (1) the recent approval of the State Agencies Law, with the subsequent adoption of a results-based management model for the AECI, which should mean greater flexibility in hiring procedures, designation and follow-up of resources; and (2) the progressive increase in Spanish aid channelled through mechanisms such as the General Budget Support and the sectorial focus (SWAP).
These two driving factors (agency reform and the so-called new instruments), accompanied by other elements and processes such as the current revision of the Management Cycle of Spanish Development Cooperation - recently initiated by the General Directorate for the Planning and Assessment of Development Policies (DGPolDE) - and the adoption of an Operative Programming system based on results of the AECI, can be the pillars to substantially improve the harmonisation levels of Spanish development cooperation.