On Tuesday, the Catalan Government approved the creation of the Delegation to the Andean States. Based in the Colombian capital of Bogotá, its mission will be to strengthen relations between Catalonia and the region. The new delegation, which will also represent the Catalan Government in Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela, will reinforce the Government of Catalonia’s institutional presence in Latin America, where it will join the delegations already in operation in Mexico and Central America, in the Southern Cone and in Brazil. The process to choose a delegate to head the delegation, through a public tender, begins today.
With this new addition, the Catalan Government will now have representation almost entirely throughout the Americas, where it also has a delegation in the United States and Canada. With the office in Colombia, there will be a total of five delegations in the Americas, Thus, with a total of 21 delegations, the network of delegations abroad now represents the Catalan Government institutionally in almost 70 countries around the world.
Announcement from Colombia
The President of the Government of Catalonia,Pere Aragonès i Garcia, announced last March from the Colombian capital that the procedures for creating this delegation had begun. He did so as part of his trip to Latin America, from where he also explained that the Catalan Government will soon recover the figure of the permanent representative of the Catalan Agency for Development Cooperation (ACCD) in Colombia.
Colombia has always been a priority country for the Catalan Government’s development cooperation policy and, in fact, it is the country that has received the most official development assistance (ODA): between 2017 and 2022, more than 14 million euros in different projects and interventions, such as supporting the comprehensive system of truth, justice, reparation and non-repetition.
Strategic interest of the region
The choice of the location of the new delegation’s headquarters, Colombia, stems from the country’s strategic interest as a regional power in South America. Despite a long history of internal conflict, Colombia is currently at a key moment in its history, when peace and social justice must be consolidated. At the same time, the country is experiencing a period of relative stability, which could contribute to the expansion of its regional role and economic development.
At the regional level, the Andean states are a region with great potential for development and, in economic terms, very attractive for Catalan exports. According to a report by ACCIÓ based on data from 2022, Latin America is the region of the world where Catalan exports have risen most clearly, with a year-on-year variation of 33.8%.
On the other hand, the presence in Catalonia of citizens from Colombia (54,820), Peru (30,596), Venezuela (33,001), Ecuador (23,467) and Bolivia (23,840) is very numerous, totalling 165,724 people according to Idescat data from 2022. In addition, there are eight Catalan communities abroad in these four countries.
The new delegation based in Colombia will also complement and reinforce the work carried out by ACCIÓ’s offices in Bogotá and Lima.
The network of Catalan delegations abroad
The delegations abroad are an essential tool for the Catalan Government’s external action. They serve Catalan society as a whole and work to build relationships of trust and mutual benefit with the countries with which they have relations, based on the principles of usefulness, credibility and reputation. With the new Delegation of the Government of Catalonia to the Andean States, the network of offices abroad continues to expand and there are now more delegations abroad than ever before, 21, covering some seventy countries around the world.