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Med Dialogue trains activists on tools and techniques of policy dialogue13.04.2021

In the framework of the Policy dialogue practical seminar organized by the EU-funded programme Med dialogue for Rights and Equality to enhance civil society’s engagement in policy dialogue, members of civil society organizations from 10 countries of the Euro-Mediterranean region have taken part in an online exchange with officials of EU Delegations, who presented their first-hand experience in partaking in policy dialogue involving civil society, either at country level, or within the EU policy programming.

Moreover, civil society members had the opportunity to discuss with Senior activists from the Arab Union of Workers’ Syndicates (ATUC) on the Social dialogue SOLiD project, as well as from FairWatch, a platform striving for fair international trade agreements. They attended and shared their experiences and thoughts about the opportunities and obstacles they faced in their work, in term of strategizing, power games, roles and alliances in the dialogue with governmental and international bodies.

Roula Abbas, Programme Manager / EU-Delegation Lebanon talked with the participants about the EU efforts following the Beirut port explosion, in term of involving civil society in planning and in defining the aid priorities of aids and the arenas of intervention. She gave as well an oversight of the performance of the reconstruction efforts by the government. In this regard, Roula introduced the 3RF programme (Lebanon Reform, Recovery and Reconstruction Framework), whereby a great role is to be given to the civil society in front of the lack of governmental operability and accountability.

Omar Abu Eid, Programme Manager/ EU-Delegation Jordan talked with participants about the EU efforts to include civil society in policy dialogue in topics like energy, environment, climate change related measures. Omar mentioned in particular their efforts to support CSOs to reach out and network and coordinate with local authorities and environmental service providers in governmental bodies.

Michael Steffens, Aid Coordination, Quality Support & Governance/ EU-Delegation Jordan talked about his experience in involving the civil society when developing plans and projects which are put in place in response to crises. He mentioned the importance of providing an appropriate environment to CSOs to make increasing the effectiveness and impact of the governmental policies, whereby political corruption and public funds mismanagement are certainly hindering that progress.

From the perspective of civil society, Monica Di Sisto, vice-chair of FairWatch Italy, described how can civil society plan a successful and effective advocacy / lobby campaign so as to create the conditions to seat at the same table with decision-makers. She mentioned her experience with the World Trade Organization, with the Italian government as well as with the DG Trade policy dialogue forum. She gave an overview on risks, tactical tricks, and tools for spectrum analysis of stakeholders. In the same session, Ayman Guizani (ATUC) described the work carried out in the framework of the South Mediterranean Social Dialogue SOLiD, mentioning the importance of managing / preventing disagreement situations, and of building common spaces for reaching consensus on social reform commitments.

Numerous were the questions and feedbacks from the participants, who were around 19. For example, on the success of EU Delegations’ efforts in involving civil society for better cooperation between the government and the civil society. Or on procedures to involving women in all EU-funded projects, or on removing restrictions on civil society’s space and fighting corruption in the public administration of funds.

In addition to that, the practical seminar included capacity-building sessions such as on soft skills for dialogue, assessment of case-studies on socio-economic equality and local governance issues, or role -playing simulation exercises on specific issues like violence against women and waste management.

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