FRIEDRICH EBERT STIFTUNG

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1 THE FRIEDRICH-EBERT-STIFTUNG IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA Dialogue between Societies and Promoting Social Democracy FRIEDRICH EBERT STIFTUNG

2 Development policy is the peace policy of the 21st century. Willy Brandt s affirmation has become the philosophy behind our daily work. Idea and Mission The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung s Division for International Development Cooperation feels a particular responsibility for contributing to development and democracy in the countries of Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa. Looking towards the future, we regard it as our task to help safeguard democratic structures by involving as many social groups as possible, promote economic reform and a policy of social justice, formulate common basic values to guide socio-political development. Our challenge as we see it is to adapt the focus and instruments of our work continuously in response to social developments. Founded in 1925 as Germany s first political foundation, the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) is a private, non-profit organisation committed to the precepts of social democracy. It bears the name of the first democratically elected president of Germany, Friedrich Ebert, preserving his legacy: the promotion of freedom, solidarity and social justice through the political process. The FES undertakes to carry out this mission in Germany and abroad through its programmes promoting political education, international cooperation, study and research.

3 The Middle East and North Africa An Abundance of Resources and Conflicts The region of the Middle East (Mashrek) and North Africa (Maghreb) includes the Arab world, Israel, Iran and Turkey (a borderline case). It is characterised by conflicts: the most recent international conflict in Iraq, two major regional conflicts the territorial conflict in the Middle East and the conflict around a struggle for hegemony over the Persian Gulf and a plethora of sub-conflicts throughout the region, some national and others between states. The region exhibits sharp disparities with respect to endowments in labour force, capital, natural resources and per capita income. Mauritania Countries with Projektländer FES-Offices mit FES-Büros Countries without Projektländer FES-Offices ohne FES-Büros Unter Beobachtung In Coordination In Abstimmung with the mit Abteilung der responsible ID FES-Divisionzuständigen FES-Abteilung The political systems of countries in this region, with its relatively insular conflicts and lagging integration, are extremely heterogeneous. In terms of language, culture and religion, on the other hand, the countries of the region are very homogeneous and, historically speaking, tightly interlinked. From the German and European perspective, the Middle East and North Africa are of exceptional importance. In historical moral terms, Germany bears a genuine responsibility for the state of Israel. As a result of the geographic proximity, however, the security, economic, social and cultural interests of Germany and Europe also play a major role. The Department for the Middle East and North Africa in the Division for International Development Cooperation pays heed to this importance. Western Sahara Morocco Algeria Tunisia Libya Sudan Turkey LebanonSyria Israel Palestine Iraq Iran Jordan Kuwait Egypt Bahrain Qatar Saudi Arabia UAE Yemen Oman

4 O B J E C T I V E S A N D F O C U S Objectives and Focus Through its work, the FES pursues the goal of promoting pluralism and democracy, supporting healthy, sustained economic and social development and contributing to a more sustainable approach towards the environment and natural resources in the region. Equality for women and the promotion of human rights in general are of particular significance in this process. The FES has undertaken to make a contribution to achieving lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians and broad security relations between Israel, the Arab world, Iran and Turkey. The security of Israel can only be guaranteed in enduring fashion through a just, comprehensive reconciliation between Israel and its neighbours. A constructive, coordinated, credible policy on the part of the European Union within the framework of the Barcelona Process since 1995 must support this process of reconciliation and conflict resolution over the long term.

5 E X A M P L E S O F O U R P R O J E C T S Educating First-Time Voters in the Palestinian Autonomous Territories In conjunction with a Palestinian partner, the Health, Development, Information and Policy Institute (HDIP), the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung set up a programme to educate and mobilise young men and women in the Palestinian Autonomous Territories who would be exercising their right to vote for the first time. 104 workshops were held in a little over three months, reaching out to almost 4000 young people aged 17 to 24, nearly half of them women. The participants were so enthusiastic about this open exchange of opinion that more than 700 decided to continue the process by passing on their knowledge to others or actively championing the issues of democracy and elections. Israel and the European Union Israel and the European Union have close links thanks to a diverse network of political, economic, social and cultural relations. The FES convened the Israeli European Policy Network (IEPN) in recognition of this situation. It brings together decision-makers at the interface between the scientific and political communities and administrations in Israel and the European Union. The aim of this strategic network is to explore the potential underlying relations between Israel and the European Union in a systematic manner and, despite partial differences, to formulate models and policy recommendations for the constructive advance of dialogue.

6 Democratic Reforms in Jordan Civil society organisations in Jordan are still subject to substantial government control. In the last few years, however, there has been progress towards greater openness and autonomy. More is being done to build independent political parties. Since 2003, the new government has also been engaged in open dialogue with the trade unions on controversial social issues. The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung is responding to these developments. It has been assisting non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in a discussion about the role they can play in the democratisation in Arab countries, and also cooperating with members of parliament in Jordan. With the help of experts, and backed by exchanges with German parliamentarians, concepts are being drawn up to reform the Jordanian party and election system. Building the Trade Unions in Tunisia The FES is helping the Union Générale Tunisienne du Travail (UGTT), the trade union confederation in Tunisia, to play an effective, democratic role in influencing economic and social policies in the country. This includes developing institutional structures around the 24 regional offices and helping to train trade union representatives at shop-floor level. Assistance is also provided for academic studies and publications in which the UGTT states its position on topical issues. Another focus of this cooperation is the development of secretariats for youth and women s affairs. A youth magazine is now published regularly in Arabic and French which reports on topics such as the impact of globalisation in Tunisia.

7 E X A M P L E S O F O U R P R O J E C T S Campaign Against Sexual Harassment in Algeria Social and domestic violence against women has increased considerably in Algeria in recent years. According to women s organisations, sexual harassment is one of the most common forms of oppression and coercion. To promote public awareness of this problem, which is shrouded in taboo, women in the trade unions have launched a campaign against sexual harassment which can be regarded as unique in the Arab world and Islam. The aim is to trigger broad public debate about the rights women have, but also to define ways of changing social and legal conditions. Egyptian-Iranian Encounters On the initiative of the non-governmental organisation (NGO) Resource Centre Hamyaran in Teheran and the office of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung in Cairo, an initial meeting between representatives of civil society associations from the two countries took place in Iran in June This exchange of experience focussed on building civil society, the environment, and programmes for promoting women and young people at work and in society. The members of the Iranian NGOs hope that these encounters will offer them technical advice and ideas for pursuing their own goals, as well as improved contacts with international organisations working in the region.

8 Israeli-Palestinian Dialogue The FES Human Rights Prize 2002 was awarded to the Israeli- Palestinian Peace Coalition in recognition of its commitment to the civil resolution of conflict in the Middle East. It was from this Coalition that the Geneva Initiative was later born, the blueprint for a comprehensive peace agreement for which Yossi Beilin and Yasser Abed Rabbo the two principal movers are now seeking support from their own peoples and worldwide. Following an Information Programme to which the Friedrich- Ebert-Stiftung invited guests in January 2004, an all-party resolution was put to the German Bundestag welcoming the Geneva Initiative as a principle. An international conference on the Middle East was held in June 2004 under the patronage of Germany s President Johannes Rau. Its major theme was how to revive the Middle East Peace Process.

9 E X A M P L E S O F O U R P R O J E C T S Regional Networks Apart from country-based or bilateral projects, the FES engages with the region as a whole. In 2003, for example, it was the first NGO to enter into a cooperation agreement with the Arab League on a more in-depth dialogue about regional issues. Joint events have been planned during presentations of the Arab World as guest region at the Frankfurt Book Fair Before the Iraq War began, the FES had put together a team of experts for its Focus Iraq who compiled background information and analyses from throughout the region and drew on these to formulate scenarios and options for a peaceful solution to the Iraq crisis. After the outbreak of war, discussions were held with decision-makers and the general public at seminars and symposia about the motives, interests and strategies behind the war and conclusions which could be derived for the future. Moreover, within the Barcelona Process, the FES promotes deeper Euro-Mediterranean dialogue, including civil society networking across the Mediterranean region.

10 FES Offices in the Region The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung is represented in the region through its ten offices: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Sudan, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan and Yemen. At the same time the FES has been working with select partners in Syria, Iraq and Iran without thus far having a standing representation in these countries. The project offices are staffed by nine ex-pats and more than 50 local skilled and management employees. The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung receives about 6 million Euro per year from the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) for its work in the region. The FES also draws project-related funding from the European Union, the German Foreign Office and several federal states in Germany. Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Department for the Middle East and North Africa Division for International Development Corporation Head: Dr. Andrä Gärber Hiroshimastraße Berlin Tel.: / Fax: / w w w. f e s. d e / n a h o s t Photos: p.1 (from left to right): FES; FES,dpa, Marianne Docher/PhotoAlto, Zohra Bensemra/Reuters; p. 2: FES; p. 3: Pellens Kommunikationsdesign; p. 4 (from left to right): Zohra Bensemra/Reuters, FES, Marianne Docher/PhotoAlto, FES; all others: FES

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