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Middle East and North Africa Region

In the past few years ECNL’s assistance is increasingly sought in the MENA Region. ECNL has been involved in several initiatives aiming to support democratic transition processes through experience sharing.  In MENA we were particularly engaged in the facilitation of cooperation between CSOs and public authorities (Parliament and Government).

ECNL, through a contract with UNOPS managed a two year project in Iraq – which has resulted in the creation of two policy documents for cooperation – on Federal level and in the Kurdistan Region.  The Compact on Partnership and Development between Public Authorities and Non-Governmental Organizations in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq was adopted in 2013 which is the first of its kind in the Middle East. We provided expertise in the creation of mechanisms that will support the implementation and monitoring of this document.  The Charter of Cooperation between Public Authorities and Non-Governmental Organizations was adopted in 2014.

The process of developing these important documents in Iraq was described and highlighted by the European Commission in the recently released case studies on Promoting a Conducive Environment for Civil Society in Partner Countries.

In addition to the work in Iraq, ECNL took part in regional events and capacity building for MENA participants and shared good regulatory practices and case study examples from Europe and in particular, from countries that underwent democratic transition.

Capacity building for civil society advocacy in the MENA region

ECNL has worked with ICNL to design and deliver a series of capacity building workshops for CSO representatives from Algeria, Jordan, Morocco and Egypt in 2009-2010.  ECNL shared good regulatory practices and case study examples from Europe and in particular, from countries that underwent democratic transition, on advocacy for CSO law reform.  In addition, ECNL helped ICNL in designing and delivering a program of Training-of-Trainers for local CSOs in Egypt, who in turn delivered local workshops on CSO law and advocacy across the country.  The trainings were part of ICNL’s Civil Society Law Reform Project in the Middle East North Africa region, the US Department of State – Middle East Partnership Initiative.

Support to the establishment of the Fund for Societies in Jordan

In partnership with ICNL, ECNL provided technical assistance to the Ministry of Social Development of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in the establishment of a civil society support fund. We co-produced a White Paper on National Funds to Support Civil Society Organizations that explores the key strategic and operational questions that arise in developing funds and foundations that support civil society organizations.

Analysis of Iraq as case study in CSO Law Reform 

ECNL included Iraq as a case study on successful CSO law reform in its publication Enabling Reform: Lessons Learned From Progressive NGO Legal Initiatives commissioned by the UNDP.  The publication aims to assist the UN and other international agencies as well as CSOs, policy makers and donors to engage in successful advocacy for an enabling environment for civil society.