With the adoption of a new constitution in July 2011, Morocco took a further step towards participatory democracy, enshrining the principles of consultation and citizen input in the formation of public policy. As part of this initiative, the government initiated between 2012-2014 the National Dialogue with Civil Society in order to solicit feedback on the creation of an enabling legal environment for associations and the reform of the judicial sector. The National Dialogue process, however, was not universally accepted by civil society actors; on the contrary, a number of groups decided to boycott the official process and instead to hold their own Parallel Dialogues independent from the regime, under the umbrella of the Dynamique de l’Appel de Rabat. Each model of civil society participation presented its own manner of operation and relationship with the central authority and as such presents its own unique challenges, obstacles, opportunities, and lessons learned with regards to social and economic policy formation.
The project, running 2016-2017, seeks to empower advocacy groups and civil society in Egypt by bringing the Moroccan experience of civil society dialogues to inform the Egyptian case, thereby encouraging Egyptian non-governmental actors to use similar strategies to articulate policy options on social and economic issues. Focusing in particular on civil society’s potential role in education and housing policy in Egypt, the project includes the following specific activities:
• A policy dialogue between Moroccan participants in both the National and Parallel Dialogue processes and Egyptian experts on social policy formation
• Two background papers on education and housing policy in Egypt, as well as two policy papers that define models of civil society dialogues for the sake of improved education and housing policy in Egypt
• Two policy dialogues in Egypt with civil society actors active in the fields of education and housing to define strategies for policy formation
The project is coordinated by Salam Kawakibi, ARI Deputy Director, Sarah Anne Rennick, Researcher and Operations Coordinator, and Nafissa El Souri, ARI Programme and Research Assistant.
Project sponsor: IDRC - International Development Research Centre
Civil Society and Public Policy Formation: Strategies from Morocco and Egypt
Civil society actors should adapt their means of pressure, create cooperatives to improve their development impact, and build and consolidate networks and consensus to be able to act as a unified force capable of influencing government policies and weathering periods of repression.
Sarah Anne Rennick
Nayera Abdel Rahman
When Civil Society Sets the Social and Economic Agenda
(Rabat) – Sixteen researchers and civil society activists met in Rabat on 11 and 12 May to present state policies in the housing and education sectors in Egypt and Morocco and discuss the role of civil society in public policy development.