Building Knowledge and Advocacy Agendas for Change in the Arab World
As Arab countries continue to experience change, this research project will provide support for knowledge building in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The project will empower vulnerable groups, women, and youth to participate in developing agendas for change through research and policy discussions that will lead to actionable strategies for change. Transition, uprisings, reforms The Arab world is divided. There are countries in transition facing serious security challenges, yet they have governments with the capacity to enforce law and order. Tunisia and Egypt are examples of this phenomenon. Others, such as Libya, Syria, and Yemen, have had uprisings degenerate into war. Some of their Arab neighbours, including Morocco, offer important examples of successful gradual reforms. Other governments in the region aborted attempts at introducing change, such as Algeria, Bahrain, and other Gulf monarchies. Government-civil society relations Since the popular uprisings in several Arab countries in 2011, civil society and state actors continue to actively renegotiate relations between governments and societies, despite some setbacks and relapses to authoritarian practices. This 30-month project will allow the Arab Reform Initiative (ARI) to support Arab civil society in articulating agendas for change through research, knowledge production, and policy dialogues. The goal is to develop new approaches and strategies for implementation. The project's objectives include: -Support national, regional, and international efforts to reform the security sector with targeted recommendations -Engage in policy dialogue in Egypt and Morocco with a focus on vulnerable groups, women, and youth to help formulate social and economic public policy proposals -Contribute to creating an inclusive, democratic culture in Syria and help with conflict resolution efforts through support, research, and dialogue -Measure public opinion through survey instruments (Arab Democracy Index and the Arab Barometer) and enhance their use as advocacy tools -Produce policy briefs that will contribute to national and regional debates Project leadership ARI is a longstanding IDRC partner with a network of regional organizations in 17 Arab countries. Over the last few years, ARI has monitored and analyzed developments and behaviours across the region following the uprisings. In doing so, it has identified patterns of civil society participation that are most likely to produce policy impact. It has given voice to younger scholars and activists, and worked to support bottom-up democratization processes.