Promoting the dialogue as a value to reinforce the democracy principle and practices is a major factor in the conceptualization and implementation of the Civil Society support Program (AFKAR). Enhancing the dialogue process between the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) themselves is necessary to create solid partnerships, along with advocating for civil society causes. Working for a fruitful dialogue between CSOs and the government entities is the starting point to consolidate the partnership concept and approach, in order to build public policies.
Reinforcing the Lebanese Civil Society through capacity building and grant schemes included dialogue as a sector of intervention for Civil Society initiatives. Moreover, AFKAR Program has succeeded, since its initiation, in creating a space for dialogue, interaction and exchange of knowledge and experience between the different components of the Lebanese Civil Society and the concerned stakeholders.
Building a flexible framework to embrace the concept and practices of dialogue and partnership between the Civil Society and the Public Sector emerged from multiple dialogue experiences, cumulated during AFKAR three phases implementation.
More than 15 roundtables and policy dialogue meetings were held, and have discussed freely different opinions regarding several pertinent themes and subjects. The thematic exchanges organized under AFKAR I, focused firstly on the Democratic practices within CSOS, as well as on their roles in advocating for laws concerning people with disability and for juvenile justice. Besides, they encouraged dialogue between communities through addressing partnership and networking themes . AFKAR II was a space for interaction, aiming to discuss several topics with all stakeholders as gender laws discrimination, drug addiction, citizenship, volunteering etc. Finally, AFKAR III worked on upgrading the dialogue process to reach sustainable results, mainly an effective cooperation between the Civil Society and the Public Sector.
Thematic exchanges contents were documented and published. For details, click on the images below.
In order to create an active, regular and sustainable framework for policy dialogue between the Public Sector and the Civil Society, the foundations of a Strategy tackling this goal were set, during the third phase of AFKAR Program.
Three major outcomes
were issued from the strategy:
The Partnership Platform
The platform core included representatives of ministries and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs). It is an open framework platform aiming to facilitate dialogue and achieve partnership between the public sector and the concerned civil society organizations. The goal of this framework is mainly to suggest causes, elaborate them and bring solutions to the citizens’ problems, through a constructive dialogue.
The Capacity Building Program
This model experience in Lebanon brings together participants coordinators designated by ministries and civil society, within a flexible organizational format and a horizontal and network form of relations. The model includes the formation of coordinating committee based on criteria to be agreed upon, with flexible membership for civil society organizations. It takes into consideration the issues, sectors and specialization. A secretariat and Coordination Committee is to be formed at the Office of the Minister of State for Administrative Reform, under Civil Society Program (AFKAR) facilitation and supervision, in order to coordinate and organize meetings and workshops upon request from one of the parties, and offer technical and logistic support on cooperation and dialogue with the Lebanese government.
Partnership Charter between the Public Sector and Civil Society
The charter is the reference frame that would govern the relationship between the two parties in their joint work and cooperation. The charter is based on the protection of citizens’ rights, respect of law and the principles of international Human Rights and the Constitution.
It defines the basis, which will result in improving the quality and quantity of public services and ensure that it reaches all citizens without discrimination.
The charter ensures that the societal dialogue on public policies follows the principles and criteria agreed upon. It respects the general and specific objectives which aims at activating the independent and objective participation of citizen, as highlighted in the “Citizen Charter”.
The partnership charter aims to clarify the principles on which a partnership is based between these groups and the state and the objectives and criteria governing it. The Platform and the Charter of partnership need an implementation mechanism and a working plan to activate the “Citizen Charter”.
The Strategy Path
“Directional Steps for Dialogue on Public Policies between the Public Sector and Civil Society”
The Program was developed by AFKAR Program. It relies on the general principles of policy making directed towards the public sector and civil society. It activates as well the work of the partnership platform.
The Capacity Building Program is published as a training guide and adapted to the e-learning portal at OMSAR Website.
The guide aims at developing knowledge skills on:
Training Sessions content were documented and published.
- The concept of partnership between the public sector and civil society.
- The role of the public sector and civil society in reinforcing dialogue on public policies
- The entry points in dialogue on public policies between the public sector and civil society, its conditions, mechanisms and means.
For details click on the image aside.
The strategy was issued from the implementation of an appropriate action plan that targeted strengthening the overall capacities and accountability of the Civil Society Organizations and increasing their involvement in the policy dialogue. This process aims to ensure the exchange of information and expertise, especially on dialogue, to develop capabilities, as well as to enhance the possibility of reaching effectively and rapidly the decision makers.
The preparation phase to reach this milestone included analyzing, enhancing and structuring the civil society role as well as its contribution to the political and institutional framework.
Multi-stakeholder consultations and policy dialogue workshops were organized between civil society organizations and public institutions. Consequently, CSOs networks in socio-economic field were enhanced. Several ministries cooperated at different levels. Their coordinators teamed with CSOs in training, in the initial process towards creating a “partnership platform”, as well as in the preparation and implementation of the Pilot Capacity Building workshop on Public Policy Dialogue.
The Action Plan includes the following steps to be implemented