Civil society in a time of transition

In the first qualitive analysis of the printed version of the Survey, Intissar Kherigi (Programmes Director, Jasmine Foundation) offers an stimulating read on Tunisia as a case study of the changing role of civil society.

These are some ideas of her analysis worth highlighting:

  • Civil society is changing.
  • Young people do not see themselves reflected in older established CSOs, political parties or traditional union structures.
  • Civil society actors in Tunisia complain that international donors fail to engage adequately with regions beyond the capital, and that they demonstrate a bias towards secular civil society actors to the detriment of faith-based actors (Kausch, 2013).
  • In the context of a democratic transition that calls for strengthening new democratic institutions, civil society is also working with public officials to develop their skills and establish new democratic frameworks and practices.
  • There is still a need for greater specialisation and for organisations to build their capacity to analyse and evaluate policies.
  • In a recent study on counter violent extremism and its impact on CSOs in Tunisia, many activists said they felt that a reliance on international funding undermines civil society’s independence and its capacity to set its own priorities.
  • Decentralisation reforms in Morocco, Tunisia and Jordan in particular, have energised local civil society and present new opportunities for subnational cooperation.
  • International partners needs to get to grips with the changing civic space in the Southern Mediterranean and review the rigid and short-term nature of current partnership frameworks.

The publication of the Euromed Survey 2019 includes a descriptive report of the results and analysis articles by experts such as Intissar Kherigi; Richard Youngs, Senior Fellow (Democracy, Conflict, and Governance Program, Carnegie Europe); Itxaso Domínguez Middle East & Maghreb Coordinator (Fundación Alternativas); Jerzy Pomianowki, Executive Director (European Endowment for Democracy EED-Brussels); Aziza Moneer (PhD. Visiting Research Fellow, Nordic Africa Institute, Uppsala, Sweden); Zaid Eyadat (Prof. Director of the Center for Strategic Studies. University of Jordan).