Bethlehem/PNN/The European Development Partners, representatives of Palestinian Civil Society Organisations and the Palestinian Authority marked yesterday the launch of the “Joint European Roadmap for Engagement with Civil Society in Palestine 2018-2020”.
The launching event was attended by Dr. Estephan Salameh, Advisor to the Palestinian Prime Minister, the Acting EU Representative Tomas Niklasson, European Heads of Mission and Heads of Cooperation, and representatives of Palestinian Civil Society Organizations.
The Roadmap provides the framework for a structured dialogue with Palestinian civil society partners on an agreed set of concrete actions and activities.
The objective of the Roadmap is to help creating an environment where Civil Society Organisations are able to fully play their legitimate role in Palestinian society. This objective illustrates the importance of European engagement in contributing to an enabling environment for civil society and strong, inclusive and democratic Palestinian institutions, based on the Rule of Law and Respect for Human Rights.
The Roadmap is embedded in the European Joint Strategy in support of Palestine, which emphasizes the importance that the EU, together with Norway and Switzerland, attach to a vibrant, viable and pluralistic civil society
The Roadmap identifies priorities for engagement with CSOs and encompasses dialogue as well as operational support. These priorities were agreed upon with Civil Society Organisations.
“With the launch of the Joint European Roadmap, we are sending a clear signal that Europeans speak with one voice and are united in their support for Palestinian civil society This is particularly important in a context whereby the space for civil society organizations to operate is being challenged by financial, political, social and cultural factors.” said the Acting EU Representative Tomas Niklasson.
The event was followed by a structured dialogue session between European Development Partners and Palestinian Civil Society Organisation on priorities established in the Roadmap.
The Joint European Roadmap for Engagement with Civil Society in Palestine 2018-2020 is embedded in the European Joint Strategy in support of Palestine 2017-2020. The Joint Strategy explicitly refers to the Roadmap and emphasizes the importance that the European Union (EU) and its Member States, together
with Norway and Switzerland (European Development Partners), attach to the role of civil society in policy development and in monitoring the implementation of laws and policies. This is all the more important in the absence of functioning democratic governance structures and adequate representation for Palestinians. Efforts to enhance the integrity, transparency, and accountability of public institutions are vital, and civil society has a crucial role to play in this context.
The objective of the Roadmap is to help create an environment where Civil Society Organisations (CSOs)are able to fully play their legitimate role in Palestinian society not only as service providers but also as advocates and watchdogs. The Roadmap identifies priorities for European engagement with CSOs and encompasses dialogue as well as operational support. These priorities have been defined through a structured dialogue with CSOs.