Breakfast Forum

What are the Implications of Arab Transformations for Public Participation?

20 sep 2017 09:30 20 sep 2017 11:00 ENG
Arkan El-Seblani UNDP Sarah Tobin CMI Sofie Arjon Schütte U4/CMI

With Arkan El Seblani (UNDP) and Sarah Tobin (CMI). Moderated by Sofie Arjon Schütte (U4/CMI).

Please take note of the time! We start an hour later than usual because of the Cycling World Championship taking place in Bergen this week.

The reasons for the “Arab transformations”, which were triggered by the societal upheavals of 2011 and contentiously referred to as the “Arab Spring”, run deep and are the subject of complex ongoing debates; and so are their outcomes and implications for a region that is heavily affected by violent conflict and fraught with an interplay of political, economic, social and environmental vulnerabilities.

Although varying in forms and magnitudes depending on the country in question, those transformations have several commonalities and are facing similar challenges. One of the recurring themes that emerges upon closer examination is the democracy gap, or as once framed by the seminal first Arab Human Development Report of 2002, the Freedom Gap. Notwithstanding the polarization around semantics, and the intricate web of interests, convictions and positions that belies it, this gap is more widely acknowledged today than ever before. At its core is the issue of public participation.

This “Breakfast Forum” seeks to shed more light on public participation as a key requirement for better governance in the Arab region and how it was impacted by the ongoing transformations.

Arkan El Seblani (UNDP) will summarize and analyze key related constitutional and legislative developments as well as major changes to attitudes and practices on the ground, focusing on the corruption problem, which is one of the major grievances voiced by the 2011 popular protests.

Sarah Tobin (CMI) will complement the presentation with her own insights on the progress made on public participation and related obstacles and threats, focusing on Jordan as an example.

The experts will then engage with the audience in a discussion on the current state of affairs and the various factors that have fueled related retreats and advances in attempt to invoke joint reflection on the way forward.

You are welcome to join us!


Photo: Montage/Map/Wikimedia Commons, Protesters in Sidi El Bechir, Tunis/Amine GHRABI/Flickr