OMSAR’s AFKAR Program launched the work on the “strategy of policy dialogue” between the public sector and the civil society in a meeting held today at the conference room at Starco. Attending were the AFKAR team with a group of experts supporting the program and concerned heads of departments in the Ministry. The meeting was participatory and constructively efficient.
AFKAR program manager Youmna Chacar Ghorayeb stated that the program aims to consolidate partnerships between the public sector and civil society. After ensuring in its first and second phases a certain extent of coordination between the two sectors, it aspires today to create a solid dynamism that involves the beneficiaries of AFKAR I, II and III with the public sector in a dialogue strategy currently underway.
The team leader for technical assistance at Transtec Najwa Ksaifi considered that this strategy will carry the identity of AFKAR program which has always linked the public sector and civil society. Ksaifi indicated that associations need to know how to coordinate with the public sector. She called to work with these organizations to enable them to echo the needs of people by devising adequate projects.
The international expert Dr. Jamil Mouawad explained the executive steps before establishing the strategy, starting with a preparatory phase to develop the project vision which involves conducting public consultations, documenting previous experiences and drawing results. This phase is to be followed by the development of a public strategy coupled with a training program to guide and build the capacities of civil society and public servants on public policies.
ESCWA regional consultant Dr. Karam Karam stated that it is indispensable to build a partnership between the state, the civil society and the private sector on solid foundations. He called for this strategy to be part of the Ministry’s strategy in terms of its procedural and executive aspects. Dr. Karam also highlighted the need for associations to know how to identify their priorities and develop their plans.
UNDP Program manager at OMSAR, Nasser Assrawi, lauded the idea of integrating the “policy dialogue” strategy into the Ministry’s strategy and underlined the challenges resulting from the reality on the ground, particularly the suffering associated with the delay in passing the laws. He asked about the capacities of the civil society to push for the adoption and implementation of laws and stressed the importance of engaging local communities and raising the awareness of citizens in this regard.
The manager of the organizational and sectorial performance inspection program and technical assistance program at the Central Administration of Statistics, Hind Al Khatib, called to link the strategy to the goals of UNDP. She urged to set indicators for the strategy to know how to achieve the goals in complementarity with the performance indicators set by the Ministry as a whole.
The strategic planning program manager, Mr. Andre Amiouni, hoped that the strategy be coupled with an implementation plan that identifies the stakeholders and the role of each of the main players.
The training team leader, Mr. Samer Hankir, considered that the biggest challenge of all is in identifying the officials open to the project within the public administration. He also called to create a mobile network with members regularly gathering and exchanging experiences.
The contract manager at AFKAR, Mrs. Aline Saadeh, asked how to reach out to citizens through this strategy and called to establish a link between civil society organizations and citizens.
It is worth mentioning that a series of activities will be conducted, starting with consultations and interviews with the stakeholders, followed by training sessions and two round tables. The activities should generate, in addition to the strategy, a set of recommendations to the donor, i.e. the European Union.