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European Commission - Press release

EU announces closer working ties with Anna Lindh Foundation through a new joint programme for the revitalisation of Arab Civil Society

Brussels, 22 November 2011 - Stefan Füle, EU Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy, outlined the modalities of a deeper and closer working partnership with the Anna Lindh Foundation today. The initiative aims to revitalize civil societies in the Southern  Mediterranean and to improve their capacities in democratic transition efforts. The Commissioner is launching a new three-year joint programme with the Foundation to run concurrently with the present EU-Anna Lindh operational mandate. The EU is already the leading donor of the Foundation with almost €20 million funding provided since the Foundation's inception in 2005. 

The Commissioner addressed a meeting in Brussels of over 100 participants including members of the 2003 ‘Groupe des Sages’ (the founding fathers of the Foundation), leading civi l society actors from the Euro-Mediterranean region, members of the Anna Lindh advisory Council and political and diplomatic representatives from European, North African and Middle Eastern countries. The meeting was convened to take stock of the Foundation's activities and strategies and to discuss new orientations.  In his keynote, address the Commissioner stressed the need for more cooperation with our partners engaged in responding to evolving needs in the wake of the Arab uprisings.

“A s the European Union faces up to the new political realities in the region we need partners such as the Foundation now more than ever, as we attempt to help the evolving and transforming societies in their legitimate struggles for reform and democracy. Our objectives for the region are similar to those of the Foundation. We need consistency, clarity and coherence in our actions with partners to achieve those objectives.

For the past six years, we have supported the Anna Lindh Foundation financially and politically in their work, and the region’s populations have enjoyed the returns on those investments. Today I am delighted to announce that we now intend to deepen that support through the launching of a new 3-year programme, to be managed by the Foundation, aimed at mobilising and revitalising civil societies in the southern Mediterranean countries and improving their capacity for participating in democratic transitions”.

This new programme is extra, and complementary to the triennial work programme, for the period 2012-2014 and, in the first instance, will concentrate on initiatives in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt. This may also, over the course of the programme, be extended to other countries in the region.

Among the new programme’s objectives are activities – such as training and regional exchange exercises – that aim to assist civil society actors to participate in the construction of new and more democratic societies. Mechanisms for early warning systems for the interpretation and analysis of changing intercultural and social trends will also be established. The initiative, due to start in early 2012, will have a particular focus on the media, culture and education sectors.

Background

The Anna Lindh Foundation is the first common institution of the Euro-Med Partnership. Its mandate is to bring people together from across the Mediterranean to improve mutual respect between cultures and to support civil society working for a common future of the Region.

Since its launch in 2005, the ALF has launched and supported action across fields impacting on mutual perceptions among people of different cultures and beliefs, as well as developing a region-wide Network of over 4000 civil society organisations and NGOs (see www.annalindhreview.org ). Through its action and reflection the ALF aims to contribute to the development of an Intercultural Strategy for the Euro-Mediterranean Region, providing recommendations to decision-makers and institutions and advocating for shared values.

Forging Mutual Respect

The main scope of the ALF is overcoming the misunderstandings and stereotypes which affect relations between and within the societies of the Region, a task which became of utmost importance during the previous decade. As a contribution to the creation of a space of prosperity, coexistence and peace, the ALF works to restore trust in dialogue and bridge the gaps in mutual perceptions, as well as promoting diversity and coexistence.

The ALF facilitates and supports the action of civil society of the Euro-Mediterranean Region in priority fields which affects the capacity for individuals and groups to share values and live together. The programme of the Foundation is focused on activities in fields which are essential for human and social dialogue: Education and Youth; Culture and Arts; Cities and Migration; Values, Religion and Spirituality; Peace and Co-existence; Media and Public Opinion.

Aware of the necessity of a scientific and social assessment on the challenges of intercultural dialogue in the Union for the Mediterranean, the ALF also assumes a monitoring task on the evolution of values and intercultural trends in the Region, publishing in September 2010 the very first Anna Lindh Report on Intercultural Trends ( www.annalindhreport.org )

Facilitating actions in the field

In each of its priority fields, the Foundation develops large-scale programmes in collaboration with international partners, and grants support for projects which bring together members of its 43 Civil Society Networks through its open Calls for Proposals. The Foundation also facilitates the development of common actions and projects between its members at the national or regional level, and supports local activities aimed at promoting intercultural dialogue between people at the grass-root level. The ALF launches region-wide initiatives involving its Networks in the model of “1001 Actions for Dialogue” (2008) and “Restore the Trust, Rebuild Bridges” (2009), as well as gathering more than 700 people in Barcelona for the first Anna Lindh Forum (2010).

Long-term international and regional partners of the ALF include the United Nations Alliance of Civilisations, the League of Arab States, the Council of Europe, UNESCO, ALECSO, ISESCO, EMUNI and the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly.

EC Financing of Anna Lindh Foundation:

2005-2008: €5 million

2008-2011: €7 million

2011-2014: €7 million

Fore more info:

www.euromedalex.org

Contacts :

Peter Stano (+32 2 295 74 84)

Anca Paduraru (+32 2 296 64 30)


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