Workshop Summary

Chatham House

The G8 Broader Middle East and North Africa (BMENA) initiative is an annual dialogue, which has run since 2004, between the governments and civil society representatives of the G8 and the BMENA countries and territories. In 2013 the United Kingdom, during its G8 presidency, co-chaired the BMENA initiative with the Egyptian government.

On 8-10 December 2013 representatives of civil society and government from 27 BMENA and G8 countries met in Amman, Jordan for a series of civil society workshops to discuss priority issues for engagement in policy-making. The workshops were organized around simultaneous working group sessions that explored three themes: economic development, women’s empowerment and freedom of expression.

Key findings

Three cross-cutting threads – the importance of education, the need for good governance and a call for implementation mechanisms of existing legislation – emerged across the thematic discussions.

Some of the main findings of the meeting include:

  • A long-term strategy for building strong, inclusive educational institutions that provide space for critical thinking and creativity, as well as training in professional development, is crucial to tackling policy challenges.
  • Governance structures are key to ensuring the impartial implementation of policies. Structures should promote equity, accountability and transparency, as well as enforcement of laws and regulations that protect citizens, combat corruption and enable the development of private enterprises.
  • There is a need for a mechanism to monitor and advocate the implementation of the previous and current BMENA initiative recommendations. This mechanism can include a regional network that would work with BMENA governments to evaluate implementation and report periodically to BMENA and G8 governments on specific cases.

Summary in Arabic: الترجمة باللغة العربية

Summary in French: La traduction française


Interview with Albarah El-Khani, Watan Association, Syria 

Interview with Zulaikha Rafique, Afghan Women’s Educational Center