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Okeil: Arab civil society organizations should search for diversity and multiplicity of funding sources and not rely on donors only….

Maat for Peace, Development and Human Rights issued a new study entitled “Civil Society Governance in the Arab Region”, which covered five themes; the legal and legislative frameworks for the governance of civil society organizations, the basic principles of civil society governance, the objectives of the governance of civil society organizations, the advantages of civil society governance and the challenges thereof in the Arab region. The study concluded with a set of recommendations.

Governance, as confirmed by the study, has become a key pillar of promoting the right to development. It involves the principles related to justice, participation, transparency, rule of law and accountability, which – if applied effectively and efficiently – will ensure the comprehensive achievement of sustainable development goals. Given the fundamental role played by institutions in the development process, the international agenda has incorporated it in SDG 16, which is about “peace, justice and strong institutions”. This goal focuses on achieving stability, promoting human rights, and strengthening governance based on the rule of law, by ensuring equal opportunities and access to justice for all, establishing effective, transparent and accountable institutions, reducing corruption, ensuring citizens’ access to information and protecting fundamental freedoms, and making decisions in a responsive and inclusive manner.

At the level of civil society organizations in the Arab countries, which number is estimated at more than 371 thousand organizations, the study showed that the concept of governance was not largely included in their work during the past decades, as it was limited to the economic sector, whether in government companies and institutions or in private sector corporations. After that, there was a need to apply such governance-related principles in regulating the work of civil society organizations, especially in the Arab region, where the legislative environment regulating the work of civil society organizations is very poor.

In this context, Ayman Okeil, the international human rights expert and president of Maat, revealed that governance enjoys several benefits; it prevents many forms of administrative and financial corruption, limits the phenomenon of “individual control”, since responsibilities are distributed to members in light of general laws and special regulations, helps to create new cadres for NGOs, and works on evaluating the work of organizations and measuring the extent to which the desired goals are being achieved. Moreover, governance reduces financial and administrative crises and helps institutions to get through and out of them with minimal losses, ensures the continuity and survival of the organization, and helps in achieving rational leadership, as well as efficiency and effectiveness in the use of resources.

Okeil called on Arab civil society organizations to search for diversity and multiplicity of funding sources to meet the challenges related to relying on donors only and to consider establishing income-generating activities.

He also called on donors to deal on a participatory basis with civil society organizations in the Arab region and consult with them in the process of formulating general directions, not only as project implementers.

To view the study please follow this link:


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