The Joint Programme “Strengthening democratic reform in theSouthern Neighbourhood” (South Programme I) was launched in January 2012, as a joint Council of Europe and European Union response to the unprecedented events that took place in the Southern Mediterranean in 2011.

This first-ever Joint Programme between the Council of Europe and the European Union in the Southern Mediterranean has proven to be an effective tool to accompany and consolidate the reforms undertaken by partner countries from the region through strengthened regional cooperation in the fields of human rights, the rule of law and democracy. Initially rolled out in Morocco, Tunisia and Jordan, the Programme has seen a significant increase in demand for support and co-operation from other Southern Mediterranean partner countries in the Council of Europe’s fields of expertise.

The Programme’s components

The South Programme I was structured around four components, contributing respectively to:

  • Enhance the efficiency and independence of the judiciary;
  • Promote good governance through increased prevention of corruption and money-laundering;
  • Strengthen and protect human rights, in particular through the prevention of trafficking in human beings;
  • Promote democratic values in the region, building on Council of Europe existing tools and networks. It should be noted that this component (promotion of democratic values has become increasingly significant throughout the programme’s implementation, due to the demand from partner countries for CoE’s support aiming at the reinforcement of democracy.



PROGRAMME Strengthening democratic reform in the Southern Neighbourhood
BUDGET € 4,8 million
FUNDING European Union
DURATION January 2012 - December 2014
GEOGRAPHICAL COVERAGE Southern Mediterranean


 From assistance to partnership: achievements and impact of South Programme I

 South Programme I