Peer-to-peer exchanges through networks are known to be one of the most effective collaborative learning methods. They provide invaluable opportunities to share experience, best practices, draw lessons from one another’s success and challenges. The promotion of existing networks and the creation of new ones between Europe and Southern Mediterranean has been a priority since the first edition of the South Programme.
Young political leaders from the Schools of Political Studies of Tunis and Rabat at the World Forum for Democracy, 8-10 November 2017, Strasbourg
Networking between Southern Mediterranean experts and their European counterparts was, and will continue to be, fostered by enabling partners’ participation in Council of Europe conventional committees, intergovernmental committees of experts and working groups. Such a dialogue is particularly important as it facilitates the process of legislative harmonisation with Council of Europe standards, while contributing to increasing intergovernmental co-operation on both shores of the Mediterranean.
The South Programme III will seek to enhance the level of regional cooperation in the field of human rights, the rule of law and democracy through the expansion of existing networks. New networks will also be promoted, based on the demand of the beneficiaries. This will include relevant exchanges and networks touching upon issues relating to violence against women.
Examples of existing networks:
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE)
It has developed its relations with representatives from Parliaments of Southern Mediterranean beneficiaries, notably through the PACE PfD status. This status allows parliamentary delegations from beneficiaries on the southern shore of the Mediterranean and the Middle East (but also from Central Asia) to take part in the PACE's activities in return for commitments to pursue the values upheld by the Council of Europe, hold free and fair elections and work towards abolishing the death penalty, among other things.
The Council of Europe Schools of Political Studies
The main purpose of the Schools of Political Studies is to prepare the leaders of tomorrow. The Tunisian and Moroccan Schools of Political Studies were established in 2013, within the framework of the South Programme I. The Schools give representatives of civil society, youth, local and regional authorities and young political leaders a role in building the democratic political culture within their countries and beyond.
The North-South Centre of the Council of Europe
The European Centre for Global Interdependence and Solidarity (North-South Centre) promotes dialogue and exchange among all members of its Euro-Mediterranean network (Parliaments, Governments, local and regional authorities, and civil society – the Quadrilogue) at its annual regional gathering: the Lisbon Forum. Since 1994, the Forum has brought together high-level participants from Europe, neighbouring regions and other continents, to share experience, best practice and expertise on human rights, the rule of law and democracy.
The Pompidou Group's Network on Drugs and Drug Addiction in the Mediterranean Region (MedNET)
The MedNET has expanded regularly and now has 14 members including Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, and Palestine* which joined the network in 2016. This network contributed to develop and implement coherent, balanced drug policies which respect human rights and address gender equality issues, based on evidence gathered by national observatories. By doing so, it has promoted cooperation and a two-way transfer of knowledge between European and Mediterranean beneficiaries, as well as within the Mediterranean region.
*This designation shall not be construed as recognition of a State of Palestine and is without prejudice to the individual positions of Council of Europe and European Union member States on this issue.
Intercultural Cities Programme (ICC) of the Council of Europe
The ICC supports cities in reviewing their policies and practices through an intercultural perspective and in developing comprehensive strategies to help them manage diversity positively. The Council of Europe initiated cooperation with Morocco and Jordan on the basis of the ICC methodology to help them build policy know-how and deal with public perceptions of migrants in a context of growing population diversity and resulting social tension. In Morocco, for example, a national network of eleven Intercultural Cities was launched in Tangiers in 2016.
Human Rights Education Networks
They have been developed to ensure the appropriate dissemination of Council of Europe values among target groups. This has been particularly the case with the Programme on Advanced Training in the field of Human Rights, the Rule of Law and Democracy for the Southern Mediterranean (PATHS Programme) launched by the Council of Europe in the framework of the South Programme II.