The second edition of the Civil Society South Seminar was held last week in Tunisia (on 3 and 4 September), gathering together around 100 representatives of southern civil society. This encounter, framed on the Majalat initiative - a programme funded by the European Union to encourage a structured dialogue with civil society in the Southern Mediterranean- has been developed in depth on the five areas of policy jointly identified as priorities: Good Governance and Rule of Law, Economic Development and Social Dialogue, Migration, Security and the fight against violence, and Social and Climate Justice.
Taking a regional view, Majalat develops an annual cycle of dialogue with different key moments of discussion. The process begins with thematic workshops in each of the five priorities. At this stage, the representatives of southern civil society organisations develop the first draft of recommendations to improve EU policy on the Southern Mediterranean region. Through a structured process of dialogue, including this South Seminar held in Tunis last week, these recommendations to the European Union will be deepened and improved on, in order to present them at the climax of this dialogue cycle, the Civil Forum of Brussels, which will take place this year on the 1 and 2 December.
Last week in Tunisia, the second Southern Seminar began with the presentation showing how the space for civil society is shrinking on both sides of the Mediterranean. After an analysis of the political trend towards an increasing focus on security and the externalisation of borders, the participants worked to define and specify the policy recommendations to be made to the EU on each issue.
SOLIDAR, as part of the consortium of NGOs responsible for the implementation of this initiative (EuroMEdDroits, Forum Pour des Alternatives Maroc (FMAS), Arab Network for Development (ANND), Arab Trade Union Confederation (ATUC), Réseau EuroMed France (REF)) is keen to engage with the new Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, to ensure that the voices of civil society organisations from the Southern shore of the Mediterranean will be taken into account.