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    • Egypt after revolution - BCSP presents a look to the future

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    • Date: 14 May 2012
      The Belgrade Centre for Security Policy team shared key challenges and lessons learned during democratic transition in Serbia and its substantial experience in advocating for security sector reform with more than ten Egyptian civil society organisations from 10-13 May.
      BCSP team shared experience in advocating for security sector reform with more than ten Egyptian civil society organisations
      BCSP team shared experience in advocating for security sector reform with more than ten Egyptian civil society organisations

      BCSP facilitated presentations and discussions on democratic governance of security sector and goals of police reform in Serbia and Egypt in particular. As a result, participants identified several burning issues of reform: transitional justice, de-politicization, eradication of corruption in the police and reform of training, recruitment and promotions system.

      Participants highlighted as well that the prerequisite for any reform is stabilisation of security situation in Egypt, which has deteriorated due to partial disintegration of the Ministry of Interior and consequent rise of thuggery on the streets of many Egyptian cities. This is further complicated by the fact that Egypt is in the midst of presidential campaign which will allow for transition from military to political rule and potentially initiate new democratic post-Mubarak era for the country.

      A post-revolutionary atmosphere, which was felt throughout the seminar, had its reflection in the profile of participating NGOs as well. Several of them focus on police and human rights, some are established as research centers studying current political developments, while others are former pro-democracy activist organizations. What they all have in common is desire to build their capacity to advocate for specific policy issues in a changed environment, and in that way influence the course of transition. Many of them are on the way of specializing and transforming from a revolutionary group to a think-tank.

      Participants identified several burning issues of reform in Egypt
      Participants identified several burning issues of reform in Egypt

      How to become a credible think tank

      To assist them in that process, BCSP held several workshops which focused on how to become a credible think tank dealing with security topics. Hence, participants were provided with research tools and tips on how to use open sources in a restricted environment and agenda setting strategies. This way they were able to build up on theoretical discussions on SSR, lessons from Serbia and Egyptian challenges that were explored in the first part of the training, and to put gained knowledge into practice in the concluding workshop of the training when they were tasked to present their advocacy strategies for a specific police reform related question.

      Exchange between two countries continues

      As a follow up of this seminar and in the spirit of continued experience exchange between two countries that share certain commonalities of transition, an Egyptian delegation comprised of two representatives of One World Foundation and a representative of  Al-Ahram Center will come to a study visit to Belgrade in the beginning of June. During this visit, they will also share their views on developments in Egypt at the BCSP hosted event, in the aftermath of Egypt's presidential elections to be held on 23rd and 24th May 2012. Details of the event will be duly announced on our website.

      A three day seminar "Introduction to SSR in democratising societies" and a study visit are a part of the project Policy Institute Support on Transition Issues, run by the PASOS network (Policy Association for an Open Society) whose member is the BCSP, and in cooperation with Egyptian NGO One World Foundation. The objective of the project is to strengthen the capacity of Egyptian policy centres to influence the democratic transition process and to promote co-operation and exchange experiences between Egyptian and Central and Eastern European (CEE) policy centres with relevant transition expertise.

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