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          • Year: 2012
          • Towards Mission Possible

          • This policy brief is result of a project of learning and exchange among the peer civil society organisations from Egypt (One World Foundation) and Serbia (Belgrade Centre for Security Policy) facilitated by PASOS. The cooperation took place over the period of a year starting in the second half of 2011, a few months after the overturn of the regime of Hosni Mubarak.

        • The paper "Towards Mission Possible: Using Serbian Experience To Address Egyptian Civil Society’s Expectations Of Security Sector Reform" is an attempt to share with the general public some salient points that arose from our discussions and collaboration. It does not aim to provide a detailed and holistic overview of opportunities and challenges faced by Egyptian civil society interested in democratisation and SSR, nor a ready-made formula on how to become an influential civil society actor in SSR.

          This policy brief provides preliminary findings based on desk research and interviews with ten relevant CSO leaders in Egypt, and with 16 civil society activists and analysts working on SSR and SSR-related areas that took part in the Ismailia training. It does not seek to claim that the lessons learned by one Serbia-based CSO in pursuing an agenda of democratisation of security governance are applicable to other CSOs from the same country or transferable to other contexts without adaptation. Through this paper, we want to provide inspiration and food for thought to anyone in Egyptian civil society and elsewhere in democratising countries, as well as to those providing them with the support to become more active as independent and credible actors in security sector reform.

          The text comprises four sections. First, we introduce the concept of security sector reform (SSR) and the potential roles of civil society in the reform process. Second, a comparison between the current Egyptian and Serbian political contexts is provided to set out the explicit limitations and also opportunities for exchange among civil society in the two countries. It is supplemented with key findings on the expectations of Egyptian CSOs regarding SSR based on the desk research and interviews carried out by the OWF research team in the period February-May 2012 and discussions during the training delivered by BCSP in Ismailia from 11-15 May 2012.

          The analysis is presented in two sub-sections: one on expectations from SSR and the other one on the capacity needs of Egyptian CSOs. In the third part, the BCSP director Sonja Stojanović shares the main lessons learned by BCSP on how to influence security governance for the purpose of democratisation. Last but not least, recommendations and proposals are put forward for CSOs and donors or others interested in supporting democratisation and SSR in Egypt.

          The joint initiatives comprised: a mentored research and needs assessment of Egyptian civil society organisations (CSOs) regarding their potential involvement in security sector reform (SSR), an introductory training for Egyptian civil society activists on SSR delivered by the BCSP team in Ismailia, Egypt, in May 2012, and a follow-up study visit by OWF’s representative to Serbian public institutions and relevant civil society initiatives, including a public lecture on challenges of Egyptian transition hosted by BCSP. While this partnership has enabled us to learn from each other, there are more questions that remain open than those answered during this co-operation.

        • Tags: CSO, experiences, Egypt, Serbia, pasos, one world, security sector reform, Sonja Stojanović
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