Building bridges between public administrations across the Mediterranean
University for Democracy for the Southern Mediterranean
Sharing experiences, practicing democracy
UniDem Med (University for Democracy) is a regional project launched in September 2015 with the aim to support the public administration reform in the southern Mediterranean based on the respect of the fundamental principles of rule of law and democracy. The project brings together senior officials from Europe and the southern Mediterranean (Algeria, Egypte, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine* and Tunisia) for pooling experience and forging closer ties between the relevant national authorities.
More than 530 senior civil servants from the southern Mediterranean have been trained so far on a peer-to-peer basis since 2015. Organised by the Venice Commission in co-operation with the Ministry of the Public Service Reform and Modernisation of the Administration of the Kingdom of Morocco UniDem Med contributes to ever more effective administration and to good governance in the southern Mediterranean based on respect for human rights and ensuring effective application of the law. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Venice Commission and the Ministry in October 2017 to continue and sustain the project.
Khalid Naciri, Member of the Venice Commission in respect of Morocco, UniDem Med General Rapporteur
"We are, in the framework of these UniDem Med training sessions in a real cumulative process, to identify the problem of the relationship between administration and the citizens, the latter being at the heart of the concerns of modern governance. Common language elements are now building links between partners in the North and South of the Mediterranean. It concerns citizen participation, transparency, accountability, the right to access information, the integrity of the public service, the universal culture of human rights and the fight against corruption. Each time, the methodology is the same: that of the dual illumination of the subject's presentations from the theoretical and doctrinal angle, and then from the perspective of the national experiences of the different participating countries. The results are convincing, thanks to the added value brought by the confrontation of the crossed views of experts and practitioners to ultimately identify the convergences of analysis and outline the contours of the alternative".
Towards an effective and responsible administration respecting the principles of democracy and rule of law
The government and the public service are of paramount importance to ensure the stability of a region. This implies that citizens and public service users have confidence in the state structures and in particular public policies and public administration. It is essential that governments operate according to clear rules and transparent procedures established in accordance with the principles of the rule of law. On the other hand, it is important that senior staff are well trained and have a legal status and appropriate working conditions. Officials should be aware of their rights but also their responsibilities and duties towards the public they serve.
Objectives and scope of the project
UniDem Med Campus main objective is:
- To contribute to an ever more efficient administration and good governance in the respect of human rights, in the enforcement of law and institution building
Ghazi Jeribi, Member of the Venice Commission in respect of Tunisia, UniDem Med General Rapporteur
"All UniDem Med experts and participants are unanimous about the importance of the fundamental principles of the rule of law, the values of democracy and the preservation of human rights, including the rule of law, and especially the principle of equality before the public service and public offices, the principle of legality, non - discrimination, independence and impartiality of justice. There is no true democracy without good governance and there is no rule of law without good governance. The effective implementation of all these principles, already mentioned in most constitutions, international conventions and different laws, is largely dependent on the administration, which is the cornerstone of the relationship between political power and the citizen"
National coordinators and working methods
National coordinators select the participants for the seminars. They meet once a year to select the topics and venues for the next seminars. National coordinators are the key interlocutors of the Venice Commission. Participating countries are invited to appoint focal points/national coordinators, to select the participants and decide on the programme for the seminars. Between 25 and 30 officials attend the seminars, after which they are encouraged to pass on what they have learnt to their colleagues. The working languages are English or French, and Arabic, as required. The seminars are based on a participatory method that includes presentations by experts from the two shores of the Mediterranean with specific examples designed to help officials from the various countries to identify common principles that can be applied in their own countries. National Delegations are encourared to report on the situation in their respective administratons in relation to the theme of the seminar with ample time for discussion and peer-to-peer exchange of experiences between the participants.
Internationally recognised expertise
The team of trainers is made up of European and Southern Mediterranean experts with first hand practical experience in the relevant fields as well as academics from the two shores of the Mediterranean.
Funding of the seminars
The seminars are co-financed by the European Union and the Council of Europe and implemented by the Council of Europe in the framework of the South Programme since 2015 :
- South Programme II (2015-2017) : "Towards strengthened democratic governance in the southern Mediterranean"
- South Programme III (2018-2020) : "Ensuring Sustainable Democratic Governance and Human Rights in the Southern Mediterranean"
- South Programme IV (2020-2022) : "Regional Support to Reinforce Human rights, Rule of Law and Democracy in the Southern Mediterranean"
Some Member states of the Council of Europe also have contributed to the organisation of the seminars.
* 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.