We were delighted to welcome back Adlah Alkurdi as our newest Head of Iraq Programme. Adlah is a public policy specialist with extensive experience in governance, public sector reform, conflict, and fragility in the Middle East with GPG. Over the years, Adlah worked on improving governments inclusion of citizens, particularly marginalised groups, in the policy making process.
Support to the Youth and Sports Committee on their priorities to conduct a parliamentary inquiry
Our Iraq team is currently looking ahead and planning for upcoming projects. We met with the Council of Representatives’ Youth and Sports Committee to identify which areas GPG could best assist them with in the months ahead. The committee has now established that they would proceed with a parliamentary inquiry on a priority issue that is yet to be confirmed, and for which GPG could provide support.
Furthermore, we are still planning to assist the Finance Committee with their upcoming economic reform plan. GPG is in discussion with the Committee to identify the areas of support which we can best address.
Finally, our team held a second training session with the women MPs we support, this time focussed on Media Skills Development.
Project extension until June provides opportunity for consolidation of support to the NCCT
GPG is pleased to announce that the modern slavery project in Sudan is being extended until June, meaning its implementation can continue beyond its original end of March closing date. The project is part of the Modern Slavery Innovation Fund’s (MSIF) plan which looks at new and innovative ways to tackle modern slavery across the world. As part of this extension, we aim to continue our support for the NCCT in various areas including our continued support to the review of the current 2014 Human Trafficking Act and support on their communications strategy. In April, GPG will conduct a session with the subcommittee tasked with reviewing the Sudanese Human Trafficking Act 2014 within the NCCT. This is part of GPG’s 42,000-word research providing a deep analysis into Sudan’s human trafficking legislation, with a review of international standards and state practice. GPG will also continue providing support for the NCCT’s implementation of the Action Plan on areas such as reporting and awareness-raising campaigns.
MSPEC: Interviews concluded for research project into Impact of Covid-19 on human trafficking in Sudan
GPG has interviewed high-level practitioners, political and academic figures working on human trafficking in Sudan. The findings of these interviews conducted by us and our partners —Rights Lab, RUSI and Waging Peace — will provide insight into the ways in which the pandemic is reshaping human trafficking in Sudan and the wider Horn of Africa region.
The results will be shared by University of Nottingham’s Rights Lab, who already tweeted a brief overview of the project’s preliminary findings.
GPG continued its support to the formation of the TLC and held a successful forum for state governors of Sudan
Since GPG’s project to support the formation of the Transitional Legislative Council (TLC) was renewed by the FCDO, we have been working closely with key decision makers across the highest levels of government and key political groups such as the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC) and Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF). We are assisting them in preparations for the ‘first 100 days of parliament’ which is being done through facilitating agreements on identifying the key elements of an effective parliamentary institution. Those include an effective administration and systems and effective coordination related to the political decisions around the establishment of the TLC. Although the formation of the TLC has faced continued delays caused by the complex politics related to seat allocations between the key groups, GPG has continued to provide essential support to the development of operational plans that will enable the parliamentary institution to function once the new MPs arrive.
Between the 17 and 18 March, GPG held a high-level forum for state governors in partnership with the Ministry of Federal Governance in Sudan. The forum was the first time since their appointment that the governors came together at a central level to reflect on experiences of decentralisation in Sudan and identify lessons for the future of federal governance in the country. His Excellency the Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok attended and led the closing session, at the end of which a list of recommendations was identified to improve the function of the decentralised system. GPG will continue to provide technical support to the government and to build on the major achievements of this conference.
Delivering Youth Political Participation and Information & Communications Technology sessions for Bahrain parliament
The Bahrain Council of Representatives (Majlis al-Nuwab) delivered a session on Youth Political Participation in partnership with GPG last month, and GPG Associates are developing guidance papers to support the Nuwab in their establishment of a youth political participation model. These papers will draw on the experience of the Scottish Youth Parliament as a longstanding model in addition to youth political engagement experiences in the MENA region and Europe..
The Nuwab and GPG are also focusing on the Council’s priority around Information & Communications Technology (ICT) by preparing for a session that highlights innovation in ICT services to the MPs, e-law making systems, and online parliamentary community engagement. The session will heavily draw on the experience of ICT in Parliaments during the Covid-19 pandemic and serve to inform the Nuwab’s development of a 2-year ICT roadmap.
Armenia’s parliament focuses on its new communications and outreach strategy with GPG
Over the past several months GPG team held a series of interviews with a number of MPs from the National Assembly of Armenia to ask them about the difficulties they face and what changes they envisage in carrying out parliamentary responsibilities.
Based on these conversations, GPG Founder & Board Chair Greg Power and our Associates Meg Munn and Alex Brazier produced three ‘Financial Oversight’, ‘Constituency’, and ‘Code of Ethics’ handbooks tailored to the working environment of the National Assembly. These guides introduce innovative approaches and examples of good and poor practices from a range of countries as well as the UK.
We are also involved in the development of the parliament’s communication and outreach strategy and its plan to build relationships with civil society. Aileen Walker is cooperating with branding and strategic marketing companies to create a new visual identity for the parliament, more representative of the people of Armenia.
Successful support to 21 female candidates for municipal elections in Lebanon draws to a close
Potential female candidates in Beqaa, Tripoli, Beirut, and Ghazieh completed their training program this month. Sessions were focused on the required steps to start a campaign, such as registering one’s candidacy for municipal elections or the conditions to one’s eligibility to run. At the end of the training sessions last week, the participants shared very positive feedback with us and added that they noticed clear improvement in their own knowledge and capacity to move forward. Our local Associates Dr Halime Kaakour, Moataz Ghaddar, and Dr. Josephine Zgheib are holding peer-to-peer sessions to help the 21 candidates draw out their campaign plan, figure out next steps, and identify their strengths, values and beliefs.
Near the end of March, GPG organised a webinar on the topic of Male allies, led by GPG Associates Meg Munn and Stephen Gethins and Beqaa Governor Bachir Khoder. The webinar focused on understanding the benefits of and barriers to women’s political participation in general and within the region.
Building on Uzbekistan projects: key achievements and discussion panel for the Human Rights Commission
With the project coming to an end this month, GPGF has a lot of achievements to report! Working closely with the Human Rights Commission, we delivered the training programme — which the Commission members can access at any time after the project — and a series of webinars led by GPGF experts Aileen Walker, Sir Paul Silk, Baroness Alison Suttie, Nick Walker, and Meg Munn to encourage dialogue on the Commission’s current activities, vision, and future plans.
GPGF together with our Associates produced a number of notes with recommendations and advice which the new human rights institution of Oliy Majlis may introduce to its activities. The notes touched on a range of topics including outreach and communication strategy, holding a Covid-19 inquiry, and cooperating with other Human Rights actors. The written pieces were produced to address the Oliy Majlis Commission’s priorities and to share in greater detail the experience of British Human Rights institutions.
The project culminated in the organisation of forums between the Human Rights Commission and the leading UK experts and MPs. The first event focussed on the role of committees and commissions in monitoring national Human Rights obligations; the second examined the Human Rights of young people, with particular attention to the Draft Youth Rights Convention proposed by the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev during the 72nd United Nations General Assembly in 2017.