On March 10, 2022, CECOE in partnership with NDI organized a one-day consultative forum on “The Role of CSOs in National Dialogue”. The objective of the forum was to raise the awareness of CSO actors on National Dialogue and actively engage them in the process. The forum was moderated by Biniam Abate, CECOE program manager. Speakers at the forum included Dr. Henock Seyoum, Dr. Henok Seyoum, Deputy General Secretary, House of People’s Representatives (HPR) of Ethiopia and Abera Hailemarim, CEOCE’s Executive Director.
In his presentation, Dr Henock elucidated over the need for a national dialogue and procedures passed before the passing of the proclamation and establishment of the commission. Prior to the formation of the national dialogue commission, a number of preparatory works such as review of legal documents, historical narratives, organizational structures and best international experiences were thoroughly examined, according to Dr. Henock.
Following the presentation, several questions were raised by the participants regarding the independence of the commission; the selection process of the commission’s members; approaches to conduct the national dialogue, and the impacts of active conflicts going on in different parts of the country. According to the presenter, the study that was conducted prior to the establishment of the commission had already addressed the concerns raised by the participants. Furthermore, he stressed that some of the ideas raised during the discussion would be taken as inputs and incorporated to further strengthen the effort.
The second presentation by Abera Hailemariam, CECOE Executive Director, was mainly focused on the evolution of national dialogue and the roles CSOs should play to make the National Dialogue successful. “The evolution of National Dialogue formed its initial conceptions in eastern and central Europe in the post-cold war period, from the growing discontentment of the gap between citizens and ruling elites,” he expounded. There are three key factors that affect the success or failure of National Dialogue efforts such as: Support of elites, Support of the public, Support of regional and international actors. He also proposed some roles that CSOs should play in the upcoming national dialogue.
Some of the major proposed roles are:
- Setting Agenda
- Providing info to the public in processes of ND
- Forwarding recommendations on policy
- Establishing relations between the general public and the national dialogue commission
- Watchdogging the national dialogue process
- Organizing consultations b/n CSO leaders and NDC
As supporting the country’s democracy building effort is one of CECOE’s organizational goals, the coalition intends to contribute its own fair share to make the national dialogue a success. To that end, CECOE has planned to organize a series of events whereby various germane stakeholders deliberate on the planned national dialogue. To get latest updates on the events, please follow CECOE on Twitter (@CecoeEth) and subscribe to our newsletter using this link www. cecoe/newsletter.org