The Danish-Arab Partnership Program is Denmark’s collaboration program with the Middle East and North Africa. The program helps to strengthen good governance and ensure economic opportunities, especially for young people and women in the region, through partnerships. Countries of focus are Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan.
Since 2003, Denmark has strengthened its efforts in the Middle East and North Africa as part of the general Danish foreign and development policy. The collaboration program was launched in 2003 as the Arab Initiative and will continue under the name Danish-Arab Partnership Program until 2022.
At the core of the Danish-Arab Partnership Program are its partnerships, where Danish organizations cooperate with similar organizations in the region. The purpose of the Danish-Arab Partnership Program is to promote good governance and secure economic opportunities.
A successful and adaptable program
The mission of the Danish-Arab Partnership Program is to lay the foundation for democratization, stability and prosperity in the Middle East and North Africa. Values such as human rights, equality and dignity are integral to the programBased on the demand in the region, the Danish-Arab Partnership Program of 2017 consists of six areas of action falling under two main themes:
- Human rights
- Free press
- Labor market and social dialogue
- Participation and job creation for young people
- Entrepreneurship and access to loans
Specifically, the program contributes to the development of fair judicial systems, prevention of torture and violence against women, job creation and independent journalism. This is done through cooperation with public authorities, civil society and businesses.
Targeted efforts in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia
With the Danish-Arab Partnership Program 2017-2022, Denmark focuses its efforts in four countries: Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan.
In the four relatively politically stable, secure and reform-friendly countries, Denmark has collaborations and experiences upon which to build further. This targeted effort in a smaller number of more stable countries means that Denmark can make a noticeable and measurable difference.
Success with involving Danish civil society
The good results achieved by the Danish-Arab Partnership Program are due, in part, to the fact that Danish civil society organizations and institutions are actively involved.
The Danish-Arab Partnership Program is carried out through partnership projects in the Middle East and North Africa, with organisations from Denmark and the four focus countries. The Danish organizations DIGNITY, KVINFO, International Media Support, Ulandssekretariatet and Oxfam IBIS contribute to the concrete realization of projects.
The choice of Danish civil society organizations was made on the basis of a request for tender where organizations had the opportunity to propose projects that contribute to the main objectives of the program: Good governance and economic opportunities.
Young People and Women
The new phase of the Danish-Arab Partnership Program focuses on young people and women.
One of the biggest challenges in the Middle East and North Africa is youth unemployment. Two-thirds of the population is under 30, and, in some countries, as many as one out of three young people is unemployed. If young people fail to find a foothold in the labor market, there is a higher risk that they will get involved in extremist activities or pursue an uncertain future in Europe.
The Danish-Arab Partnership Program focuses therefore on involving young people in their countries’ development and preventing brain drain, migration and radicalization by strengthening job creation and entrepreneurship.
Despite several advances for women in terms of health, education and political participation, men and women in the region still face very different conditions. The region is ranked as the least equal in the world. Legal and economic gender discrimination is a barrier to democratic and economic development.
Women are therefore a pivotal focus in the new phase of DAPP, in which the program tries to promote gender equality initiatives and strengthen women’s political and economic participation.
Danish efforts in a region full of conflicts and contrasts
Today the Middle East and North Africa are some of the most challenging places in the world. In Syria, Libya, Iraq and Yemen, the states have collapsed and been replaced with armed conflict. According to the World Bank, the MENA region is the least democratic in the world, and human rights and civil society organizations have extremely limited maneuvering space.
Nevertheless, the region offers opportunities. Several of the focus countries are actively working with reforms and democratization initiatives. DAPP has existed for almost 15 years and has therefore an extensive network of authorities, civil society organizations and companies in the region. This experience and the potential in the region means that a Danish initiative can help eliminate extremism and migration, while maintaining dialogue with those working for democracy, human rights and economic opportunities. Consequently, Denmark is building on 15 years of collaboration with the Middle East and North Africa with the Danish-Arab Partnership Program 2017-2022.