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Tunisia

Developing New Mechanisms to Promote Interaction with the Youth and Enable Them to Pursue Dialogue About Public Policies (TN0031)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Tunisia Second National Action Plan 2016-2018

Action Plan Cycle: 2016

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Ministry in charge of Civil Service, Governance and Fight against Corruption

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

Capacity Building, Marginalized Communities, Public Participation

IRM Review

IRM Report: Tunisia End-of-Term Report 2016-2018, Tunisia Mid-Term Report 2016-2018

Starred: No

Early Results: Did Not Change

Design i

Verifiable: No

Relevant to OGP Values: Civic Participation , Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Developing new mechanisms to promote interaction with the youth and enable them to pursue dialogue about public policies

IRM Midterm Status Summary

11. Develop new mechanisms to promote interaction with the youth and enable them to pursue dialogue about public policies

Commitment Text:

Involving youth in the development and implementation of open government principals in order to foster their participation and find tools to enable them to express their aspirations and express their voice to public officials and decision-makers regarding different public policies.

Milestones:

  • Development of an e-platform allowing youth to provide feedback on the delivery of selected public services and that requires the responsible public structures to respond and address the issues raised.
  • Co-creation (Government/CSO) of local councils which must include representatives of civil society and public authorities with a significant presence for the young people. The main goal of this action is to create a space facilitating discussion about key pain points and opportunities as articulated by youth CSOs which government could respond to.

Responsible institution: Ministry of Youth and Sports

Supporting institution(s):

As mentioned in the NAP: Jamaity Association

As evaluated: World Bank, UNESCO, OECD

Start date: June 2016        End date: July 2018

Context and Objectives

Tunisia’s revolution of 2011 has been dubbed a youth revolution, with young Tunisians going out to the streets to express their disenchantment with Ben Ali’s regime and contributing to his fall. Since then, the relationship between the state and the youth has been fragile. Tunisian youth have been underrepresented on the political landscape dominated by an older generation. [40]

The fracture between the youth and the state was characterized by three major alarming findings. First, youth participation in the latest elections (2014) in both parliamentary and presidential was low. Youth did not run for positions and did not vote either. Second, Tunisia suffers from high rates of legal and illegal migration to Europe, brain drain and smuggling, affecting mostly the youth. Third, there is a growing concern that Tunisian youths are being recruited to extremist militant groups like ISIS or Al Qaida, domestically and abroad.

Recognizing the problem, international organizations and Tunisian authorities started programs to increase youth participation and motivate them to take part in the democratic process. With this commitment, the Tunisian Ministry of Youth and Sports is hoping to find a new way to foster youth participation via an online platform and to establish a pilot of eight youth councils.

Since 2010, the Tunisian Ministry of Youth and Sports has tried to come up with a national strategy for youth but has not been able to deliver any substantial result. [41] [42]

This commitment contains two milestones. The first entails creation of an e-platform for providing government feedback to youth on public policies, but it is not clear which policies would be selected and assessed. This is relevant to the values of Tech and Innovation for transparency and accountability. The second milestone involves creation of local councils with youth representation, but without specifying what these councils would do and how youth selection and participation would be ensured. This commitment is relevant to the OGP value of civic participation. When interviewed, youth-led NGOs in Tunisia expressed their skepticism, due to previous failed experiences of the Tunisian Ministry of Youth and Sports with online platforms and creation of youth councils’ pilots. Prior to this commitment, the ministry had initiated a number of projects to involve youth, however, these projects have not led to the expected meaningful outcomes in terms of youth reach out. Therefore, youth CSOs interviewed for this report are not convinced that this commitment represents a departure from the previous practices of the ministry. Hence, the potential impact of the commitment if fully implemented is minor.

Completion

This commitment completion is limited. The researcher confirmed that the Terms of Reference for the e-platform have been developed.

Commitment implementation has suffered from the lack of clear definition of roles and responsibilities. Since the start of the action plan, four different focal points have changed within the ministry.

In addition, during the interview with partners for the IRM research, coordination between different partners has been a challenge. Multiple development partners have been helping the Ministry of Youth and Sports with overlapping projects for the creation of a platform and youth councils. UNESCO, OECD and the World Bank are directly or indirectly involved on this commitment. UNESCO is indirectly involved as it recruited a consultant that is working to develop Terms of References for the new e-platform. OECD held a conference that gathered youth leaders from NGOs, government officials and staff from the Ministry of Youth and Sports to discuss the implementation of a platform. The World Bank agreed to partner with the ministry to implement this commitment as part of its engagement to support Tunisia in its OGP efforts.

Organizations listed as partners do not seem to be involved in the implementation of this commitment. For example, Jamaity Association were surprised to be mentioned in the OGP action plan and confirmed to the IRM that they are not participating in the project.

Next Steps

This commitment could be carried forward due to its potential impact on open government and on the engagement of multiple multilateral agencies to support it along with the ministry.

To ensure successful implementation of the commitment:

  • The Ministry of Youth and Sports needs to coordinate with OECD, UNESCO and the World Bank to define specific roles and contributions.
  • The ministry needs to include CSOs in the implementation of this commitment.
  • The commitment should be reviewed to include more specific details and clarify the milestones in the next action plan.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

11. Developing new mechanisms to promote interaction with the youth and enable them to pursue dialogue about public policies

Commitment Text:

This commitment aims to involve youth in the development and implementation of open government principals in order to foster their participation and find tools to enable them to express their aspirations and express their voice to public officials and decision-makers regarding different public policies and programs especially actions included In the NAP-OGP 2016-2018.

Milestones:

  • Development of an e-platform allowing youth to provide feedback on the delivery of selected public services and that requires the responsible public structures to respond and address the issues raised.
  • Co-creation (Government/CSO) of local councils which must include representatives of civil society and public authorities with a significant presence for the young people. The main goal of this action is to create a space facilitating discussion about key pain points and opportunities as articulated by youth CSOs which government could respond to.

Responsible institution: Ministry of Youth and Sports

Start date: June 2016 End date: July 2018

Editorial Note: This is an abbreviated version of the commitment text. For the full commitment text from the Tunisia National Action Plan, see here.

Commitment Aim:

The commitment aimed to bridge the gap between government and youth in Tunisia,

by offering online and offline measures to increase youth participation in decision making. The measures include:

  • The creation of an online interactive platform
  • The creation of local councils

Status

Midterm: Limited

UNESCO, OECD, and the World Bank worked with the government on the implementation of this commitment. [50] UNESCO was involved in the recruitment of a consultant to work to develop the terms of reference for the new e-platform. [51] OECD organized a conference and invited youth leaders from NGOs, government officials, and staff from the Ministry of Youth and Sports to discuss the implementation of the platform. [52] The World Bank agreed to partner with the Ministry of Youth and Sports to implement this commitment in line with its role to support Tunisia in its OGP efforts. [53] The Ministry of Youth and Sports and the three partners decided to create a pilot for this project by selecting five Houses of Youth in different regions of Tunisia to create the local councils. These locations were Ettadhamen, Testour, Douar Hicher, Kalaat Senan, and Hazoua. [54] By the midterm assessment, the terms of reference for the online platform was drafted.

End of term: Limited

Besides the selection of targeted localities and draft terms of reference for the online platform, the implementation of the youth councils and the development of the website were not completed. Therefore, the completion of this commitment is limited. [55]

Did It Open Government?

Civic Participation: Did Not Change

This commitment did not open government with respect to civic participation due to its limited completion. CSO members of the MSG expressed their skepticism about the realization of the commitment, they attributed the challenges of the commitment to the top-down approach. [56]

Carried Forward?

This commitment has been carried forward with some variations.

[54] Interview with Ibrahim El Ghandour and Mootaz Chaouachi, World Bank Tunisia, 17 May 2018.
[55] Interview with Salma Ben Khalifa Negra, UNESCO, 10 May 2018.
[56] Interview with Asma Cherifi, 10 May 2018.

Commitments

Open Government Partnership