Support to an Inclusive and Effective National Dialogue Process in Ethiopia
The overarching goal of the Project is to lay-down the critical foundations and institutional prerequisites for effective, peaceful and constructive dialogue in Ethiopia, strengthening capacities for conflict prevention and peace building at regional, national and sub- national levels and across borders.
1. A National Dialogue Commission (ENDC) is established that is independent, trusted, empowered and enabled to engage citizens and stakeholders.
2. An inclusive, transparent, gender-sensitive, and participatory National Dialogue is launched in a timely manner, that finds broad acceptance among the population and key stakeholders.
3. Potential solutions for several of the most critical issues facing Ethiopia become a part of substantive discussions within the National Dialogue and its follow-up, attracting as well as focusing civic and political energies.
Various stakeholders will be engaged, most notably political actors/elite, government bodies at various levels, civil society, religious institutions/leaders, community representatives/elders, women and youth networks/associations, the media, and the diaspora (reaching around 750.000 people over 3 years).
Specific target groups such as women, youth, persons with disabilities, internally displaced people, and other vulnerable/disadvantaged groups with the potential creation of specific dialogue platforms will be considered. Further, the Project will conduct a comprehensive conflict analysis as well as stakeholder’s analysis to better understand conflict dynamics. Efforts will be made to make sure that other potentially affected groups have access to and are aware of mechanisms to submit concerns and perspectives about the process and outcomes of the undertaking.
The role of UNDP in relation to the ENDC, by itself and as a channel for support from other parts of the UN and the development community, is meant to be strictly of a technical and financial rather than political nature. It is to undertake, upon request of the Government and the Commission, mobilisation, coordination and management of resources to support the Commission itself and its activities, offer technical advice and access to global experience, expertise and good practice, provide operational services where needed and help maintain conducive relationships with the development community.
a) capacity strengthening of the ENDC including experience-sharing/benchmarking visits, recruitment of a range of professionals, provision of various training programmes, deployment of high-calibre short-term professionals housed at the Commission, strategy and systems development of various types, IT equipment and services;
b) financing of targeted research, scoping studies and assessments using national and international expert teams;
c) convening of top-notch national and international expert forums to increase the knowledge base regarding critical issues;
d) financing of extensive national consultations/dialogue forums to ensure inclusivity and bottom-up participation, using both face-to-face and online methods;
e) communications and media outreach including polling and limited surveys;
f) monitoring and evaluation
In Ethiopia, the past three years have seen increasing polarization of views and rising tensions, quite often leading to violent conflicts that have undermined the rule of law and human rights and also derailed development gains. The forces unleashed by political, structural, economic and demographic transitions are powerful and degenerate into insecurity and conflict of varying intensity, due to the absence or limitations of existing institutions and tools to identify, discuss, reconcile and resolve core disputes within the Ethiopian polity. This is the gap that the Ethiopian National Dialogue Commission (ENDC) is stepping into.
In December 2021, the Ethiopian National Dialogue Commission was established to independently lead and coordinate an inclusive and participatory national dialogue. 11 Commissioners were nominated through an open process to lead the Commission for a period of 3 years.
The Project brings together the required technical, financial and operational support to contribute towards the successful attainment of the ENDC’s overarching mission: establish minimum consensus among all relevant stakeholders on all/most of the contentious issues and pave the way for creating strengthened state structures of governance and institutions accountable to the public.
The funding follows the Austrian Foreign Minister’s offer to the Government of Ethiopia to support Ethiopia’s reconciliation and confidence building during the post-conflict period.