National seminar, Sao Paulo, 10-11 December 2007
News from the Field: Opening dialogue
spaces between political parties and civil society in MERCOSUR
28 March 2008
In MERCOSUR countries – Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and
Venezuela – UNDEF is supporting a 2 year project implemented by
the Konrad Adenauer Foundation’s Center of Studies in Rio de Janeiro,
reinforcing the capacity of political parties and civil society organizations
(CSOs) to develop democratic cooperation and dialogue.
The two-fold objective of the project aims to:
- Enhance mutual understanding between political parties and civil
society and interaction between them to advance the democratic agenda;
- Create democratic spaces of dialogue at regional and national levels.
Regional course Rio de Janeiro, 24-30 June 2007
Started in January 2007, the project has made significant progress:
young leaders coming from political parties and civil society organizations
have been provided with customized educational training and coaching
to reinforce their capacities and to enhance their cooperation.
Regional course in Buenos Aires, 5-11 August 2007
Phase 1: Building a cooperation spirit at regional level
The first phase consists in assembling young leaders from political
parties and CSOs to participate in an introductory course. 86 participants
were selected with considerations for the gender, geographic and sector
of activity balance.
They took part in one-week courses conducted in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil),
24-30 June 2007 and in Buenos Aires (Argentina), 5-11 August 2007.
Conferences and workshops addressed three main issues:
- Democracy promotion in Latin America at regional and country levels;
- Specificity and complementarities of political parties and civil
society organizations to advance the democratic agenda;
- Political projects' strategic planning.
Speakers included actors from the civil society, involved either in global
organizations or in local NGOs, regional academics, parliamentarians,
governmental representatives and a member of UNDEF.
At the end of the regional courses, participants were encouraged to
keep in touch through the interactive internet portal, www.dialogomercosur.org,
maintained by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation - Brazil.
Phase 2: Developing leadership and dialogue projects at country
Once back in their home country, participants have one year to present
to the Konrad Adenauer Foundation their individual project aimed at creating
spaces for dialogues in their own country.
Participants are supported in their work by monitors based in their
country and to whom they report regularly on their project status.
The team of 10 country monitors accompanies and advises young leaders
in designing and realizing their projects. For each country, two monitors
were selected, one coming from the political arena and the other representing
the civil society sector. The monitors training seminar, held in Rio
de Janeiro, 29 March to 1st April 2007, prepared them for this mission
by providing them with opportunities to deepen their knowledge and discuss
democracy promotion in Latin America and the appropriate tools to reinforce
collaboration between political parties and CSOs.
National Seminar in Asunción, Paraguay, October
25 - 27, 2007
National follow-up seminars
Moreover, to help participants and to reinforce the follow-up process,
a series of three-day national seminars were launched contributing to
the enhancement of their technical skills for project design and management.
39 participants attended the first seminar which took place in Asunción
(Paraguay) in 25-27 October 2007. The second was organized for 34 participants
from Brazil in Sao Paulo, in 10-11 December 2007.
Beneficiaries of follow-up seminars include project promoters and their
local partners. Training workshops focus on project planning and strategic
communication. Most of the participants have confirmed that they gained
useful knowledge for the realization of their individual projects and
they were able to exchange information and build partnerships with each
National seminars will soon also take place in Uruguay, Argentina and
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