Measuring citizen engagement for development management
Senior government officials from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region will meet in Cairo, Egypt, on 18 and 19 December at a Capacity Development Workshop on Implementing the Citizen Engagement Self-Assessment Questionnaire (CESAQ).
Findings from the self-assessment will be shared during the 14th Annual General Conference organized by the Arab Administrative Development Organization (ARADO) – League of Arab States.
Achieving inclusive economic, social, sustainable, and peaceful development is dependent on active public participation and on engaging communities and citizens in policy-making processes. This derives from a growing recognition that the involvement of all stakeholders in the design and implementation of public policies that would impact their lives is beneficial. It also considerably reduces risks associated with the lack of trust and dialogue between government and citizens as evidenced from recent events the world over, including the MENA region.
The UN Committee of Experts on Public Administration (CEPA) noted in its 2012 report to the UN Economic and Social Council that the needs in the Arab region were daunting, particularly in light of the transition after the 2011 uprisings. The Committee emphasized the need for the United Nations Secretariat to provide sustained support to countries in the region.
As a response to this recommendation, UN DESA’s Division for Public Administration and Development Management (DPADM) started developing CESAQ. This tool helps governments to assess whether they have measures in place aimed at engaging citizens more directly in the national planning and programme management, as well as their functioning. These measures can progressively assist governments to promote the engagement of citizens in policy design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation to better address sustainable development challenges.
Towards a tailor-made tool for the Arab Region
DPADM has been collaborating with the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) since 2013 to refine CESAQ and test the Arabic version of the questionnaire.
The 14th Annual General Conference of ARADO – Arab League to be held in Cairo on 17-19 December, will include as a side event, the workshop on “Implementing the Citizen Engagement Self-Assessment Questionnaire (CESAQ) in the MENA Region.”
The aim of the workshop is to present an opportunity for providing guidance on the implementation of the CESAQ tool, while conducting its requirements in a controlled examination environment, resulting in strengthening the capacity of leaders in the public sector to assess regulatory, organizational frameworks and channels/modalities for engaging citizens.
The workshop is expected to serve as the initial stage into finalizing the tool for deployment in the MENA region. The participants will examine further capacity development requirements and support needed from the UN and other international and regional organizations.
The first day of the workshop will include a presentation of each component of CESAQ, as well as question and answer sessions and preparations for implementing the self-assessment. The second day will consist of group work on self-assessing preparedness for citizen engagement and participation in the MENA region. Participants will recommend follow-up actions on deploying CESAQ in the region. Workshop rapporteurs are expected to share findings of the self-assessment exercise during the ARADO 14th Annual General Conference.
The workshop is organized by DPADM in collaboration with ESCWA and ARADO.