In 2008, and in line with the peace-building strategy, the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) approved the following program:
"Support peace-building initiatives between Palestinians and Israelis, through the strengthening of both civil society organizations, the political and social dialogue, and the knowledge, protection and awareness of international law and human rights. Palestinian Occupied Territories and Palestinian refugees in neighbouring countries."
Following an ongoing project working towards protecting human rights and defending peace in the region, the NGOs from Platform 2015 & more consider the "Convenios" an useful instruments for consolidating the work they have been carrying out individually. In a more coordinated and consolidated manner, they have been able to forge a more effective action strategy in the field of peace-building and Human Rights.
The convenio transpired as an initiative from 6 of the NGOs part of the Platform 2015 & More that decide to form an intervention consortium in line with working framework already established in the Platform. It is also a product of the approach of the Group of NGOs for Palestine in the area of impact and awareness in Spain and its experience in Spanish civil society and the Euro-Mediterranean networks and platforms, as Encuentro Civil Euromed or the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network.
Consequently, Platform 2010 & More and the Group of NGOs for Palestine wish to build upon previous work carried out in favour of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East and wish to emphasize the need to promote an awareness and respect of International Law, human rights and democratic values and contribute to the institutional reinforcement of civil society agents from the different countries in the region.
In order for peace to be sustainable, it must not only be based on a respect for international law and human rights, but, more importantly, on developing the active participation of civil societies in the region.
The implementation and character of the Convenio are based on 5 principles:
1. Work at a grassroots level.
2. Independent actions regarding political parties in Palestine and Israel.
3. Actions oriented towards building a national inter-palestinian consensus.
4. Actions oriented towards building a fund agreement with israelis.
5. Complementarity of actions and viewpoints.
Three theoretical axis:
As it appears in the title of the programme, the main goal to be developed is to support peace-building initiatives between Palestinians and Israelis through the strengthening of:
The social organizations of the two civil societies (through co-ordination and networking)
The political and social dialogue,
The knowledge, protection and awareness on International Law and Human Rights Law
Axis 1: Strengthening social organizations
The strengthening of social organizations is considered from two perspectives. On the one hand, reinforcing those social organizations with a strong social base that are committed to a just and lasting peace and that promote models of secular and democratic societies β particularly those working closely in the field of Human Rights, critical analysis and discussions on the development process in Palestine. And on the other, through strengthening the networks and platforms these organizations are involved in. This aims to:
- Reinforce the mechanisms for protecting the human rights of the Palestinian and Syrian people β civil and political rights (CPR) as well as economic, social and cultural rights (ESCR) in the Convenio's action areas.
- Strengthen the social fabric, participation and leadership in civil society to fight against discrimination and unjust public policies β especially those involving young people and women - and to fight for human rights.
- To promote dialogue in civil society by creating grassroots think tanks for the development process in Palestine and to strengthen existing coordination initiatives in order to develop common impact strategies for obtaining a just and lasting peace.
Axis 2: Strengthening political and social dialogues
The strengthening of political and social dialogue aimed at supporting the joint work of Palestinian, Syrian and Israeli organizations and also to promote the work of those mixed organizations (formed by Palestinians and Israelis) with a strong commitment to dialogue and that are trustworthy for the other organizations
Axis 3: Strengthening the knowledge, protection and awareness of International Law and Human Rights at a local, regional and international level.
The strengthening of the social organizations carrying out this work will co-exist alongside awareness, communication and advocacy activities in Spain and Europe through the Groups of NGOs for Palestine and the networks the Group is involved in.
Three approaches of Methodology:
The intervention logic put forward is organized into three levels of Methodology that correspond to the three core actions outlined above:
- Level 1 - ACTIONS. 14 actions, each one developed by one of the partner's organizations but one that will be developed by 4 of the partner's organizations. The contents of these actions, and the agents implementing them, will nurture the following two approaches with the aim of giving coherence to the intervention and achieving the overall goal of the Agreement.
- Level 2 β POLITICAL COHERENCE AND DEFINING TOGETHER A WORKING PLAN
This action will give coherence to all the actions in the Project/Convenio in order to develop together a reference framework to shape an Agenda for a Just Peace from the civil society. The General Coordinator will promote this action and all the Partners will be invited to take part on its activities.
- Level 3 β AWARENESS, COMMUNICATION & ADVOCACY
This action pretends to create a good framework to develop a strong campaign of awareness, communication and advocacy mainly in Spain and Europe. In coordination with the Partners and through Level 2 we will define which the working methodology to guarantee this main goal is. This Action will be developed by CEAR through the Group of NGO for Palestine in Spain and in Europe. Its goal is to compile the input generated in the previous two approaches and use them to work on:
- Awareness activities on the Palestine-Israeli conflict in Spanish and European societies.
- Designing effective communication strategies.
- Advocacy with the relevant agents on a national and European level
The main goal of the Agreement is "To support Peacebuilding initiatives in the Middle East through reinforcing the system of Human Rights, political and social dialogue and the awareness and protection of International Law in the Occupied Palestinian Territoriy, Israel and Lebanon". While the Specific Goal is to "Strengthen dialogue and awareness of the peace process through fulfilling International Law and respecting human rights by establishing channels of cooperation between organisations from civil societies in Spain, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon and Jordan". Its development is based on 7 results and the corresponding activities.
Population, participation and sustainability
The amalgamation of actions from the three approaches encompasses a large and extremely diverse beneficiary POPULATION that includes, among others, the Palestine population from Occupied Palestine Territoriy, the Israeli population, the Palestine population with Israeli citizenship, the Palestinian refugee population, the Syrian population from the Occupied Syrian Golan, the territory of the Spanish State and Spanish and European institutions.
All the initiatives carried out originate from organisations with strong community links, and, therefore, have collaborated throughout the work on shared identification as the main beneficiaries are organised and semi-organised collectives. Strengthening independent, personal and collective capacities is key to generating alternative, SUSTAINABLE peace.
Consequently, the methodological focus is fully participatory and geared towards promoting citizen mobility and PARTICIPATION. By increasing the participation of: young people, in many cases discouraged, women in both political and community areas, and legal support and counselling to ensure this participation. Also to foster the participation of those responsible for guaranteeing rights and reinforcing institutions and specific training to carry this out.
The program came into effect on 16 march 2008 and will come to an end on 16 March 2012.