As lead agency of EUNIDA's EC-funded Support for Civil Society in Libya project, Crown Agents is helping to encourage and enable Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to participate in their country's governance.
During Colonel Gadhafi's reign, participation in civil society was punishable by death, so one of the first tasks of the project was to contribute to changing the legislation to allow for - and increasingly encourage - civil society, a very important progress change for Libya. Within the space of a couple of years, we've moved to a stage where we are helping the government to better engage with and encourage the growth of civil society.
Crown Agents is a founding member of EUNIDA, the formalised grouping of currently 11 EU national implementing agencies, launched in 2006 to develop, manage and implement EC development programmes. Crown Agents' chief executive Terence Jagger has recently been re-elected as president for 2013.
Plans are underway in Libya to implement a National Public Opinion Survey, which aims to determine fundamental values to be reflected in the 2013 National Constitution. The survey results will be given to the president of the general national congress to inform the constitutional process and broadcast on television.
In May 2012, Crown Agents supported the first ever National Civil Society Conference in Derna. The successful event unveiled the Board for the National Civil Society Support Centre. Four of the Centre's Board members, including Chairperson, Dr. Hala Latras, outlined the vision for civil society in Libya and the future role of the Centre. According to the Ministry of Councils decree, the Centre's main objectives are:
1. Prepare a strategy to support and encourage CSOs;
2. Coordinate the activities of CSOs according to the legislations;
3. Support the CSOs through training and technical advice;
4. Coordinate the activities of INGOs (international nongovernmental organisations) willing to work in Libya;
5. Prepare plans and programmes to develop the Support Center and its staff;
6. Undertake any work related assigned by the Council of Ministers.
The EUNIDA project has recently revised an earlier proposal to establish a National Civil Society Fund, which would channel funds from the Ministry of Finance to selected CSOs.
Also in Libya, EUNIDA is also commencing work on the EC-funded Libya Health Systems Strengthening project. This major four-year programme is designed to improve efficiency, effectiveness and quality of health service delivery in Libya through targeted reforms and pilot interventions. It will be led by EUNIDA's German member (GIZ) with support from Crown Agents and other member state agencies.