Arab think tanks help change public policy options in transition countries

02 Jul 2013

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As seen at the Oslo Transitions Conference, despite difficulties faced by many think tanks in adjusting to the process of change in their environment, the think tanks’ role in promoting in gender equality, for instance, through analysing what blocks or supports women’s empowerment in transitions to democracy, is essential to sustainable change.

The Amman forum will gather participants from policy-support centres and networks in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, the Palestinian territories and Tunisia and experts and development practitioners from Indonesia, South Africa and Myanmar in addition to women activists, UN representatives and think tanks from the North.

- Think tanks help fill an important gap

In Jordan, participants will, among other things, discuss the political and legal environment in which think tanks operate, their commitment to issues of equality and their capacity and ability to generate relevant knowledge. Can the on-going transitions across the Arab world present an opportunity for think tanks in the region to play an essential role in the post-revolution landscape? What type of technical expertise and support do they need to produce high-quality research and to partner effectively with the media to disseminate research? 

“We have seen that the shortage of sound and relevant knowledge on critical governance sectors and specific issues weakens the capacity of the state to address essential needs for reform”, explains Nabila Hamza, Director of Foundation for the Future. “Experience shows that policy centres and think tanks are instrumental in filling this knowledge gap and bringing about democratic change, providing that there is enough political will to discuss and act upon this new evidence.”

The forum ‘Reform-oriented knowledge amid political transitions: The role of think tanks in supporting policy dialogue and consensus building’ held in Amman, 2 – 4 July 2013 is organised by the UNDP Oslo Governance Centre and the Foundation for the Future.


Javier Fabra-Mata, UNDP/OGC, Oslo:, tel +47 476 74 204

Yara Smadi, UNDP Jordan:, tel +962 (0) 6 5300499

Dima Masri, Foundation for the Future, Jordan:,

tel + 962 (0)6 554 4906 ext 304.

The Oslo Governance Centre (OGC) is a unit of the Democratic Governance Group (DGG) in the Bureau for Development Policy (BDP) of UNDP. It was established in 2002 as a global centre of excellence designed to provide support to the practical and operational work of UNDP in assisting partner countries in developing more democratic and effective forms of governance for sustainable peace and development, and to contribute to regional and global policy debates and emerging governance issues.  In 2012, in response to demand and emerging governance realities, the OGC launched a new stream of work on political transitions.

The Foundation for the Future is an independent, multi-lateral and not for profit organization, created in 2005 and fully committed to promoting democracy, Human Rights, the Rule of Law and reforms through supporting CSOs’ relevant initiatives in the Broader Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region including Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan.