From Fragility to Resilience: Avoiding the Failed State Trap and the Road Ahead for Algeria, Iraq and Sudan

The ongoing social contestation movements in the Arab world, coming on the heels of the uprisings of 2011, and now the health and economic crises engendered by the Covid-19 global pandemic, have rekindled hope that the region is again on the cusp of change. While fueled by social and economic grievances, demonstrators have been calling for political change. The challenges they face in shaping a credible political posture that can deliver a better future are enormous. In Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Sudan social movements have learned from the disappointing outcomes of 2011. But unlike in 2011, they face extremely difficult economic situations, as well as regional and international opposition to change.

The main objective of the initiative is to strengthen the new social movements in Iraq, Algeria, and Sudan by helping them enhance their understanding of the economic, political, and social challenges ahead so as to refine their societal project. This would be done by supporting new research and by promoting disciplined debates in civil society on the contours of a desirable future in the context of the Hirak Project, which is the first component of the project that aims to:

• Produce evidence-based knowledge that helps imagining policy change and institutions that are politically and socially feasible and desirable to beat the oil curse and that favor inclusion, while also meeting social aspirations (human dignity, jobs, gender equality, environmental sustainability);
• Promote informed debates in civil society and groups affiliated with the social movements on feasible policy and institutional innovations that need to be incorporated in a new social contract in ways that betters the interests and welfare of citizens, leading to country action plans for change;
• Support interactions between social movements in the region that face common challenges, and with progressive groups in countries around the world to bring in useful innovations and practices that can be adapted to the local context.

ERF acknowledges the generous financial contribution of the International Development Research Center (IDRC) and the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD).  

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