To promote the culture of human rights, UNDP supports the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) in enhancing its institutional capacity to follow up on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) recommendations which enjoy the support of Egypt. In terms of legal empowerment of the poor, we are effectively supporting the Ministry of Justice to scale up the establishment of Legal Aid Offices in Family Courts to serve poor men and women, reaching a total of 16 offices (out of 35 offices across Egypt) and serving more than 72,000 cases. We are also supporting the Ministry to enhance the operational efficiency of the family courts system, through automation, which is expected to reduce litigation time for family courts cases.
In the area of peacebuilding, we support the Cairo Center for Conflict Resolution and Peacekeeping in Africa (CCCPA) as a national institution mandated with capacity building in peacekeeping, peacebuilding and conflict resolution in Africa. The Center recently extended the coverage of its activities to include all of Africa, and introduced new training components to promote dialogue to counter radicalism and extremism to respond to the evolving nature of conflict in Africa. CCCPA is witnessing increased recognition as a Center of Excellence in Training in peacekeeping and is playing a pivotal role in consolidating African voices in global policy debates to contribute to shaping the global discussion on the peacekeeping and peacebuilding architecture.
Transparency and Anti-Corruption
UNDP’s work in the area of anti-corruption focuses on promoting good governance, transparency and integrity. This includes supporting the Governance Center within the Ministry of Planning, Monitoring and Administrative Reform (MPMAR) in its efforts aimed at fighting corruption and promoting transparency and integrity in the civil service, which entails enhancing advocacy, communication and awareness-raising on the anti-corruption strategy launched by the Government in 2014 and the code of conduct for civil servants developed with UNDP support in 2014; generating knowledge products and conducting analytical studies to inform decision-making; increasing exposure to best practices by brokering knowledge and facilitating participation in international conferences and fora.
UNDP is also supporting the Ministry to institutionalize results-based management and build capacities at the national level. In terms of e-government initiatives, UNDP launched with the Ministry a highly successful e-government initiative resulting in the introduction of a number of online services to a diverse range of beneficiaries ranging from citizens, Egyptians living abroad, students and families to job seekers, intellectuals, companies, and foreigners living in Egypt. Services provided are equally diverse, including the extraction of personal documents (national ID, marriage, divorce, birth, death certificates, etc.), inquiries on electricity bills and water bills, public sector job vacancies, general secondary examination results, tourist information and complaints, company registration, etc.
Support to the Government during the Transition Period
In 2011, UNDP used its impartiality, access to other country experiences to support Egypt’s transition period by the first post-revolution national dialogue initiative; by conducting a national forum on pathways to democratic transition (where more than a thousand Egyptian stakeholders benefited from the experiences of senior leaders from other transition countries); in addition to an international forum on pathways for women in democratic transitions. UNDP also mobilized US$ 20 million in support of an electoral assistance project which supported national efforts aimed at strengthening the efficiency and transparency of electoral institutions and practices.
Through enhanced exposure to comparative international experiences and knowledge through conferences and study visits, electoral stakeholders showed increased awareness of electoral topics, increased application of international standards, and an increased awareness of gender equality and women’s participation in electoral administration and electoral processes. Such support also resulted the introduction of new electoral materials to increase the transparency and integrity of the electoral processes such as the use of tamper-evident bags, seals, transparent ballot boxes, badges for the recognition of polling station staff.
Decentralization and Local Development
UNDP, in partnership with the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), through the Ministry of Local Development (MoLD) and its Local Administration Reform Unit (LARU) launched programme to promote local economic development in the governorates of Fayoum, Sohag, Ismailia and Minya. To activate the programme, the project was able to produce an overarching strategy for local economic development, establish a qualified and skilled LED team to manage the programme within each governorate, set up forums for relevant stakeholders and beneficiaries to guide the implementation of the programme.
Additionally the project worked to support the legislative and institutional set up for the local economic development schemes, within each of the four governorates and at the central level. Furthermore, under the programme several feasibility studies were prepared for selected projects identified within the finalized local economic development strategies, which were later on integrated in the governorates’ 2013/2014 investment plans in Fayoum, Sohag.
Gender Equality and Democratic Governance
For the rights of girls, UNDP has been supporting national efforts aimed at combatting FGM since 2003 through the ‘Abandonment of FGM and Empowerment of families’ Joint Programme—total budget USD 7.9 million— by building the capacities of the National Population Council to mainstream anti-FGM discourse in line ministries, develop awareness campaigns, as well as build the capacities of 20 civil society organizations in 10 Governorates who are working on the ground to reach out to different population groups including men, women, religious leaders, media personnel, community leaders. These efforts contributed to the passing of the law criminalizing FGM in 2008 that was further amended in 2016, the adoption of a national strategy for combatting FGM which eventually led to the decrease in FGM prevalence rates among girls in 15-17 age group from 74% in Egypt Demographic Health Survey (DHS) 2008 to 61% as per the results of the DHS 2014 (SDG 5).
Through the ‘Support to Legal Aid and Dispute Settlement in Family Courts’ project— total budget USD 1.9 million, and in partnership with the Ministry of Justice, UNDP has contributed to increasing legal access of the poor, especially women, through the establishment of 23 legal aid offices in family courts and which in return have supported 152,326 cases (75% women) since 2008. In cooperation with the Public Prosecution and the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT), the project completed the setting-up of the ICT infrastructure for the automation of the Prosecution Information Center Headquarters in Nasr City. To date, the automation was also rolled-out in three main Family Prosecution offices and 65 subsidiary family prosecution offices. This component is expected to enhance the operational efficiency of the family prosecution and family courts system and reduce litigation period. The project also aims to establish linkages with Nasser Bank during the coming period which will enhance women’s access to their alimony (SDGs 5 and 16). A subsequent phase of the project is expected to follow suit with a total budget of USD 4.1 million, where necessary funds and resources will be mobilized accordingly.
Ensuring women’s equal participation in governance processes, and also encouraging more women leaders across all regions is key in further strengthening policies and legislation for greater gender equality. UNDP works to ensure that women are engaged at all stages of formal and informal peace processes and that their priorities inform the agenda for conflict prevention, early recovery from crises and durable peace. UNDP has had a long-standing partnership with the Cairo International Center for Conflict Resolution, Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding (CCCPA)— total budget USD 5.9 million, now recognized as a training center of excellence building African capacities on topics such as conflict resolution, peacekeeping, peacebuilding, border and crisis management, and preventing radicalization and extremism leading to terrorism, Human Trafficking; Gender and Human Rights in peacekeeping/peacebuilding, Women, Peace and Security, Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration, Illicit Transfer of Small Arms and Light Weapons. The project also focuses on streamlining gender in all activities and advancing the implementation of the women, peace and security agenda in line with UN Security Resolution 1325. In doing so, CCCPA supports the effective participation of women in trainings/workshops/conferences organized, as well as the integration of gender considerations in all phases of the training cycle; women participants represent between 20-30%. Furthermore, the project conducts pre-deployment trainings for peacekeepers following UN Peacekeeping PDT Standards and curricula which was recently updated to reflect a strengthened focus on conduct and discipline, sexual exploitation and abuse, and the protection of civilians, as well as a newly incorporated theme on environmental protection. (SGDs 5 and 16)
Furthermore, from 2012 until 2015 UNDP has supported the government of Egypt in issuing national identity cards for women, under the Elections project that supports ‘the Citizenship Initiative’— total budget USD 500,000, which is led by UN Women and aims at increasing the citizenship rights of women. As of December 2015, around 200,000 women received their National identity cards through the initiative in various governorates, while more than 300,000 have been registered. (SDGs 5 and 16)
UNDP will launch the ‘Combating Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in Egypt: A coordinated prevention and protection approach’ Joint Programme in coordination with UNFPA, UN Women and UNODC. The Joint Programme— estimated budget USD 11.5 million— aims to improve the quality of and access to essential services for women and girls including women with disabilities, who have experienced violence and seeks to encourage implementation of the agreed conclusions from the 57th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) by bridging the gap between international commitments and what is actually implemented at country level. (SDG 5)