Clem McCartney, Content and Policy Coordinator of the Shared Societies Project introduced the key principles and policy recommendations of this Club of Madrid initiative during the first session called “Diversity as an Asset for Social and Economic Development”. He explained Club of Madrid work during the recent years to promote the building of shared societies at a global and a national level and stressed the importance of managing diversity in a democratic way as a fundamental asset to promote social and economic development.
The workshop was focused on how to promote dialogue, mainly between civil society and the government but also between different sections of the community in the MENA region. Participants agreed that to be fully exploited in its potential dimension, diversity needs to be promoted by a coherent vision, protected by ad hoc institutional, legal and policy frameworks, and safeguarded by an active and vigilant civil society. Promoting the principles of inclusiveness, equal opportunities and non-discrimination requires citizens’ participation in the design, implementation and evaluation of public policies.
In addition to leading representatives of the OECD and the ALF, the participants were drawn from the governments and civil societies of the countries which had been involved in the Arab Spring mobilizations mostly from Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt. There were also representatives from a number of OECD and other countries: Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Denmark, Egypt, Germany, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Sweden and the United Kingdom.