US embassy cables: Egypt Updated Democarcy Strategy
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 CAIRO 003001
NSC STAFF FOR WATERS
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/09/2017
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PHUM, KDEM, KMPI, EG
SUBJECT: EGYPT: UPDATED DEMOCRACY STRATEGY
REF: STATE 130991
Classified by DCM Stuart Jones for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
1. (C) Our fundamental reform goal in Egypt remains democratic transformation, including the expansion of political freedom and democratic pluralism, respect for human rights, and a stable, democratic and legitimate transition to the post-Mubarak era. While our programs in the areas of judicial reform and decentralization are well-conceived and have had some notable successes, we propose to expand our support for civil society, especially through offshore programming. During the spring of 2007, Embassy Cairo, coordinating closely with Washington colleagues via shared draft papers and secure DVC discussions, drafted the following document which currently serves as the basis for our democracy promotion efforts in Egypt. End summary.
Total Proposed Democracy and Governance Spending FY 2008 and 2009
2. (SBU) The total proposed D and G spending for FY2008 will be USD 65-75 million with USD 11-13 million for off-shore programming and USD 54-62 million for ongoing and new on-shore programming. Total spending for FY2009 will be USD 75 million with USD 25 million for off-shore programming and USD 50 million for ongoing and new on-shore programming.
3. (C) Due to on-going GOE interference with U.S. democracy and human rights assistance programs, the Deputies Committee decided on April 10 to proceed with offshore programming as appropriate. Per this guidance, the interagency agreed to release USD 5 million in FY2007, USD 11-13 million in FY2008, and USD 25 million in FY2009. State will determine the administration of the programming funds. Decisions will be project-driven with a focus on competitive grants and low administrative overhead.
4. (SBU) FY2007: USD 5 million, to include support of:
(a) International Republican Institute (IRI): Workshops, strategic planning, and capacity building to assist in developing emerging leaders in all political parties. Focus is on current and emerging party leadership and reform-minded NGOs in preparation for the 2010 parliamentary elections and 2011 presidential election.
(b) National Democratic Institute (NDI): Train municipal candidates and campaign managers (with an emphasis on women) in advance of 2008 municipal elections, including a mix of in-country consultations and offshore training and exchanges. Build capacity of civil society organizations in election and governance monitoring, networking, and information sharing with counterparts.
(c) Freedom House: Fund off-shore human rights activities that may include training for bloggers, assistance to human rights lawyers, international coalition building with civil society, and off-shore civic education.
(d) IFES (formerly International Foundation for Election Systems): Work with reform-minded Egyptian NGOs and civic leaders to promote electoral reform and increase voter awareness, education, and registration, particularly among women and youth. Offshore and onshore programming will be included to increase knowledge of international standards for free, fair, and transparent elections; media regulation, and election administration. Technical assistance and training will be offered to the Supreme Elections Commission leading up to the 2008 municipal elections.
5. (SBU) FY 2008: USD 11-13 million: The above programs will continue and new programs will be added to include the following:
(a) MEPI-funded conference on the role of Islamist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, in democratic politics: Meridian House to organize a conference for American academics and policy makers
(b) Expanding training of domestic and international election monitors. This could include work with the Ibn Khaldun Center and others.
(c) Training civil society and think tanks in public opinion polling.
(d) Strengthening advocacy skills of civil society and promoting exchanges, especially those focused on coalition building, youth and women, including small grants to be administered by the implementing NGO.
(e) Supporting programs aimed at advocacy for women,s rights and expanding the capacity of individuals and groups seeking to safeguard women,s rights and increase their political participation. This would also include a focus on trafficking in person.
(f) Providing onshore and offshore support and training for indigenous human rights efforts, including those focused on minorities, religious freedom, freedom speech, and youth.
(g) Providing training for independent media, internet-centered media, and increased public diplomacy.
6. (SBU) FY 2009: USD 25 million: Expanding the above programs and adding new programs to adapt to the new political environment, including efforts to prepare for the 2010 parliamentary elections and the 2011 presidential election.
Breakdown of Ongoing and New On-Shore Programming: FY2008 and FY2009
7. (C) President Mubarak is deeply skeptical of the U.S. role in democracy promotion. Nonetheless, USG programs are helping to establish democratic institutions and strengthen individual voices for change in Egypt. This change is often incremental and painstaking, but will also have enduring impact. We will sustain successful programs and create additional on-shore initiatives to optimize American influence through the looming leadership succession.
8. (SBU) Total funding for ongoing and new on-shore programming will be between USD 54-62 million for FY2008 with USD 28.5-31.5 million for in-country activities working with the GOE and USD 25.5-30.5 million for other in-country activities and USAID direct grants. Total funding in FY2009 is set at USD 50 million with USD 27 million for in-country activities working with the GOE and USD 23 million for other in-country activities and USAID direct grants.
9. (SBU) Proposed list of programs for in-country activities working with the GOE:
(a) Administration of Justice Support Project II: Improve the effectiveness of civil/commercial courts, streamline court procedures and enhance transparency.
(b) Family Justice: Strengthen the capacity of family justice system to mediate family disputes and increase access to family legal services.
(c) Criminal Justice: Provide more effective assistance of counsel to defendants through a public defense system and human rights training for prosecutors/judges.
(d) Constitutional Court: Enhance the role of the Egyptian Supreme Constitutional Court in judicial ethics, child abduction, and environmental law by deepening the legal knowledge and skills of members and increasing interaction with peers.
(e) Court of Cassation: Work with the court to make its rulings accessible, particularly to lower court judges.
(f) Parliament: Technical assistance and training to members and staff to strengthen their role in developing and implementing a reform agenda, improve representation, and strengthen skills as checks on the executive branch.
(g) Anti-Corruption/Public Accountability: Increase transparency in government operations and increase citizen demand for public accountability through a transparent budget, and transparency legislation, policies and conventions promoting public accountability.
(h) Decentralization: Develop a national policy and localpractices to decentralize selected financial, political and administrative authorities to regional and local governments to strengthen citizen participation and improve service delivery.
(i) Human Rights and National Councils: Strengthen quasi-government human rights councils (National Council for Human Rights, National Council for Women and National Council for Childhood and Motherhood) to protect human rights and combat violence against women and children.
(j) FTA Support: Provide technical assistance to help Egypt move its laws into compliance with requirements under a possible FTA, including workers, rights.
10. (SBU) Proposed list of programs for other in-country activities and USAID direct grant:
(a) USAID Direct Grants: Through grants to Egyptian NGOs, continue to support innovative Egyptian reform initiatives in political and electoral reform, increased political participation, civil society strengthening, civic education, human rights, women,s rights, community development, independent media, and transparency.
(b) Corruption: Support Transparency International and Egyptian NGOs to develop skills to combat corruption and advocate reforms to promote transparency and accountability in government and business.
(c) Labor: Promote freedom of association and reform of Egypt,s state-controlled labor unions through an agreement with the International Labor Organization and the AFL-CIO,s Solidarity Center.
(d) Independent Media: Build training capacity to promote professional development among journalists and managers; improve media management; and foster policy reform leading to the privatization of the print and broadcast sectors.
(e) Women,s Rights: Support Egyptian organizations advocating for women,s political, economic and social rights.