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Meeting with Baghdad PC Chairman Kamil Zaidi in the Newspaper "Our Baghdad"

The newspaper "Our Baghdad" published on frontpage the report about the meeting of USAID's Senior Consultant in Local Government Mr Murat Daoudov with the Chairman of Baghdad Provincial Counmurat daoudov, kamil zaidi, usaid, iraqcil Mr Kamil Zaidi (Edition of 10 Feb 2013).


تقرير في صحيفة بغدادنا عن لقاء بين  السيد مراد داودوف مستشار اقدم في الحكومات المحلية للوكالة الامريكية للتنمية الدولية و السيد كامل الزيدي رئيس مجلس محافظة بغداد



مراد داودوف , كامل الزيدي, murat daoudov, kamil zaidi



Lisbon Forum discussed the Arab Season

Lisbon Forum 2012: "The Arab Season: from change to challenges"

lisbon forum






The 2012 Lisbon Forum took place on 3-4 December 2012 in Lisbon/Portugal. The event was organised by the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe in partnership with the UN Alliance of Civilizations. It took place in the framework of the Programme “Strengthening democratic reform in the southern Neighbourhood”, funded by the European Union and implemented by the Council of Europe.


The theme for this year’s Forum was "The Arab Season: from change to challenges". It was a follow-up to the previous year’s edition and focused again on the developments in the Arab countries of Northern Africa and the Middle East in order to take stock of the progress made - and obstacles met - on the path towards democracy. Particular attention was paid to new political élites, youth and women activists and to the process of democratic reforms. 

The event report is to be found here while the full programme is available here .

Murat Daoudov ، مراد داودوف

A flashback... 

As member of the North-South Centre Think Tank of the Council of Europe, I had the chance to bring my modest contribution to the preparations of the Forum. Namely, I had worked on the initial elaboration of the concept of this year's Forum and actually had proposed its title "from change to challenges" (by the way, a title applauded by many speakers).

Besides, I had proposed to have also discussions on the local governments in the Arab world. This proposal was adopted by the North South Centre which finally entrusted me with moderating the Workshop 3 "Addressing the challenges of democratisation: political reforms, including the reform of local self‐government". This is my third participation in the Lisbon Forum. In 2010 I had moderated the session entitled “The prevention of radicalisation and religious extremism”, while in 2011 I was honoured with moderating the session on Tunisia, the pioneer of the Arab revolutions. This last experience had inspired me to write the article "Can Turkey inspire Tunisia", which was published in several newspapers in the Arab world. 

* * * 

Here below is the panel setting of this year: 

Moderator: Mr Murat Daoudov, Member of the Think Tank of the North‐South Centre of the Council of Europe; Rapporteur: Mr Younes Sekkouri, Parliamentarian, Morocco
- Prof. Lotfi Tarchouna, President of the Association Tunisienne d’Études et de
Recherches en Démocratie et Affaires Locales, Tunisia
Mr Tarak Mahdhaoui, Member of the ISIE (Independent High Body for Elections), Tunisia
- Mr Atef Rawahneh, Mayor of Lab‐wa‐Mleeh, National Coordinator of United Cities and Local Governments, Jordan
- Mr Philippe Receveur, Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe
- Sir Roger Gale, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
- Mr Christophe Rouillon, Member of the Committee of the Regions

The workshop conclusions have been presented at the closing session of the Forum by Younes Sekkouri:

Lisbon Forum 2012
 “The Arab Season: from change to challenges”
Workshop 3: Addressing the challenges of democratization: political reforms, including the reform of local self-government
3 - 4 December 2012

Workshop Report
By Younes Sekkouri & Murat Daoudov

The Workshop 3 dedicated to the “challenges of democratisation" that entail political and local self-government reforms was moderated by Mr Murat Daoudov, Member of the Think Tank of the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe and had for rapporteur Mr Younes Sekkouri, Parliamentarian from Morocco.

The session started with a brief introduction of the topic by the moderator stressing the importance of local self-government reforms as a major challenge of democratisation in the Arab world. Then different speakers addressed the issue from various perspectives:

- The Moroccan experience introduced by Mr Sekkouri Younes, Parliamentarian, pointed out the necessity of a complementarity between the central and local governments and the need of identification among the population with the elected bodies. Mechanisms of a better participation are to be found not only in the voting process, but also in involving citizens to follow up the management of their local affairs.

- The Tunisian local government experience was introduced by Prof. Lofti Tarchouna, President of the "Association Tunisienne d'Etudes et de Récherches en Démocratie et Affaires Locales". Mr Tarchouna pointed out standard challenges such as lack of financial autonomy, qualified human resources, tight tutelage by central government and overlapping functions between deconcentration and decentralization. Prof Tarchouna also addressed very specific problems such as lack of legitimacy in the cases where local government bodies were dissolved and replaced by specially appointed delegations.

- Mr Tarak Mahdaoui, Member of the Independent High Body for Elections in Tunisia, outlined the situation under the prism of serious regional disparities, which were source of the socio-economic claims in early 2008 and of the source of the Tunisian Revolution in 2011. He pleaded for better regional development policy in the new Tunisia and for political responses to the problem by strengthening the decentralisation and assuring better representativeness of local bodies.

- Mr Atef Rawahneh, Mayor of Lab-wa-Mleeh, National Coordinator of United cities and Local Governments for Jordan, pointed at the fact that the poor social conditions and general dissatisfaction with life standards had led to the social uprisings in the Arab world. Had there been effective local governments which provide sufficient services to citizen, the social pressure which led to uprisings would probably not have occurred. Therefore current reform process should emphasise the decentralisation and devolution of powers to the local level. Turkey’s experience of efficient local development is a successful example for the Arab countries from the region.

- Mr Philippe Receveur, representing the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, stressed the necessity for strengthening the lowest levels of decentralization, taking inspiration from the European Charter for Local Self government of 1985 and its additional protocols. The closeness of the power to citizen reinforces the democracy, and the culture of tolerance and of the respect of minorities must take root in the territories. He expressed the readiness of his organisation to accompany and support emergent experiences through expertise exchange, as in the cases of Morocco and Tunisia where the Congress already started its cooperation.

- Sir Roger Gale, representing the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe emphasized on the necessity for governments to keep sovereign competencies that necessitate central monitoring and design. He also stated that in the time of current economic crisis the European Union should take necessary measures for austerity through reducing internal bureaucracy. Finally, he strongly recommended that in their current efforts to elaborate new constitutional texts, the Arab countries should provide a strong constitutional basis for local government from the very beginning.

- Mr Christophe Rouillon, Member of the Committee of the Regions witnessed of the French experience in local government and pleaded for more solid European approach in development cooperation. He stressed that in the difficult times of crisis a tendency is to cut from the budgets related to external actions of the Union, which is a historical mistake given the importance of the developments in the neighbourhood to Europe itself.

The workshop panellists and participants formulated following recommendations:

  1. The institutionalisation of local government in the Arab countries should be properly addressed in the constitutions in order to stress its importance.
  2. The State's overall architecture should better separate between sovereign/national and local powers to enable complementarity and clarity between different levels.
  3. The relationship between central and local powers needs to shift from close tutelage to empowerment; the control of opportunity must transform into a control of legality a posteriori.
  4. Local governments should to be consulted systematically by central powers regarding all national policies that affect local competencies.
  5. Local governments should be provided sufficient financial autonomy, through increase of local revenues, increase of tax revenue shares and appropriate mechanisms of transfers for a more cohesive development of territories. Thus, regional disparities should be tackled through balanced regional and local economic development policies.
  6. Local governments should be able to form their associations, for better representation of their interests and better coordination.
  7. The popular participation in the local life should not be restricted to the election processes; various mechanisms of participatory democracy should be promoted.
  8. Equality and gender balance should be assured at local level and social groups with specific needs as well as minorities should be taken into consideration.
  9. The principle of subsidiarity should be promoted and respected; central governments should transfer competencies with sufficient resources to local governments. Thus, countries should seek for an appropriate equilibrium between decentralization and deconcentration.
  10. The status of a local elected official should be given a clear legal and financial framework in order to allow the good exercise of local responsibilities.


Murat Daoudov at TRT Arabic talks about public and local diplomacy

Murat DaoudovMarmara Belediyeler Birliği Uluslararası İşbirliği Direktörü Murat Daoudov TRT Arapça kanalında Elvan-ı Seb'a programında Dr. Nizar Herbavi'nin konuğu oldu. Programda halk diplomasisi ve yerel diplomasi konuşuldu. 


Murat Daoudov

Murat Daoudov, Director of International Cooperation of the Union of Municipalities of Marmara (UMM) participated in the TV talk show al-Alwan as-Sab'a of Dr Nizar Hirbawi an the TRT Arabic channel. The topic was public diplomacy and local diplomacy.


مراد داودوف مدير لتعاون دولي في اتحاد بلديات مرمرة من تركيا ضيف في برنامج الألوان السبعة لالدوكتور نزار الحرباوي 

موضوع البرنامج - الديبلوماسية الشعيبة و المحلية 




TRT Arabic - Al-Alwan Al-Sab'a / الألوان السبعة - التركيا

Marmara Belediyeler Birliği Uluslararası İşbirliği Direktörü Murat Daoudov ve Çin Uluslararası Dostluk Şehirleri Birliği Genel Sekreter Yardımcısı Ayşe Jia Ling TRT Arapça kanalında Elvan-ı Seb'a programında Dr. Nizar Herbavi'nin konuğu oldu. 

murat daoudov, ayisha jia ling,
Murat Daoudov, director of international cooperation of the Union of Municipalities of Marmara (UMM), and Ayisha Jia Ling, deputy secretary general of the Chinese International Associaton of Friendship Cities (CIFCA), participated in the TV talk show of Dr Nizar Hirbawi in the TRT Arabic channel. 


مراد داودوف مدير لتعاون دولي في اتحاد بلديات مرمرة من تركيا و عائشة
جيالينغ نائبة امين عام في الاتحاد الصيني الدولي لتوأمة المدن ضيفان في برنامج الألوان السبعة
لالدوكتور نزار الحرباوي







برنامج السوق / قناة اقرأ IQRA TV

"الخدمات و دورها فى تيسير التجارة" في برنامج "السوق"

In the TV programme As-Souk (Market) Murat Daoudov spoke with Sheikh Saleh Kamal from Saudi Arabia and with Adem Varıcı from Istanbul on the role of local governments in Turkey in developing local economy and providing services to citizen.

Programme broadcasted on 27.02.2012 on Iqra TV Arabic. 



120227-IqraTV-Murat-Adem (7).jpg
عدد الزيارات 373 
عدد الردود 1
"الخدمات و دورها فى تيسير التجارة" في برنامج "السوق" لهذا الأسبوع  

لأن لقطاع الخدمات دور حيوي في عملية التنمية بإسهامه في الإنتاج والاستخدام وموازين المدفوعات لسائر الدول فإن حلقة هذا الأسبوع من برنامج "السوق" في جزئه الثالث والتي تأتيكم من تركيا وتبث مساء الإثنين الموافق للسابع والعشرين من فبراير تسلط الضوء على موضوع "الخدمات و دورها فى تيسير التجارة" حيث يستمع فيها سعادة الشيخ صالح كامل إلى ضيفيه ويدير الإعلامي بندر عرب الحوار حول أهمية الخدمات في الاقتصادات الوطنية والتي تنبع من صلتها المشتركة مع القطاعات الاقتصادية الأخرى ومن أثرها على المنافسة الدولية وتقسيم العمل وكذلك من ارتباطها المتزايد بالتقدم التكنولوجى. 120227-IqraTV-Murat-Adem (1) - Copy.jpg


فما هي الخدمات التي يحتاجها العمل التجاري؟ وما أهمية تطوير الخدمات والإنعكاسات الاقتصادية في تطويرها؟
المزيد من التفاصيل تشاهدونها على برنامج "السوق" الذي يأتيكيم أسبوعيا كل يوم اثنين في الساعة:120227-IqraTV-Murat-Adem (4) - Copy.jpg21:00 (مكة) – 18:00 (GMT)
ويعاد الثلاثاء في الأوقات التالية:
14:30 (مكة) – 11:30 (GMT)
01:30 (مكة) – 22:30 (GMT)
كما يعاد الجمعة في الساعة:





International Arabic Competitions on "Kudüs TV"

Murat Daoudov ، مراد داودوفInternational coordinator of the 3rd Internatonal Arabic Competitions Murat Daoudov spoke about the contest in the Turkish satellite channel Kudüs TV.


3. Uluslararası Arapça Yarışmaları anlatmak üzere Uluslararası Koordinatörü Murat Daoudov Kudüs TV'de Arzu Erdoğral'ın konuğu oldu.Murat Daoudov ، مراد داودوف


المنسق الدولي للمسابقة الدولية الثالثة في اللغة العربية مراد داودوف شارك في البرنامج عن  هذا المشروع على  " القدس تي في" الفضائية التركية






Can Turkey inspire Tunisia?

Common Ground News Service










Can Turkey inspire Tunisia?
by Murat Daoudov

25 November 2011

Istanbul, Turkey - As a forerunner of the Arab Spring, Tunisia has offered a pioneering example for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. After sparking the MENA revolutions, it rapidly stepped into a post-revolutionary phase by organising the first democratic elections in the region. Moreover, it is in Tunisia that Islamic political parties and activists, who have long been used as an excuse to justify dictatorial regimes in other countries, gained power democratically. And just as Tunisia’s revolt proved contagious across the region, the outcome of the recent Tunisian vote will likely influence the upcoming elections in Egypt and Morocco. 

At this critical stage, there is a great deal the country can learn from Turkey, which has provided a successful model linking both democracy and Islamic political parties.

Three major types of challenges await Tunisia at this transitional phase: democratic, economic and demographic. To begin with, the new leadership will have to build a strong democracy with pluralist institutions to secure a stable future. Otherwise, there is a risk of falling into authoritarianism, a fate other societies in transition have faced in the past. It remains to be seen whether Tunisia’s Islamic political parties will be able to reform the state according to universal principles to avert this possibility. 

The experience of Turkey, which has an Islamic-rooted ruling political elite in a secular state, is a proof of the mutual compatibility of democracy and Islamic political parties. However, opinions among Tunisians are divided on whether the Turkish example should be seen as a source of inspiration. For those who hold secular values and fear their erosion due to the win of Al Nahda, the main Islamic political party in Tunisia, the circumstances of Turkey and Tunisia might seem to differ considerably. 

While it’s true that secularism is constitutionally protected in Turkey and not in Tunisia, Tunisian society is likely to support secular law, rather than adopting religious law, as some observers fear. At the same time, as both nations simultaneously undertake to adopt new constitutions, there is room for an exchange of ideas and cooperation. For example, both must consider how best to lay foundations for an efficient government and judiciary, how to protect basic rights and freedoms, and which model of decentralisation to adopt. As a member of the Council of Europe and a candidate for EU membership, Turkey already has accumulated important knowledge about democracy-building in a predominantly Muslim society that it could share with Tunisia.

On the other hand, since it was largely socio-economic pressures that served as a catalyst for the uprising, Tunisia’s economic recovery will probably be the main test for the government. The high scores of Al Nahda in the elections will also mean that the Tunisian people will have high expectations for tangible and rapid improvement in the standard of living, which will ultimately constitute a heavy burden of responsibility for leaders. 

In my view, it is here that Turkey’s example may provide some lessons from inside the region, given that it evolved from a collapsing economy to the current growth-champion. After all, the continuous success of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in elections for the past decade is largely due to its progress in economic matters. If a government with an Islamic background succeeded in steering the market in Turkey, who is to say something similar couldn’t be achieved elsewhere? 

Likewise, Tunisia must address corruption, create a transparent and favourable environment for foreign investments, and support tourism as well as free trade. With such programmes it could become a new northern gateway for trade in Africa. 

Finally, it was youth who wrote the story of the Arab Spring and who are at the epicentre of what has been referred to as a “youthquake” throughout the region. For this reason, it’s regrettable that they are not properly represented in Tunisia’s first, newly elected democratic assembly. At the same time, youth must try and ensure that their voices are part of the transition, and should also keep pressure on political parties to be represented in decision-making entities. 

An inspiring example of this kind of effort is the Young Civilians movement in Turkey, which often uses humour to focus public attention on the need to support democracy and human rights. 

Hopefully, next year, the young can benefit better from new opportunities that present themselves at national and local elections. After all, it was success in municipal politics that propelled the current political elite in Turkey to national government. 

In Tunisia too, participation at the local level – which is the first echelon of democratic governance – may prove a good training ground for the political involvement of the younger generation. If all these opportunities are seized, then Tunisia might continue to inspire other countries and pave the way forward in the region. 


* Murat Daoudov is an İstanbul-based member of the North-South Center Think Tank of the Council of Europe. This article was written for the Common Ground News Service (CGNews).

Source: Common Ground News Service (CGNews), 22 November 2011, www.commongroundnews.org 
Copyright permission is granted for publication.



Translation in French, Arabic, Urdu, Indonesian and Hebrew available at CGNews, while Turkish translation can be read here: http://www.timeturk.com/tr/2011/11/25/turkiye-tunus-a-ilham-verebilir-mi.html


The article has been published in the Saudi daily "The Arab News", the Emirati daily "The Khaleej Times", the Lebanese daily "The Daily Star", the Indonesian daily "The Bali Times", the Jordanian daily "Al-Rai" (in Arabic), the Bahraini daily "Al-Wasat" (in Arabic), as well as at the Al-Arabiya English TV web site.