IOB – The Only Constant is Change: Evaluation of the Dutch contribution to transition in the Arab region (2009-2013)

This report presents the findings of an evaluation of the response of the Dutch government to the Arab uprisings and its support to a democratisation, development of the rule of law and protection of human rights and economic growth.

The Ministry and its embassies offered timely and flexible funding in support of a range of projects implemented by key actors in countries in transition, including youth, women, journalists and trade unions. However, less support was provided to governments in transition than to civil society.

The lion’s share of financial resources was used to support economic growth. Far fewer resources were spent on promoting the rule of law.

Fragmentation and targeting of bilateral support are a concern, and not all multilateral efforts explicitly aim to foster democracy. Conditionality does not work and demand for change is essential.

The policy response needs to take advantage of a growing evidence base of lessons learned in the area of democracy assistance and should apply a country-level perspective. Promoting transition is a long-term process.

Findings show that the implementation of support to Arab countries in the aftermath of the Arab uprisings is far from easy because of the volatile context.