The Netherlands and the Arab region: a principled and pragmatic approach

November 12, 2014 - nr.91
Summary

Conclusions and recommendations

Recent developments in the Arab region have shown that there is a large gap between wishful thinking and reality. Elections and democratisation in the region gave rise to overblown expectations in 2011 and failed in almost all the countries concerned to produce Western-style reforms. The process of reforming a political system can take several generations and depends on the quality of political leadership and on whether political parties are able to gain a permanent support base within the population. Western governments and parliaments need to bear this in mind when formulating their foreign policy objectives. The holding of elections should not be the only criterion on which these developments are judged, and Western countries should not fall into the trap of fixating on them. Instead, they should devote just as much attention to the kind of developments that precede an orderly election process, such as developing the rule of law and strengthening citizenship, democratisation and respect for minorities. Here, too, there are no short-term solutions.

Now that the region is caught in a cycle of polarisation, conflict and cross-border civil wars, the AIV believes that support for the local population should not be withdrawn. In countries where the state apparatus has ceased to function, this may take the form of humanitarian and/or military intervention and, in due course, support for reconstruction and reconciliation. In countries where the legal order has not broken down entirely, the West must continue to do what it can to support the rule of law, basic social rights and effective government, even if the democratisation process has suffered a setback or if a form of Islamisation has taken hold that the West finds equally worrying.

As regards the appropriate level and nature of the Netherlands’ relations with governments that cannot claim democratic legitimacy, the AIV concludes that in cases where they are guilty of serious human rights violations, such as torture and summary executions, it would not be fitting to engage in close cooperation with such governments in addition to maintaining diplomatic relations with them. Such cooperation is only appropriate in cases where governments that lack democratic legitimacy have committed themselves to a path that offers realistic prospects of respect for constitutional principles, action aimed at combating corruption, policies targeting economic growth and a fair distribution of wealth, and a reduction in the political role of the armed forces. This is without prejudice to the AIV’s observations on the issue of conditionality earlier in this report. The AIV advocates adopting a principled approach with regard to the nature of the objectives that should be pursued and a pragmatic approach with regard to the paths that should be followed in order to ultimately achieve them.

Given the pressure of population growth and the lack of economic prospects in the region, it is important to include economic measures in the range of support options. Failure to do so could result in social unrest and discontent, which in turn might serve as a breeding ground for radicalisation and jihadism.

In view of its limited influence in the Arab region, the Netherlands will have to implement its policies primarily through the EU. The AIV has accordingly focused most of its recommendations on the EU framework.

The AIV’s recommendations regarding democratisation and employment are as follows:

  1. The Netherlands and the EU should continue offering programmes (training and exchanges) aimed at promoting the rule of law and democratisation. The ‘more for more’ principle should be abandoned. Examples of such programmes, which in some cases may already be in place, include:
  • advice on constitutional and legal reform, support and training for the criminal justice system and the public prosecution service, legal aid for the less well-off, prison reform;
  • training for members of the police, the prison system and the criminal justice system in the practical protection of human rights and democratic control over the defence establishment;
  • human rights education, with a special focus on children’s and women’s rights;
  •  training for elections and electoral law reform.
     
  1. The AIV recommends increasing the budget – and thereby the impact – of the Matra South programme, if necessary by shifting funds between the ODA and non-ODA parts of the foreign affairs budget. In line with its first advisory report on the Arab region, the AIV would add that this programme should be tailored as much as possible to similar efforts by other European countries.
     
  2. Furthermore, given the complexity of the conflicts in the region and the fragmentation of the budget, the AIV recommends establishing a single, all-encompassing budget item for the region, consolidating the coordination of Dutch policy in the Arab region in a single entity and giving this policy a single face in the form of an ambassador or special envoy for the entire Arab region.
     
  3. The Netherlands and the EU should expand their efforts in support of employment. This would involve:
  • entering into serious negotiations on EU trade agreements;
  • increasing investment by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Dutch private sector where possible;
  • stimulating local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), for example by advising banks on the provision of micro- and meso-credit;
  • assisting free trade unions and cooperatives, as recommended in previous advisory reports.
     
  1. The Netherlands and the EU should also call upon the region’s wealthier countries, such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar and Iran, to extend their narrow focus on security to economic development. A recalibration of their financial support programmes in this direction would be highly desirable.

The situation in Syria and Iraq has given rise to a broad international coalition in the fight against ISIS. In order to keep this intervention on the right track, there needs to be unity of purpose and strategy. This requires expert knowledge of the warring parties, the local conflicts and the will of the population. It is also important to secure the commitment of the main regional powers, in particular Iran and Saudi Arabia, as they hold the keys and the resources to finding solutions to these conflicts.

The AIV’s recommendations regarding the extreme violence in the region are as follows:

  1. The international community should take urgent action to cut off funding to ISIS, al Nusra and other jihadist groups.
     
  2. Measures should be taken against countries and individuals that buy oil and gas from these extremist movements.
     
  3. The AIV recommends that, following military intervention in armed conflicts, attention be devoted not only to reconstruction but also to transitional justice, reconciliation and repairing damaged relations. Eliminating, imprisoning or convicting those who are guilty of violent acts is not enough in itself to prevent such acts from recurring.

The AIV is aware of the dilemmas that arise in this context. Should we support a government that has come to power by democratic means if it also tramples on minority rights? Or maintain relations with a repressive regime that calls a halt to democratisation? Or conduct a dialogue with a vicious despot in order to combat even greater dangers?

The AIV highlights the pitfalls of adopting an outwardly moral position (‘doing nothing because …’) and favours a more pragmatic approach to the countries and conflicts in the Arab region. What ultimately matters is how the government can best fulfil its constitutional obligation to promote the development of the international legal order. This obviously involves making difficult choices. The important thing is to have a clear strategy for attaining that objective that takes account of the available resources. That strategy may differ significantly from country to country.

Entering into a dialogue is a key aspect of such a strategy. The Netherlands and the EU must keep talking to countries in the Arab region, if necessary through back channels, in order to generate mutual understanding. This also applies to countries with a less than pristine record, even if it means speaking to members of the Assad regime. The AIV believes that, in the case of Syria, the criterion should be whether or not a certain individual appears on the UN sanctions list.

The AIV’s recommendations regarding the diplomatic channel are as follows:

  1. The AIV advocates a more robust, integrated European policy that no longer treats technical assistance and foreign policy as independent variables. The EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy should therefore be granted both the resources and the political mandate of the European Council to talk to the countries in the region, including the Gulf states.
     
  2. The AIV advocates a pragmatic approach to Dutch policy in the Arab region, on the grounds that a stop-and-go policy based on considerations of principle mostly harms aid recipients. At the same time, the AIV is in favour of conducting a critical dialogue with the countries in the region and advises the government to focus not only on transition countries but also on the countries in the Gulf. It is important to analyse and address a wide range of issues, including technical issues such as water, energy and climate change, which may have positive spin-offs in the political sphere. The AIV further believes that it is vital to enter into a dialogue with religious groups. If the government gets all its information from the elites, it will be unable to clearly and effectively identify the mainsprings of social developments. Finally, the AIV believes that the Netherlands and the EU should be willing to listen to warring parties that have found a way to start talking, if necessary through informal ‘Track II’ diplomacy. The AIV is aware that the idea of establishing contacts with groups that do not eschew violence (but unlike ISIS, for example, are not intent on wiping out all dissenters) may initially meet with resistance. However, from a historical perspective, this will be a price worth paying if it improves the odds of finding an acceptable political solution.
Advice request

Professor Jaap de Hoop Scheffer
Chairman of the Advisory Council
on International Affairs
PO Box 20061
2500 EB The Hague

Date:                16 June 2014
Re:                   Request for advice on developments in the Arab region

Dear Professor De Hoop Scheffer,

The government would appreciate the AIV’s advice on the following matter.

In a motion proposed by Wassila Hachchi and myself on 30 June 2011 on the current situation in North Africa and the Middle East, the government was requested by parliament to regularly ask the AIV to update its advisory report no. 75 ‘Reforms in the Arab Region: Prospects for Democracy and the Rule of Law?’ of May 2011. The first such update resulted in AIV advisory report no. 79 ‘The Arab Region, an Uncertain Future’ of June 2012.

By way of this letter, the government is once again carrying out the above motion, which incidentally does not prescribe any set timescale for these updates. However, the current situation in the region gives grounds for requesting a follow-up advisory report from the AIV. It will be the third such report on the Arab region.

Questions
The government requests an update of the AIV’s advisory report no. 79, focusing primarily on the conditionality of support for Arab countries. In its letter to parliament of 22 March 2013, the government saw Dutch support as ‘dependent on the reform efforts of the countries in question’, while being aware that ‘democratisation is a lengthy process with ups and downs’. Dutch policy on this matter ties in with the European Union policy principle of ‘more for more’. The government requests the AIV to advise on the following questions:

  1. When and how should the Netherlands and the EU (independently, but also in concert) modify their support for Arab countries if democratic reforms fail to take place or the situation even regresses?
     
  2. In the process, how can policy be prevented on the one hand from becoming erratic – due to instant responses to developments that are not yet entirely intelligible – or, on the other, from responding too slowly to such developments?
     
  3. How can reform-minded actors in a country be supported if the government of that country opposes or reverses reforms?
     
  4. In the AIV’s view, should undemocratic policy by a specific government meet with a strong signal in response, or is it more important not to derail the dialogue with such governments? How can a situation be avoided in which the Netherlands and EU, through conditionality, greatly reduce their constructive influence with such countries, which can, after all, turn to other donors who do not impose conditionality?
     
  5. Could the AIV further refine the approach it set out in its earlier advisory reports on dealing (criteria, methods, etc) with Islamist movements and parties, including Salafists?
     
  6. These questions and the Western discourse on transition in the Arab region imply an assumption that consensus exists on the form democratisation should take. What is the AIV’s view on this issue, and to what extent is it worthwhile supporting different forms of democratisation (liberal, illiberal, etc)?

The government greatly looks forward to receiving your recommendations.

Yours sincerely,

Frans Timmermans
Minister of Foreign Affairs

Government reactions

Government response to AIV advisory report no. 91, ‘The Netherlands and the Arab Region: A Principled and Pragmatic Approach’

Introduction
On 16 June 2014, in response to the motion by MPs Wassila Hachchi and Frans Timmermans (House of Representatives, 32 623, no. 29), the government asked the Advisory Council on International Affairs (AIV) for an update on AIV advisory report no. 79, ‘The Arab Region: An Uncertain Future’ of 14 June 2012. Advisory report no. 79 was, in its turn, an update on advisory report no. 75, ‘Reforms in the Arab Region: Prospects for Democracy and the Rule of Law?’ of 27 May 2011.

The AIV published the requested third update, advisory report no. 91, ‘The Netherlands and the Arab Region: A Principled and Pragmatic Approach’, on 12 November 2014. The government’s response follows below.

General remarks
The government is of the opinion that the report contains insightful analysis and is pleased to see that the AIV’s conclusions and recommendations are concrete and practicable. The AIV has succeeded in deepening the analysis of the two previous reports and updating its views. The government shares the AIV’s assessment that the situation in the Arab region as of 2014 had deteriorated, rather than improved, since 2012. The polarisations and trends described in the report are cause for increasing concern.

The AIV rightly decided to extend the scope of its report beyond the modalities of supporting the transition process. It stands to reason that the AIV cannot provide a ready-made answer to the dilemmas outlined in the government’s request for advice. However, the government does appreciate the AIV’s outlining several general principles for approaching these dilemmas. The report’s subtitle reflects the fact that the AIV advocates ‘a principled approach with regard to the nature of the objectives that should be pursued and a pragmatic approach with regard to the paths that should be followed in order to ultimately achieve them’. Although ‘principled’ and ‘pragmatic’ are not necessarily antithetical, in practice it is not always possible to maintain a strict separation between policy objectives and the paths to achieving them. Given the hyper-politicised dynamics of the Arab world, the choice of path will inevitably be perceived as a choice for or against a given side, which can push policy objectives even further out of reach. This does not mean, however, that passivity – itself viewed as a choice – is the best approach, but rather that the possible consequences of every step must be considered.

The report’s specific conclusions and recommendations are discussed below.

Response to conclusions and recommendations
The government’s response to the AIV’s conclusions and recommendations also takes account of the section of the report entitled ‘Specific responses to the government’s questions’. The AIV’s recommendations are listed separately and the government’s response is provided beneath each one. Where there is overlap between recommendations – either in whole or in part – a combined response is given in the interests of coherence.

Recommendation 1
The Netherlands and the EU should continue offering programmes (training and exchanges) aimed at promoting the rule of law and democratisation. The ‘more for more’ principle should be abandoned. Examples of such programmes, which in some cases may already be in place, include:

  • advice on constitutional and legal reform, support and training for the criminal justice system and the public prosecution service, legal aid for the less well-off, prison reform;
  • training for members of the police, the prison system and the criminal justice system in the practical protection of human rights and democratic control over the defence establishment;
  • human rights education, with a special focus on children’s and women’s rights;
  • training for elections and electoral law reform.

First part of recommendation 10
The AIV advocates a pragmatic approach to Dutch policy in the Arab region, on the grounds that a stop-and-go policy based on considerations of principle mostly harms aid recipients. At the same time, the AIV is in favour of conducting a critical dialogue with the countries in the region and advises the government to focus not only on transition countries but also on the countries in the Gulf. It is important to analyse and address a wide range of issues, including technical issues such as water, energy and climate change, which may have positive spin-offs in the political sphere.

Government response
The government shares the AIV’s view that the Netherlands and the EU should continue offering programmes aimed at promoting the rule of law and democratisation. Thanks in part to Dutch efforts, the current European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) for 2014-2020 places more emphasis on such programmes than the ENI for the previous period. In nearly all neighbourhood countries a significant share (10-25%) of ENI resources is used to promote the development of civil society.

The government believes that encouraging reform in Arab countries is intrinsically right and necessary. An incentive-based ‘more for more’ approach is instrumental in this but should not be applied too dogmatically. Reducing support for transition in response to adverse events in the recipient country can be counterproductive when it affects the very organisations working to achieve democratisation. It is also possible for transition to falter, not because governments are unwilling to support it, but because they are unable to. The government shares the AIV’s opinion that a stop-and-go policy can harm aid recipients. In some cases, the best response may in fact be increasing support for transition, rather than a knee-jerk reduction to satisfy instinctive calls for punitive measures.

At the same time, a long-term contribution to promoting democracy and the rule of law in the Arab region should include trying to maintain a constructive dialogue with the countries concerned. This includes countries in the Gulf, as the AIV notes in recommendation 10.

Recommendation 2
The AIV recommends increasing the budget – and thereby the impact – of the Matra South programme, if necessary by shifting funds between the ODA and non-ODA parts of the foreign affairs budget. In line with its first advisory report on the Arab region, the AIV would add that this programme should be tailored as much as possible to similar efforts by other European countries.

Recommendation 3
Furthermore, given the complexity of the conflicts in the region and the fragmentation of the budget, the AIV recommends establishing a single, all-encompassing budget item for the region, consolidating the coordination of Dutch policy in the Arab region in a single entity and giving this policy a single face in the form of an ambassador or special envoy for the entire Arab region.

Government response
The government notes that, in light of developments in the Arab region, the possibility of increasing the Matra South programme budget is being assessed. The Policy and Operations Evaluation Department (IOB) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is also conducting an evaluation of the programme. In a letter of 24 June 2011 to the House of Representatives (Parliamentary Paper 32 623, no. 40), the government pledged that ‘Once the contribution made by these instruments has been evaluated, the Netherlands’ post-2015 contribution will be defined’.

The AIV notes the fragmentation of the budget and recommends establishing ‘a single, all-encompassing budget item for the region’. The government believes the same goal – i.e. a clearer insight into the resources available to aid democratisation in the Arab region – could be achieved by improving the coordination of the various existing programmes in the region. This would make it possible to retain a degree of flexibility and ensure cohesion with thematic expenditure (e.g. on human rights) in other parts of the world.

The government sees no clear added value in appointing an ambassador or special envoy for the entire Arab region, as suggested in recommendation 3. Dutch ambassadors, consuls-general and other representatives are the face of the Netherlands in the Arab region, with coordination at ministry level. It is important to stress that supporting democratic transition is an integral part of bilateral relations with the Arab countries concerned. It cannot be viewed in isolation.

Recommendation 4
The Netherlands and the EU should expand their efforts in support of employment. This would involve:

  • entering into serious negotiations on EU trade agreements;
  • increasing investment by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Dutch private sector where possible;
  • stimulating local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), for example by advising banks on the provision of micro- and meso-credit;
  • assisting free trade unions and cooperatives, as recommended in previous advisory reports.

Government response
The government shares the AIV’s view that EU efforts in support of prosperity and employment in the Arab region are essential. They can improve prospects for the region’s people, thereby increasing support for transition. This also promotes EU trade, and trade agreements play an instrumental role in this respect. The EU is working towards deep and comprehensive trade and investment agreements with countries in the Arab region. These must correspond to the specific and often divergent needs of neighbourhood countries: a ‘one size fits all’ approach is not an option. At the same time, it should be borne in mind that economic cooperation with the Arab region has a strong political dimension.

Without giving an exhaustive survey, it can be noted that negotiations between the EU and Morocco on a comprehensive trade agreement are the furthest advanced, but have been at a standstill for some time due to Morocco’s doubts about concluding agreements of this type, with the US as well as the EU. Negotiations with Tunisia may follow, while possibilities for negotiations with Egypt are still being explored. In the years ahead, the European Commission will support socioeconomic and economic development, the strengthening of the labour market and inclusive growth in Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, the Palestinian Territories and Tunisia. In line with the AIV’s recommendation, the Netherlands has urged the EU Neighbourhood Investment Facility (NIF) to focus more on small and medium-size enterprises. At the end of 2014, the European Commission, via the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), made more than €20 million available to do this. It is also worth mentioning the investments made by the NIF and European Investment Bank (EIB) in renewable energy (Morocco), the environment (Egypt and Tunisia) and educational infrastructure (Tunisia), as well in as risk-bearing capital across the whole region.

The AIV recommends ‘assisting free trade unions and cooperatives’, but it should be noted that these are rare in the Arab world. Matra South support has been given to trade unions in Egypt, however, and the government is willing to favourably consider possible financing options when similar organisations are established elsewhere.

Recommendation 5
The Netherlands and the EU should also call upon the region’s wealthier countries, such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar and Iran, to extend their narrow focus on security to economic development. A recalibration of their financial support programmes in this direction would be highly desirable.

Government response
The government shares the AIV’s view that prosperous countries in as well as outside the Arab region should bear responsibility for promoting the economic development of less prosperous Arab nations. The issue has been raised with them many times. However desirable this would be, our expectations must not be too high, given prosperous Arab countries’ wide range of motives for supporting countries or organisations in the region. The government supports efforts to increase regional integration, and EU programmes are being used for this purpose, but practical implementation remains elusive.

Iran, highlighted by the AIV as one of the ‘wealthier countries’ in question, has a difficult relationship with the Arab region. For this and other reasons, it will not be approached on this topic.

Recommendations 6 and 7
The international community should take urgent action to cut off funding to ISIS, al Nusra and other jihadist groups. Measures should be taken against countries and individuals that buy oil and gas from these extremist movements.

Government response
The government agrees with the AIV that financial flows to ISIS and other jihadist groups must be constricted. Stemming flows towards such organisations is an essential part of Dutch efforts to fight jihadism and terrorism, with the effective use of international tools to combat terrorist financing as the foundation. The Netherlands also supports active EU efforts to combat terrorist financing. This includes freezing the assets of individuals and organisations on the EU list of terrorists and terrorists groups. The EU counterterrorism strategy for Syria and Iraq gives priority to tackling ISIS funding and engaging in a dialogue on this issue with the Gulf states. The government is also taking measures at national level. Since 2013, 15 individuals have been placed on the national terrorism list. This means that their financial assets have been frozen and it is prohibited to provide them with any assets or funds. More information can be found in the letter sent to the House of Representatives on 14 January 2015 (reference DVB-TN 003/15).

With regard to recommendation 7, the Netherlands has drawn attention in the EU to the role the private sector could play in reporting terrorist financing through oil sales, so the international community can take targeted measures to halt the practice.

Recommendation 8
The AIV recommends that, following military intervention in armed conflicts, attention be devoted not only to reconstruction but also to transitional justice, reconciliation and repairing damaged relations. Eliminating, imprisoning or convicting those who are guilty of violent acts is not enough in itself to prevent such acts from recurring.

Government response
The government wholly agrees with the AIV’s recommendation that in post-conflict situations attention should be devoted not only to reconstruction, but also to transitional justice and reconciliation. Reconstruction without reconciliation will not last.

In such situations, helping the victims of a conflict must be high on the list of priorities. Experience shows that establishing the truth, if undertaken early enough, restores disrupted relations between groups more quickly. Even where a conflict is ongoing, preparations for transitional justice can still be made. This is the subject of current UN research into the current conflicts in Iraq and Syria. This sends a clear signal to victims of human rights violations, such as the Yazidis, that they have not been forgotten, and serves as an unmistakable warning to the perpetrators.

Recommendation 9
The AIV advocates a more robust, integrated European policy that no longer treats technical assistance and foreign policy as independent variables. The EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy should therefore be granted both the resources and the political mandate of the European Council to talk to the countries in the region, including the Gulf states.

Government response
The government agrees with the AIV’s recommendation that European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) should be an integral part of EU external policy. The European Commission and the European External Action Service (EEAS) are currently working on an ENP review. As part of this review, the Netherlands is pressing for more coherence between EU trade policy and the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). The conclusion of trade agreements and the deployment of CFSP instruments, including CFSP missions, should be considered in conjunction with the use of ENP instruments. The EU must tailor its approach by region and by country, based on shared values and interests. Efforts should be more substantial in countries where there is more agreement on the central values of democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law, and where EU interests are greater. Attention should also be paid to the absorptive capacity of partner countries. The Commission and the EEAS should work together more closely on this issue. The fact that the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, is also Vice-President of the Commission and leads the ‘Europe in the World’ Project Team offers prospects for action. More attention should also be paid to the role of third countries like the Gulf states, as the AIV recommends.

Second part of recommendation 10 (The government’s response to the first part of recommendation 10 is given above)
The AIV further believes that it is vital to enter into a dialogue with religious groups. If the government gets all its information from the elites, it will be unable to clearly and effectively identify the mainsprings of social developments. Finally, the AIV believes that the Netherlands and the EU should be willing to listen to warring parties that have found a way to start talking, if necessary through informal ‘Track II’ diplomacy. The AIV is aware that the idea of establishing contacts with groups that do not eschew violence (but unlike ISIS, for example, are not intent on wiping out all dissenters) may initially meet with resistance. However, from a historical perspective, this will be a price worth paying if it improves the odds of finding an acceptable political solution.

Government response
Given the influence of religious groups and leaders in the Arab world, the government agrees that it is necessary to seek dialogue with them, more so than in the past. It is also important to note that dialogue has been initiated with these groups since the start of the Arab revolutions in 2011 and the corresponding increase of the groups’ political influence, both parliamentary and extraparliamentary. Naturally, no dialogue is possible with religious groups seeking to achieve their political aims through violence, such as Salafist jihadists.

The AIV correctly outlines the dilemma inherent in establishing contacts with ‘groups that do not eschew violence (but unlike ISIS, for example, are not intent on wiping out all dissenters)’. In some cases it may be impossible to find a political solution without involving such groups. On the other hand, public contacts (or contacts that are unintentionally made public) may give them legitimacy, and the reactions of other actors may cause the situation to escalate further. This dilemma is relevant not only to non-state actors but also to state actors like the Assad regime, to which the AIV refers in recommendation 8, that are guilty of large-scale human rights violations and crimes against humanity.

Track II diplomacy can bring about dialogue between opponents who are unwilling – or unable – to be publicly associated with one another. This is particularly important in a region where religious, ethnic and other divisions are leading to steadily growing polarisation and demonisation. Opportunities for supporting such forms of unofficial diplomacy or offering them a platform are being assessed.

In line with this, and in response to the AIV’s view expressed under point 5 of ‘Specific responses to the government’s questions’, the government agrees with the AIV that ‘building up knowledge of the social background and motives of religious movements’ in the region is crucial. Although the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has significant expertise in this area already, the possibility of more effectively deploying this expertise is currently the subject of a strategic personnel planning review. The AIV is right to observe that ‘embassies should be equipped with the necessary capacity and project resources’ to facilitate exchanges of ideas.

Press releases

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