The results in context
The Netherlands supports Ethiopia’s democratic reforms through the Security and Rule of Law portfolio. In the project ‘Strengthening the Reform Agenda’, implemented by the Africa Study Centre Leiden after the Oromia Regional Government identified four domains of policy-relevant research, four teams went to work and in October 2018 presented research proposals on: Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and industrial development; Practices and problems of youth employment in micro and small enterprises; Organisational and human resource management in implementing local government’s public service reforms; and Women’s empowerment in governance.
The Netherlands Embassy, together with the embassies of Norway, Sweden and Denmark, supports the Ethiopian NGO 'Justice for All' (JFA) in implementing a five-year strategic plan. The organisation works on a variety of outcomes, varying from human rights activism to policy dialogue with government and specific activities on press freedom and women's rights.
A significant achievement by JFA has been to bring together the Oromo Democratic Party (ODP) and the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), which led to the (partial) disarmament and demobilisation of the OLF early in 2019.
One of the core competencies of the organisation is (human rights) training for police, prosecutors and prison staff. By providing legal assistance to prisoners, facilitating pardons for prisoners, backlog clearance and training justice officials, the organisation secured access to justice for 99,574 people (in 2018). As part of a consortium, about 25,000 of these cases can be directly attributed to the Netherlands’ support.
In early November 2019, JFA provided training for local police from the Southern Nations in preparation for the referendum on the Statehood of the Sidama region. The referendum on 20 November was peaceful and without security incidents.
The general objective of the ongoing Justice Capacity Building Project implemented by VU University Amsterdam is to alleviate the prevailing technical capacity problems of the federal and regional institutions by upgrading the professionals employed in the Ethiopian federal and regional judicial system. To this end, the project provides short-term training and legal masters' degrees to employees of judicial institutions at the federal level, as well as their Oromia Regional Government counterparts.
Overall, the projects have progressed well. The ‘Strengthening the Reform Agenda’ project has been expanded to the Amhara region.
With a view to the upcoming election and the risk of escalating violent conflicts, the Netherlands has started to support the building of democratic institutions through UNDP. This includes an early warning system to detect and mitigate election-related violence. Through capacity building with the Ministry of Peace and a number of related institutes, Ethiopian capacity for conflict resolution and peace building will be increased. This project will be implemented by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) and Clingendael.