Hauke Hartmann - "They Are Consciously Shut Out"

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Nov 03, 2013
by Oscar Tollast
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Hauke Hartmann - "They Are Consciously Shut Out"

Salzburg Fellow highlights civil society representatives' exclusion in MENA region Hauke Hartmann sitting in on one of the session's opening discussions

Dr Hauke Hartmann, senior project manager at German think-tank Bertelsmann Stifung, has described Salzburg Global’s latest session as eye-opening.

He returned to Schloss Leopoldskron for his second visit to speak as part of a seminar session entitled, ‘Getting Transition Right: A Rights-based Approach towards Diversity and Inclusivity’.

The session, co-hosted with the Arab Human Rights Fund, focuses on four key countries in the midst of transitions that can pilot new approaches to diversity management: Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Yemen.

Describing discussions that have taken place so far, Dr Hartmann said: “One very important eye opener for me was the sense of exclusion that civil society representatives felt when it came to established politics.

“They are consciously shut out. That is a very difficult thing to keep up a certain enthusiasm and dedication to a reformist cause when you’re constantly overheard and consciously overheard.”

Dr Hartmann said participants’ views underlined his work directing the ‘Shaping Change: Strategies of Development and Transformation’ project, and the Bertelsmann Transformation Index (BTI).

Every two years, the Bertelsmann Foundation publishes the BTI, which analyzes the democratization processes, the processes of social and economic change, and the quality of governance in 129 developing and transition countries.

Reviewing the four key countries being analyzed in the session, he said: “Not surprisingly, after the Arab Spring, there is an increase in political participation possibilities in all of these countries.

“Their elections, rights, freedom of expression, assembly, association rights – they all increased. The scores for all increased.”

However, Dr Hartmann said this change wasn’t necessarily accompanied with increased civil rights, highlighting Libya and Yemen as examples.

“In Libya, for example, you see infringements on civil rights to a magnitude that has not been there during autocratic rule.

“You might assume that civil rights are in a better situation than [they were] under [Muammar] Gaddafi, but no they are not.”

Dr Hartmann said conversations at the session reaffirmed how polarized societies in the region were, with governments using economic incentives to stay in power.

“This is not surprising but again it is very telling how clearly this is seen by civil society representatives here and clearly identified as a point that needs to change before any meaningful dialogue on a national basis can actually take place.”

Dr Hartmann spoke to participants on Sunday morning about the preconditions and frameworks that define the scope and limitations of diversity management and governance achievements in the four countries.

Speaking to Salzburg Global beforehand, he described Egypt and Tunisia as “solid nation states”, whereas he considered Libya and Yemen “very fragile”.

He said countries also differed in terms of their socioeconomic development and available resources.

“Those are all structural hurdles there in terms of the state, in terms of socioeconomic development, and in terms of educational levels that have an effect on the quality of governance.

“The governance focus needs to be on different aspects given the different situations that the countries are in.”

Dr Hartmann pointed to Bolivia, Ecuador, and Brazil as hugely successful examples of countries that have integrated different stakeholders in the political decision-making process.

He recognized, however, that whilst one policy might be effective for one country it might not be suitable for another.

“There are a lot of countries you could compare their situation with, but the situation is very different in each of these countries and requires different governance methods.”

Dr Hartmann believes the socioeconomic side of the Arab uprisings was initially overlooked in the West, which has since caused an estrangement of the rural young population.

“When we are talking about empowering people, it has to start with a socioeconomic side.

“There have to be targeted social measures and unfortunately this is something that is not taking place – definitely not in Libya, definitely not in Egypt, and in Yemen there has been hardly any change to the system at all.”

Whilst Dr Hartmann admits some advances have been made in Tunisia, he doesn’t believe the changes have gone far enough.

He called for consensus to be built in the four countries where development goals could be set and met for the purpose of transformation. This is an “advanced stage” yet to be seen, according to Dr Hartmann.

“What we discovered in the BIT – and what is undermined in the discussions here – is that it is a win or lose, black or white situation. If you’re in government, you’re pushing your agenda through no matter what, and the opposition is being kept out of consultation, [and] so the society is kept out of consultation.

“It makes it very hard to develop any kind of consensus building or compromise culture that could then potentially lead to the formulation of common transformation goals.”

Dr Hartmann previously attended Salzburg Global Seminar in 1996 for a session entitled, ‘Human Rights: An International Legal Perspective.’

A fellow at the Yale Center for International and Area Studies, he takes particular interest in governance in Arab and Latin American countries.

“There is a kind of nascent cooperation that we’re having with Salzburg Global Seminar and [we’re] providing some additional input for the seminars that are running here.

“My role is to bring some expertise that we’ve collected using the Bertelsmann Transformation Index.”

He told Salzburg Global that before the session ends on 6 November, he’d like to get a better understanding of what governance qualities are required by civil societies of the four countries being discussed.

“We have a large array of indicators that we are looking at, but that was out of focus on these four countries.

“I would like to get more specific questions directed back to the work that we’re doing, in order to know more precisely what we can do as further research to support the process that has been initiated here.”