The European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) was adopted by the European Parliament and the Council in March 2014 for the period 2014-2020 replacing and building upon the EIDHR 2006-2013. This thematic instrument is the successor to the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights established upon the initiative of the European Parliament in 1994. The instrument reflects the high political profile and specific Treaty mandates relating to the development and consolidation of democracy, the rule of law, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and will bring financial support worldwide to activities in this area.
For the period 2014-2020 the EIDHR has approximately a total budget of EUR 1.104 billion. Part of this budget has been made available for country allocations through the "Country-Based Support Scheme (CBSS)" in order to support specific initiatives at local level. The global country allocations made available through the EIDHR-CBSS amount to approximately to EUR 270 million for the period of 2018-2020.
In Palestine, several local calls for proposals (CfPs) have been launched to commit funds of country allocations of former annual budgets. Approximately 85 projects have been financed in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip since 2004.
The EU global focus on human rights and good governance, as well as its determination to strengthen the civil society organizations (CSOs) so as to effectively act as a watchdog and partner in dialogue with national governments, is further emphasized in the context of the Neighbourhood region. The guiding principles of the EIDHR-CBSS in Palestine stem from the recent policy documents approved by the EU like the Agenda for Change as well as from the conclusions and recommendations of consultation processes launched at global level such as Structured Dialogue for an Efficient Partnership in Development, the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2015-2019 and the EU Communication on Europe's Engagement with Civil Society in External Relations or at local level, studies undertaken including the Mapping Study Update (2015) on local civil society organisations in Palestine, the External Evaluation Review of the EIDHR-CBSS 2011-2015, the EU Human Rights and Democracy Country Strategy, the 2018 Annual Action Programme (AAP 2018) and EU Roadmap for Engagement with Civil Society 2018-2020 foreseen to be adopted early February 2019.
The European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) established on 11 March 2014, aims at advancing an area of shared prosperity and good neighbouring involving the European Union and the partner countries by developing a special relationship based on cooperation, peace and security, mutual accountability and a shared commitment to the universal values of democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights in accordance with the EU principles.
With regards to Palestine, bilateral support takes place within the context of the European Joint Strategy in support of Palestine 2017-2020 "Towards a democratic and accountable Palestinian State (EJS)" which aligns to the Palestinian National Policy Agenda 2017-22 "Citizens First" and its sectoral plans. Under the framework of the European Joint Strategy, the Commission Decision for the Annual Action Programme 2018 has been adopted on 26 November 2018. One of its component aims at supporting human rights defenders and human rights organisations and their advocacy at different levels to protect and promote human rights in view of the shrinking space for civil society in particular for human rights organisations.
Civil Society Organizations have a crucial role not only in providing information or advice to the government on human rights but also in contributing to promoting and safeguarding human rights in the Gaza Strip, West Bank and East Jerusalem and ensuring the PA's legal commitments are properly monitored and that it is held accountable for its human rights commitments and ratification of a number of key international conventions and treaties since 2014.
In line with the Palestinian National Agenda 2017-2022 and its sectoral plans, and taking stock on the situation on the ground, support provided by the EIDHR-CBSS will complement the ongoing EU bilateral cooperation to Palestine as implemented in line with the European Joint Strategy in support of Palestine 2017-2020 contributing to the development of governance at national and local levels.