GSP+ Brussels Conference Report

How to promote Human Rights through EU trade Policies ?

The role of civil society, business and beneficiary countries in the gsp+


Download the GSP+ Brussels Conference Report (English)

Download the programme of the conference here.


On 28 November 2018, Democracy Reporting International (DRI), brought together over 60 prominent trade and human rights experts, representatives from GSP+ beneficiary countries, civil society, the business community, EU institutions, as well as academia for the conference “How to Promote Human Rights through EU Trade Policies? The Role of Civil Society, Businesses and Beneficiary Countries in the GSP+”. In light of the third GSP+ monitoring cycle following its latest reform, participants discussed how to amplify the effectiveness of the EU’s GSP+ trade instrument in boosting human and labour rights, in relation to the roles various stakeholders play within the scheme.

In most developing countries economic growth and export opportunities do not go hand-in-hand with improvements in citizens’ enjoyment of fundamental human and labour rights. The EU is promoting sustainable development and human rights through its trade instruments, in particular the Generalised Scheme of Preference Plus (GSP+). The scheme currently grants nine countries (Armenia, Bolivia, Cabo Verde, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Paraguay, the Philippines and Sri Lanka) better market access for improved protections of human rights, labour standards, environment and good governance.

The event drew on lessons learned from several projects implemented by DRI in the framework of the GSP+, including the three-year EU-funded project Promoting Human and Labour Rights through GSP+. DRI, in cooperation with local partner organisations, is using the opportunities created by the scheme to inform and empower citizens so they can claim their rights under the scheme’s 27 UN and ILO Conventions. Local partners carry out monitoring of key human rights issues as well as consultations on the situation of human and labour rights engaging with citizens’ organisations, trade unions, the business community and local authorities. In this way, new spaces of dialogue are opened between groups that do not usually sit at the same table to discuss human rights issues.

Michael Meyer-Resende, Executive Director of Democracy Reporting International, opened the conference with introductory remarks on the scheme’s positive conditionality, providing an opportunity to spread the conversation about human and labour rights to groups traditionally not involved. At a time where the human rights idea loses support among many people, he noted that the GSP+ connection of human rights and increased business offered new perspectives for supporting the cause. With the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights around the corner, in her opening comments Chiara Adamo (Head of Unit for the European Commission’s DG DEVCO unit on Human Rights, Gender, Democratic Governance) underscored that this is a particularly opportune time to re-engage strongly with the partner countries. As GSP+ is one of the most potent tools in the EU toolbox, she advocated it should be employed to champion for the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs).

Challenges and Opportunities of the GSP+

Speakers at the first panel delved into challenges and opportunities of GSP+. A common theme discussed was that of the scheme’s economic dimension. Walter Van Hattum (DG TRADE) explained that some countries, like Pakistan, followed by the Philippines, have a large scheme utilisation rate and have increased their exports to the EU thanks to the GSP+. The other seven beneficiary countries however, utilise the scheme very little. This is due to lack of political will, lack of scheme awareness, lack of administrative capacity, and/or a lack of economic incentive, as some products do not meet EU import standards or the country cannot/does not produce enough to export to the EU. An additional question, which is under-researched, is whether even in Pakistan and the Philippines, the increased exports benefit the poorest segments of the populations, which is the main goal of the scheme stated in the GSP+ regulation.

Benedict M. Uy (Embassy of the Philippines) echoed the sentiment that the GSP+ had a large positive economic impact in the Philippines, including on foreign direct investment of companies that seek to export under the privileged customs to the EU. He added the scheme could be rendered even more effective by capitalising on its gravitas and tenacity. In terms of gravitas, he reasoned GSP+ must develop enough scale and leverage for beneficiary countries to take it more seriously, while tenacity refers to the fact that results cannot be seen overnight and that continuous engagement with partners remains essential.

In Cabo Verde the scheme has also been valuable, observed Octavio Gomes (Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Communities, Cabo Verde), where GSP+ has encouraged civil society to become a more active player. In this vein, Mr Van Hattum also described several instances of the scheme’s positive effects. For example, in the Philippines, the ILO Convention on the right to organise in the public service was unlikely to have been signed if not for GSP+. Many panellists however, noted that it had not helped to push back the significant number of extra-judicial killings in the Philippines. This point led to discussing a key challenge of the scheme, namely the use (and lack thereof) of the scheme’s withdrawal mechanism. This theme was also taken up by Anis Haroon (National Commission of Human Rights, Pakistan), who stressed that GSP+ should have a stronger accountability mechanism in relation to the poor human rights situation in Pakistan.


The Role of Businesses in the GSP+

The second panel revolved around the role of businesses in the GSP+ and whether they should be involved in monitoring and/or be monitored themselves. Georgios Altintzis (Trade Policy Officer, International Trade Union Confederation) underscored that businesses play a pivotal role in pressuring governments to address shortcomings. While big European importers play a major role, often they are not aware of human rights’ violations occurring many layers down the supply chain. Outsourcing of production results in a de facto outsourcing of responsibility. Mr Altintzis noted that the EU is the place where the big companies exist, with supply chains extending to the rest of the world, and that there is a need to shift human and labour rights’ compliance from beneficiary countries back to European importers. Panellists discussed that if UNGPs on business and human rights were mandatory – or at least part of the GSP+ conditionalities – it would lead to a change of the current business practices.

Rudi Delarue (Deputy Head of Unit, DG Employment, European Commission) followed-up, observing the strong interplay between various dimensions of human rights. A case in point, it being difficult to have a right to assembly when the rule of law is feeble – in cases like this, it is questionable what businesses could actually do to improve the situation. Stuart Newman (Senior Legal Advisor, AMFORI) agreed; in his view the influence businesses can have on gross human rights violations is close to zero, such as in the case of Myanmar, but the impact it can have on labour conventions can be substantial.


The Role of Civil Society in the GSP+

Lenka Vitkova (Team Leader Human Rights, DG DEVCO, European Commission) kicked-off the final session stating the clear role of civil society in the GSP+ agenda and its importance given the worldwide trend of “shrinking space” for civil society. She stressed the need to not take GSP+ as an isolated tool. She sees it as a human rights scheme, not a trade scheme – part of a political dialogue among political players and just one part of the EU’s toolbox. Her recommendation being to take a strategic long-term look on how to involve civil society more in dialogue.

In the Sri Lankan political context, GSP+ is seen as an instrument of Western imperialism, observed Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu (Executive Director, Centre for Policy Alternatives, Sri Lanka). He believes engagement of civil society in the GSP+ monitoring process is insufficient and criticised that the EU overlooked serious remaining human rights challenges when reinstating the GSP+ status to Sri Lanka in 2017. He further described some of the practical obstacles surrounding civil society engagement in the scheme’s monitoring process, recommending consultations not be restricted to merely a few urban unions, but done further afield and conducted in local languages.

Ben Vanpeperstraete (Lobby & Advocacy Coordinator, Clean Clothes Campaign, GSP Platform) picked up this argument, noting that the moment the scheme was re-awarded to Sri Lanka there was no longer any incentive for the government to engage with civil society. Panellists discussed what they considered to be an unclear nature of civil society involvement in a process that Ms Vitkova herself described as fundamentally a political dialogue between governments. Mr Saravanamuttu contended however, stating if dialogue is primarily between governments then the entire panel discussion is unproductive. He argued if civil society is really to be part of the GSP+ then the EU must do the hard work and have thorough consultations, otherwise the process is a facade.

Describing the experience of a different GSP+ country, Marina Ayvazyan (Programmes Development Manager, Eurasia Partnership Foundation) explained that the EU Delegation in Armenia has been successful in having regular dialogue with civil society, but separately from business and government. She believes it would be more beneficial for the EU to bring all stakeholders to the same table, as it would foster much needed awareness raising of the scheme. She believes this is particularly the case with the business community, where possible advantages of GSP+ – which could give lots of benefits to SMEs – are not well known.


Possible Reforms

Suggested improvements to the scheme was a cross-cutting topic among the panel discussions. In addition to the ideas on how to better include civil society in the monitoring process, there was the ongoing discussion of whether the country Scorecards should remain confidential or made public to make the process more transparent. A Scorecard is a list of issues that the Commission prepares for each GSP+ country. It highlights progresses and relevant shortcomings that should be addressed by the country in order to effectively implement the 27 Conventions. The EU keeps Scorecards confidential “to build trust between the parties that subsequently discuss it”; meanwhile several organisations have suggested that the confidentiality inhibits key players (e.g. civil society organisations and labour rights organisations) from fully participating in the monitoring process. Mr Vanpeperstraete (GSP Platform) proposed moving away from Scorecards instead towards country Roadmaps where governments lay out their plans for fully adhering to the 27 Conventions.

The other main discussion centred around the scheme’s withdrawal mechanism, of how and when it should be triggered, as happened for Sri Lanka in 2010. Mr Newman (AMFORI) delved into the technicalities, noting that if Article 19 (i.e. the regulation’s withdrawal mechanism) is triggered, the first and hardest hit people will be the workers. That being said, he maintained the only way to show the scheme’s credibility is to remove the preferences in cases of non-compliance, and that hopefully the mere threat of withdrawal would incentivise improvements. He also discussed the timeline of possible suspension itself takes 16-18 months and that the Commission highlights concerns prior – giving the beneficiary country plenty of notice to change behaviour before withdrawal occurs.

Another possibility is a modification to the scheme, whereby there is the option for partial withdrawal, i.e. only certain sectors are penalised for failing to adhere to the conditionalities of GSP+. On the other hand, several speakers felt that the scheme should not be further complicated. Newer ideas were also floated, such as Mr Altintzis’s (ITUC) proposal to bring the GSP+ and its 27 Conventions under the WTO, in the framework of its current reform.



There is a general appreciation of the GSP+ from most of the involved stakeholders: in some countries local businesses benefit from new trade opportunities; civil society recognises it as an additional opportunity of engagement with the government and an advocacy tool at the international level; international businesses appreciate the scheme’s simplicity and its predictability in the fact that possible sanctions are announced well in advance. Nevertheless, there is a common agreement on the need to further improve the scheme.

As the panels’ discussions indicate, proposed suggestions reflect a wide range of views on GSP+. Some, like Mr Newman (AMFORI) reiterated that the scheme’s primary aim is to reduce poverty. Meanwhile, representatives from the Commission (DG DEVCO) stressed GSP+ as a human rights scheme, not a trade scheme. Ms Vitkova took it a step further, emphasising its role as a political tool and characterising it as a government to government scheme. These various views coincide with the different views on stakeholders’ roles too, such as the extent of the roles of civil society and business in GSP+ and its monitoring process. CSO representatives present called for more formalised and regular EU consultation of civil society, however other panellists underscored the primary role of governments in the scheme’s dialogue. The question of businesses role and whether they can have a positive impact on human rights, or more on labour rights, also remained an important query.

Numerous proposals to improve the scheme have been suggested and it remains to be seen what changes the Commission may take after the next progress report is due in January 2020. It is a strategic time for the GSP+, as the scheme is in its third monitoring cycle following its latest reform.


Download the GSP+ Brussels Conference Report (English)

This publication has been produced with the assistance of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and the European Union. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of Democracy Reporting International and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the donors.

Digest of Selected Publications for Social Media and Democracy 2018

February 2019

Social Media Analysis – What Facebook Tells Us About Social Cohesion in Sri Lanka 

The briefing paper produced by DRI in collaboration with Hashtag Generation provides an analysis of how social media influences Sri Lanka’s political discourse.

Graphics on Monitoring Social Media in Elections

More and more organisations and researchers start monitoring social media in elections. The graphics prepared by Rafael Goldzweig with input from Michael Meyer-Resende provide orientation for such work.

August 2018

AI can’t fix Facebook. Media giant needs human solutions to better detect hate speech in places such as Myanmar.

An opinion article on POLITICO by DRI´s Raymond Serrato and Michael Meyer-Resende on how Facebooks Al-based approach fails in conflict countries.

Is Facebook a destabilising force? – BBC Newsnight

A recent investigation of Facebook by Reuters revealed more than 1,000 anti-Rohingya posts calling for their murder, months after Facebook claimed to have improved its moderation of the site. Newsnight, BBC’s flagship news and current affairs TV programme, interviewed DRI’s Senior Programme Officer, Raymond Serrato, to learn more about his research on hate speech and social media in Myanmar and whether Facebook has done enough to address the problem.

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April 2018

Revealed: Facebook hate speech exploded in Myanmar during Rohingya crisis

DRI´s Senior Programme Officer and Governance & Innovation Expert Raymond Serrato “examined about 15,000 Facebook posts from supporters of the hardline nationalist Ma Ba Tha group. The earliest posts dated from June 2016 and spiked on 24 and 25 August 2017, when ARSA Rohingya militants attacked government forces, prompting the security forces to launch the “clearance operation” that sent hundreds of thousands of Rohingya pouring over the border.” Guardian

March 2018

Fighting fake news: caught between a rock and a hard place

The discussion on disinformation (“fake news”) turns increasingly towards the question of how to prevent the phenomenon in the first place. The author of this opinion piece argues that prohibitive measures run the risk of either being ineffective (if very restrictive in their scope) or of being subjective and politically motivated (if too broad in their scope). He calls for distinguishing between technical cyber warfare threats (which should be prohibited and addressed directly) and the cognitive approach mis-using social media’s tendency to reward polarizing and extreme content to create disinformation campaigns (which should be addressed indirectly via digital education and transparency measures).

February 2018

Continue reading Digest of Selected Publications for Social Media and Democracy 2018

Call for Tender for Social Media & Policy Expert

Contracting Authority: Democracy Reporting International gGmbH

Nature of contract: Short term Expert contract; Social Media & Policy Expert

Location: Home based

Service Time Frame: 26 November 2018 – 10 January 2019, including 2-3 research trips within Europe

Payment Currency: EUR

Payment Method: Bank transfer



Democracy Reporting International (DRI) is a nonpartisan, independent, not-for-profit international organisation registered in Berlin, Germany, which promotes political participation of citizens, accountability of state bodies and the development of democratic institutions world-wide.


Description of the services required:

DRI strives to provide relevant and timely information on worldwide democratic topics and political developments. We are therefore looking at short notice for a freelance Social Media & Policy Expert who will research the policies and actions (incl. technical means) of selected EU member states in monitoring digital content with a view of protecting the space of democratic debate/preventing disinformation.

Given the current estimations, the freelancer would be hired to work from 26 November 2018 until 10 January 2019, including 2-3 research trips around Europe. Travel costs will be reimbursed according to the German National Travel Expenses Act (Bundesreisekostengesetz).


Your duties and responsibilities:

  • Support the design of the methodology, including a questionnaire, until 3rd December
  • Carry out desk reviews and hold interviews by phone or in person with government and civil society representatives in different EU member states, travel to 2-3 EU member state capitals for in-person interviews, share findings regularly with DRI, until end of December
  • Write up all findings systematically on ca. 15 pages. Present key findings in graphic forms, 10th January (a professional graphic designer will put the final document graphically together)


 Qualifications we require:

  • University degree;
  • Professional experience in areas such as social media research, democracy and elections monitoring;
  • Basic understanding of methodologies of social media monitoring/listening;
  • Experience in research and writing.
  • Fluency in English required.


Place of performance:

Home office


How to apply

DRI values diversity and aims to be an equal opportunity employer. Women are encouraged to apply!


Interested applicants should submit their applications including:

  1. Cover letter and CV of the applicant, highlighting relevant experience and qualifications
  2. Completed Annex I Financial Proposal Form.

to the following email address: [email protected] (subject line: “Social Media & Policy Expert).


Closing date for applications: (23:59 CEST) 25th November 2018.

Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be notified.



The submission for this tender document does not entail any commitment on the part of DRI, either financial or otherwise.


Additional information:

Submitting an offer implies acceptance by the tenderer of all terms and conditions of this document and its annex.


Organisation responsible for this call for tender:

Democracy Reporting International gGmbH

Prinzessinnenstraße 30

10969 Berlin, Germany

Tel +49 30 27877300

Fax +49 30 27877300-10


Data processing of personal data in third countries will not take place. We process your data in accordance with the provisions of § 26 German Federal Data Protection Act. More information about processing your personal data: privacy policy.



Social media and networks have become an essential space of public and semi-public discourse. They have shown their democratising potential by increasing access to information and greatly lowering the barrier of participation in public debates, however, the last few years have also shown some of the risks that are present in social media. The low barriers to participation have been used by various state and not-state actors attempting to undermine electoral integrity by spreading disinformation, intimidating stakeholders and suppressing free speech.

This briefing paper written by our Executive Director Michael Meyer-Resende seeks to give impetus to the debate on three questions:

  • What does international human rights law, the reference point for international election observation, has to say about social media in elections?
  • What has been done practically by observers to monitor social media in elections?
  • What else could be done and how should international election observation missions, which have the ambition to comprehensively follow an election approach the task?

Download the Briefing Paper (English)


German indifference to attacks on democracy in Hungary and Poland

In this opinion piece for the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Nils Meyer-Ohlendorf, co-founder of Democracy Reporting International, argues that democracy problems in EU Member States are not an internal affair but an issue that affects all Member States – for three reasons: First, EU law prevails over national law and often affects citizens directly. For this reason, EU law must be adopted in a democratic process – among other by the EU Council composed of democratic governments. Second, the internal market can only function if its rules are democratically legitimate. Third, enforcement of EU law rests on independent national courts. Until now the public in Member States has voiced concerns in general terms but concrete action is missing. This is a problem.


Photo by TyboR on Pixabay


A Democracy Foundation for Europe

In this opinion (in German language) for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, DRI’s co-founders Michael Meyer-Resende and Dr. Nils Meyer-Ohlendorf comment on the debate whether Germany and Europe need a democracy foundation.  They support the idea, arguing that while many foundations and initiatives work on wider democracy issues, there is none that specifically focuses on democratic rules of the game, taking a non-partisan perspective. Key concepts of democracy are challenged and pulled apart, such as majority rule, the rule of law and human rights.


Thus, the Polish government argues that the majority will should trump judicial independence. In the Catalonia crisis the independence movement claimed a clear democratic mandate, based on a slim majority gained in a deeply divided society through a questionable process.  The Spanish government in turn argued only with the rule of law, despite the fact that the then-ruling party had blocked better legal arrangements for Catalonia only some years before. A democracy foundation should  provide a strong public voice upholding democratic rules of the game without aligning with any political current and should hold dialogues on democracy, in order to build bridges in a context of increasing political polarisation.


Photo by Mirko Humbert on flickr

Lebanese Academics and Journalists Discuss Decentralisation

Decentralisation has become the topic of the hour in Lebanon. It is time that diverse expertise and scientific knowledge is channelled to design policies that ensure good governance and improved public service provision by local authorities.

Continuing to build and consolidate elements for a successful decentralisation in Lebanon, DRI convened journalists, academic and experts to assess the prospects of decentralisation reform in the wake of the May 2018 parliamentary elections and draw up recommendations for the way ahead. The meeting on 25 July 2018, held by DRI as part the consortium “Al-Idara bi-Mahalla”, focused on waste management, public safety, transparency and citizen participation. With journalists, we looked at ways to frame the media discourse on decentralisation to reach out to more citizens and better advocate for a reform of such complexity. With academics, we worked on transforming existing knowledge materials into practical proposals that feed into the management of each sector.


Figure 1: Focus group on Transparency and Citizen Participation


The following challenges were identified:

Academics pitched in existing research that could be reflected in bills or serve as knowledge support to existing laws, while journalists benefited from this exercise to write stronger articles on decentralisation.

“In our work we cover how municipalities provide or don’t provide public services, but today we understood better the deeper problems behind these questions. Today’s presentation added a layer to future trainings and coverage and this is of great benefit to us at Maharat Foundation”. Hussein El-Shareef, Project Coordinator and Media Trainer at Maharat Foundation, a Lebanese NGO working on freedom of expression and media development


Figure 2: Focus group on Solid Waste Management


Urban planner and activist Abir Saksouk shared his perspective on the state of citizen participation:

“There is an absence of legal guarantees for transparency and engagement of citizens in decision-making. However, even when laws are put forth, there is a problem in their implementation and a good illustration for that is the Access to Information law. This stems from the lack of understanding of what transparency and access to information truly mean, which requires more awareness-raising”. Abir Saksouk, Urban Planner


DRI will follow-up with journalists and academics to increase cooperation between the different actors involved in each sector, in order to create a more facts-based and concrete public debate on decentralisation and public services.

Where Tunisia Leads: Tunisians Study Access to Information in Germany

The Tunisian parliament passed an Access to Information (AtI) law in 2016, which is considered to be one of the most open ones world-wide, in contrast to Germany’s relatively restricted access to information rights. After recent decades of dictatorship, the Tunisian public welcomes much greater public transparency, while in Germany concerns about abuse of personal data often tempers such enthusiasm.

These were some conclusions of a visit of the Tunisian Access to Information authority (Instance Nationale d’Accès à l’Information, hereinafter “INAI”) to Berlin, organised by DRI. Eight members and the Secretary-General of the INAI visited the German Freedom of Information and Data Protection Office (Bundesbeauftragte für den Datenschutz und die Informationsfreiheit, hereinafter – “BfDI”) for the first time. The INAI was established last year.

Despite the liberal AtI law, the INAI faces many challenges, as it is the first time in the Tunisian history that an independent body oversees the right to access to information. While the INAI has already passed landmark decisions, the exact extent of its mission is yet to be determined. The study trip served to compare notes with a longer established body and to study the intricate German legal framework.

The INAI delegation met with diverse stakeholders granting access to information in Germany: the Bundestag administration, German Foreign Office, Ministry of Justice, journalists, CSOs representatives and activists. They had the opportunity to visit the Federal Administrative Court and the Stasi Documentation Office in Leipzig, allowing to discuss wider topics as the role of AtI in reconciliation and educational reminiscence of a society which experienced life under a dictatorship.

One of the biggest take-aways for the INAI was to learn about the mechanisms with which Germany seeks to balance data protection and access to information. Long discussions were also held on the general exceptions of the right to access to information, which can be denied to Tunisian citizens only if causing prejudice to national security or to the privacy rights of a third party, while the German law carries more than a dozen of exceptional situations.

This event, organised by Democracy Reporting International in partnership with the BfDI, took place from 13 – 16 August – two days based in Berlin and one in Leipzig, contributing indirectly to the fulfilment of one of the missions of the INAI, included in Art. 38 of the Right to Information Law: exchanging experiences and expertise with foreign counterparts.


This study trip took place in the framework of DRI’s project “Support to Constitution Implementation in Tunisia – Phase II”, funded by the German Federal Foreign Office. 

Defending the defenders: workshops in Ukraine

DRI started a series of workshops “Fixing and Reacting: Shrinking Space for Civil Activism”.

The first workshop took place in Lviv on 14 July and brought together 32 representatives from civil society organisations and activists from Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk and Ternopil. It was followed by a workshop in Ivano-Frankivsk, on 21-22 August, for almost 20 activists representing organisations from Ivano-Frankivsk and Zakarpatia. Acknowledging the demand for training, OSCE monitoring mission in Ivano-Frankivsk will cooperate with DRI to identify human rights defenders interested in the topic.

The workshops are designed to address recent pressures faced by civil society. During the last few years Ukraine has witnessed a number of restrictions against human rights activists. The pressure against civil society and activists mostly comes from the state law enforcement bodies, officials and legal entities with a corruption trace, and radical non-governmental organisations. In this environment, activists have not always been able to respond efficiently to threats or abuses of power by law enforcement agencies or officials.

Through these workshops, DRI addresses the emerging request from human rights activists for greater knowledge in the spheres of personal data protection, the securing of social network communications and information, the procedural rights of activists in the pre-trial stage of the criminal process, and crisis communications. According to participants’ feedback, this knowledge could better position the organisations to handle possible crises.

Thus, a major facet of the workshops is equipping human rights defenders with the knowledge and skills in the mentioned fields.  However, through this workshop DRI also hopes to interlink human rights activists, lawyers engaged in CSOs protection, and documentators who fix and report attacks against activists. Participating organisations are encouraged to join a coalition of human rights organisations, initiated by Freedom House, one of the partners of the event. The role of the coalition is to strengthen cooperation between organisations to more effectively advance from crises.

These workshops for human rights activists are part of a pilot project which DRI Ukraine plans to expand, offering similar workshops to organisations in other regions of Ukraine. A few activists from Vinnytsia and Poltava attended the first workshop and found that security and communicational trainings are highly demanded in Central Ukraine as well.

As this initiative continues to develop, DRI Ukraine will be attentive to the changing needs of civil society and human rights activists and allow the initiative to evolve in response to these needs.


Werkstudent Administration/HR (w/m/x)

Beschäftigungsform: Werkstudententätigkeit (max. 20 Std./Woche)

Eintritt: schnellstmöglich

Vertrag: zunächst 6 Monate; Verlängerung wird angestrebt

Standort: DRI Hauptsitz in Berlin-Kreuzberg


Democracy Reporting International (DRI) ist eine internationale, gemeinnützige Nichtregierungsorganisation, die sich für politische Teilhabe und demokratische Regierungsführung weltweit einsetzt. DRI implementiert Projekte im Nahen Osten, in Nordafrika, Asien und Osteuropa. Die Arbeitssprache ist Englisch und im geschäftlichen Bereich des Hauptsitzes regelmäßig auch Deutsch.

Aktuell befindet sich DRI in einem spannenden Entwicklungsprozess, SharePoint wird als Unternehmenskommunikationsplattform eingeführt und wir entwickeln den Bereich Human Resources weiter. Um diese Herausforderungen optimal meistern zu können, suchen wir zum nächstmöglichen Zeitpunkt als Unterstützung für unser Team in Berlin eine begeisternde und zuverlässige Persönlichkeit als Werkstudent Administration / Human Resources.

Deine Aufgaben:

  • Unterstützung aller Bereiche in organisatorischen und administrativen Belangen;
  • Mitwirkung bei der Einführung von SharePoint als Kommunikationsplattform im Unternehmen;
  • Unterstützung im Bereich Human Resources (Recruiting, Personalverwaltung, Personalentwicklung);
  • Erstellung und Verwaltung von Checklisten, Dokumenten, Policies und Schulungsunterlagen;
  • Unterstützung bei der Organisation und Durchführung von Events;
  • Recherchetätigkeiten.

Deine Qualifikation:

  • Laufendes Studium der Wirtschafts- oder Kommunikationswissenschaften, Wirtschaftsinformatik oder eines vergleichbaren Studiengangs;
  • Interesse an Verwaltungs- und Personalthemen, erste Praxiserfahrungen sind von Vorteil;
  • Routinierter Umgang mit MS Office-Anwendungen, idealerweise Erfahrungen im Umgang mit SharePoint;
  • Sehr gute Englischkenntnisse in Wort und Schrift;
  • Organisationstalent;
  • Ausgeprägte Kommunikations- und Teamfähigkeit;
  • Zielstrebige und selbstständige Arbeitsweise sowie ein hohes Maß an Verantwortungsbewusstsein.

DRI bietet dir einen familienfreundlichen Arbeitsplatz mit flexiblen Arbeitszeiten und beruflichen Weiterbildungsmöglichkeiten, in einem multikulturellen Team im Herzen von Berlin.

Bitte sende deine aussagekräftige Bewerbung (Anschreiben und Lebenslauf) bis zum 4. September 2018 an [email protected]. Beziehe dich im Betreff bitte auf die Stelle “Werkstudent Administration/HR” und lass uns wissen, wo du die Ausschreibung entdeckt hast.

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The nexus between trade and rights: a dialogue on GSP+ in Sri Lanka

In May 2017 the European Union (EU) re-granted Sri Lanka better access to its market through the Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+). The preferences are conditional on Sri Lanka advancing human and labour rights, to which the Island Nation’s National Unity Government has committed through a far-reaching reform agenda since 2015.

DRI’s first round of district level outreach sessions were conducted across the Island including Matale City, Ekala, Batticaloa City, Chenkaladi, Trincomalee City, Kanthale, Mannar City, Ibbagamuwa, Polpithigama, Medirigiriya, Diyabeduma, and Panama.

One year since the deal was agreed between the EU and the Sri Lankan government, many of the reforms have stalled and civil society out of Colombo is still only learning what GSP+ offers as a tool to monitor the human and labour rights situation in the country and enter into dialogue with both national and international stakeholders on how to improve human rights protection in Sri Lanka.

DRI continues to address the need for more information on the GSP+ scheme among grass-roots actors and conducted twelve awareness raising sessions between 7 July and 15 August 2018 on “The Link between GSP+, Human Rights and Labour Rights”. With its workshops, DRI reached a total of 297 Sinhala and Tamil speaking local activists representing various community based organizations across eight districts in various provinces.

The sessions clarified that Sri Lanka and all other GSP+ countries have entered voluntarily into the scheme and their governments therefore fully signed up to implementing international conventions that protect their citizens’ rights. One participant stressed: “We were not aware of the GSP+’s link to human rights, but were rather thinking that GSP+ was just related to the garment industry’s tariffs. This insight opens new avenues for us as activists to demand compliance from the government.”

Civil society representatives voiced their concerns and observations regarding the status of human and labour rights in the country. In all districts people were concerned about the lack of economic, social and cultural rights for many communities in Sri Lanka.

DRI will expand its work around GSP+ in Sri Lanka by training civil society groups on human rights monitoring and reporting against Sri Lanka’s commitments. During a critical time of slow reform progress and even setbacks in the country it is important to have rural community representatives be part of a wider monitoring network to help advance the well-being of Sri Lankans across the Island.


This project is funded by the European Union.

Call for Consultants on Public Private Partnerships (PPP), Public Procurement and Financial Management – Lebanon

Assignment: Conduct field research (including the organisation of expert meetings, workshops, interviews etc.) and draft 2 Briefing Papers on the topics of (1) Public Procurement and (2) Financial Management in Local Authorities in Lebanon.

Form of Employment: Research Consultancy

Starting Date: 10 September 2018

Duration: 10 September – 30 November 2018

Location: Beirut, Lebanon


Democracy Reporting International (DRI) is a non-partisan, independent, not-for-profit organisation registered in Berlin. DRI promotes political participation of citizens, accountability of state bodies and the development of democratic institutions world-wide.

In the framework of its projects “Resilience in Local Governance” (RESLOG) and “Setting an Agenda for Decentralisation in Lebanon – Phase II”, DRI is working with Lebanese civil society organisations and public officials to promote local governance in line with good governance principles.

Concurrently, DRI will be executing an awareness-raising and advocacy campaign for better local governance drawing on a research on municipal service delivery in three sectors: solid waste management; public safety (role of the municipal police); government transparency and citizen participation. Interested candidates are invited to peruse DRI’s publication prior to applying:

Objective of this assignment

We seek two Expert Consultants who are specialised in the topics of Public Private Partnerships (PPP) and Public Procurement and Financial Management in Lebanese Municipalities, with a proven track record in research coordination and report writing. Under the direct supervision of DRI’s team, you will conduct field research (including the organisation of expert meetings, workshops, interviews etc.) and draft one Briefing Paper on each subject. The subjects of the Briefing Papers are:

  • Public Private Partnerships (PPP): Assessment of the 2017 PPP Law (state of play, current practices and debates, notable areas of improvement), its implications for local authorities in Lebanon, strategic recommendations to better adapt PPP to the work of local authorities and promote its implementation for public service delivery, also with respect to the 2014 Administrative Decentralisation Bill.
  • Public Procurement and Financial Management in Local Authorities: Assessment of the legal framework (state of play, current practices and debates, notable areas of improvement), strategic recommendations to improve procurement and financial management (incl. accounting, budgeting) in local authorities, also with respect to the 2014 Administrative Decentralisation Bill.

You will provide the first drafts in October 2018 and the final Briefing Papers by 30 November 2018.

Your duties and responsibilities

The deliverables include:

  1. An annotated Table of Contents for the Briefing Paper (based on a Concept Note provided by DRI) that includes a proposed methodology and an analytical framework, and revise it based on DRI’s input;
  2. Conduct a desk review of existing literature and provide a select bibliography on the studied topic;
  3. Identify relevant specialists and panel speakers to participate in a series of closed roundtable discussions, expert meetings and interviews on the abovementioned subjects;
  4. Organise closed roundtable discussions and/or expert meetings and conduct interviews (event costs and logistics are covered by DRI and SKL);
  5. Draft the Briefing Paper in English (around 6,000 words), including a crisp and highly readable Executive Summary (first draft in October 2018, final draft by 30 November 2018);
  6. Based on joint discussions with DRI and input provided by project partners and stakeholders, provide strategic recommendations and a road map for reforming the frameworks governing PPP / public procurement and financial management in Lebanese local authorities;
  7. Attend regular coordination meetings with DRI Lebanon to discuss the research progress;
  8. Review and proof-read the final manuscript after copy-editing and layout, in the original language (English) as well as the translation (Arabic);
  9. Other relevant duties, as required.

Qualifications we require:

  • University degree in law, public administration, social science, public policy/development studies, urban planning, or other relevant fields;
  • Legal and technical knowledge of PPP / public procurement and financial management in Lebanese local authorities;
  • Good knowledge of the work of Lebanese municipalities and municipal unions in theory and practice;
  • At least seven (7) years of professional experience in social science data analysis and report writing in a concise, think-tank style;
  • Writing samples/publications touching on the targeted sectors;
  • IT skills (MS Word and Excel);
  • Good communication and negotiation skills and ability to work with a culturally diverse team;
  • Fluency in written and spoken Arabic and English is a requirement.


DRI values diversity and aims to be an equal opportunities employer. Women are encouraged to apply!

If you are interested in this consultancy, please send your application, consisting of (1) a cover letter, (2) your CV, (3) relevant work samples,  and (4) a draft outline of the respective Briefing Paper to [email protected]. Please include either PPP or Municipal Procurement and Finance Expert (Lebanon) in the subject line and refer to the source where you have found this opportunity. This consultancy is subject to expected funding. Applying for this position by postal mail is possible, please find our address details below.


Closing date for applications is 10 September 2018. The position may be filled before the end of the deadline so early applications are encouraged.

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for an interview. If you are one of those shortlisted, we will contact you within one week after expiration of the deadline at the latest.

Organisation responsible for this vacancy:

Democracy Reporting International gGmbH

Prinzessinnenstraße 30

10969 Berlin, Germany

Tel +49 30 27877300

Fax +49 30 27877300-10

Data processing of personal data in third countries will not take place. We process your data in accordance with the provisions of § 26 German Federal Data Protection Act. More information about processing your personal data: privacy policy.