Since 2012, based on an established long-lasting partnership, the Council of Europe and the European Union have been working in close partnership with beneficiaries (Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine*and Tunisia) from the Southern Mediterranean region to advance human rights and democratic governance based on the shared values of the two organisations, and in line with the national reform agendas.

Anchored in the Memorandum of Understanding of 2007 between the Council of Europe and the European Union, this partnership also derives from the Statement of Intent of 2014 in which both organisations recall their commitment to mobilise capacities and resources to further coordinate the implementation of their policy goals in the neighbourhood and enlargement regions.

Building on the success and lessons learnt from the successive phases of the South Programme (South Programme I (2012-2014), South Programme II (2015-2017) and South Programme III (2018-2020), the South Programme IV (2020-2022) will continue to support the ongoing democratic reforms and their successful completion. To reach its objectives, this new phase of the programme will place an even greater emphasis on regional co-operation, which is fundamental in achieving sustainable and strong democratic systems based in independent rule of law, human rights standards and good governance building. Particular emphasis is placed on actions preventing and combating violence against women and on combating corruption, which will be strengthened by focusing on the regional dimension of these issues.

*This designation shall not be construed as a designation of a State of Palestine and is without prejudice to the individual positions of Council of Europe member States on this issue.