The Arab Foundations Forum (AFF) in collaboration with SAANED for Philanthropy Advisory and the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL) planned a one day consultative meeting to specifically discuss whether foundations (major component of philanthropic institutions) need a special law to define its role in society and relationship to government or stay included within the existing law for civil society organizations in general. The Meeting was held at the Marriott Hotel- Zamalek in Cairo, Egypt and was attended by 23 representatives from the foundations sector from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Yemen.
There was an agreement among participants that a foundation law is indeed needed. An overarching foundation law will be developed in the next four months with participants volunteering to work on its different components with the understanding that each country will need to customize to suits its needs and in harmony with the laws in place. The various components agreed upon were:
- Legal Framework: Setting up foundations, governance, transparency and accountability
- Financial Framework: Incentives for giving, relationship with the private sector, transparency and accountability
- Social Benefit Framework: Programs, meaning of social benefit, transparency and accountability
- Relationship with Government: Enhancing the culture of cooperation, collaboration and accountability (not only government holding civil society organizations (CSOs) accountable but CSOs holding government accountable