REFORM sees that current public policy does not address the needs of the majority of Palestinian society. In order to redress this deficiency, REFORM is calling for the renewal of the social contract, engaging both civil society and official actors in a process of reforming structural relations shaped by public policies and practices which frame relationships between individuals, their communities and governing bodies. With the establishment of the National Palestinian Authority following the Oslo Accords in the early 1990s, the nature of the social contract changed and Palestinian society underwent a political, economic and social paradigm shift for which it was largely unprepared. This dramatic shift produced new forms of structural and partisan systems which benefited a minority of Palestinians. As participatory mechanisms became more exclusive, new systems arose that were inconsistent with the needs and expectations of the Palestinian public and as a result a vacuum formed between decision makers and the general public.
To address this situation, REFORM’s governance and public policy programme seeks:
To strengthen the Palestinian public’s capacity to participate in decision-making processes
To hold decision-makers accountable
To increase the representation of marginalised groups, especially women and youth, in decision-making processes
To bridge Palestinian jurisdiction gaps
To enhance good governance among civil society organisation
REFORM seeks to review and reform how policies are formulated, ensuring broad participation at all levels of governance and a needs-based approach to affect more relevant and inclusive policy making practices. Through this programme, REFORM promotes public consultation in regulatory processes, raising awareness among the general public of the importance of participating in decision-making processes. Based on public consultation and informed by applied research, REFORM also makes recommendations to decision makers through the submission of advisory papers as well as through face-to-face meetings. In addition to traditional advocacy activities, REFORM has initiated the 'weekend solution', that allows community members together with decision makers, the private sector and nongovernmental organizations to come up with innovative solutions to daily challenges, consolidating the abilities of all stakeholders into one 'change pot'.