ESCWA's Support to the Arab Region
Economic Development and Globalization Division (EDGD)

Programme: The National Agenda for the Future of Syria

Country: Syria - Pillar: 3 - Good Governance and Resilience

In light of the crisis in Syria, and as part of its mandate to promote democracy and development in the region, UN-ESCWA has initiated a programme named The National Agenda for the Future of Syria. The Programme will work in partnership with Syrian national institutions, civil society and the private sector. It will also collaborate with international organizations, the UN country team in Syria, existing UN coordination mechanisms and international partners. The programme has three levels of engagement: - The first is Normative designed to anticipate the intellectual work needed to forge a new social contract and the tools needed to manage the country in the transitional period. - The second is Participatory, aimed at building the acceptance and ownership of potential solutions and scenarios. - The third is Outreach, to promote the programme’s outcomes among the stakeholders, in an effort to persuade them to begin the transformation from armed conflict towards dialogue. The programme will examine concrete development needs and assist a wide range of Syrians in preparing a National Agenda for the future of the country in three main sectors: 1. Economic recovery and reconstruction; 2. Social reconciliation and social cohesion; and 3. Institution-building, good governance and democratization. The aim is to develop pragmatic solutions and alternatives to be used by Syrian stakeholders to tackle issues of reconstruction and reconciliation in the transitional post-conflict phase. It will provide these proposals with a keen understanding of the structural challenges facing the process of forging a new social contract and advancing a sustainable development programme for the country. The Programme will refrain from promoting any specific solution or scenario, but instead it will provide theoretical and practical tools for Syrians to achieve transition in a manner congruent with UN principles and conventions protecting and promoting human rights, sustainable development and democratic governance. For the Syrian people, by Syrian people The Programme will work with a myriad of national and international experts, but it will remain a Syrian initiative in as far as steering progress and defining objectives. Syrians from all walks of life will be invited to participate in creating the Agenda to guide their country through its critical transitional phase towards democracy and sustainable development. All partners are being asked to contribute to the success of the programme by providing direct support and resources, each in their own capacity and according to their own mandate. The programme seeks to provide a clear roadmap for the process of national reconstruction and recovery and identifies key stakeholders ready to implement it. Through a combination of focused expert meetings and broad stakeholder consultations, it will produce policy-papers and build a platform of partnerships for promoting them. The programme will assimilate existing information and employ modeling techniques to assess the viability of different scenarios and identify possible solutions.

The first deliverable of the programme will be an immediate framework for managing the needs for reconstruction and reconciliation in the transitional phase. This is meant to provide a useful tool for the various stakeholders to facilitate discussions and negotiations among each other as well as aid international partners in preparing viable support packages for the country in the immediate transitional phase. However, to avoid concentrating on short-term solutions at the cost of the long-term development and sustainability of the country, the Programme will also frame urgent needs within a larger framework for long-term recovery and reconstruction. The second deliverable will be a long term perspective for the future of Syria. The third deliverable will be a mechanism for ensuring the development of proposals made during the programme into operational plans that can be implemented by various stakeholders. This will be achieved through training, capacity building efforts and communication strategies geared towards strengthening the dissemination and implementation of the National Agenda.

The main three key outcomes of the programme: 1- Produce a comprehensive National Agenda on the policy alternatives for the most pressing social, economic and political challenges during Syria’s post-conflict transition. 2- Develop networks and partnerships between Syrian stakeholders and regional as well as international partners to facilitate and advocate for post-conflict transition in Syria. 3- Strengthen the capacities of Syrian stakeholders from all walks of life to actively and effectively participate in post-conflict transition in their country.

Contact Person:
Bassel Kaghadou

Programme Coordinator
Rana Mitri
Staff Assistant

ESCWA's Support to the Arab Region