07 April 2017

Institute students call for more support to Syrian civil society organisations

Graduate Institute students drew attention to the ongoing challenges faced by Syrian civil society during the recent UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva.

At an event on 16 March held on the sidelines of the HRC’s 34th session, Amanda Milani, Dominique Fraser, Ahmed Eleiba and Justine Boillat presented a report on Syrian civil society networks in peace building and post conflict recovery. The report was produced as part of an Applied Research Seminar which the students participated in alongside Geoexpertise, a Swiss-Syrian NGO, under the supervision of Professor Ronald Jaubert.

The report makes a number of recommendations, including for the UN and Donor states to provide more recognition to informal cooperation networks and increase core funding for Syrian civil society organisations (CSOs). It reveals how standard models of cooperation between different segments of Syrian civil society as enforced by donor policies and UN-OCHA's network criteria was leading to increased competition and conflict.

Students said “our hope is that after 6 years of war, the Syrian conflict will finally come to an end. A fundamental part of resolving the conflict will be securing a space for civil society to operate without interference. Civil society will continue to play a key role in peacebuilding and post-conflict recovery efforts, but they require the protection and support of the international community to do so."

At the same event, Professor Jaubert presented a case study of water management and peacebuilding from his own research and Geoexpertise's experience in the area.

The report is available to read here.