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Prioritize Stabilization Initiatives in Syria

Beirut, Lebanon

As part of its mandate to promote human development and democratic transition in the region, UN ESCWA launched the National Agenda for the Future of Syria (NAFS) Programme in 2012 to engage Syrian experts and stakeholders in developing policy alternatives for Syria in preparation for a post-agreement phase.

The NAFS Programme has involved around 165 experts and aims to regularly discuss and formulate policy alternatives for the future of Syria. To ensure that these policy options also respond to the current challenges caused by the conflict, NAFS regularly studies the impact of the conflict looking at macro-economic developments, as well sector-by-sector damages, needs and coping mechanisms. To set forward-looking priorities for the policy alternatives, Syrian experts have agreed upon a set of principles for a vision for Syria in 2030.

Furthermore, and in order to adjust the long-term vision to the realities of a still ongoing conflict, the experts have developed scenarios for how the conflict may end, to have a realistic starting point for reconstruction and recovery and adjust the policy alternatives accordingly. The policy alternatives themselves were designed to mitigate the social, economic and governance challenges of the conflict, help build stability and support post-agreement reconstruction, as well as respond to the root causes of the conflict. They reflect the interlinked challenges and opportunities across sectors, and are sequenced according to what the key priorities will be during the peace building and the state building phases, as identified by the NAFS Programme. The policy alternatives and the analyses they were based upon were compiled in the Strategic Policy Alternatives Framework (SPAF) document, which was launched on 27 January 2017.

The SPAF summarizes the work the Programme undertook during its first phase (2012-2016) and will remain a “living document” updated annually to reflect and respond to the developments inside the country during the second phase of the Programme. 
To this end, the NAFS Programme will continue to engage Syrian stakeholders in the process of continuously revising and updating the policy alternatives for the peace building and state building phases aiming at translating these policy alternatives into guidance notes to inform interventions and initiatives at the local level to support resilience and promote stabilization.
In that context, the NAFS Programme will host an Expert Group Meeting (EGM) where experts will discuss the SPAF document and outline the priorities for the stabilization initiatives