Dawlaty Launches a Policy Brief entitled “From Informing to Empowering: Improving Syrian Civil Society’s Engagement in the Brussels Conference”
The Brussels conferences have become the main annual event for sharing public advocacy messages about Syria from Syrian civil society actors and one of the few places where Syrians from diverse geographic regions, political affiliations, and interests can converge.
The participation of popular voices and the Syrian civil society in these deliberations on the future of Syria and influencing it is a natural right, whether in terms of funding, programming, or the political process. Regulators and policymakers are responsible for empowering these actors to take on those roles, listen to their concerns, and integrate them more effectively into the decision-making process.
The approaches of the five conferences held in Brussels have varied over the years to engage civil society in form, scope and effectiveness, especially after the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic. In contrast, the transformation of conferences to online meetings and online engagement mechanisms has complicated the engagement process, especially for Syrian civil society in the previous two Brussels conferences.
Dawlaty provides this policy brief to assess efforts to expand civil society engagement at the Brussels Conference. To accomplish this work, Dawlaty conducted interviews supplemented with surveys of civil society participants in previous Brussels conferences to assess the process of civil society engagement. Interviews and surveys were conducted with participants from Northeast, Northwest and South Syria, and neighbouring countries and the Syrian diaspora throughout May 2021.
The paper was launched on 27 September 2021, in an online webinar, which discussed the recommendations of the paper. The webinar hosted representatives of Syrian civil society organizations, workers in international organizations covering the Syrian issue, former participants in the Conference, as well as representatives from the organisers of the Conference.