Efforts to reach out to and include the voices of civil society in the Syrian political process continue. UN Special Envoy Pedersen and his Office have over the past three months conducted regional consultations through its Civil Society Support Room - including online consultations.
Following a Geneva meeting for the CSSR in January, the Special Envoy's office held consultations subsequently with Syrian civil society actors in Erbil and Beirut before the COVID-19 pandemic broke out. Despite the limitations imposed by the pandemic, the Office was able to maintain momentum by holding online consultations with Syrian civil society actors based in Jordan.
During his briefing to the Security Council on 18 May, UN Special Envoy Geir O. Pedersen underscored the importance of continued consultations and he voiced the participants’ call for “…tangible steps towards the creation of a safe, calm and neutral environment across Syria upon which a comprehensive and credible political solution can be built.’’ and the importance of continuing the engagement with and hearing the voices of a broad and diverse range of Syrian civil society.
Through available digital tools, the CSSR team will engage Turkey-based civil society actors in June, marking the end of this round of regional consultations. Throughout the consultations, Syrian civil society actors were also provided with a platform for advocacy with member states and relevant UN agencies on a variety of issues related to the protection of civilians, humanitarian access, detainees, abductees and missing persons as well as the establishment of a safe, calm and neutral environment.
Since January 2016, NOREF and swisspeace have been implementing partners of the United Nations Office of the Special Envoy for Syria (OSE) to facilitate the participation of civil society into the UN-facilitated peace process in Geneva through the Civil Society Support Room (CSSR). More about CSSR here.