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A process in its own right: the Syrian Civil Society Support Room

Turkmani, Rim and Theros, Marika (2019) A process in its own right: the Syrian Civil Society Support Room. . London School of Economics, Conflict Research Programme, London, UK.

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Abstract

This study investigates the Syrian Civil Society Support Room (CSSR), the first formal mechanism to involve civil society in the United Nations-led Syrian political talks in Geneva. Through a survey, interviews and focus groups, the research explored the impact and design of the CSSR. It was done primarily from the perspective of CSSR participants themselves but also involved interviews and discussions with members of the UN Office of the Special Envoy (OSE) team. The results provide insight into the value of inclusive civil society mechanisms formally linked to track I negotiations and the report considers the key design elements that can optimize the impact of the CSSR moving forward. The CSSR was established under the leadership of the third UN Special Envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura. This was after years of active lobbying by Syrian civil society calling for an independent role in the political process. It began as a small unstructured meeting with 12 participants, mainly men representing the views of the opposition. It gradually evolved into a more structured mechanism that enabled more than 500 members of Syrian civil society, one third of them women, including Syrian experts and technocrats, to play an advisory role to the UN Special Envoy and his team, and provide input into the broader political process. As a novel approach to rendering political talks more inclusive, the CSSR’s flexible architecture was capable of adapting and responding to recommendations by its participants, generating a sense of ownership while also improving its design over time. While it still requires further improvement, the CSSR can be seen as a qualified success with positive impacts on multiple levels, even beyond intended ones.

Item Type: Monograph (Report)
Additional Information: © 2019 LSE
Divisions: International Development
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2019 13:39
Last Modified: 20 Jul 2019 23:13
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/101034

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