23 tammi 2017

How to Support Bottom-Up Community Resilience in Syria

Date and time:
23.1.2017 09:30 – 12:30
Marina Congress Center, Helsinki
Event language:
Crisis Management Initiative, Felm, Fida International, Finn Church Aid, Kehys, Kepa and Save the Children


23rd of January 2017

From 9.30 to 12.30 at Marina Congress Center, Helsinki

Crisis Management Initiative, Felm, Fida International, Finn Church Aid, Kehys, Kepa and Save the Children are pleased to welcome you to a seminar on How to Support Bottom-Up Community Resilience in Syria

As war-torn Syria is entering the 7th year of the protracted and devastating conflict, Finland will host the UN Launch Event for the 2017 Syrian Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) and the 2017-2018 Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP) in Helsinki on January 24, 2017. The launch will bring together a wide range of actors from the international community to address the development and humanitarian challenges of Syria and its neighboring countries.

To ensure that voices of the Syrian civil society are echoed in the Launch Event, Finnish civil society actors are jointly organizing a side event titled How to Support Bottom-Up Community Resilience in Syria on January 23, 2017. This broad-based platform of experts with first-hand experience on the ground strives to identify challenges and develop a consensus on supporting bottom-up community resilience in Syria. The recommendations from this event will be communicated to the UN Launch Event in close cooperation with the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

We kindly ask you to confirm your participation in the seminar at the very latest on Friday 13 January in the registration form through the link below:



9.30-9.40 Welcome by Mr. Kai Mykkänen, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development (TBC)

9.40-10.30 Supporting Bottom-up Community Resilience in Syria – planning instruments and practical considerations

Chair and facilitator: Tuija Talvitie, Executive Director, Crisis Management Initiative (TBC)

Key note speaker: Helen Clark, Administrator of the UNDP (TBC)
Comment by Omar Abdulaziz Hallaj, Co-coordinator, Common Space Initiative


10.30-10.45 Coffee break

10.45-12.00 Panel – Civil Society’s Role in Building Stability - modalities for international support

Chair and facilitation: Rilli Lappalainen, Secretary General, The Finnish NGDO Platform to the EU KEHYS, and Matthias Wevelsiep, Head - Programme Development Unit, Finn Church Aid

Lama Khaddour, civil society activist, Damascus
Zeidoun Alzoubi, CEO, Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations (UOSSM)
Eva Zidan, Coordinator, Coordinamento delle organizzazione per il servizio volontario of Italy (COSV)
Roy Azar, Project Coordinator, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC)
Alexandra Saieh, Syria Crisis Policy and Campaigns Advisor, Oxfam (TBC)


12.00–12.30 Concluding Remarks: recommendations for improved coordinated action

Kristiina Rintakoski, Director, Peacebuilding and Advocacy, Felm - Suomen Lähetysseura

Mathieu Rouquette, Syria INGO Regional Forum Representative (SIRF)

Sirpa Mäenpää, Ambassador, Peace Mediation, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland


After six years of violence in Syria, the country is fragmented along overlapping military, economic, social and moral fracture lines. The prospect of a political solution, though a preferred outcome by international stakeholders and by most civilians, is unlikely to take place at the moment as military logic is leading the situation in many parts of Syria. Within this violent context, Syrian communities are striving to survive and are demonstrating heroic resilience; ordinary Syrians are putting their lives on the line to negotiate access to basic necessities, attempting to maintain social cohesion and advancing creative initiatives to reduce violence. Individuals, groups, and networks active in bridging the conflict frontlines constitute indispensable infrastructure for sustaining livelihoods and building peace, without which no top-down process is likely to succeed.

The international community has focused on the humanitarian conditions inside the country and in the host countries accommodating the bulk of the refugees. The UN has relied on a set of technical instruments (the humanitarian needs overview, humanitarian response plans, as well as the regional, refugee and resilience plans) to aggregate the humanitarian needs. While these tools are indispensable for rationalizing the use of resources, there is a need to better correlate them by supporting local resilience and empowering Syrian civilian actors to take ownership of the process. The involvement of Syrian stakeholders should go beyond the definition of needs to include issues such as the evaluation of impacts, assessment of risk and externalities, accumulating local knowledge and leveraging local resources. Additional issues to be considered include the possibilities and limitations of the UN’s post-agreement planning process, and the impact of international aid on the local political economy and its ability to mitigate the impact of the war economy.

To address these topics, the partnering hosts will convene, on the sideline of the UN Launch Event for the 2017 Syrian Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) and the 2017-2018 Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP), Syrian civil society actors and organizations, UN representatives, international humanitarian and development aid practitioners and decision makers. The objective of bringing this broad platform of experts together is to identify challenges and develop common grounds for a coherent way to support bottom-up community resilience in Syria. The format is a half-day seminar on the role of civil society in the greater cycle of aid delivery. The seminar presents innovative approaches and critical perspectives from the ground and offers space for interactive discussions. It will also set out recommendations for improved coordinated action to feed into the next day’s deliberations. A draft program is presented below. Guiding questions will be provided to speakers and facilitators.