Security Council Resolution 2254, which guides the work of the Office of the Special Envoy for Syria (OSE-Syria), calls for a truly inclusive Syrian-led and owned political process that is facilitated by the UN in Geneva. While civil society actors have engaged with OSE-Syria since 2012, more robust inclusion was deemed necessary. To this end, in January 2016, the OSE-Syria launched the Civil Society Support Room (CSSR) as a platform through which a broad and diverse group of Syrian civil society actors, including feminist and women’s organizations, could engage with and consult with one another, as well as OSE-Syria and other key international stakeholders. Their contributions have provided substantial insights and tangible ideas to the Special Envoy on issues related to SCR2254. The CSSR has also been providing regular opportunities for Syrian civil society to engage with the UN member states and with the UN agencies through advocacy sessions facilitated by the OSE-Syria CSSR team.
To date, hundreds of Syrian civil society and feminist and women’s organizations actors have been consulted through CSSR consultation meetings and through the CSSR’s Thematic Working Groups(TWG) meetings and the following areas were identified by the OSE as potential thematic areas:
- Civil society space/civic values;
- Economy, recovery and development perspectives;
- Local governance and decentralization; and
- Protection priorities for Syrians
CSSR interlocutors represent humanitarian NGOs, human rights organizations, women organizations, and peacebuilding groups. Some of them are also individual experts in a particular field. More work needs to be done in order to achieve gender equality within CSSR and to increase youth participation.