There are many opportunities to shape the future of Syria and move it forward. The cornerstone of a democratic society has been already set at the local level. All Syrian communities are setting up institutions such as city councils, local councils, military councils, local judicial bodies and emerging police forces.
The civil action networks and groups in Syria have also established a range of activities, including the distribution of humanitarian aid, the empowerment of young people, the establishment of small projects for displaced persons, negotiations for the release of detainees and/or local ceasefires, and initiatives to establish schools.
The work of these people has not only been limited to these activities. They have also begun to develop the work of new institutions in terms of the extent of consultation with their audience, their response to the needs of the community, their level of protection for women and human rights, their commitment to the rule of law and their ability to promote coexistence.
In order to take advantage of this tremendous opportunity to establish inclusive and accountable institutions, CCSD has focused in particular on promoting transparent governance, not only for emerging government institutions, but also for civil society groups.
The lack of transparency impedes the ability of civil society groups to represent their communities, thereby diminishing their legitimacy, and this also impairs them from establishing responsible emergency government bodies. The state of chaos that often dominates Syrian society, where the need to meet humanitarian and relief needs is increasing, leaves little room for capacity building, information dissemination, evaluation or transparency. During our second Transparency project in 2014 with 21 civil society groups, we found that these groups are open to transparency mechanisms and concepts. More groups must be reached in order to be trained and directed to instill a culture of transparency deep into the culture of the recently emerging Syrian civil society.