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"Knowledge from the region, for the region"

Building Resilience and Sustaining Peace in the West Asia – North Africa Region: Reflections

Focus Area
Human Security
WANA Institute
28 Nov 2016

To inform policy discussions taking place at the UN and in other international fora on the outcomes of the recent UN reviews on peace and security with experiences and perspectives of the regional and country level, the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation (the Foundation), in collaboration with the West Asia North Africa (WANA) Institute, hosted a workshop on 4-5 October 2016 on building resilience and sustaining peace. The objective was to facilitate the engagement of practitioners in the WANA region on these issues in order to identify changes needed for improving international support, in particular by the UN, to local initiatives aimed at building resilience and sustaining peace in the region.

Participants included staff from different UN entities, civil society organisations and national government representatives. Recognising the diversity of the WANA region and unique history and challenges facing individual countries, thematic discussions were contextualised with experiences from Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. The event was conducted under Chatham House rule.

This Chair’s summary reflects the main issues discussed during the workshop clustered in seven areas: Contextual realities; the impact of migration on resilience; the need for conceptual clarity; rethinking organisational approaches; coherent and adaptable methodologies; national ownership and inclusivity; and strategies for supporting the Sustainable Development Goals. It also includes a detailed summary on discussions focused on youth engagement in the WANA region attached as Annex A.

The seminar was opened with a welcome statement by HRH Sumaya bint El Hassan on behalf of her father, HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal, Chairman of the WANA Institute, and in her own capacity as President of the Royal Scientific Society (RSS) where the event was being hosted. Princess Sumaya spoke about the need for long-term thinking and planning as well as moral courage to address the enormous challenges facing the region in terms of energy, food and natural resource depletion, exacerbated by climate change and migration. Following her statement, the Swedish Ambassador to Jordan, H.E. Eric Ullenhag, spoke about the importance of embracing conflict as an inevitable force that brings opportunity and praised Jordan’s open response to the recent waves of refugees from Syria. Finally, Henrik Hammargren, Executive Director of the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation, highlighted the pertinence of the seminar’s topic and the imperative for the UN to refocus its core mandate as articulated in its founding charter, to save future generations from the scourge of war. Mr. Hammargren emphasised the urgency of reforms within the UN’s systems and structures if the Organisation is to remain a reliable actor and to be able to support sustainable peace in the WANA region.


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