Syrian Aid Forum for Emergency and Reconstruction (SAFER 2016)

Panel Sessions

Panel 1: The Humanitarian Response – Obstacles and Outlook, Lessons Learned
This session will assess, from a regional angle, the global response towards the Syrian humanitarian crisis, exploring what has already been done and what needs to be further done with regards to delivering and supporting programs related to food, safe drinking water, shelter, emergency, medical care and protection. The session will review the current aid schemes’ outcome, outline the challenges facing an effective crisis response and present recommendations to enhance coordination and create sustainability and prioritization in this area. It will also propose mechanisms for ensuring that the needs of crisis-affected populations are better incorporated in the response plans. It will also address better integration of relief and development efforts, and the need for host governments to deal with the situation as a long-term crisis that requires national coherent plans and strategies.

Panel 2: Impact of Refugees on Host Countries – What It Takes to Turn the Burden into Asset?
This session will highlight the heavy socio-economic impact of refugees on host countries, such as imposing further burdens on already struggling economies, crippling economic growth, soaring unemployment, and putting political strains on already fragile and conflict-affected countries. It will also discuss potential positive factors that this might bring along such as economic benefits and development potential. At the same time, the host community may benefit from assistance programs such as infrastructure and welfare services provided by agencies and international community responding to refugees’ needs, namely in education, vocational training, and productive employment.

Among the short-term and mid-term scenarios that will be discussed during this session will be the delicate challenge for host countries of ensuring the social inclusion of the refugees on a temporary win-win basis without allowing this to turn into a long-term integration or permanent resettlement of the refugees.

The session will discuss the economic models and schemes that make this synergy possible and sustainable, and the financial resources needed to kick off the process.

Panel 3: Reconstruction of Syria – How does the Future Look Like
The latest developments on the diplomatic arena and inside Syria require deeper thinking on the future of this country. The session will assess the reconstruction scenarios, goals, needs, components, requirements and opportunities. It will also address the timing of the reconstruction process in parallel with the political process and the reconciliation efforts, trying to benefit from the experience, successes and failures, of other models, especially countries that experienced civil wars or violent internal strives. What will be the role of the refugees in the reconstruction of Syria? How should they prepare for this in term of skills and capacities needed? What will be the role of the governments of host countries, and the opportunities for their labor force and their business community? What are the responsibilities of INGOs and NGOs in this regard?

Panel 4: Return / Repatriation Prospects and Conditions – Are “Safe Zones” a Solution?
This session will allow for an objective debate, reflecting the diverse positions on the conditions and requisites of refugees’ repatriation to Syria. It will examine the international law, standards and lessons learned in this regard, in line with the ongoing peace process. It will also highlight the key responsibility of the international community and the current hosting countries, and the crucial role they have to ensure that those who return home are able to rebuild their lives in a secure and stable environment. The session will also asses the feasibility and difficulties of establishing “safe zones” within the Syrian territory that could allow for the repatriation of a significant number of refugees. The need for an international mandate to establish such “safe zones” will also be discussed to explore legal, political and logistical issues associated with it.

With regard to the same objectives and standards, the session will explore the option of voluntary repatriation and reintegration in third countries (other than home and current host countries) and its validity.