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With Support from ASO, the NES NGO Platform Holds a Meeting with the European Union

ASO, Amouda

Last Tuesday, representatives of the NES NGO Platform members, held a meeting with the EU Delegation and international donor organizations, through ZOOM application, to discuss the challenges facing CSOs in areas under the control of the Self-Administration.

The meeting was attended by representatives of the NPA, SIDA, the UN-OSE for Syria, the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), representatives of the French and Danish Foreign Ministry and Swisspeace Center.

The meeting was organised due to ASO for Consultancy and Strategic Studies' efforts to enhance coordination between the NES NGO Platform, which includes a group of civil organizations operating in the governorates of Al-Hasaka, Raqqa and Deir Ezzor, the European Union and international donor organizations.

ASO's Board Director, Majid Dawi, started the meeting with an opening speech, in which he talked about challenges facing CSOs in NES, the region's needs, the impacts and threats that regional states pose on the region, and the political, military and economic transformations that the region has witnessed over the last years of war.

Majid Dawi said, in a statement to ASO Center, that: “The policy of international actors in the Syrian file has led to the marginalization and exclusion of the NES region, its national and religious components and its institutions, from direct international support. As well as, from participation in the democratic transition process in Syria, during the various peace tracks (Geneva - Brussels - Astana), which was the direct reason for launching such initiatives to increase coordination between local organizations, the EU and donor organizations."

According to Dawi, the importance of this meeting comes in light of the ongoing Turkish threats to NES, and the Turkish government cut off the waters of the International Euphrates River, weaponizing water against civilians in the region to pass its destabilizing agendas.

Dawi pointed out that, "ASO Center is looking forward, during the next stage, to holding new meetings between international actors, including the EU, and the NES NGO Platform together, intending to convey the local reality and attract funding for local organizations to support the region in all sectors."

During the meeting, the Delegation of the EU office spoke about its current funding granted to CSOs in NES, support for stability and peace-building programs, and projects supported by the EU in Syria. She attributed the reason for the EU's inability to operate on the ground to the lack of security stability, however, emphasized their support for organizations operating on the ground.

The EU Delegation said that the Union currently supports 27 projects in Syria, with efficient financial funding, in various sectors, including education, protection, psychological support, empowerment, societal cohesion, livelihoods and property rights.

Meanwhile, representatives of SIDA and NPA talked about their work plans and projects that are being implemented in Syria, and their attempts to support the region, in particular the camps in the countryside of Deir Ezzor Governorate, and issues related to violence against women. They affirmed their continued work in the support and development of programs for civil organizations in NES.

In a related context, representatives of the NES NGO Platform talked about challenges facing local organizations in the region, and challenges facing humanitarian work, including financial challenges related to the weak funding provided to local organizations, especially from the EU, and the inability to obtain a license from the Syrian government "the government of the Syrian regime".

Representatives of the organizations indicated the impact of border crossings closure, due to regional political pressures, and their impact on the population of the region and organizations' work.

The local organizations explained the difficulties and challenges they face as a result of the Turkish practices against the region, including the process of cutting off water and the starving of civilians to pass their political agendas in light of the Coronavirus pandemic.

They called for the opening of border crossings for the entry of humanitarian aid, the involvement of local civil actors, the projects implemented by international organizations, and their economic support through development projects.

Finally, the EU Delegation praised the initiative put forward by ASO for Consultancy and Strategic Studies, regarding increasing networking and coordination between CSOs in NES, international donor organizations and the EU.

It is noteworthy that this meeting is one of the activities of "the Democracy Approach Enhancement Project", which is implemented by ASO Center in the governorates of Raqqa, Al-Hasaka and Deir Ezzor, intending to enhance confidence and increasing coordination between members of the NES NGO Platform and international actors in the Syrian file.

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