Finland continues to fund Syrian women’s peacebuilding efforts

Finland continues to fund Syrian women’s peacebuilding efforts

Finland has granted a million euros to UN Women for its peacebuilding activities in Syria. The project, which is entitled Supporting Syrian Women’s Engagement in the Syrian Political Process: Building a Constituency for Peace, aims to support women’s engagement in and influence on political processes in Syria. The project runs from October 2020 until December 2021.

Geir O. Pedersen, United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, meets the Syrian Women’s Advisory Board (WAB) in Geneva in 2019. Picture: UN Photo / Violaine Martin

Finland has funded the project via UN Women since 2017. The project has four pillars: supporting political processes, grassroots dialogues, international coordination, and gender-related research and analysis in Syria. Sustainable and fair peace cannot be achieved without women’s participation.

The Syrian conflict has lasted for almost a decade. The conflict cannot be resolved by military means but the political process and peacebuilding requires the Syrian people’s engagement. The peacebuilding project, implemented by UN Women, fosters dialogue between women from various backgrounds and contributes to women’s participation in the political process.

The UN Secretary-General has appointed a Special Envoy for Syria to mediate the peace process. The Special Envoy is assisted by the Syrian Women’s Advisory Board (WAB), which brings women’s perspectives to the political process and supports, for example, the Syrian Constitutional Committee’s (SCC) work.  Thanks to the advocacy work done by the Advisory Board for several years, almost 30 per cent of the members of the Constitutional Committee are now women. The project supports the work of the WAB and its contacts with grassroots level actors.


Women’s participation contributes to peace

The UN has tried to increase women’s participation in the peace talks. Finland supports its objectives. In its mediation projects, Finland has come to the same conclusion as is stated in the UN Resolution 1325 (Women, Peace and Security), according to which women’s participation in peace talks contributes positively to the promotion and maintenance of peace.  Studies show that women’s inclusion increases the likelihood that peace agreements are implemented.

Finland participates in three different projects relating to mediation in the Syrian conflict. In addition to the project implemented by UN Women, Finland supports a project implemented by Berghof Foundation and a joint project by the Finnish Evangelic-Lutheran Mission (FELM) and the Common Space Initiative (CSI). The mediation projects aim at supporting Syrian grassroots level actors’ and influencers’ peacebuilding efforts by means of producing background material for their work, offering training, organising discussion events for Syrian people, and establishing contacts for them with significant external actors. 

Finland has also supported the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM) since its establishment. IIIM, a body operating under the UN, assists in the investigation and prosecution of persons responsible for the most serious crimes and aims to bring the perpetrators to justice and to ensure justice for victims.


Inquiries: Petra Paasilinna, Counsellor, Unit for the Middle East, tel. +358 50 478 3840

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