The National Agenda for the Future of Syria (NAFS) is a programme that was developed in 2012 by the United Nations’ Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA). NAFS established a platform for technical dialogue for Syrians to think about the future of the country during the conflict. The programme works in collaboration with various partners to anticipate technical challenges facing the post-conflict transition especially with consideration to their impact and implications on regional development and stability.
NAFS comprises mainly Syrian experts who develop policy choices for the future of Syria. It began in 2012 with a main focus of investigating the root causes of the conflict and was composed of a small team funded by ESCWA. In the following year, the programme had gained significance due to its work and ideas, and as a result, the number of people involved in it grew. It also caught the attention of the international community, resulting in funds being donated to the programme on a regular basis. With the combined work of the NAFS team, Syrian experts, Syrian, regional and international stakeholders as well as the NAFS network of partners, the programme has been able to produce an analysis of the root causes of the conflict and develop policy choices for the future of the country while reflecting the voices of as many Syrians as possible through its inclusive platform for technical dialogue.
“You ask an economist and they will pinpoint things on the economy, ask a politician they will talk about governance […] Syria is complex and when you start pulling at the seams many things came apart. The Agenda is a platform to explore these issues”. (Expert)