Nexus Approach

Nexus 1: Emergency Response, Relief and Humanitarian Work

Nexus 1-a: Voluntary return and reintegration:

Every Syrian who was displaced or migrated due to the conflict, including all those who are not registered as refugees in host countries, has the right to a safe, dignified, and voluntary return to their homes. The return of displaced Syrians should be durable with post-return policies that ensure reintegration into society. All returnees are to be rehabilitated and empowered to rebuild their lives.

Case studies from other countries that have gone through conflict and seen mass migration, show that an average of 30 per cent of displaced people return after the conflict ends and a political solution is achieved. To achieve the vision of a safe, dignified, and voluntary return of this scale, policy makers should map and address the challenges mass return will entail. Policy makers should also look into the existing coping mechanisms of both the displaced and the state, in order to improve the livelihoods of Syrians and sustain positive results. Return plans must include plans for long term sustainability.

Nexus 1-b: Local response:

Local response will achieve food security, reduce poverty, and seek comprehensive and inclusive economic development. To succeed, the empowerment and inclusion of women and youth is imperative, as is addressing issues of property rights, access to water, and employment.

Policy choices for local response aim to reduce the negative impact of the conflict by responding to basic local needs. This encompasses the needs of local communities, displaced people, and returnees. Moreover, the response needs to address the affected communities to avoid further poverty, marginalization, and reliance on humanitarian aid. Policy making will need to cover important aspects such as providing income to those who lost their jobs during the conflict, building the local communities’ infrastructure, providing services, and building local capacities to attain early recovery. Vulnerable groups should be empowered and encouraged to participate, in order to better understand and respond to the needs of the local population.

Nexus 1


Nexus 2: Building a legal framework and institutional rehabilitation

Achieve a political agreement that guarantees a comprehensive transition and a consensual process to reform the governance structure and rehabilitate the political institutions in a representative manner. A culture of democracy is built and practiced, mutual political trust is re-established among the main political players, and the rule of law, equality, and citizenship is established.

The overall objective of this nexus is to develop effective mechanisms to sustain peace and protect it. Also, it aims to enhance the state’s legitimacy by sustainably developing its capacities to face basic governance demands. Case studies from other countries that have undergone conflict show that the risk of conflict relapse is five times higher in countries that have just reached peace than in countries that emerged from conflict 10-12 years earlier. Accordingly, all policies of the peace building phase should be evaluated on the basis of possible impact on reducing or increasing the chances of falling back into the conflict.

Nexus 2

Nexus 3: Reconciliation and social cohesion

National reconciliation in Syria is a continuous process. It starts with national peaceful democratic consensus and requires, peace and state-building. All parties should be held responsible for their contribution and/or involvement in the conflict, and the affected people have the right to claim justice, equality, and citizenship within the new social contract. All Syrians are invited and encouraged to contribute to reconciliation and sustainable peace in this national process. The aim is for Syrians to realize that, even through years of conflict and its devastating toll, it is in their mutual interest to move forward to a path of reconciliation, sustainable peace and development.

Social and national reconciliation can only be achieved if military hostilities end and an inclusive comprehensive political solution is reached. Rebuilding the country and putting it back on the path of development are key prerequisites for reconciliation. Reconciliation in that sense is not only an objective, but a result of a comprehensive effort to establish a new social contract. The nexus assumes that all other nexus and sector policies in this document are designed to serve achieving reconciliation and peace-building.

Nexus 3

Nexus 4: Rehabilitation of physical and social infrastructure

All Syrians can resume their lives and benefit from the services provided by the rehabilitated infrastructure, including the internally displaced and the returnees. Availability of rehabilitated social and physical infrastructure represents achieving a basic human right, rule of law, and good governance. It also represents a just and balanced development that directly contributes to stability, peace building, and reconciliation at the local and the national levels.

It is imperative to embark on reconstruction of the social and physical infrastructure as soon as possible after the conflict ends to ensure all Syrians, including displaced and returnees, can resume their lives and benefit from the services provided. Reconstruction further contributes directly to stability, peace-building, and reconciliation at the local and the national levels. The reconstruction effort needs to take into careful consideration the possibility of funding gaps when setting priorities.

Nexus 4

Nexus 5: Social development and protection

Achieve social development that balances rights and responsibilities within the social contract, which has the Syrian citizen at its heart. It is built on the principle of human security, welfare, justice, and equality. Development must serve an empowered and active social capital that contributes to building a society that is demographically balanced, socially stable, and enabled to achieve recovery. It is a development that empowers people, especially the most vulnerable and poor, to attain their basic needs. It is comprehensive, participatory, and establishes a human network that carries and protects long-term social cohesion and national reconciliation.

The Social Protection and Development Nexus relies on the social contract and on the international declaration of human rights that guarantees equal access to public services. It also requires the right to social protection, access to quality health, education, and other social development-related rights. As the responsibilities of active citizens fall under the rule of law with active participation in the public and political life, a balanced social contract is achieved through the ability of the state to achieve citizens’ rights. This is done through direct intervention, institutional and social capacity building, and investment in human capital.

Nexus 5

Nexus 6: Governance and institutional reform

Establish a process to rehabilitate public institutions, coupled with administrative decentralization, which allows the national administrative structure to be comprehensive, participatory, transparent, accountable, result-based, and achieve gender equality.

Public institution rehabilitation and decentralization are major elements of the new social contract during the peace building phase. An efficient public service and public sector that work according to standards of good governance are at the heart of public administration. Civil service is situated between the citizen and the government. Civil servants are best able to meet the people’s expectations, when the service they provide are the closest possible to the local needs. Administrative governance reform should go hand in hand with socioeconomic development.

Nexus 6

Nexus 7: Comprehensive development policies

Achieve a national economy that supports comprehensive development by attaining high and sustainable growth and employment rates. It should also ensure decent income, help reduce poverty and unemployment. This could be achieved by increasing productivity and increasing participation of citizen's in planning the development process and not just being subjected to it. Moreover, it must achieve social justice through the involvement of all Syrians within a framework of balanced regional, local and rural development. This economy relies on diversified production enabled by technology, which invests in renewable national resources and ensures environmental sustainability.

A comprehensive development approach could form a structure for a political economy that enhances the chances of peace and supports economic recovery. The goal is to tackle the social and economic roots and impacts of the conflict in order to put the economy back on the development track and rebuild the state in the long term.

Nexus 7

Nexus 8: Technological development and management of natural and environmental resources

Achieve social and economic development through promoting labour-intensive technology and a shift from low-technology to technology-intensive economy sectors. From low to high added-value sectors, and from low to high productivity sectors, resulting in a national economy based on knowledge and innovation. Also, Management and protection of natural resources in a sustainable way, and guiding technological and institutional change to guarantee sustainability for generations to come is necessary.

Technological, social, and economic innovation is at the heart of any socioeconomic process. Innovation and technology could be the means to launch economic enterprises and to respond to today’s challenges that require changes in the patterns of production and consumption. Creativity is fundamentally linked to the advancement of knowledge to create a society and economy, that could greatly contribute to finding new solutions to post-conflict complex problems.

Nexus 8

Nexus 9: Information technology and telecommunication

The ideal use of information technology and telecommunication services and tools in all relevant sectors to support relief work and the provision of needed services to individuals and institutions during the post-conflict phase. In other words, to achieve growth, economic stability and sustainable development.

The IT and telecommunication sector plays a vital role during both phases of peace- and state- building. It does so by providing efficient tools to ensure that basic services are provided to all Syrians, especially in highly affected areas. Digital platforms would supplement traditional platforms for dialogue to encourage active participation and involvement of the public. The sector also provides job opportunities.

Nexus 9