As part of enhancing women’s meaningful participation in political life, WILPF organised a two-day meeting in Berlin on the 19-20 February bringing together 23 women civil society leaders and political activists from Syria and Bosnia. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss and analyse political economy in conflict and post-conflict, with a specific focus on how Syrian peace activists and civil society leaders can use the post-conflict learnings from Bosnia.
From Bosnia to Syria
Feminist civil society leaders, activists from Syria, members of the Syrian Women Political Movement, and Bosnian activists were in attendance, and were able to strategise and learn from the Bosnian context.
The Bosnian activists present at the meeting have, for several years, analysed the political economy of post-conflict reconstruction in Bosnia from a feminist perspective and have co-authored the report on the topic.
The analysis derived from the work in Bosnia was used as insights and examples into the potential effects of the international and local political economy of humanitarian assistance and post-conflict reconstruction and recovery interventions; and as an inspiration to the Syrian participants for how feminist analysis of political economy can be done and its added value for the work they are implementing.
On the first day, the Bosnian feminist activists gave an introduction on feminist political economy and presented the Bosnian case study, followed by a presentation of the Syrian partners’ work to feed into the large framework of political and human rights developments in Syria. The workshop also included an exercise to define the broad political economy environment in Syria and a presentation of the findings.
The majority of the second day was assigned to providing a space to discuss and analyse issues related to feminist political economy in Syria, this included topics such as sanctions, reparations, reconstruction and investment, and aid. Participants tackled aims, priorities, and the principles that need to be taken into consideration, as well as relevant actors for each of the four topics.
Passing the message
WILPF brought parts of the discussion as recommendations that were submitted to the UN Human Rights Council’s 40th session in a written statement. This statement has been accepted as an official submission and is now within UN records.
The meeting was very interactive, and a great starting ground for discussing how to utilise a feminist political economy analysis. It provided space for partners to steer the discussion to make sure it fits their needs, and was utilised as an opportunity to network and coordinate.
About the Meeting
The meeting took place at a partner’s office, and video conferencing option was made available for partners who were unable to join in person.
The safe space provided an excellent ground for exchange of experiences, learning and solidarity, and an opportunity for partners to present and discuss the research, consultations and grassroots work they are carrying out and how it relates to political economy.