Our Perspective

      • Kuwait II Conference: An opportunity to bridge humanitarian and development responses to the Syria crisis | Gustavo Gonzalez

        12 Jan 2014

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        Syrian refugees. Photo: UNHCR

        The Second International Pledging Conference for Syria is an important milestone in using multilateral action to respond to humanitarian and development needs, and to contribute to efforts for peace. The conference will be on Wednesday, 15 January 2014 in Kuwait City and will be chaired by the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon and hosted by the Emir of Kuwait, His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Jaber Al Sabah. The success of this event is important for at least two reasons. Firstly, the conference is an opportunity to secure the resources needed to mitigate, halt and reverse the humanitarian and development catastrophe in Syria. Secondly, with peace talks for Syria due to begin in Switzerland on 22 January, the pledging conference is an opportunity to prepare the ground for a successful peace process and to show that the world is ready to help rebuild Syria and the lives of the millions of Syrians so far affected by this terrible conflict. The conflict in Syrian has produced the largest movement of people since the end of the Second World War. The loss and harm to life has been disastrous. The most plausible estimates indicate that at least 100,000 people have been killedRead More

      • A resilience-based reading of the impact of the Syrian crisis in Jordan | Ibrahim Saif

        09 Jan 2014

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        Syrian refugees at Zaatari Camp in Jordan. Photo: Areej Abu Qudairi/IRIN

        This month Jordan will take part in the international pledging conference for Syria in Kuwait and will present its National Resilience Plan, detailing how the country is addressing the challenges related to the impact of the massive influx of Syrian refugees on the host communities.  Close to 600,000, Syrians who took refuge in Jordan now account for nearly 10% of Jordan’s population. Most of them (80%) live in urban and rural host communities across the country and not in camps. Coming at a most challenging economic period for the Kingdom, the sheer volume of the numbers has placed a critical pressure on the country’s social, economic, institutional and natural resources. Increased competition for access to public utilities, schooling, health services, infrastructure, and jobs is not only straining the budget, government services, and families, but it poses threats to social cohesion and peace. This argument may not be new, but it is now well-supported by detailed assessments and analyses of the impacts of the spillover of the Syrian crisis on the Kingdom, document in the recently completed “Needs Assessment Review of the Impact of the Syrian Crisis on Jordan (NAR).” The NAR indicates that the impact of the Syrian crisis onRead More

      • A clash of generations: How high percentages of young people can fuel conflicts | Henrik Urdal

        20 Dec 2013

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        Refugees from Syria's conflict. (Photo: UNHCR)

        In a time of unprecedented demographic change — there will be an estimated 9.6 billion people mainly concentrated in cities around the globe by 2050 — population structures play a significant role in the overall peace and stability of a country. My research focuses on the correlation between populations with burgeoning numbers of young people, which social scientists call "youth bulges," instability, and conflicts. Around the world, 68 countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Mali, Nigeria, and Yemen, have demographic pyramids heavily skewed towards younger populations. Many of these countries, where more than 30 percent of the adult population is between the ages of 15 and 24, are currently experiencing violence or social or political unrest. While youth bulges are not the only cause of violence, when combined with low education, a failing job market unable to employ high numbers of young workers, and an inaccessible political system excluding youth from participation, the risk of conflict increases. The current conflict in Syria is a case in point. In 2000, Syria had the third-largest youth bulge in the world, as well as one of the lowest rates of secondary education in the Middle East and North Africa. As in many other countries in the region,Read More