Defining Social Stability: ‘A state of intergroup relations at the community level, where sources of tension between groups are addressed and managed through formal institutions or systems, so as to prevent them from resulting in collective violence, human rights abuses, or further loss of opportunities for vulnerable groups.
Overall sector strategy
The sector strategy’s theory of change is as follows:
If public service delivery, such as infrastructure and solid waste management, is improved in a participatory manner, then the legitimacy of public institutions – particularly municipalities – can be strengthened and trust will built. This will alleviate pressure on resources and services which are a key point of tensions, while also strengthening social contracts between communities and the state.
If local communities, municipalities and national institutions have the capacities to address sources of tensions through dialogue and promote positive interactions, then connections can be strengthened, and divisions reduced which will assist in finding common solutions to grievances and will reduce propensities for violence, particularly amongst the most vulnerable.
If LCRP partners mainstream conflict sensitivity and do-no-harm approaches, and are provided with regular analysis on tensions, then LCRP partners can design and implement interventions that are sensitive to local contexts, minimizing harm and maintaining stability.
The overall objective of the Social Stability sector is to mitigate intercommunal tensions so that stability prevails throughout 2020 and mechanisms are in place to prevent violent conflict. The sector contributes to resilience building within the host community and displaced persons from Syria, bolsters accountable governance and builds social contracts between communities and authorities to support longer-term development. This happens by establishing and supporting local and national mechanisms to address and mitigate existing or emerging drivers of tensions.
The sector’s strategy is built on the premise that other sectors’ contributions to social stability need to be complemented by a dedicated set of interventions aimed at directly tackling both the causes and the manifestations of social tensions. Projects that deliver humanitarian assistance or basic services alone will not be sufficient to maintain social stability. Local institutions, host communities and displaced populations need to receive additional support to sustain the stability that has characterized relations between host and displaced communities thus far. In particular, municipalities and other local service providers need to be empowered to provide services in a participatory manner that promotes real gains towards development and stabilization, while ensuring that those actors conduct their activities in a rights-based manner that does not infringe on the rights of host communities and displaced persons, nor do harm to intercommunal relations between them.
To achieve these outcomes, the sector will be guided by a conflict prevention agenda. Effective and sustainable social stability outcomes will be achieved by strengthening municipalities in particular, as well as other local entities and capacities such as social development centres, public spaces, civil society organizations, associations, libraries, clubs, volunteers, youth, women and older persons. These entities will also be leveraged upon as key gateways to reaching communities in the most affected areas. The linkages between local level authorities and key ministries – in particular the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities (MoIM) and the Ministry of Social Affairs (MoSA) and Governorate offices - will be strengthened. The sector will also coordinate closely with the Ministry of Environment (MoE), Ministry of Energy and Water (MoEW), Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MEHE) as required.
The sector’s response plan for 2020 builds on successful initiatives in supporting municipal services and delivering spaces for dialogue which have taken place between 2016 and 2019. The sector will scale up its engagement in mainstreaming social stability and conflict sensitivity with other sectors of the LCRP. It was envisioned that working on a four-year timeframe would have allowed the sector to emphasize the longer-term transformative element of its strategy, moving beyond quick impact interventions to address more structural governance issues at the local level and underlying drivers of tensions.
However, many of the activities have been shorter term in nature largely due to funding modalities and thus not able to fully meet these objectives. In the last year of the strategy, the sector will aim to:
Improve peacebuilding dividends from activities conducted by actors in other sectors, particularly those working on service support and environmental issues;
Develop subnational authorities’ capacities, investing in environmentally friendly and sustainable basic services;
Support the institutionalization of community policing;
Strengthen civil society capacity to build social stability;
Foster positive dialogue spaces for communities;
Work with media and academic institutions to create media spaces that are inclusive and reduce polarization; and
Improve objective reporting on issues related to displaced persons