Concept Note for Side Event at the 8th Brussels Conference on

“Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region”

Harnessing Economic Autonomy for Peace: Reimagining Syria’s Path Forward

Date: 29 April, 2024

Time: 16.00 CET

Venue: Thon Hotel EU Brussels

Rue de la Loi 75, 1040 Bruxelles, Belgium

 Registration link:


1. Event Context

In the backdrop of the 8th Brussels Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region, this side event will explore the role of economic factors, including economic autonomy, in facilitating peace in Syria. The 90-minute panel will focus on economic empowerment at various levels, particularly emphasizing the support and empowerment of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and the middle class as pivotal elements in the peace process.


2. Objective

To discuss and analyse the extent to which economic factors, particularly the empowerment of local economies, can be instrumental in fostering peace in Syria.

3. Panelists

  • Dr. Rim Tourkmani.
  • Mr. Samir Aita.
  • Dr. Sinan Hatahet.

4. Format

  • Duration: 90 minutes
  • Structure: One panel discussion divided into three thematic sections, followed by a Q&A session

5. Panel Structure

  • Economic Foundations for Peace in Syria: will provide an overview of Syria's current economic landscape and discuss how strengthening local economies can contribute to peace.
  • The Role of Economic Autonomy and Decentralization: will discuss granting regions economic autonomy, focusing on how this can empower SMEs and strengthen the middle class, thereby positively impacting the peace process.
  • Practical Economic Initiatives and Peacebuilding: will explore specific economic initiatives that support SMEs and the middle class, underlining their significance in fostering political negotiations and sustainable peace.

6. Expected Outcomes

  1. A nuanced understanding of the relationship between economic empowerment and peace.
  2. Insights into how economic autonomy can be leveraged to support these critical economic segments.
  3. Recommendations for policy and practical measures to promote economic-driven peace efforts.
  4. Recommendations for policy and practical measures to enhance the role of SMEs and the middle class in Syria’s peacebuilding efforts.

7. Target Audience

EU and international policymakers, development experts, Syrian civil society leaders, academics, and media representatives.

8. Concluding Session

  • Summary of discussions, key insights, and policy recommendations.
  • Strategies for implementing economic autonomy and local empowerment in Syria, as well as initiatives that support SMEs and empower the middle class in Syria.
  • Proposal for a follow-up mechanism to track the impact of economic initiatives on the peace process.
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