Middle East and North Africa Civil Society Network for Displacement
What is the MENA Civil Society Network For Displacement?
The Middle East and North Africa Civil Society Network for Displacement (MENA CSND) joins civil society actors including NGOs, academic institutions, faith-based organizations, artists, cultural influencers and the private sector in their shared commitment to contribute to the protection, resilience and development of displaced persons and host communities.
Since 2017, the network has expanded to include almost 200 members and supporters from across the Middle East and North Africa region. It is the first of its kind working on displacement in the region, unique both in its geographic scope and diversity of members.
The network aims to allow for cross-regional, joint multi-stakeholder advocacy to positively influence public narratives and displacement related policymaking.
The purpose of the MENA CSND is to foster cooperation among multi-stakeholder partners on issues related to displacement, refugees and humanitarian action. The network facilitates the exchange of information and knowledge to strengthen the capacity of members and develop common strategies in the region for refugees and host communities. Serving as a collaboration platform, it allows different actors to be involved in activities regarding prevention, response and solution-finding for displacement.
What is the role of the MENA Civil Society Network for Displacement?
World leaders have emphasized that today the role of civil society is more crucial than ever in responding to the growing global refugee situation. Addressing the current challenges and planning for future post-conflict scenarios requires enhanced cooperation and engagement of all civil society actors. These convictions are reflected in Global Compact on Refugees, which sets out the parameters for stronger solidarity and responsibility-sharing through a “whole of society approach”. This involves the expansion of multi-stakeholder partnerships and a stronger emphasis on host community support as the new way forward, recognizing that the protection of displaced persons and refugees and support to host communities is a shared responsibility.
Since its establishment, the regional network has gained significant momentum towards becoming a key actor on the regional stage for discussing and addressing displacement issues. Over the past few years, UNHCR MENA and the MENA CSND have partnered to convene a series of regional roundtables with academia, faith-based organizations, women entrepreneurs, artists and cultural influencers as well as the first UNHCR Regional NGO Consultations. These regional convenings have helped frame the role civil society actors play in responding to displacement crises and have contributed to building more sustainable and localized approaches to humanitarian responses. They also enabled participants to share best practices and identify areas for collaboration.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, MENA CSND members demonstrated their ability to quickly and innovatively respond to emerging needs in both refugee and host communities, despite the unprecedented restrictions in mobility and access. Their interventions have included protection initiatives, innovative ways to remotely engage and support communities, and coordinated referral systems for those seeking urgent assistance. Members have also initiated research on the socio-economic impacts of the crisis, facilitated information campaigns to counter misinformation and discrimination and engaged in advocacy activities to promote the inclusion of refugees in national responses.
UNHCR continues to act as a catalyst and convener for the ongoing expansion of the MENA CSND’s role, reach and impact in the region.
For more information about the MENA CSND please contact [email protected] or visit the MENA Civil Society Network for Displacement website.
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