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Working Group on Economic Recovery Highlights SBF Role

The Friends of Syria Working Group on Economic Recovery and Development welcomed the outstanding efforts by Syrian businessmen in organizing support for the revolution through the Syrian Business Forum. The final statement called upon all businessmen and businesswomen to join such concerted efforts and contribute to the building and shaping of the Syrian economy in the transitional phase.

The conference which was held in Berlin on September 4th 2012 was co-chaired by the UAE and Germany and the participation of 64 countries and 5 international organizations, including the League of Arab States, the European Union, the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Organization for Islamic Cooperation. The meeting aimed at establishing a vision of the Syrian economy for the after-crisis phase and all what is needed such as studies, strategies, ideas and plans.

The meeting was attended by representatives from the Syrian National Council and the Syrian Business Forum which was represented by its chairman Mr. Mustafa Sabbagh, as well as independent members representing civil society associations and the business community, and Syrian economic experts.

Economic Renaissance

Participants, including the Syrian Business Forum, agreed on the importance of the role of the Working Group in preparing for economic transition to the post-Assad phase, as recommended by the Istanbul conference last April. These preparations will help the new democratic government in Syria face new financial, economic and social challenges. Additionally, the participants agreed on coordinating their efforts to implement necessary reforms to address the accelerating economic fallout.

The Syrian Business Forum's participation in the Working Group emphasized the need for further cooperation and coordination with other economic forums, association and organizations that have the same visions whether in supporting the revolution or in rebuilding the Syrian economy.

Participants discussed dynamic steps that could be taken to enhance the international coordination and planning for the next phase based on the meetings of the Friends of the Syrian People in Tunisia, Istanbul, and Paris. Furthermore, participants reiterated their firm and strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, national unity and territorial integrity of Syria.

Communicating Inside Groups

Participants agreed on the importance of communicating with, and engaging civil society groups and bodies representing revolutionary work inside Syria to better respond to the needs and basic services needed by the Syrian people. They also agreed that the Working Group should coordinate closely with other efforts by the international community aimed at reaching out to activists within Syria, including, but not limited to, the Office of Syrian Opposition Support in Istanbul.

Additionally, participants welcomed the European Union's readiness to use their significant expertise in the field of donor coordination and mobilization to get aid inside Syria. They also noted the importance of closely cooperating and coordinating these efforts with the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Support Channels

In this context, participants reiterated their firm support to establishing an international donor coordination group to deliver the donations to all layers of the Syrian society and agreed to organize the collection and distribution of donations and resources inside Syria through bilateral, unilateral and regional support channels.

The Syrian Business Forum which currently has more than 300 businessmen and women seeks to unify the business community inside and outside Syria in support of the Syrian revolution. It also serves as a hub of support and consolidation of activities and efforts in support the Syrian revolution and the Syrian people.

Noteworthy, the Syrian Business Forum is an independent non-profit organization established on the 6th of June 2012 and includes a broad spectrum of Syrian businessmen and women inside and outside Syria whose will, principles, and aspiration met to support the revolutionary work and to envision a prosperous Syrian future.