Alexander Scott

28 March 2019

Oxford Research Group’s (ORG) Strategic Peacebuilding Programme and Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies (SCSS) held a one-day roundtable discussion on 19 March entitled ‘Local Peacebuilding in Yemen: Opportunities and Challenges’. Convened at Chatham House in London, the roundtable brought together a wide range of experts from civil society, academia, the UN and UK government.

The event provided an overview of the current political, humanitarian and security reality in Yemen. It took stock of current approaches to resolving the conflict in Yemen and discussed the consequences, analysed their impact and explored alternative approaches that could contribute to a more effective and comprehensive peace process. Marwa Baabbad (ORG) and Maged Al-Madhaji (SCSS) also shared key security and political analysis and key recommendations of the local leaderships of Hadhramaut and Marib governorates, which have convened regularly inside and outside Yemen to discuss their role in the peace-making process and in reshaping the post-conflict state.

Considering the humanitarian response in Yemen, the event also hosted representatives of Yemeni civil society organisations to provide an up-to-date assessment of developments on the ground, challenges facing their work, and opportunities to improve the effectiveness of the humanitarian response. Dalia Qasam of the Hodaidah Girls Foundation spoke on addressing the challenges for women close to the frontline and the changing role of women in Yemeni society. Leila Al-Shabibi of the To Be Foundation spoke about the situation in the south of Yemen for humanitarian organisations and the importance of inclusive peacebuilding, especially in relation to women. Dr Aisha Thawab highlighted the importance of mitigating and adapting to climate change along the coastal plains of Tihamah. Finally, Awsan Kamal of Oxfam GB presented the difficulties faced by international humanitarian organisations by showcasing the lack of Yemeni NGO mapping and the difficulty for such local NGOs to gain access to both international partnerships and basic information.

ORG and SCSS will soon be releasing a report entitled “Peace-making in Yemen: The Local Dimension” as well as policy briefs on the challenges, realities, future aspirations and proposed recommendations of the Yemeni governorates of Marib and Hadhramaut. ORG’s work on Yemen is funded by the UK Government’s Conflict, Stability and Security Fund.