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The Southwestern Governorate of Taiz has suffered significant destruction and humanitarian suffering since the start of the war in Yemen. This situation warrants a concerted action from all stakeholders in Taiz to alleviate the suffering of the local population. Taiz's active civil society is frequently restricted by a number of political, security and operational challenges, including marginalisation from decision-making processes, security risks, and lack of spaces and capacities to coordinate and share resources. The Supporting Inclusive Peace-Making Efforts and Political Transition in Yemen project aims to support civil society to overcome these challenges in order to facilitate local level de-escalation, conflict resolution and reconciliation.
On 1-2 September, the European Union hosted civil society, youth and private sector peacebuilders from Taiz in Amman in order to support their efforts to alleviate the humanitarian crisis. Fifty percent of the participants in the workshop were women, in line with the EU’s commitment to support greater role for Yemeni women in the peace process. The United Nations Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, together with the new EU Head of Delegation to Yemen on his first day in office, Ambassador Hans Grundberg, opened the workshop. Participant peacebuilders discussed the current situation in Taiz, reflecting on difficulties to make progress on the ground and previous efforts to address the situation in the province. Peacebuilders then developed actionable strategies to improve the humanitarian situation in Taiz, focusing particularly on the opening of humanitarian corridors, prisoner exchange and social cohesion. The international actors were also briefed on where and how effective support could be provided. The substance of the workshop was highlighted in the briefing of the UN Special Envoy for Yemen to the United Nations Security Council on 16 September. Mr Griffiths noted that he was pleased to attend the workshop and meet local actors from Taiz; he extended his support to their activities and the main goal to open humanitarian corridors.
After the workshop, participants returned to Yemen; some attended a follow-up meeting with the first deputy governor of Taiz to present the objectives and conclusions of the workshop in Amman. The local authority voiced its support and commitment to these efforts. On the 18th and 19th September, the project organised a workshop with Taiz political parties to discuss the role they could play in local peacebuilding and humanitarian support in the Governorate. Ten different political parties attended the workshop alongside representatives from the local authorities, civil society and youth. The parties discussed disputes between political parties in Taiz, the weakness of security services, Taiz's educational sector, the waste management system, and the need for improving the efficiency of state institutions. Participants identified a number of key issues faced within each field and formulated a set of priority actions to tackle them.