In Syria now, it is a time of division, violence and suffering. When we were there in November 2010 and in August 2011, we recorded many stories of cooperation and development. Nowadays, only sad and violent stories are narrated about this wonderful country. What then shall we do with these stories we collected in Syria in what now seems to be a different "age" altogether? Well, we decided to re-edit the videos we had made, include them in the Handbook we are developing and share them through the Internet. These videos will help us remember what Syria was before the civil war. And we hope that these stories will help restore trust amongst communities in Syria, and build, amongst those who love this country, the motivation to do whatever they can to restore peace and cooperation.
The Business Environment Simplification Programme, or BESP in short, was a component of a vast cooperation program between the European Union and Syria aimed at expanding mutual trade. It also included social development, policy modernization and the protection of cultural heritage. In 2012, the European Union suspended cooperation activities with the Syrian Government; but the projects with Syrian civil society are continuing.
The objective of BESP was to contribute to the Syrian economic reform programme through modernisation and simplification of the business environment. The project was contributing to improving market competition policies, reducing red-tapism and promoting transparent and fair practices for the Syrian business community. It received vast support from enterprises and law makers; but it was also opposed by some sectors of the population who were afraid of unregulated social changes.
Throughout the program, special attention was given to supporting women to enter emerging professional fields like journalism, management, social communication.
The "Quality and Standards Programme" was a separate component of BESP that was specifically aimed at improving quality infrastructure in Syria and upgrading the competitive quality of Syrian products for international markets. The activities of this initiative included awareness building among Syrian public institutions and the establishment of a Consumer Protection Association (CPA) as contact points for consumer rights associations and as a platform for the participation of civil society in the modernisation process of economic policies in Syria.
Another important component of BESP was the SKILLS professional training programme that aimed at reducing the gap between formal education in Syria and the actual requirements of the job market.
On YouTube ⇒ BESP - playlist
On YouTube ⇒ SKILLS - Training Young Syrian Journalists - playlist
Additional information about the projectEdit
- Business Environment Simplification Programme (BESP) - Web portal
- SKILLS web site
- Syrian Enterprise and Business Centre
- Business Environment Simplification Programme (BESP) - Brochure
- Quality and Standards Programme
- SKILLS - Business Training Programme in Syria
- Delegation of EU in Syria