The Yemen International Forum (YIF) is the largest international annual conference for Yemeni-Yemeni dialogue. The YIF conference forms part of a larger Yemeni-led and designed initiative and longer-term process that includes consultations with Yemeni experts and stakeholders, production of research, and extensive regional and international shuttle diplomacy. These Yemeni-Yemeni dialogues are intended to complement the UN-led formal peace process, ensuring to create and maintain an inclusive platform for all stakeholders to collectively contribute to a Yemeni vision for the country.
Why a Yemen International Forum?
Yemenis must decide Yemen’s needs and shape its future. This was the premise of the first YIF conference held in Stockholm in June 2022, which brought together various Yemeni civil and political actors, many of whom found themselves on the margins of the peace process. Post-war Yemen, however, will be defined, in large part, by how well these different segments of Yemeni society engage in the peace process and how involved they are in shaping their country’s future. The YIF process thus aims to create and maintain an inclusive platform for Yemeni actors to create a vision for peace. The YIF dialogue process, as a whole, seeks to amplify the voices of Yemeni civil and political actors. Through frank discussions and exchange of perspectives, the YIF can ensure emerging Yemeni ideas, solutions, and opportunities are able to further develop, build momentum, and feed directly into peacemaking efforts.
What will be the focus of this year’s YIF?
The aim of this year’s conference is looking towards the future and contributing to a Yemeni vision for a just and inclusive peace, by bringing together political actors, mediators, experts, civil society, activists and journalists from across the social, political, and economic spectrum to jointly create a Yemeni vision for the future of the country. The conference will explore what can happen in the future. To this end, three thematic priorities were identified as the key building blocks to achieve an inclusive, just and sustainable peace.
a) Political Pathways to Peace: A post-settlement vision for the state, security sector reforms, and governance structures.
b) Economic Recovery: A post-settlement vision for integrated economic policies, reconstruction and revitalizing critical sectors of the economy.
c) Restorative Justice and Reconciliation: A vision for building peace that includes a justice process with redress for victims and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Who is participating in YIF II and who is organizing it?
Seventy percent of Yemeni participants are expected to participate in the 2023 YIF. The conference will bring together Yemeni political stakeholders, policy makers, youth and civil society actors, representatives of minority groups, activists and journalists as well as a selected group of key regional and international actors, including members of the UN agencies, the diplomatic community and independent experts and organizations working on mediation support and conflict resolution. A significant number of participants will be Yemeni figures who have political weight on the ground and who can effectively push for change. Predefined criteria will ensure regional and gender representation at all stages of the YIF as well as a diversity of ages, perspectives and political affiliations.
The conference is organized by the Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies and supported by the Netherlands, the European Union, Norway and Open Society Foundations. It will build on the success of the first YIF held in Stockholm in June 2022, which was attended by high-level national, regional and international diplomatic and political actors, making it the most important convention and platform for Yemeni-Yemeni dialogue.
Where and when?
The conference will convene in The Hague on June 12-15, 2023. The opening day of the forum will be convened at The Hague’s Peace Palace, with plenaries and breakout sessions held at a conference center nearby on days two to four (location will be shared to confirmed participants). To ensure confidentiality and to provide a secure and safe environment, only participants of the conference will have access to the premises for the duration of the forum.