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Service for Foreign Policy Instruments
News article5 February 2021Service for Foreign Policy Instruments

Building trust in conflict-affected areas: launch of COVID-19 global platform for practitioners

Knowledge sharing, communication, and collaboration on best practices in response to Coronavirus in fragile and conflict-affected contexts is crucial for building trust and a sustainable response to the pandemic. ConnexUs, a global networking and coordination platform launched today, addresses these challenges. The platform brings together peacebuilding, humanitarian, development, and public health actors working in conflict-affected settings. It has been developed by the civil society organisation Search for Common Ground, with support from the European Union’s Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace.

Many COVID-19-related resources and platforms are often too technical and fail to take into account the specificities of local communities living in conflict-affected areas. This prevents local practitioners and influencers from making use of existing resources or knowledge platforms.

ConnexUS has been built on the principles of access, connection, and impact, aiming to identify and share a portfolio of evidence on what works and why in response to Covid-19. It is a global platform designed for organisations and practitioners to engage with partners at the local, national, and international level. Its main objectives are to:

  1. Foster conflict sensitivity of responses to epidemics;
  2. Encourage global collaboration around common challenges;
  3. Leverage innovations, lessons learned, and best practices to improve effective responses from influencers, practitioners, and policymakers.

The platform has been presented during today’s event on ‘Trust: the golden ticket to successful COVID-19 vaccine roll-out in conflict settings’ organised by Search for Common Ground in cooperation with the European Commission’s Service for Foreign Policy Instruments.

Search for Common Ground conducted a research on the informational, socio-economic, and conflict-related challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic in six fragile and conflict-affected countries in Africa and the Middle East.

The research findings were presented during today’s conference. These highlight how trust in national government authorities—already low in many conflict settings, especially among more marginalised communities—has been further weakened during the pandemic, hindering public health efforts. Looking ahead to mass vaccine roll-out in fragile and conflict-affected countries, these findings indicate an urgent need for dedicated policy and programmatic responses to avoid the risk that citizens’ mistrust in governments will undermine the vaccine acceptance needed to reach herd immunity.

Hilde Hardeman, Director, Head of Service, Foreign Policy Instruments stated: ‘The work you and other practitioners are undertaking in tackling the COVID-19 infodemic is crucial, even more so in view of the vaccine roll-out strategies in fragile and conflict-affected areas. We need to create the space for dialogue and cooperation between actors on the ground and create opportunities to build hope and peace’.

The event brought together international policy-makers, experts in public health, communication and peacebuilding sectors, and other stakeholders in an interactive online panel discussion.

Both the policy event and ConnexUS are part of a broader EU-supported action through the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace on addressing COVID-19 disinformation and supporting dialogue, sharing and learning on COVID-19 related responses in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and in Asia. This includes support to local independent media, fact-checkers, as well as to initiatives, which create space for dialogue and cooperation among actors who work to counter disinformation.

More information:

ConnexUS global platform

Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace


Publication date
5 February 2021
Service for Foreign Policy Instruments