NDC Frequently-Asked Questions
What is the National Dialogue?
The national dialogue is about citizen’s working together to find solutions to the key challenges facing Yemen. It will involve citizens from throughout Yemen. It will provide an opportunity for respectful, creative discussions among Yemeni citizens that help us build a roadmap to a better Yemen. This dialogue is unique to Yemen and will be Yemeni owned and Yemeni lead. The dialogue is a chance for us to define our own future.
Where did the mandate for this National Dialogue come from?
The commitment to a national dialogue came from the GCC Pact and was supported by all the major institutions and parties in Yemen. The national dialogue is part of a 2-year transition process set out in the GCC Pact design to create a path away from conflict and towards a citizen engagement process that will allow us to build a more just, equitable and prosperous Yemen.
How long will the national dialogue be?
The dialogue for Yemeni citizens began over 2 years ago and hopefully will continue for many years to come. Today you will find citizens engaging in discussions on the key challenges facing Yemen throughout the country. However the timetable for the formal national dialogue process set out in the GCC Pact will run for 6 months starting March 18th.
Who will be involved?
Every citizen will have the chance to contribute to the dialogue. Through community meetings, public forums, public hearings, local CSO dialogues, the National Dialogue Conference website and much more, citizens can add their voices and ideas to solving the challenges that face Yemen today.
In addition to the citizen engagement, the dialogue will also include a National Dialogue Conference where delegates from throughout Yemen will also get the opportunity to present ideas and create consensus on how to build a stronger, more equitable Yemen.
What is the difference between the Conference and the Dialogue?
Not much. Both are critically important. Both provide citizens with an opportunity to discuss key national issues. Both can develop shared solutions to build a stronger Yemen. And both will be actively supported by the Secretariat.
The key difference is that the delegates to the Conference will be tasked with formally developing consensus solutions to respond to the challenges that Yemen faces today. These solutions will be based on solid research and careful analysis of ideas proposed by citizens and Conference delegates.
Who will participate in the Conference and how were they chosen?
The 565 delegates to the Conference come from throughout Yemen. 50% of the delegates will come from the south, 50% from the north, 30% women and 20% youth. The delegates will reflect the diversity of Yemen and will include independent youth, women and CSO’s; political parties; Herak; Houthis plus nominees from the President’s office.
For each entity invited to submit a list of nominated delegates, they were required to ensure active participation for southerners; women and youth which met the criteria set out by the Technical Committee for the National Dialogue. For the independent delegates, public calls for applications were issued and the response was overwhelming. Committees were established to review the applications and to develop a list of recommended delegates based on established criteria that would reflect the diversity of Yemen.
In the end, the recommended list of delegates was submitted to the President’s office for final approval.
How is the conference structured?
The Conference will be led by a Presidium that will oversee all activities and proceedings. All delegates will be assigned to one of nine Working Groups who will be assigned lead responsibility for key subject areas. Each Working group will be required to conduct the necessary research, seek input from citizens and to develop consensus solutions which will be discussed and voted on by all delegates in plenary sessions of the Conference. Assisting each Working Group and the delegates will be a Consensus Committee who will coordinate the outcomes of the various Working Groups and to help build consensus towards acceptable solutions.
What issues will be addressed in this dialogue?
The issues to be addressed in the Dialogue were set out in the GCC pact and reflect the priority issues of Yemeni citizens and the key challenges facing Yemen today. They include the southern issue; good governance; state building; the Sa’ada issue; transitional justice and national reconciliation; comprehensive and sustainable development; military, judicial and civil service reform; constitutional reform; enhancing the role of women and vulnerable peoples;
How will the dialogue process be supported?
The success of the dialogue will be determined by the citizens of Yemen. To support their efforts the National Dialogue Secretariat will be providing numerous support activities to help citizens engage on the various issues and to find shared solutions. The Secretariat will be providing information and materials on both the dialogue process and the issues; promoting community discussions on the issues, supporting regional public meetings for the various Working Groups to hear directly from citizens on the issues; providing issue research and subject matter experts; establishing an interactive website to enable access more information on the dialogue process and the issues plus the Conference will be broadcast live to all Yemeni citizens so they can watch the issues and outcomes being discussed directly. This dialogue process will be the most comprehensive, inclusive and transparent process in the history of Yemen.
What is the Secretariat?
The Secretariat for the National Dialogue is a team of staff and volunteers who will provide technical and logistical support to the Conference as well as promote and support the citizen engagement process for the dialogue. Support provided by the Secretariat will include access to issue research and subject matter experts; coordinating and supporting the Working Group citizen outreach; Conference logistics, security and management; communications; administration; budget management and much more. The job of the Secretariat is to ensure that the Conference is run efficiently, the Conference delegates are supported and that citizens are actively engaged throughout the process.
How much will the dialogue cost and who is paying for it?
The national dialogue and conference will cost approx. 8 Billion Yemeni Riel. The Republic of Yemen pays 40% of this total cost or approx. 130YR for each Yemeni citizen. For the cost of 130YR, or the equivalent of one bottle of water per citizen, we have the chance to build a future Yemen based on equality, opportunity and prosperity. There should be no higher priority and for the price of 1 bottle of water per citizen most citizens would think it is money well spent.
How will decisions be reached at the Conference?
A consensus model has been established for the Conference. Delegates will have to work among themselves to find solutions that address the issues and enjoy the support of other delegates. Working Groups will be required to have 90% consensus on a proposed action or solution before that idea can go directly to all the delegates for their consideration. Where 75% support exists within a Working Group on a recommendation the Consensus Committee will then work to see what they can do to find a stronger solution that will enjoy greater support within the Working Group. Ultimately however, any idea that enjoys 75% support within a Working Group will be presented to all delegates in the Plenary and if 75% of all delegates support the recommended idea then it is deemed to have been adopted by the Conference.
Will Yemeni citizens have a say in the final conference outcomes?
Yes. Constitutional reform will be the key to developing a new roadmap for Yemen and will be the focal point of the work in the Conference. Any constitutional changes recommended by the delegates to the Conference will be subject to a citizen’s referendum as mandated by the GCC Pact. Citizens will have the final say on any proposed changes to the constitution coming out of the Conference.
What role will the international community play in this process?
The international community fully supports the dialogue process and is contributing funding and technical support for the dialogue. But only Yemeni citizens will participate in the dialogue or will be delegates to the National Dialogue Conference. Only Yemeni citizens will vote on the constitutional referendum. Only Yemeni citizens will vote in the next general election. We will decide our own future. Do we welcome help from the international community? Absolutely. But this dialogue is about our future and it will be decided by Yemeni citizens.
How can citizens ensure that their voices will be heard in the Dialogue?
By contributing your ideas, by attending local dialogue forums and hearings, by submitting your ideas to the Working Groups, by monitoring the Conference proceedings and by voting in the citizen’s constitutional referendum. This is not a dialogue among elites. This dialogue is about creating opportunities for all citizens to contribute in building a new Yemen. If you, your family, your neighbors and your community speak up then you will be heard.
How can I get involved?
Many, many ways! Gather your friends and family to talk about the issues. Host your own dialogue session. Develop ideas on how to build a stronger Yemen. Attend the regional meetings of the Working Groups and submit your ideas. Talk to your regional Conference delegates and share your ideas with them. Monitor the activities of the Conference and use the tools provided by the Secretariat to the Conference. Volunteer to support the citizen engagement efforts by the Conference and Secretariat in your region. Speak up and be heard!
What will happen if the dialogue fails?
Failure is not an option. The future of your family, your community and your country will be decided by the dialogue. We have all learned that conflict is not the answer to building a new Yemen. We all want the security, prosperity and equality that this dialogue can provide us and our children. And by working together through the dialogue, we can build a stronger Yemen that can give us with the opportunities and fairness we deserve.