The Government of Syria aims to enhance the living standards of the Syrian citizens during the economic transition process. The endorsement of the latest FYP (2006-2010), was a bold step towards transforming from a centralised and almost closed command economy into a social market economy. The GoS continues the process of defining a modernisation policy aimed at establishing functioning market mechanisms while maintaining social balance.

The EU, through the ISMF, is assisting the Government in its modernisation programme. The Preparatory Phase was mainly devoted to handling a situation analysis of the economic modernisation efforts and the AA negotiations. An institutional modernisation strategy for key sectors has been developed and the main areas for further project support were identified. The Preparatory Phase laid the foundation for the implementation of the Development Phase.

The Development Phase has been finished and the main focus was:

Adapt economic and sector institutions to their new roles and responsibilities in a liberalised economy.

Strengthen the capacities of key Syrian institutions to formulate, implement and monitor the economic modernisation programme, and negotiate and implement the Association Agreement. Sufficient flexibility has been maintained to allow prompt response to any emerging needs for expertise.

The ISMF has offered guidance to help the GoS achieve its goals. This took the form of international and local expertise, in-depth studies, analyses, recommendations and, in some cases, support to the implementation of policies. Such assistance has been demand-driven; it was provided upon request by the concerned Syrian ministries and agencies.

In addition to the above work and under the guidance of the PICU and supervision of its experts, some of the output and interventions identified by ISMF have been partly addressed with the launch of four subprojects: IMCB, ICT, MMT, and SOE. These projects work closely with the direct beneficiaries in the key economic agencies.

The ISMF indirect beneficiary is the Syrian business community, which will benefit from a more coherent legal and administrative environment and a liberalised policy framework conducive to economic growth and job creation. The ISMF has devoted special care to develop specific strategies to ensure sustainability of the project results through transferring them to the beneficiaries and tailoring the relevant action plans to activate these results and incorporate them in the development strategies of the concerned ministries.