UNDP's support in the area of social and local development focuses on policy and operational support. At the upstream level, UNDP provides policy advice for the development of national policies for social development and poverty reduction and makes available relevant reports and assessments. At the downstream level, UNDP supports the implementation of local development initiatives in the poorest areas of the country, including South Lebanon, Bekaa, North Lebanon and Beirut Southern Suburbs.
At the policy level, UNDP succeeded in developing a poverty profile for Lebanon through the production of the Poverty Report “Poverty, Inequality and Growth”. Moreover, UNDP extended its technical and administrative support to the Inter-Ministerial committee for social issues, which aims at developing the first National Social Development Strategy. Also, UNDP has conducted a capacity assessment of selected governmental agencies involved in the planning and implementation of MDG1. This assessment will ultimately feed into a capacity development plan that would bridge existing capacity gaps and enable stakeholders to mobilize resources in a cost-effective manner, to meet the priority targets.
At the community level, UNDP focuses on prioritizing the implementation of socio-economic and income generating projects leading to a comprehensive response to the regional development needs. More than 50 socio-economic initiatives are implemented annually since 2009 using participatory approach. Those initiatives which include agricultural, health, education, social integration and support to vulnerable youth and women, and income generating projects, are implemented closely with the local/regional working groups, local authorities and relevant ministries in the 4 neediest regions in Lebanon. 4 Local Economic Development Agencies (LEDAs) were recently established in the 4 deprived areas of Lebanon with representation from the public and private sectors. Following the latest municipal elections, UNDP in partnership with the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities launched a capacity development programme targeting 300 municipalities to empower newly elected members of councils in areas related to local governance. In addition, UNDP mobilized and attracted a number of Decentralized Cooperation initiatives with partners from European communities. Finally, two pilot regions were chosen to develop regional development strategies and related action plans.
In order not to exclude Lebanese expatriates from being involved in the development process of their country, UNDP facilitated online donation option with list of project proposals and detailed budgets identified by the local authorities for resource mobilization.
Following the recent significant deterioration of the situation in Syria, Lebanon is witnessing a sharply rising influx of refugees along the northern and eastern borders. UNDP initiated quick response to support host communities who already suffer from harsh socio economic conditions to improve economic recovery, community security and social cohesion in the affected Lebanese communities through an inclusive community based approach which will increase livelihoods options and local level service delivery.
UNDP focuses on gender equality and women’s empowerment not only as human rights, but also because they are a pathway to achieving the Millennium Development Goals and sustainable development.
Gender equality is also emphasized throughout the portfolios, and specific activities such as a gender audit for the UNDP office and gender mapping of NGOs have been undertaken. The focus of the office on gender equality has been on the community based women’s income generation projects, youth empowerment projects, amendments of laws, capacity building of NGOs, and increasing women’s participation. These have had a positive impact on women’s lives in the communities. A project on Lebanese women’s right to nationality was launched towards the end of 2008. Several awareness-raising activities with business and religious leaders – both men and women – on HIV AIDS were also conducted in 2008.
Gender Equality Partnerships have focused on communities, municipalities, Ministry of Interior and municipalities, Ministry of Justice Prime Minister’s office, and the Ministry of Social Affairs.
UNDP Lebanon coordinates national efforts to integrate gender equality and women’s empowerment into social and local development, democratic governance, crisis prevention and recovery, and environment and Energy. Through our local and regional network, we work to ensure that women have a real voice in all governance institutions, from the judiciary to the civil service, as well as in the private sector and civil society, so they can participate equally with men in public dialogue and decision-making and influence the decisions that will determine the future of their families and countries.
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
3rd Goal: Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women
Gender equality is a social order in which women and men share the same opportunities, rights, obligations and duties. One of Lebanon’s most remarkable accomplishments- in terms of the strife for gender equality- is the achievement of gender equality in primary, middle and secondary school levels. Despite improvements in the health and education conditions of women, considerable discrepancies exist between male and female participation in economic and political activities. Parliamentary seats held by women in Lebanon dropped to 3.2 % in 2009 (4 out of 128), the same humble situation is applicable to speaking of cabinet positions.