Minister of Social Affairs, Mr. Pierre Bou Assi and UNDP Resident Representative Mr. Philippe Lazzarini, visit Bekaa Area
- Mr. Bou Assi considered that “the discrimination against the refugee is unacceptable and requires a humanitarian, national and realistic approach that takes into account the humanitarian dimension of the refugee and the conditions of the Lebanese citizen at the same time.” He also called for the re-strengthening of Lebanese production because the growth rate is close to 1%, and this is what was put forward in Brussels.
On Friday, April 7, 2017 a field visit was held in Bekaa in the presence of the Minster of Social Affairs, Mr. Pierre Bou Assi, and UNDP Resident Representative in Lebanon, Mr. Philippe Lazzarini, and heads of municipalities from the area. The project was implemented within the Lebanon Host Communities Support Project Programme (LHSP).
This project operated on three different sites and provided benefits for the people of the villages and the refugees found in the area. Mr. Bou Assi and Mr. Lazzarini visited the sites where the project was implemented. Site 1, which was the Construction of a Sports Complex in Qabb Elias, improved the social and physical well-being of the youth in Qabb Elias by providing a safe space for social and athletic activities and that was funded by the United Kingdom. Also, site 2 being the Construction of Irrigation Canals and the training of 500 local Farmers from Bekaa on business development, in Qabb Elias, supported the key economic sector in the village, and contributed to alleviating tension, building the capacities of host communities, increasing stability, and preventing conflict. That was funded by the Government of Japan. Adding to that, Site 3 was the Waste Water Treatment Plant Project which upgraded and rehabilitated the existing wastewater treatment plant in Aitanit contributing to improved capacity of wastewater at the plant, thereby reducing health threats and pollution in the village and surrounding villages, funded by the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development through KFW.
Mr. Bou Assi considered that “the discrimination against the refugee is unacceptable and requires a humanitarian, national and realistic approach that takes into account the humanitarian dimension of the refugee and the conditions of the Lebanese citizen at the same time.” He also called for the re-strengthening of Lebanese production because the growth rate is close to 1%, and this is what was put forward in Brussels. He urged farmers and SMEs to respect international standards to facilitate the opening of new markets and the export of production. On the other hand, he hoped that the international community contributes to the facilitation of loans and transfer of expertise through sending specialists, pointing out that the strengthening of infrastructure provides employment opportunities for young people, and the displaced Syrians will benefit from it as well.
Mr. Lazzarini stated "the areas we visited today are a model of how generous the Lebanese have been to hosting Syrian displaced people over the past six years. This visit comes after the Brussels conference in which we called on the international community, not only to maintain its support for Lebanon, but also to increase this support. Investment in infrastructure, job creation and capacity-building of Lebanese communities is a necessity to improve economic growth." He went on to say “We need to turn the crisis into opportunities by investing in sectors and regions, not only the ones affected by the Syrian crisis, but also the ones neglected for a long time.”
The Lebanon Host Communities Support Programme has so far implemented more than 372 projects covering different sectors and benefiting more than 1.1 million Lebanese and Syrians thanks to support from international donors.