Lebanese Host Communities Steering Committee Meeting
Under the patronage and presence of the Minister of Social Affairs Mr. Wael Abou Faour, the first meeting of the Host Communities Steering Committee was launched under the framework of UNDP and MOSA joint project “Supporting Lebanese Communities affected by the Syrian Crisis” on Monday December 9th at the Ministry of Social Affairs (MoSA).
The Committee presented the joint program strategy as a response to the Syrian crisis as an initiative which aimed at increasing community stability and capacities for recovery and development in the areas most affected by the crisis.
H.E. Mr. Wael Abou Faour thanked the UNDP and other UN organizations and the donor community as well as the NGOs for the support provided for the Syrian Crisis and called for coordination between MoSA and UNDP and on the necessity of involving the government when deciding about the priorities to help the Lebanese host communities. He also insured that all the ministries were ready to help especially to coordinate the efforts to face the upcoming storm.
UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Robert Watkins indicated that the storm had already begun two years ago and is taking its toll on the Lebanese citizens not to mention the socio- economic downturn on the country. He also referred to the political support from the Security Council, “UNDP has put aside development plans to focus on the needs in Lebanon and to provide direct assistance to host communities, finding ways to social cohesion and diffuse the tension between host communities and Syrian Refugees.”
A power point presentation was presented on the support program of the Lebanese Host Communities Steering Committee by Mr. Raghed Assi, the UNDP Social & Local Development programme manager who came up with recommendations related to the need for job creation, the need for an efficient institutional framework and the imminent engagement of local authorities to support the local communities. A second presentation followed on the partnership initiatives to respond to the needs of Host Communities by Mr. Malaeb who focused on improving livelihood and infrastructure, providing social and health services in order to mitigate the tension in the region.
UNDP Country Director Mr. Luca Renda indicated that humanitarian and stabilization needs should be taken into consideration. He affirmed that if the donors support this program they would also be supporting the stabilization roadmap. Finally he stated the fact that coherence was always part of the work of the UN organizations (UNDP, UNHCR…) and that they are coordinating the work to insure that the assistance gets to the people in need in the most efficient way.
At the end of the meeting, the floor was open for discussions and questions in the presence of NGOs, media institutions, donors and embassy representatives. One of the comments during the discussions was voiced by a representative of the International Relief (Mercy Corps) NGO who suggested that international and local NGOs should be included in the discussion.