Common Vision towards a sustainable and Comprehensive Economic Future
Under the patronage and presence of H. E. Mr. Adnan Mansour, Minister of foreign Affairs, the Association of Local Economic Development Agency in Beirut Southern Suburbs (ALEDA BSS) in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme –ART GOLD project in Lebanon organized a launching ceremony of the event “Together for Sustainable and Comprehensive Economic Development”
The attendees included H.E Minister Mansour and Minister Walid Daouk, minister of Information, in addition to representatives from Private and Public sectors and the heads of Beirut Southern Suburbs municipalities.
The event opened with a brief documentary about the area of Beirut Southern Suburbs and the role of ALEDA BSS in this area followed by several speakers.
Giancarlo Canzanelli Technical Advisor at LEDA said, “ALEDA is one of the LEDAs UNDP - ART GOLD program supported in their establishment in Lebanon. There are structures with similar name in other countries (Morocco, Senegal, Tunisia) but they are very different: generally they are public structure, devoted to channeling funds for projects, often with low real impact on territorial development, and without the main objective (like the Lebanon ones) of promoting and energizing the local economy. And this is not only a big challenge, but also what is really needed for improving jobs, wellbeing of population, and facilitating new economic investment aimed at upgrading the local potentialities.”
Mohamed Durgham, head of Union of Municipalities at BSS, said “What struck me the most was the action plan’s holistic approach, and its inclusiveness of all the various fields of sustainable development and the steps needed to achieve their goals. I was also impressed by the concept of a partnership between the public and the private sector, which is apparent to be the core principle of the organization, and, which seems to have the potential of being the key to success, especially since the Beirut Suburbs is home for various communities and is therefore considered an ideal location for activities that would enrich the interwoven social fabric of this area.”
On the other hand, Ahmad Hatoum, ALEDA President said “I would also like to extend my welcome and extreme gratitude to Beirut Southern Suburb’s strategic partner, the UNDP ART GOLD Lebanon program, who have worked tirelessly with us since the July 2006 war to raise the standards of living and to improve health and social services in the area. I would also like to thank the Governments of Spain and Italy, the European Union, Principaute de Monaco and the Tuscany and Lazio regions for their support, as well as ILS-LEDA, BIC-Lazio and Armadilla for the technical assistance they have been providing.”
Edmond Gharios, Head of Chiah municipality mentioned the challenges facing the different municipalities of Beirut, “The local authorities is facing many challenges and obstacles to provide on one hand, basic services like water, electricity, education and health and on the other, contributing in building pluralistic societies open to youth that insure innovation areas and promote tolerance, solidarity, reciprocity and equality of economic and social opportunities as well as culture activation.
In addition, Luca Renda UNDP Country Director gave a speech in which he said, “Over the years, UNDP has established a strong relation with the local municipalities, Unions, NGOs etc. This relationship is based on commitment, delivery, trust and faith in the change that is being promoted and shaped. Local Economic Development Agencies are one of the Pillars of UNDP ART GOLD Programme. UNDP has already established four LEDAs in Lebanon; one in the North, one in the Bekaa, one in the South and one in Beirut Southern Suburbs Today, we are here together to inaugurate the beginning of the journey of ALEDA BSS.”
Finally, minister Mansour stressed on the importance of this event by saying, “There is no doubt that the launch of Society and Economic Development Agency and creating a strategic identity for Beirut Suburbs is an important step forward in light of the circumstances of the country today. We are in desperate need nowadays for these kinds of projects, especially if their purpose is to promote local economic development, and for the development of economic, social, cultural and environmental abilities of members of the community to enable them to participate effectively in the decision-making process.”
The event also included the distribution of tokens of appreciation & gratitude to Minster of Foreign Affairs, UNDP, Italy, Spain, Principaute of Monaco, T-Net Project ( ENPI CBC) , Lazio Region, the Council of Development and Reconstruction (CDR), the Union of Municipalities of Beirut Southern Suburbs, the Union of Municipalities of Sahel Metn El Jnoubi, and the seven Municipalities which include Haret Hreik, Al-Chiyah, Furn El Chebback, Mreyjeh-Tahweetat Al-Ghadir-Al-Laylaki, Al-Ghobeiry, Burj el Barajneh and Al-Hazimeh
The event was concluded with the unveiling of a plaque to commemorate this occasion.
ALEDA BSS is a Private Public Partnership composed of representatives from the municipalities of Haret Hreik, Al-Chiyah, Furn El Chebback, reyjeh - ah Wata Al-Ghadir Al-Laylaki , Al-Ghobeiry, Burj el Barajneh and Hazimeh and representatives from the private sector such as associations, trade unions, producers’ organizations and banks.
The main objectives of ALEDA BSS are to foster local economic development and to develop a strategic economic identity for the area. ALEDA BSS aims to increase income generation and to create job opportunities targeting individuals (particularly youth and women), entrepreneurs, SMEs, start-ups, cooperatives and unions. Currently, ALEDA BSS encompasses four service units: Business Development Unit, Human Resource Development Unit, Strategic Development Unit and Project Development Unit. Additional units will be developed based on future identified needs.
Through a participatory approach, ALEDA BSS collaborates with local stakeholders for the development of a common vision towards a sustainable and comprehensive economic future.