The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Lebanon, in partnership with the Ministry of Social Affairs, held a national workshop on the Mechanisms for Social Stability (MSS) on Tuesday 19th of March 2019.
The workshop was an opportunity to take stock and learn about MSS processes established during the last 2 years in the presence of more than 700 participants from 38 municipalities and representatives of embassies, international and national NGOs and UN agencies. Participants interacted and shared lessons on the use and added value of MSS in their respective communities to reduce tensions. The event was also an opportunity to reflect on the MSS model, as a joint conflict prevention and peace building tool for local authorities and communities.
Minister of Social Affairs Richard Kouyoumjian said in his speech: "We believe in the importance of these programs within the program of supporting host communities in Lebanon by empowering them, supporting their infrastructure and social stability, creating employment opportunities and stimulating local economic development through various projects that are applied in several sectors. As well as empowering the municipalities to prioritize them and draw up useful action plans
In turn, UNDP Resident Representative a.i, in Lebanon Ms. Celine Moyroud said:” 38 community groups have worked together for the past two years on their own peacebuilding blueprint, through the Mechanisms for Social Stability, to address the tensions they face. “It’s humbling and inspiring to see how much has been achieved. This is just the beginning of the journey, and we look to these platforms to be sustained and further strengthened over time”.
With over 700 participants from 38 municipalities from all over Lebanon, more social stability mechanisms developed over the past two years have been introduced.
Social stability mechanisms have been supported since 2014 with generous funding from DFID in the United Kingdom, Germany, Norway, United States, The Peacebuilding Support Office, the European Union through the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
British Deputy Ambassador to Lebanon Benjamin Wastnage said his country is proud to support the program and is committed to staying side by side to achieve stability, security and prosperity in Lebanon.
Hanan Fawaz, Deputy Director of the German Development Bank in Lebanon, said: "We are very pleased to be with you today, surrounded by mayors and local activists from all Lebanese regions, to present the results of active participation in supporting the two-year social stability mechanisms."
The panel included discussions on collective thinking of this MSS model as a tool for local authorities and local activists to work on to avoid conflicts and ensure social stability and peace building.
Dounia KHoury, Deir Al Ahmar committee member:" We were able to put a waste-sorting plan in partnership with the municipality. We took the first and hardest step, which is awareness-raising at four schools. We were able to prepare foundations for the sustainability of this project, The municipality contributed with a location and equipment that we will use to start sorting. I think that this project doesn’t only concern Deir El Ahmar but all Lebanon".
Heba Dagher from Ansar Youth committee member :"Change is our responsibility, everyone can use their energy and skills in the issue that means most to them.We aim to build a conscious youth generation that cares to protect their country and its stability".
In order to preserve social stability and enhance relations within communities, particularly in light of the Syrian crisis, the UNDP Lebanon Host Communities Support Programme in Partnership with the Ministry of Social Affairs (MoSA) is supporting the host communities in basic services provision, livelihood and the development of Mechanisms for Social Stability (MSS).