On December 4, 2018, H.E. Mr. Matahiro Yamaguchi from the Embassy of Japan and Celine Moyround, UNDP Country Director, accompanied by Dr. Theib Oweis, ICARDA Director for Water & Land Management Programme, and Dr. Hassan Machlab, ICARDA Lebanon Country Manager as well as a delegation from the Embassy of Japan and UNDP, conducted a joint field visit to monitor the implementation of the Japan-funded “Social Stabilization through Comprehensive Agricultural Support for Refugee Host Communities in Lebanon” project.

With the support from the Government of Japan, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is implementing the project ‘Social Stabilization through Comprehensive Agricultural Support for Refugee Host Communities in Lebanon’. The project is in partnership with the Ministry of Energy and Water, the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), the Lebanese Agriculture Research Institute (LARI) and the Municipality of Qab Elias. The project falls under the UNDP’s strategic response to Syrian Crisis and contributes to the empowerment of vulnerable host communities. It aims at increasing social stability and improving agricultural livelihoods, a priority of UNDP and the Government of Lebanon and in line with the commitments of the Lebanon Crisis Response Plan.

The delegation visited the workshop on agricultural practices for local farmers, the rehabilitated irrigation canal, the agricultural farm adopting drip irrigation and the municipality of Qabb Elias and interacted with farmers who are benefiting from the project. 

“The agricultural sector is very important for the local economy and employment both for Lebanese and displaced Syrian people. In Qab Elias, around 60% of the population and 90% of the Syrian refugees living there depend on the agricultural sector for income. In fact, the economy of Qab Elias has long been built on agriculture. The town has the largest vegetable market in Lebanon with an area of more than thirty-five thousand square meters.” Celine Moyroud, UNDP Country Director, stated. “UNDP, working closely with the Ministry of Energy and Water, has undertaken the rehabilitation of irrigation networks while partnering up with ICARDA and LARI for Improving on-farm irrigation and agricultural practices to tap into their vast knowledge and experiences in farm-level water resource management. The value of this project was brought about such a cross-cutting collaboration where UNDP played a key role as an integrator to bring together development partners, governments, and beneficiaries” she added.

“The project will help the economy by increasing the irrigated crops over rainfed ones which will increase the income of the farmer. Today with the new irrigation canals, quantities of summer crops will increase, and farmers can grow more than one season per year,” said Jihad Al Mouallem, Mayor of Qabb Elias.

“Now with the new concrete canals, we will not suffer from water loss, and water will reach our plots in a few minutes rather than several hours”, he added.

 

H.E. Mr Matahiro Yamaguchi, Ambassador of Japan to Lebanon, said, “This project provides the social and agricultural support for host communities in Lebanon, it will help in increasing the efficiency of new irrigation techniques and in increasing the water quantities that reach the irrigated plots. The project will also enhance the agricultural practices of Lebanese and Syrians by providing new technologies and building the capacities of farmers. I would like to stress on the commitment of Japan in supporting the economic growth of Lebanon and alleviating the impacts of the Syrian crisis.”

The partnership between Japan and UNDP:

Japan has been one of the biggest donors to UNDP. In 2016, Japan contributed a total of $383 million to UNDP, including $60 million to the agency’s core programme fund. The Japan-UNDP partnership prioritizes stabilization and conflict prevention in the Middle East and supports activities at the intersection of humanitarian and development work.

In Lebanon, the Government of Japan has contributed over US$ 9 million in support of Lebanese host communities through its partnership with UNDP since 2014. This support has enabled the most vulnerable host communities to better respond to the influx of Syrian displaced populations, while strengthening local service delivery and capacities to manage tensions in partnership with local municipalities and government institutions.

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