The Lebanese Army Civil-Military Cooperation Community Outreach Interventions in Beirut
Speech of Mr. Luca Renda
UNDP Lebanon Country Director
On the occasion of the launching event of
The Lebanese Army Civil-Military Cooperation
Community Outreach Interventions in Beirut
Mazraa – Tariq el Jdideh – Sabra – Burj Abi Haidar Area
Military Club – Al Manara, Beirut
Tuesday 18th February 2014
Representative of the Lebanese Army Commander in Chief, General Amin Al Orom
Representatives of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Ministry of Public Health
Ladies and Gentlemen
We are gathered here today to recognize and strengthen the role of the Lebanese Armed Forces in supporting communities and working closely with civilian organizations. For many years now, the Lebanese Army has been engaged in areas which typically lie outside the classical roles assigned to military organizations. The Lebanese Army has been at the heart of humanitarian work during times of disasters; at the center of social work when it comes to vaccination campaigns, reforestation, and the preservation of cultural heritage. Equally important, the Lebanese Army’s engagement with local communities has contributed to maintaining peace and stability in Lebanon. It is within this context that UNDP is cooperating with the Lebanese Armed Forces under its overall program for peace building and conflict prevention.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On behalf of the UNDP, it is my pleasure to be here today to mark the launch of the Lebanese Army Civil-Military community outreach interventions in Beirut. These interventions will serve the communities of Mazraa, Tariq el Jdideh, Sabra and Burj Abi Haidar in several ways: through the provision of much needed medical imagery, dental care, and education information technology equipment that will soon be installed at the Ministry of Social Affairs Social Development Centers, the Ministry of Public Health Centers, and local NGOs. These community outreach interventions are a result of a consultative process led by the Lebanese Army which involved key representatives of these communities. These consultations allowed the communities to identify along with the Lebanese Army CIMIC section root causes for tensions, and subsequently set plans to meet the corresponding needs. We expect that almost 6,000 residents of these communities will benefit from these interventions.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
UNDP’s engagement with the Lebanese Army CIMIC section is an ongoing one. Today’s event follows the achievement of two previous milestones: 1) the endorsement of the Lebanese Army five year CIMIC strategy by the Lebanese Army Commander in Chief; and 2) the inauguration of the CIMIC section central offices. In this context, I would like to highlight the efforts of UN partner agencies that have worked hard to achieve these results. In particular, I would like to thank the colleagues of UNIFIL, UNSCOL, and the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights for their commitment and technical support.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Over the past few years, Lebanese communities have come under enormous pressures as a result of the Syrian crisis and the large influx of refugees. These pressures have often been resulted into increased tensions within communities, therefore stretching the ability of the Lebanese Armed Forces to maintain order and peace. I believe that we as representatives of the international community are called upon to provide exceptional support to Lebanon and the Lebanese people in these challenging times; and in particular to support the Lebanese Army in its mission to prevent conflict. UNDP is and will remain committed to provide that support and we will continue to do so in close collaboration with our partners, perhaps most notably UNIFIL and UNSCOL.
Before concluding, I would like to sincerely thank the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Social Affairs, and the Ministry of Public Health as well as the Municipality of Beirut for their collaboration and continuous support to the project team. In addition, I would like to express our special gratitude to the Lebanese Army Commander in Chief for his continuous support to this collaboration and partnership. A special thank the UN Peace Building Fund for its generous financial contribution that made the project possible. And of course, a very special thanks to the UNDP project team, such an great group of committed and talented professionals.
Finally, I wish to recognize and applaud the outstanding work of the LAF CIMIC section that has, over a short period of time, already exhibited exceptional levels of professionalism and dedication.