“The 2018 parliamentary elections were a step forward. The UNDP, with the support of its partners, will assess the lessons learned from these elections to develop the appropriate and most relevant priority areas of intervention towards achieving electoral reforms, democratic stability and participatory governance in Lebanon”, said Philippe Lazarini in his editorial published in the 19th issue of the “Peace Building in Lebanon” News Supplement.
The supplement was published by the UNDP “Peace Building in Lebanon” project funded by Germany, on August 6th, 2018. It was distributed in Arabic with Annahar, in French with L’Orient-Le Jour and in English with The Daily Star newspaper.
It contained articles by writers, journalists, media professionals, researchers and artists residing in Lebanon, employing objective approaches that are free of hatred and misconceptions.
In this supplement, participants discussed the relation between peace building, democratic governance and elections in addition to the importance of further increasing women’s participation in electoral and democratic processes, the influence of youth and first-time voters on peace-building and the important role of monitoring in elections. Articles also highlighted the obstacles encountered by disabled people during the elections.
“It is high time for us to come together to formulate a comprehensive plan and move the issue of disability into the 21st century in accordance with our own criteria and conditions, imposing solutions that suit us. We are not second-class citizens. We are not dependent on anyone. The State and the private sector can benefit from the skills that many disabled persons have to offer”, said Amal Charif, creative director and participant in the supplement, in her article titled “Disability is Not a Seasonal Issue”.
As for Ziad Abdel Samad, Executive Director of the Arab NGO Network for Development, “The main challenge lies in managing diversity and differences peacefully, no matter how extreme, without affecting stability and civil peace, and in transforming all forms of diversity into incentives to seek solutions that respond to the interests of different groups”. This is what he mentioned in his article titled “Citizenship as a Doorway to Civil Peace, Security and Social Stability”.
In the same issue, readers were inspired by stories of change, perseverance and resilience as the supplement discussed the obstacles facing residents of Aarsal, Bekaa, and the repercussions of the Syrian crisis on Lebanon, racism and inequality.
“When migrants and refugees are integrated into society, when all children have access to education, when healthcare is no longer a dream, when documentation is not an obstacle to work and when we can all work in safety and dignity, we collectively build a better society, one that is more peaceful, tolerant and just. Only then can we start to address the underlying causes of inequality”, said Roula Hamati from Insan NGO in her article titled “Out of the Shadows: Migrants and Refugees in Lebanon”.