Beirut, 29 June 2020 - The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), with the support of the European Union,  are organizing a series of workshops in the North, South and Northern Metn regions of Lebanon, to launch the activities of the Municipal Empowerment and Resilience Project (MERP).

At a time of unprecedented challenges, for local government in Lebanon, confronted by both the Syrian refugee crisis and Lebanon’s economic crisis, this new project will enhance the capacity of municipalities and Union of Municipalities in these regions to better respond to local needs during times of crisis.

With a budget of more than US$17 million, funded by the European Union through the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis, the EU Madad Fund, the Project will provide financial support and technical assistance to municipalities and Unions of Municipalities (UoMs). The objective of such a support is to enable them to improve basic services and invest in local economic development activities that will benefit Lebanese communities and refugees alike.

In particular, the Project will support municipalities and local businesses to join forces to create much-needed jobs, allowing men, women and youth to support themselves and their families.

Training opportunities for municipal staff and guidance on improving financial practices and municipal procedures provided by the Project, will create more accountable and efficient local government systems. Community outreach supported by the Project will encourage citizens to be engaged in local development.

At the same time, the Project will work together with the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities (MoIM) to strengthen national and subnational governance systems to ensure that local authorities have stable, long-term support.

Working together with municipalities, UoMs and MoIM, the Project aims at developing stronger and more responsive local governments and a better quality of life for the communities they serve for years to come.

Eng. Hassan Dbouk, Head of Union of Tyre Region Municipalities, said: “What makes the Project even more important are the current circumstances that are prevailing in Lebanon currently and we hope that by meeting the aspirations of the local communities and overcoming as much as possible the difficulties of the corona pandemic, the hard economic and living conditions and the deterioration of the rate of the Lebanese pounds.

Hussein Ghamraoui, Head of Urban Community Al-Fayhaa, said: “Al-Fayhaa cities are the Lebanese regions that have suffered for a long time from escalating tensions, crises and recurrent conflicts and are the most affected by the Syrian crisis. Hence, the importance of the Municipal Empowerment and Resilience Project as a tool to support the Urban Community Al-Fayhaa and the affiliated municipalities through the development projects that will be implemented.

The European Union stands by Municipalities and Unions of Municipalities in Lebanon to support them in delivering the adequate services to Lebanese citizens and refugees alike, while creating accountable and efficient local government systems.

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