the Syrian crisis
The Stabilization and Recovery Programme - 2017
The Stabilization and Recovery Programme draws together all activities undertaken by UNDP Lebanon in support of the LCRP. This framework enables effective planning, leadership, and coordination across projects and teams.
The SRP is designed around a central theory of change:
If the Government of Lebanon is supported to deliver enhanced access to basic services, economic opportunities and security, at both the national and subnational level, then the capacity of Lebanon to cope with the crisis will be enhanced and social stability maintained because the needs of vulnerable communities will be met.
This theory of change is substantiated by extensive global research and lessons learnt, which demonstrate that government responsiveness to citizens’ needs increases the state’s legitimacy and reduces the likelihood of conflict and instability.
In support of the overall strategic objectives of the LCRP, the programme has three core aims:
1. Enhance the stability and resilience of vulnerable communities
The SRP provides host communities and those displaced by the crisis with access to basic services, improved livelihoods, and formal and informal mechanisms of conflict resolution. These projects use a participatory methodology to identify gaps in service delivery, economic tensions, and demand for stability-directed interventions. They thereby build bridges between communities.
2. Support key public institutions to develop their capacity for crisis management
The SRP supports national, subnational, and municipal institutions by training staff and improving their ability to respond to the crisis. UNDP supports national government and ministries through data-driven research and policy development and by providing needed personnel. It also supports regional and local government with planning, project development, service delivery, and rule-of-law functions.
3. Coordinate stabilization and recovery activities throughout Lebanon
The SRP works to bridge the divide between the humanitarian and development communities, bringing the Lebanese government, international agencies, and donors together in a single planning process under the LCRP. Through its inter-agency coordination role, UNDP ensures that all activities conducted under the response plan support Lebanon’s stability and resilience. UNDP is also the lead agency for the Social Stability, Livelihoods, and Energy sectors. Working closely with national governments and vulnerable communities, UNDP has pioneered a resilience-based approach to programming, placing it ‘at the front and center of host community support’. UNDP identifies context-appropriate activities using honest, impartial, and inclusive analysis. Building on this foundation, the SRP supports local structures, working with community members to achieve their goals in ways that address underlying feelings of disempowerment and marginalization.
At the same time, UNDP recognizes that the combination of direct assistance and community-level programming is not enough to secure Lebanon’s long-term peace and prosperity. Legitimate political institutions, which have the mandate and capacity to address grievances and concerns, have a vital role to play. They provide assistance, manage conflicts, address environmental challenges, and promote growth. The SRP therefore works with a variety of partners to create high-functioning governance systems that will outlast the crisis. Finally, UNDP understands that each sector under the LCRP faces unique challenges and operates according to its own dynamics. To address this, UNDP works with all the LCRP partners to reach shared understandings of problems, insights about what works, and common plans of action. The LCRP thereby paves the way for a truly integrated humanitarian and development response plan that goes beyond crisis management towards a transformative, sustainable agenda.
Supporting Vulnerable Communities
The SRP’s first commitment is to vulnerable communities. Since the start of the crisis, it has worked with with local authorities and communities to implement over 650 field-level projects, reaching 1.5 million people. This is a remarkable achievement and testament to the knowledge and dedication of UNDP staff.
The Lebanon Host Communities Support Programme (LHSP)
Building Resilience Through Community-Based Programming
The LHSP is UNDP’s flagship programme in Lebanon. Since its inception in mid-2013 the programme has completed more than 460 projects in 120 localities. As a result of its pioneering efforts to deliver basic services, livelihoods and stability to vulnerable populations through community-based programming, the Government of Lebanon has requested that the LHSP be one of the main vehicles for delivering donor assistance to the country. The LHSP provides support to Lebanon’s most vulnerable communities, focusing on municipalities with the highest ratio of refugees to host community members. It presents donors with an opportunity to support these communities in a way that combines flexible modalities of implementation with strong coordination, oversight capacity and government support.
The LHSP has three core elements:
1. Mapping Risks and Resources
To identify host communities’ specific challenges, and develop the right kind of operational response at the local level, the LHSP works closely with the Ministry of Social Affairs (MoSA) and municipalities to map threats, risks, and concerns. This process, called Mapping Risks and Resources (MRR), involves workshops conducted at the community level, in which the various parties collect information and develop multi-sectoral Municipal Action Plans. MRR data and Municipal Action Plans are then uploaded to the publicly available MoSA website, which LCRP partners can easily consult in order to identify priority interventions for each municipality. With the support of UNDP, MoSA has taken full ownership of the MRR process. The process has now been completed in each of Lebanon’s 251 most vulnerable localities. This will benefit Lebanon and serves as an important example of successful institutional transfer that can be replicated elsewhere.
2. Project Selection and Design
Using information generated through the MRR, the LHSP team facilitates further discussion with the municipality and national counterparts about the most impactful community-based projects in line with the action plans developed. A core technical team helps local officials design projects that focus primarily on four central areas: basic social services, livelihoods, social stability, and energy and the environment. The precise nature of LHSP projects varies significantly depending on the needs of given municipalities.To date, the programme has helped deliver projects that focus on repairing schools and healthcare facilities, raising incomes, vocational training, youth activities, conflict management, energy generation, wastewater management and solid-waste disposal.Where the most pressing concern is social stability, the LHSP team follows a unique protocol. Building on the MRR process, a specialist support team helps the municipal government conduct a more detailed conflict assessment. Together, specialists and local officials identify causes of tension and mechanisms to address them. These so-called Mechanisms of Social Stability are community structures that allow different groups to voice their concerns and coordinate with local government on solutions.
3. Implementation and Support
At the last stage of the process, the LHSP team disburses project funds and oversees implementation with local partners. An independent review of the LHSP‘s outcomes and achievements, conducted in 2016, praised the technical strength of project management, noting the impressive number of projects delivered, high success rate in addressing critical needs, and levels of community participation.
The support provided to deliver basic services by the LHSP has helped 814,100 poor Lebanese and over 323,400 Syrian refugees, while the Mechanisms of Social Stability have engaged around 4,000 local actors and benefited over 40,000 people. There is evidence that these projects have worked to bridge the gap between government and local communities, and successfully reduced social tensions. An independent evaluation found that, where LHSP and its partners have completed these communitysupport projects, ‘municipalities are increasingly viewed as both trusted to take the right action and able to do so’. In the majority of cases, these projects have also led to renewed confidence in the capacity of local actors’ to deliver services, and in the Lebanese government’s capacity to respond to the crisis successfully. Moving forward, the Lebanese government affirms that the LHSP has an indispensable role to play in its livelihoods strategy, developing ‘projects at municipal levels that create job opportunities and contribute directly to fighting poverty’.12 Over the next four years, the LHSP will help lead a transition in project focus, from income stabilization to local economic development and creation of sustainable employment opportunities. To deliver this, the LHSP livelihoods team will increase the level of vocational training it provides and concentrate on activities that improve the business environment for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs). Attention will be concentrated on job creation for women and youth. The goal is to strengthen key value chains and stimulate economic development.13 The LHSP would not be as successful as it has without its pioneering cluster-level approach to project implementation. This strategy involves working with municipal unions which enhance capabilities at the local level by creating administrative structures that can draw upon economies of scale and support longterm programming. In the Bekaa region, for example, the LHSP energy and environment team helped to close a municipal dump around which 30,000 refugees were living. The dump was replaced with an environmentally sound waste disposal cell that prevents groundwater contamination. The team also rehabilitated a waterpumping station, built domestic water networks, and upgraded irrigation channels that increase agricultural production and generate jobs. These activities provide a blueprint for future LHSP efforts.
The LCRP 2017-2020 Energy Sector: A New Opportunity for Sustainable Development
The UNDP Energy and Environment team has long championed the cause of environmental sustainability in Lebanon, coauthoring the 2014 Environmental Impact Report and advising the government on how to meet its United Nations Framework on Climate Change targets. Outside of the SRP, the team has also conducted largescale projects to reduce emissions and promote renewable energy. One such project helped public institutions and industrial projects to meet their off-grid energy needs by replacing diesel generators with photovoltaic solar panels. These projects now fall under the remit of the LCRP 2017–2020, whose Energy sector plan will be led by Lebanon’s Ministry of Energy and Water. The Energy sector plan aims to bridge the gap between supply and demand that has widened as a result of population pressure, reduce the cost of energy provision, and improve sustainability. In line with the sector strategy, UNDP will continue to focus on the deployment of clean-energy technologies that alleviate the pressure on host communities, create employment opportunities, and protect the environment.
Peacebuilding in Lebanon: Developing a Culture of Peace Through Behavioural Change
Launched in 2007 after a wave of political assassinations and fighting in the Nahr El-Bared refugee camp, the UNDP peace-building project works with the national media and school system to counteract narratives that contribute to violence. The need for a constructive national dialogue around peace has grown stronger since the outbreak of the Syrian crisis, with stereotypes and false information driving a dangerous shift in public attitudes.
To address this situation, the peace-building team has held regular workshops with over 150 journalists from 34 media outlets. Together, they developed a code of conduct and established a media-monitoring process. Over the past two years, the peace-building team has produced several monitoring reports and thirteen news supplements distributed by national newspapers. There are 850,000 copies in circulation.
In collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, the peace-building team has also implemented a violence-free schools initiative, which attempts to keep youth informed and correct biased attitudes that can lead to violence.
The insights generated by these projects continue to inform work undertaken at the community level to promote social stability under the LHSP. By addressing beliefs and attitudes towards violence at the national and subnational level, the SRP contributes to a culture of peace and nonviolent dispute resolution in Lebanon.
Support to Palestinian Gatherings
Reaching the Worst Off
UNDP’s second-largest project in Lebanon addresses the severe plight of Palestine refugees displaced from Syria (PRS) and their host communities in the Palestinian gatherings. In total, there are currently 135,000 Palestinians living in 42 informal gatherings—which are ‘relatively homogenous refugee communities’—in Lebanon. This reflects substantial growth due to new arrivals from Syria and from Lebanon’s twelve official Palestinian refugee camps, from which people have been displaced by fighting.
While all registered Palestine refugees in Lebanon are entitled to UNRWA health, education, and relief services, UNRWA may only operate in the twelve recognized camps. As such, the gatherings are not part of UNRWA’s mandate and tend to fall between the cracks. Consequently, these communities suffer chronic shortfalls in service provision, sanitation, and housing. UNDP attempts to address these problems through its support to Palestinian gatherings.
UNDP has worked tirelessly in the gatherings to improve water, sanitation, and other services; improve shelters; and promote better environmental practices. Since the start of the initiative, UNDP has:
• Completed 80 water and sanitation projects
• Delivered 35 infrastructure projects and 12 energy supply–upgrade projects
• Upgraded over 1,000 refugee homes and three kindergartens
• Educated 15,000 people on hygiene practices
• Distributed over 5,000 hygiene kits to vulnerable PRS families
• Created recycling facilities for 12,000 refugees in collaboration with municipal authorities.
The most recent independent evaluation of the Palestinian Gatherings project lauds its ‘outstanding achievements’. The assessor concluded that, despite sporadic episodes of violence, the project’s ‘achievements included the timely, adequate, equitable and continuous delivery of services and improvement of existing ones, and the creation of new ones, in response to the needs that emerged due to the prevailing crisis.’
The project approach is participatory and conflictsensitive. UNDP works with communities to develop neighbourhood-improvement plans and with women and youth to provide vocational training and small grants for new businesses. The project has had particular success delivering benefits to women and girls, including them not only as beneficiaries, but key decision-makers within the project and including them as decision-makers. The project will continue to link relief efforts to longterm development. At the local level, UNDP will build coordination structures with municipalities, civil-society organizations, and communities. At the national level, it will work with public-service providers, ministries, and UN agencies. In gatherings throughout Lebanon, UNDP will maintain its commitment to meeting the needs of Palestine refugees sustainably.
VI. Building Resilient Public Institutions
SRP’s second major effort occurs at the national scale. Working closely with the Lebanese government, SRP aims to build the kind of resilient public institutions that sustain community-level gains. This effort addresses structural governance issues critical to the country’s long-term peace and development. Specifically, SRP and the national government are trying to professionalize the police force and judiciary and to build disasterpreparedness institutions so that Lebanon can respond successfully to future crises.
Rule of Law and Access to Justice
Transforming the Lebanese State
Lebanon has long been dependent on third parties to guarantee security and perform basic police functions. This has had serious implications for the current crisis. Municipal police forces are vitally important, but they tend to be untrained and poorly equipped. Threequarters of residents doubt their effectiveness. Opinion of Lebanon’s national police service, the Internal Security Force (ISF), is little better; less than half of the population claims to trust its work. Meanwhile, the courts are widely perceived as corrupt.17 Host communities and refugees are often unable to access basic security and justice services badly needed amid high levels of tension. These troubles extend to Lebanon’s seriously overcrowded prisons. Oversight and accountability mechanisms are weak, nurturing the culture of abuse and rights violations. Maltreatment by authorities then contributes to popular grievances and may cause radicalization among young people.
Disaster Risk Reduction:
Promoting Lebanon’s Long-Term Crisis Management Capacities
Lebanon is vulnerable to a range of natural disasters, including earthquakes, floods, forest fires, landslides, and drought. Yet the sectarian nature of Lebanese politics and mix of parallel institutions undermine the state’s capacity to effectively deal with these risks. Lack of institutional coordination and planning mean that emergency service providers are locked into a reactive posture. They have difficulty tackling risks early on, when prevention or mitigation may be possible. Internal divisions also encourage burden shifting, duplication of effort, and conflict among first-responders, issues that have risen to the fore during the Syria crisis.
The UNDP Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) project addresses this problem by working with the Lebanese government to create Disaster Risk Management (DRM) units at the national and subnational levels. Drawing upon the Sendai framework, the project aims to promote resilience by improving emergency preparedness, establishing protocols and structures that respond quickly to crises, and supporting early recovery processes. Now is the time to invest in this area - ‘a critical opportunity to build back better, including through integrating disaster risk reduction into development measures’.
Since the launch of the project, the DRR team has created:
• A fully operational DRM unit located at the Presidency of the Council of Ministers.
• A national-operations room for crisis management and National Crisis Response Plan that has been tested using high-intensity simulations.
• Regional DRM units and plans for 15 governorates and cazas.
• Four multi-hazard risk assessments and a national flood-risk assessment in partnership with the National Centre for Scientific Research.
• Training for 550 staff members from six ministries, the army, and the ISF.
The LCRP 2017–2020 aims to move beyond a shortterm humanitarian response framework and towards a resilience-centred approach that has lasting benefits for Lebanon and its people. Ultimately, the goal is not only to respond successfully to the challenges and needs created by mass displacement, but also to help the country ‘build back better’. Donors have an opportunity to help cultivate stronger public institutions that support peace and development.