UNDP: conflict in Syria hitting Lebanese development goals

16 Sep 14
The Syrian conflict is frustrating Lebanon’s efforts to meet its Millennium Development Goals, Helen Clark, administrator of the UN’s Development Programme, has warned.

By Vivienne Russell | 16 September 2014

The Syrian conflict is frustrating Lebanon’s efforts to meet its Millennium Development Goals, Helen Clark, administrator of the UN’s Development Programme, has warned.

Launching the latest Lebanon MDG report in Beirut yesterday, Clark said targets on poverty reduction, gender equality and the environment had not been achieved.

However, she highlighted that efforts are underway to boost municipalities’ ability to improve public services and boost resilience.

The ‘spillover effects’ of the civil war in Syria do not make it easy to accelerate progress in Lebanon, Clark stated.

‘One cannot discuss… the development prospects of Lebanon without acknowledging the great burden being placed on the country and the economy by the crisis in the surrounding region and the flow of refugees into Lebanon. The country is now the largest per capita host of refugees of any country in the world.’

Clark urged the international community to help Lebanon manage its refugee burden and noted UNDP was a major partner is the joint UN effort to develop a crisis response programme for 2015/16.

She said the organisation was working closely with national and local authorities in Lebanon to build up the resilience of host communities.

‘Our support is building capacities and infrastructure for service delivery in response to the current refugee crisis, but it will leave a lasting legacy of improved water and sanitation in the under-served regions of the Bekaa valley and the north, better services and greater livelihood for local populations.’

A Memorandum of Understanding between UNDP and Lebanese public service ministers will be signed to promote integrated service provision in pilot areas, strengthening governance and community engagement.

‘With the crisis also comes opportunity,’ Clark said. ‘The renewed attention of the international community on the country is such an opportunity.’

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