Words John Bates
Reaching the Tipping Point
The sudden and large influx of the refugees is now placing enormous pressure on the country and its people, especially those in the poorest areas, where the displaced concentrations happen to be the greatest. The demand for public facilities and services such as electricity, water, sewage, and waste management has dramatically increased. Unable to cope with the demand, the quality of and access to education and health services have deteriorated according to UN agencies and ministries.
The crisis not only challenges the country’s delicate social and economic infrastructure, but is also exacerbating significant development deficiencies such as unemployment especially among women and youth and profound disparities between the wealthy and the poor. The Syrian refugees, like the Lebanese in the local communities most affected, are becoming increasingly vulnerable. As their displacement extends and their savings deplete, their socioeconomic vulnerability increases, leading to even graver consequences.
Supporting Host Communities
The immense challenges has led to a call for strengthening the host communities in order to bridge humanitarian action with medium and longer term support to stability and development. The Lebanon Host Communities Support Programme (LHSP) serves to fulfill this mission, under the framework of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in partnership with the Ministry of Social Affairs.
The LHSP aims to increase stability and support the communities affected by the refugee crisis, through improving livelihood and services provision. It targets communities with the highest ratio of Syrian displaced to Lebanese population that are located in the South, North, Bekaa and Mount Lebanon.
The approach of LHSP is by working at a local level, involving local authorities, civil society, and private sector stakeholders for the identification of risks, needs, resources, and sustainable possible responses. The intervention works on three fundamental levels:
1)Increase basic services at community level
2)Livelihood and the local economic opportunities (job creation and micro small medium enterprises development).
3)Improve capacities of municipalities and local organizations to respond to the crisis faced by their communities and promote peace building and conflict resolution.
The efforts of LHSP to support stability in Lebanon are crucial at this stage and there still remains tremendous work and challenges ahead. An effective and continuous display of international solidarity and support will be vital for the country in the coming months and years.