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Lebanon Conference agrees on a recovery plan for the country




The reconstruction of the Port of Beirut and the implementation of reforms are the priorities for Lebanon (photo: Malak Jaafar/WFP).
The reconstruction of the Port of Beirut and the implementation of reforms are the priorities for Lebanon (photo: Malak Jaafar/WFP).
LEBANON. "Lebanon is in a state of financial bankruptcy, but still has the potential to be a successful state if reforms are implemented quickly". This sentence from the communiqué issued at the end of the Conference in support of the Lebanese people, which was held virtually from Paris on Wednesday 2 December 2020, sums up the speeches made about the country over the past few months.

Conducted under the aegis of France and the UN, this meeting brought together thirty-two countries, twelve international organizations and seven Lebanese civil society organizations. It emerged that "the commitments made in terms of emergency aid since 4 August had been fulfilled, both in terms of quality and quantity, in all the priority areas identified at the time by the United Nations, including health, education, urban rehabilitation and food". Of the €257 million pledged, more than €280 million has been paid out.

Confronted with political, economic, financial, health and social crises, the country absolutely must reform in order to hope to unblock aid and loans from international donors.
Lebanon has a poverty rate of 55% (against 28% twelve months ago) and all the necessary reforms remain blocked by political instability. The participants therefore "stressed the urgent need for Lebanese political leaders to agree as soon as possible on the formation of a credible and effective government capable of working in the general interest of the country". It will have to "urgently implement the package of reforms and measures necessary to regain the confidence of the Lebanese people and the international community".
 

A recovery plan adopted

The Conference of 2 December 2020 leads to the adoption of a framework called 3RF (Reform, Recovery, Reconstruction) to ensure Lebanon's recovery. It will be supported by a financing facility (Multi-Donor Trust Fund) provided by the World Bank, the United Nations and the European Union. "These instruments will ensure the continuity of funding beyond the emergency humanitarian aid released in the post-4 August period. Civil society actors will play an important role in defining priority areas for action, such as good governance, health, education, social protection, housing, culture and heritage. Particular attention will be paid to the immediate needs of small and medium-sized enterprises", the communiqué states.

"Participants expressed concern about delays in the investigation into the 4 August explosions," the text says. "Four months in which the families of the victims continue to search for answers, and thousands of people continue to suffer from the destruction of their homes and workplaces," Guterres said. According to the United Nations Secretary-General, "The Lebanese people have also been waiting too long for a new government to be formed that will have the capacity to implement the reforms needed to lead Lebanon on the road to recovery".

The Conference referred to the reconstruction of the port facilities, their integration into the city, as well as the rehabilitation of the districts affected by the explosion with the key words: "rebuild better, manage better, and decide in a transparent manner".



 

Eric Apim


Thursday, December 3rd 2020



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