The Donor Conference is a “Once in a Lifetime Opportunity” to Renew Lebanon’s Commitment

The UN Deputy Secretary-General said on Wednesday that a donor meeting to strengthen help for Lebanon one year after the tragic explosion in the country’s capital, Beirut, represented a “unique chance” to renew commitment to the country and avoid a humanitarian catastrophe.

The International Conference in Support of the Lebanese People, co-hosted by France and the United Nations, intends to raise $350 million for the country. It was held on the 4th of August 2020, the anniversary of the bombs that killed 200 people and displaced hundreds more.

Lebanon is in the midst of one of its greatest crises in recent memory, with a collapsing economy, political instability, and a populace in desperate need, with more than half of Lebanese currently living in poverty.

In addition, the country is home to a large number of Syrian and Palestinian refugees, who, as local families and migrants, are increasingly in need of humanitarian help. The COVID-19 pandemic has put even more burden on the healthcare system, as well as the economy.

For the past year, Lebanon has been without a government. The UN deputy chief expressed optimism about the establishment of a government under Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati’s leadership.

Ms. Mohammed explained how the UN and its partners had assisted Lebanon in the aftermath of the explosion, including deploying emergency aid and re-establishing water connections, as well as carrying out the critical hospital and school repairs.

She informed donors that with their help, they could accomplish a lot more. However, she noted, “emergency actions alone will not solve the issue,” emphasizing the necessity for a longer-term recovery focused on sustainable development.

Lebanon, according to Ms. Mohammed, deserves a strong, inclusive, and comprehensive social protection system, especially for the most vulnerable. In addition, the country will need to achieve inclusive growth, adequate employment, and social stability. She emphasized the importance of creating an environment that allows the needle t to move or simply for change to come. Ultimately, Lebanon requires an empowered administration ready to undertake the required reforms quickly.

This includes macroeconomic and fiscal reform, increased accountability and transparency, and laws to protect the judiciary’s independence, combat corruption, and regulate public procurement.

Ms. Mohammed wrapped up her speech by emphasizing how the conference showed significant international support for Lebanon’s people. She went on to say that the UN will remain committed to the country’s rehabilitation and long-term development.

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