Beirut - Achim Steiner, the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), warns of pressures on Lebanon’s social services, infrastructure and jobs due to the impact of the Syria Crisis as he wrapped up his first official visit to Lebanon yesterday.
“Almost seven years into the Syrian conflict, Lebanon remains at the forefront of one of the worst humanitarian crises of our time and continues to show exceptional commitment and solidarity to people displaced by the war in Syria”, said Steiner. “UNDP remains committed to supporting the Lebanese government and local communities hosting refugees in their efforts to maintain stability and to continue its support to local communities hosting refugees.”
In his meetings with the Prime Minister, Mr. Saad Hariri, the Speaker of Parliament, Mr. Nabih Berri, and the Minister of Interior Mr Nouhad Machnouk, Steiner discussed some of the challenges Lebanon faces seven years into the Syria Crisis. “Every refugee would like to return home but, in the meantime, until conditions permit, our role is to assist Lebanon in managing the global public good it provides. At the same time the United Nations is working day and night to find a political solution in Syria” he said. He also reaffirmed UNDP’s support for the upcoming Paris and Brussels Conferences.
The Administrator visited Bourj Hammoud, an area hosting 19,000 Syrian refugees, to experience firsthand the impact of the crisis at the local level and how the Lebanese community and Syrian refugees manage day to day issues such as their children’s education, earning an income and accessing essential health services. “As I leave Beirut I go with a better understanding of the situation on the ground and this will assist me in mobilizing further resources to address the impact” Steiner told the Municipality and other local representatives with whom he met.
During his visit, Steiner also attended a roundtable discussion on Lebanon’s efforts in pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with officials from the Parliament and Government, alongside representatives of civil society and the private sector. “As the Capital Investment Plan is finalized the SDGs provide the ideal framework for guiding a long term development vision for Lebanon” Steiner emphasized.
Mona El-Yassir, Communications Officer UNDP Lebanon, email@example.com
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