Four donor countries pledged Monday to provide Lebanon with $550 million in 2016 to help it cope with the refugee crisis.
“Following the Supporting Syria and the Region Conference held in London on 4th February, we – the co-host donors – met the Prime Minister (Tammam Salam) and (Social Affairs) Minister (Rashid) Derbas to reiterate our strong support for Lebanon’s economic stabilization and social development as set out in the Lebanese Government’s Statement of Intent,” UK Ambassador Hugo Shorter said in a statement on behalf of co-host donors.
“We can today announce that, collectively, Germany, Kuwait, Norway and the United Kingdom, will provide over $550m this year for Lebanon. This funding is now being programmed in coordination with Lebanese institutions, the United Nations and the World Bank,” said Shorter.
“More broadly, the U.N. has confirmed that of pledges made at the London Conference, over $1billion has already been allocated for Lebanon for the coming year,” he added.
The Grand Serail meeting was also attended by German Ambassador Martin Huth, Kuwaiti Charges d’Affaires Mohammed al-Waqyan, Norwegian Charge d’Affaires Ane Jorem, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator and U.N. Development Program Resident Representative Philippe Lazzarani, and representatives from the EU, World Bank and the U.S.
This funding will be channeled to the priorities requested by the Lebanese government in its Statement of Intent and in the joint Government and U.N. Lebanon Crisis Response Plan, Shorter said.
The priorities include “investing in national and municipal infrastructure to create short and longer term employment for all” and “investing in the education system so that public schools are safer for children and are able to deliver higher quality education for all, ensuring there is no lost generation,” the UK envoy added.
He noted that, in addition, Lebanon has a “once in a generation opportunity to attract large, very favorable loans to pay for national level infrastructure that will boost the economy, create jobs and improve the lives of the entire population.”
“These investments are also essential to position Lebanon as the hub for the eventual reconstruction of Syria, when the Syrian refugees return,” Shorter pointed out.