Paris, April 6 – One month before Lebanon holds its first parliamentary elections in nearly a decade, the United Nations called for continued international support for Lebanon’s political and economic stability, citing it as a bulwark for stability in the region.
“Supporting Lebanese unity and stability will support stability in the entire region, and it will diminish the threats to peace that we are facing today in the world,” said United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Achim Steiner today in Paris. “But we can only achieve this by working together.”
Mr. Steiner was speaking on behalf of the United Nations Secretary-General at a global conference hosted by President Emmanuel Macron on Lebanon’s economic development called the Conférence Economique pour le Développement et les Réformes Economiques, or CEDRE. The conference resulted in pledges of $10.2 billion to support Lebanon.
More than 50 delegations, including financial institutions like the IMF and the World Bank, participated in the conference. Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri presented an ambitious Capital Investment Plan and a structural reform program to support Lebanon's economic stability with a focus on economic growth and job creation.
“The Capital Investment Plan, along with the economic vision of Lebanon, presents an ambitious agenda to put the country firmly back on the path of economic growth and create employment opportunities – for Lebanese citizens and Syrian refugees alike,” Steiner continued. “The objective of today’s conference is part of one of the most remarkable global commitments of our time: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Achieving economic growth is not an end in itself, but it is part of a broader national vision for the sustainable development of Lebanon – its people, institutions and economy. A vision, where no one is left behind.”
Lebanon’s hosting of nearly 1.5 million Syrian refugees displaced by the war in Syria, has put strain on basic services in the areas where they are being hosted. The international community is supporting basic services like sending children to school and accessing health services. At the end of April, the EU and UN will co-chair the Brussel II conference to promote regional stability and mobilise support for Syrian refugees and Lebanese host communities.
“Today’s conference is taking place at a critical juncture for Lebanon. Exactly one month from now, the Lebanese will go to the polls for the first time in nearly a decade,” Steiner said. “I encourage the incoming government to sustain this momentum of reform and progress that brought us together today and to make today’s plans an integral part of the key priorities that will guide its work.”