UN Development Programme Associate Administrator Usha Rao-Monari visits Lebanon

June 21, 2022


New York City, 21 June – The UN Development Programme (UNDP) Associate Administrator, Ms. Usha Rao-Monari, accompanied by Regional Director for Arab States Ms. Khalida Bouzar, has concluded a two-day visit to Beirut, Lebanon, where she met with high level officials, communities, civil society, donor partners and the UN Special Coordinator to Lebanon, Ms. Joanna Wronecka.  

The objective of Ms. Rao-Monari’s visit was to experience UNDP’s support to the people of Lebanon following the recent parliamentary elections at a time when the country is going through a severe fiscal and socio-economic crisis, which has been exacerbated by the impact of the Syria crisis, the devastating Beirut Port explosion in 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ms. Rao-Monari visited UNDP projects on governance, environmental protection, local stability, livelihoods and women and youth engagement in economic and political life. Furthermore, the Associate Administrator outlined how UNDP, in collaboration with its partners and the international community, can deepen its work with the people of Lebanon to recover from the crisis.

“UNDP has operated in Lebanon since 1986, working in close partnership with government, civil society, local communities and other UN agencies to strengthen inclusive growth, sustainability and governance. Together with our partners, we have contributed to positively impact the lives of 1.5 million people, including the most vulnerable”, she said.

“However, recent analysis from the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia shows that the multidimensional poverty rate in Lebanon doubled from 42 percent in 2019 to 82 percent of the total population in 2021, reaching 4 million people. This means that we need to deepen our efforts, not least since the impact of the economic crisis is particularly felt among the most vulnerable”, Rao-Monari continued.

In meetings with the country’s leadership, including the President of the Republic H.E General Michel Aoun, Ms. Rao-Monari highlighted how UNDP can scale up its operations to further support Lebanon’s stability, economic recovery, women’s empowerment, anti-corruption and transparency as well as digital transformation as key elements of a reform and recovery agenda given the magnitude of the crises.

The Associate Administrator also met with representatives from Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and youth leaders to exchange views and discuss the on-going efforts of CSOs and young people in the fight against corruption, support for democratic governance and the elections, as well as the advancement of women and youth in political life and economic empowerment.

Ms. Rao Monari also experienced first-hand how UNDP has responded to the Port of Beirut explosion through a people-centered and inclusive approach to recovery that emphasized environmental protection and ensured the sustainability of livelihoods.

UNDP remains committed to Lebanon’s prosperity and recovery and to continue working with partners to support the great potential that Lebanon has to offer its people.