Lebanon: Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding in Lebanon
Though Lebanon has been free of wide-scale violent conflict for two decades, tensions remain between and within its more marginalized communities, particularly Palestinian refugees and their Lebanese hosts. The joint UN programme aimed to reduce these tensions and avoid a relapse into armed conflict by fostering economic development, improving Palestinian self-governance and promoting peace-building in conflict-prone communities.
The programme focused on creating better institutional dialogue mechanisms, a vibrant civil society and more active women and youth, who suffer from extremely high rates of unemployment.
The programme's specific objectives were:
- Identifying and promoting sustainable conflict-prevention tools to ease inter- and intra-communal tensions between the Palestinian and Lebanese communities.
- Closing the socio-economic gaps between these communities by implementing equitable development programmes.
- Promoting the active participation of youth and women in local level development.
Main achievements included:
- Positive dialogue was established between Lebanese communities and Palestinian refugee self-governance Popular Committees (PCs). For the first time since 1948, an agreement was documented between two such bodies: the municipality and PC of Nahr El Bared refugee camp signed a memorandum of understanding to organize and formalize their working relationship.
- For the first time, women were accepted as members of Popular Committees.
- Local awareness was raised about the role of the Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Committee (LPDC) and perception improved of Palestinian refugees. The programme enhanced the reach of the LPDC by funding some positions and by providing trainings to LPDC social facilitators to work with youth.
- A communications strategy was developed with a strong focus on communication for social change and development.
- Training sessions were held for CBOs/NGOs working with youth in the North of Lebanon on reproductive health, characterizations and perceptions, youth rights, life skills, animation and group dynamics, and problems faced by youth.
- Youth Dialogue Clubs were created in seven schools (four Lebanese schools and three UNRWA schools), which have promoted dialogue between Palestinian and Lebanese youth. Students' tolerance and knowledge of peaceful conflict resolution improved. Capacity-building activities were held for teachers.
- The programme promoted the creation of women’s and youth groups which provided trainings (journalism, proposal writing, community needs assessment) and identified a number of small projects to be funded at the community level. Some 36 loans were disbursed in the identified regions, 40 women participated in trainings and 91 people were trained in business management.
- The creation of a Claims and Appeals System in Nahr El Bared camp helped ease tensions by solving a number of conflicts between neighbors.
- The formation of two cooperatives in Akkar was successful in cementing already existing working relationships between community leaders from the villages of the Sahel.
Click for more detailed results from the Joint Programme in Lebanon.