Canada’s strategy in Lebanon
Canada’s programming and engagement in Lebanon are key components of our whole-of-government Middle East strategy. Our strategy invests up to $3.5 billion over five years (2016-2021) to respond to the ongoing crises in Iraq and Syria, and their impact in the region, in particular on Jordan and Lebanon.
These crises have had a significant effect on Lebanon. As a proportion of its population, Lebanon hosts the largest number of refugees in the world; about one in three people in Lebanon are refugees. This has put an enormous strain on the local communities that provide essential services and causes tensions between refugees and host communities over housing, jobs, food prices, schools, and health facilities.
To help address the effects of the conflict on Lebanon, Canada is supporting five main strategic objectives:
Providing gender-responsive, needs-based humanitarian assistance to crises-affected populations
Canada is one of the top humanitarian donors to international efforts to address the Syrian crisis.
In Lebanon, Canada’s gender-responsive humanitarian assistance works through experienced partners including UN agencies, non governmental organizations, and the International Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement to help vulnerable individuals to meet their basic needs and access social and public services. These include:
- food assistance
- critical water and sanitation
- psychosocial support
- sexual and reproductive health services
- services to respond to and prevent gender-based violence
Our partners ensure the specific needs, priorities and capacities of vulnerable and marginalized people are integrated into the humanitarian response.
Canadian diplomats also advocate for the protection of refugees in Lebanon, ensuring that their rights are upheld. Lebanon is also a principal hub for Canada’s Syrian refugee resettlement program and the single largest source for Syrian refugees resettled in Canada.
Improving economic opportunities and rebuilding sustainable livelihoods for vulnerable populations, particularly for women and girls
Canada is a top-tier country donor to development efforts in Lebanon, ranking as the 5th largest international donor for aid programming as of 2018 (after the EU, Germany, UK and US).
Our development programming is addressing the strains on refugee-hosting communities by advancing women’s economic empowerment to build a more stable and equitable economy. These efforts are helping communities in Lebanon withstand and recover from the shocks and stresses caused by the crises.
In particular, our development assistance in Lebanon is working to support cooperatives and associations in the agro-food sector and help open up long-term opportunities for women and youth, both refugees and Lebanese.
Increasing meaningful participation of women and youth in technical and vocational education and training
Canada is working to expand the economic opportunities available to women and girls through training and access to economic opportunities. We co-hosted the Mashreq High-Level Conference on Women’s Economic Empowerment in Beirut, Lebanon to launch the development of National Action Plans to increase women’s economic participation in Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. Through the Mashreq Conference, Canada supported Lebanon in developing a five-year National Action Plan for Women’s Economic Empowerment, which aims to increase women’s economic participation from 23% to 28%.
We also organized FemParl Middle East and North Africa (MENA). This event brought together women Members of Parliament and leaders from the MENA region to discuss women’s empowerment as well as a full day discussion on Women Peace Security with Lebanese and UN stakeholders.
Strengthening border security and building the capacity of the Lebanese security forces
Canada is strengthening the ability of the Lebanese government and the Lebanese Armed Forces to:
- prevent and counter terrorism and violent extremism
- stem the flow of foreign fighters and illicit goods in and out of Syria
- detect and monitor Daesh activity
- increase security along the Syrian-Lebanese border
We are also supporting broader regional efforts by multilateral organizations and NGOs on specific issues, such as terrorist financing and aviation security. Canada also works to prevent and counter violent extremism and radicalization in prisons by enabling locals to develop approaches and narratives that offer alternatives to violent extremist messaging.
Supporting key actors at the local level to foster social cohesion, community peacebuilding and inclusive governance
Canada seeks to enhance stability and address drivers of conflict in Lebanon. Stabilization efforts focus on supporting Lebanon’s efforts to improve its state security services and make justice accessible to all. The goal is to reduce social tensions between the Lebanese hosts and refugees and build positive relationships within communities.
Our efforts are focused on hotspots in northern Lebanon. In these places, we support projects that aim to reduce tensions between Syrian refugees and Lebanese host communities by creating spaces for dialogue and supporting inclusive local governance. We are also supporting the efforts of Lebanese municipalities to improve security in at-risk communities.
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