Remarks of the UN Special Coordinator for the launch of the 2017-20 Lebanon Crisis Response Plan

Remarks for the Special Coordinator Sigrid Kaag
Launch of the LCRP

Beirut

19 January 2017

Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Ministers, Members of the diplomatic community, UN colleagues, ladies and gentlemen.

I am honoured to join the launch of the Lebanon Crisis Response Plan 2017-2020 with his Excellency the Prime Minister and my deputy, Philippe Lazzarini.

Since we launched the last LCRP in December 2015 with Prime Minister Tammam Salam and his team, there have been a number of positive and encouraging developments in Lebanon. Just recalling the Security Council in its statements of both July and November 2016 that called for political progress on a number of key parameters: Notable progress has been achieved over the few months helping Lebanon get back on track.

o The election of President Aoun and the formation of a Government of national accord led by Prime Minister Hariri, reflect the political will towards full institutional reactivation and consolidation.

o The swift Government formation illustrates Lebanon’s renowned ability for compromise and pragmatism – we look forward to working together with the Government on the many agreed priorities. The LCRP is one such area of joint work and collaboration.

o The Government declaration points to re-vitalization of the economy as a key priority. This is commendable and much needed. Lebanon’s economic stability needs to be preserved and enhanced in order to shield the country. Economic revitalization can also contribute to improving the socio-political environment and strengthen social cohesion. This is a moment of tremendous opportunity that must be seized, for Lebanon, its stability and security.

o The discussions on the electoral calendar and reform are important signals of the need to uphold the democratic process as a responsibility and accountability towards Lebanon’s citizens and to its democratic tradition.

With the Syria crisis soon entering its seventh year, Lebanon and all Lebanese have demonstrated continued, exemplary solidarity towards the refugees despite uncertainties and legitimate concerns. This unique solidarity deserves our unequivocal appreciation and respect. It also serves as a clear demonstration of our shared humanity. In the words of President Aoun in his recent address to the diplomatic community: “It is not up to Lebanon alone to handle the impact of the Syria crisis“. We can and should all endeavor even more.

The New York Declaration on large movements of migrants and refugees has given us a global compact based on the principle of global responsibility-sharing. This now has to be implemented. It will take international solidarity and collective real-time action. This is also a priority of Secretary-General Guterres.

But international support needs to be sustained – especially when resources are limited and there is sadly always competing crises. It is therefore key that we transform the crisis into an opportunity. This is the time for Lebanon. We also need to address pre-existing development constraints. It means a continued focus on development priorities such as universal education. It means enhanced investments in economic growth and the identification of new socio-economic assets to strengthen the resilience and promote the stability of the country.

The 2017-2020 Lebanon Crisis Response Plan is part of the wider whole of Lebanon approach, which comprises 3 pillars: Peace and security, stability and stabilization. It maintains a strong focus on humanitarian assistance to all vulnerable communities, while at the same time – in line with the commitments made at the 2016 London Conference - strongly and continuously seeks to expand investments, partnerships and delivery models that ensure recovery and enable progress towards longer-term development strategies.

I have often emphasized that Lebanon serves as a regional public good and a regional confidence-building measure. This vital role and model of true tolerance and co-existence needs to be preserved.