Now in its tenth year, Lebanon remains at the forefront of one of the worst humanitarian crises of our time and continues to host the highest number of displaced per capita in the world and in one of the smallest countries in the world, showing tremendous commitment to displaced Syrians and vulnerable populations within its borders. As of November 2020, the Government of Lebanon (GoL) estimates that the country hosts 1.5 million Syrians who have fed the confict in Syria, including 879,598 registered as refugees with UNHCR, along with 257,000 Palestine Refugees in Lebanon, Palestinian refugees from Syria, other UNRWA eligible persons from Lebanon. Since 2011, Lebanon has received US$8.807 billion in support under the Lebanon Crisis Response Plan (LCRP).
The assistance made possible by donor contributions and implemented by humanitarian, Government and development partners under the LCRP, along with the exceptional hospitality of Lebanese communities, has brought substantial, vitally-needed support across all sectors and has prevented an even greater deterioration of living conditions for the poorest groups. Achievements under the LCRP and through Government, include: support to Lebanese critical infrastructure such as water and waste management; a wide range of initiatives helping local municipalities address livelihoods and service provision for their communities; extensive cash assistance bringing life-saving support to the poorest populations while boosting the local economy; support to health centers and hospitals around the country; and substantial advances in helping the Government of Lebanon enrol greater numbers of children in public schools every year.
The confict in Syria has imposed a heavy economic, environmental and social toll on Lebanon. It contributed to the decreasing transit trade that had already started in 2005, and stalling service exports like tourism.i Post the Beirut Port explosions, the real GDP growth was downgraded further to -18.6ii posing further threats to the socio-economic landscape. The marginal efect of the trade shock on GDP reached –2.9 percentage points between 2012 and 2018, while the refugee arrivals boosted GDP by 0.9 percentage points by increasing aggregate demand and labour supply.iii The crisis has also had a signifcant toll on Lebanon’s already strained natural resources (water, air, land and ecosystems).3 Lebanon now faces multiple compounding crises. The COVID-19 outbreak hit the country at a particularly difcult time of economic decline and political fragility, leading to further worsening of the socio-economic situation with direct efects on unemployment and services. The devastating impact of the Beirut Port explosions further cemented the call, which started in October 2019 with the widespread protests, for urgent political and institutional reforms to increase transparency, strengthen governance and get the country on the path to recovery. The advent of the port explosions added a tremendous strain on the country’s general economy, and created additional despair, loss of jobs and tensions. Amidst the unfolding crisis, including the LBP losing 80 per cent of its value, poverty levels amongst displaced populations and Lebanese are sharply on the rise and have crippled people’s ability to cope. It is estimated that approximately 23.2 per cent of Lebanese have been plunged into extreme poverty but due to existing data gaps, further data is needed to fully understand the extent of the situation.iv Some 91 per cent of displaced Syrians are living on less than $3.8 a day.
One stark illustration of the deteriorating situation is the increase in irregular onward movements by sea from Lebanon towards Cyprus in 2020 compared to previous years. Around 80 per cent of the people embarking on these movements have been displaced Syrians while most of the others were Lebanese, and a smaller number of Palestinian refugees or migrant workers, all citing the inability to survive in Lebanon as the main motivating factor. The Lebanese authorities have increased their eforts, including surveillance of the coast, to prevent such unsafe sea departures. Another example is the rising concerns about the possible increase in malnutrition as a result of decreased access to food and inadequate dietary intake for some of the most vulnerable.v The multiple crises have heightened social instability with tensions increasing as people are competing for the scarce resources for their basic survival. Tensions continue to be primarily driven by competition in access to jobs and services, catalysed by the deteriorating socio-economic situation and political diferences, and aggravated by COVID-19 prevention measures. Eviction threats and evictions have been a major and rising concern in 2020 relative to the previous year, particularly for those living in urban areas.
Despite its importance, the percentage of displaced Syrians aged 15 years and above having legal residency continues to show a downward trend.
Other major protection challenges in 2020 include, mental health, Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV), child marriage and child labour as well as violence against children.
The LCRP, a joint plan between the Government of Lebanon and its international and national partners, aims to respond to these challenges in a holistic, comprehensive and integrated manner through longer-term, multi-year planning to achieve the following strategic objectives: ensure the protection of displaced Syrians, vulnerable Lebanese and Palestinian refugees; provide immediate assistance to vulnerable populations; support service provision through national systems; and reinforce Lebanon’s economic, social and environmental stability.
The LCRP uses a needs-based approach which adapts to changes in experiences and context. The yearly appeal is developed based on this annual review of needs.
The LCRP takes note of the Policy of Return of Syrian Displaced.