2018 was an important year for Lebanon. For the first time in nearly a decade, the Lebanese people went to the polls to elect a new parliament - a key step towards a stronger democracy and State institutions. The election results and formation of the new Government were a small win for women, with six women parliamentarians elected and four women ministers appointed to the new cabinet.
Lebanon also remained high on the international support agenda. In 2018, three large-scale international conferences held in Rome, Paris and Brussels mobilized important international assistance to support security and economic development in Lebanon, and fulfil humanitarian and stabilization needs caused by the protracted Syrian crisis.
The present report marks a collective effort by the United Nations, the Lebanese Government, partners and, most importantly, the people and communities in Lebanon who we work with and, more importantly, we work for. In an effort to strengthen domestic security and law and order, the United Nations continued to work with the Lebanese authorities to improve border management and control, strengthen the capacity of municipal police, and clear large areas containing explosive remnants of war, including grenades, mortars and bombs. The United Nations also assisted municipalities in mitigating tension, managing conflict and alleviating resource pressure through the implementation of municipal or local service projects.
Another focus area in 2018 was providing support to the Government in conducting the first parliamentary elections in nine years, with particular attention given to advocating for increased women’s participation and representation. Lastly, in addition to the continued support provided to the Government in mitigating the impact of the Syrian crisis – both through direct assistance to refugees and through stabilization support to Lebanese host communities - the United Nations assisted the Government in addressing development challenges predating the crisis by promoting productivity and economic opportunities in the industrial sectors, as well as increasing access to sustainable energy, scaling up energy efficiencies and promoting sustainable management of forests and marine ecosystems.
In 2019, we will continue to build on ongoing initiatives while supporting Lebanon in accelerating its progress towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. A key first step will be the development of a national vision articulating what the Lebanese people hope to achieve by 2030, to guide policies and national action plans for the socioeconomic development of the country, while leaving no one behind.
I thank you for your engagement and partnership with the United Nations system, and I look forward to delivering together for Lebanon in 2019.
United Nations Resident Coordinator for Lebanon