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What Next for Livelihoods Programmes in Lebanon? Responding During Economic Crisis and COVID-19 - Policy Brief (May 2020)

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1. INTRODUCTION

Since 16 March 2020, Lebanon has been in a state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As of 20 April, Lebanon has reported 673 registered COVID-19 cases and 21 COVID-19 related deaths, while nearly 90% of businesses, including companies, malls and restaurants have been closed. Across the globe, similar public health measures – while attempting to contain the spread of the infections – have profound implications for the livelihoods of millions of people, especially for vulnerable and displacement-affected populations. Lebanon’s situation is compounded because of the layering of the pandemic onto the ongoing economic and political instability experienced over the course of 2019 and 2020.

The combination of the economic, politic and heath crisis creates particular challenges for Lebanon in supporting displacement-affected populations in the short- but also into the medium- and longer-term, as the country deals with – and will need to recover from – the crises. Ensuring access to livelihoods is a critical component of supporting people to achieve their preferred durable solution to their protracted displacement. This brief follows up on recent research conducted by the Durable Solutions Platform (DSP), in collaboration with the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies (LCPS), on medium-term approaches to Syrian refugees’ protracted displacement in Lebanon, by taking a timelier look at the context and making practical recommendations as to how programmatic interventions can reinforce sustainable and lasting access to livelihoods to support pathways to achieving durable solutions livelihoods for displaced people from Syria.

This paper from the Durable Solutions Platform (DSP), together with its three member organizations Danish Refugee Council (DRC), the International Rescue Committee (IRC), Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), as well as Save the Children (SCI) and Mercy Corps (MC) reflects on the immediate impacts of the crises on vulnerable people’s livelihoods, drawing on secondary data, DSP’s recent research with LCPS and internal program data of these agencies to examine options for immediate adaptation and the medium-term planning that will be necessary to support livelihoods. It concludes by making a series of recommendations to the Government of Lebanon (GoL), United Nations (UN), international donors and NGOs.

This brief aims to spark a wider reflection and strategic dialogue among the Government of Lebanon (GoL), international donors, UN agencies and the wider community of NGOs on how livelihoodsfocused policies and programs can support resilience and self-reliance for refugees and host communities in these exceptional times.