Question of Palestine home
Economic and Social Council
21 June 1996
Substantive session of 1996
New York, 24 June-26 July 1996
Item 5 (a) of the provisional agenda*
SOCIAL, HUMANITARIAN AND HUMAN RIGHTS QUESTIONS: REPORTS OF
SUBSIDIARY BODIES, CONFERENCES AND RELATED QUESTIONS: SPECIAL
ECONOMIC, HUMANITARIAN AND DISASTER RELIEF ASSISTANCE
Assistance for the reconstruction and development of Lebanon
Report of the Secretary-General
I. GENERAL DEVELOPMENTS ......................
2 - 8
II. ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTS .....................
9 - 15
III. EMERGENCY .................................
16 - 21
IV. RECONSTRUCTION ............................
22 - 43
V. UNITED NATIONS ROLE AND ACTIVITIES ........
44 - 77
A. Information-sharing and advocacy .......
48 - 53
B. Operational activities for development .
54 - 67
C. Resource mobilization ..................
68 - 73
D. Emergency management ...................
74 - 77
VI. CONCLUSION ................................
78 - 85
1. The present report is submitted to the Economic and Social Council pursuant to Council resolution 1995/42. The report covers the period from 1 May 1995 to 31 May 1996. It provides a brief description of general and economic developments, of emergency management and needs response, and of progress in reconstruction and development. The report further reviews the role and activities of the United Nations system in response to the urgent needs of Lebanon and draws a number of conclusions in this respect.
I. GENERAL DEVELOPMENTS
2. After a period of increasing paralysis which had started to affect the economy and reconstruction, a new Government was formed under Rafic Hariri on 25 May 1995. The government agenda stated that the main challenges facing the country in the coming years were the liberation of southern Lebanon and the western Bekaa, the continuation of reconstruction, and the strengthening of the education sector and of human resources development. Government policy has since given priority to achieving the ambitious objectives of reconstruction plans and to solving economic and social issues.
3. The mandate of President Elias Hraoui was extended by Parliament in October 1995 for a three-year period, on an exceptional basis and for a single time. The renewal of the mandate of President Hraoui put an end to the uncertainty and tension that had prevailed during the year. Upon taking up his new mandate, President Hraoui highlighted priorities for the coming years and listed the following as requirements for enhancing recovery from the consequences of civil war in the country: continuous efforts to ensure stability and security; justice; the return of the displaced; and the pursuit of balanced development.
4. Since late 1995, attention has been focused on the parliamentary elections that are scheduled for September/October 1996. Municipal elections, last held in 1964, are also scheduled to take place at the end of 1996. Local elections are crucial to committing and involving communities in managing their affairs and reactivating and developing local potential.
5. The implementation of the Taif agreement, which provides the framework and basis for the settlement of the country's past crisis, registered some progress during the review period; but it has remained incomplete, as several key elements were left in abeyance.
6. The Government reaffirmed its strategic option of cooperation with the Syrian Arab Republic based on the Treaty of Brotherhood, Cooperation and Coordination, signed by the two countries in Damascus in 1991. The High Council met in Damascus in January 1996 with the focus of talks on bilateral economic cooperation and on amending the water-sharing agreement concerning the Assi river, signed in September 1994. Practical results of cooperation agreements have been slow in coming, notwithstanding the important scope for collaborative economic, social and technical action.
7. During the period under review, the Government continued its search for peace and development, including the achievement of a just and comprehensive peace in the region, based on the implementation of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and 425 (1978). Lack of progress for Lebanon in the Middle East peace process has perpetuated instability and erratic violence (although incidents have been numerous) in southern Lebanon. On 10 April 1996, the level of conflict suddenly increased and during a two-week period there were intensive and extensive military attacks on Lebanon. The carnage at the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) camp in Qana in which more than 100 persons were killed finally led to a cease-fire understanding on 26 April 1996.
8. Lebanon participated in the Euro-Mediterranean Conference held in Barcelona late in November 1995 between representatives of the member States of the European Union (EU) and representatives of 12 non-EU Mediterranean countries. The Conference aimed at establishing a triple partnership - political, economic and social - between the European Union and the non-EU Mediterranean countries. Since the Conference, Lebanon and the European Union have been engaged in a constructive dialogue towards concluding a comprehensive partnership agreement before the end of 1996. The latter is expected to provide a significant boost to national reconstruction and development efforts.
II. ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTS
9. The aims of recent government policy have been to restore confidence and to achieve long-term stability. To secure the goal of economic stabilization in the medium term, the need still exists for the Government to improve public finance and to achieve balanced budgets; to undertake important structural reforms with respect to education, training and the functioning of the labour market as well as the management of social security; and, in terms of monetary policy, to foster price stability and credibility and meet the financing needs of the economy. Economic stabilization also depends on the formulation and implementation of clear economic policy, particularly for the productive sectors, and on coherent action to deal with the social problems. The achievement of sustained growth, improved public finances and effective employment measures will guarantee the recovery of confidence.
10. Notwithstanding the uncertainty that prevailed during part of the review period, economic performance has continued to be strong and financial indicators specifically were generally positive in 1995. The exchange rate of the Lebanese pound (LL) to the dollar increased by 3 per cent. Interest rates started a significant decrease, after important increases between May and September, and early in 1996 had dropped to the (high) level of early 1995. Central Bank reserves stood at US$ 4.8 billion at the end of 1995. The balance of payments showed a surplus of US$ 123 million, after having suffered an important deficit of US$ 600 million at the end of June 1995. The deficit on the trade balance increased by 23 per cent in 1995. Dollarization decreased marginally to 60.8 per cent at the end of 1995 compared with 61 per cent one year earlier, thanks to increased capital inflows amounting to US$ 6.4 billion. Annual inflation was estimated at between 11 and 13 per cent in 1995.
11. Gross domestic product (GDP), estimated at US$ 11.4 billion, increased by 7 per cent in 1995. This was lower than expected and compares unfavourably with the 8.5 per cent rate recorded in 1994. The main factors explaining the reduced growth rate are a decline in household consumption and public investment caused by high interest rates. Growth during the first quarter slowed to 3 per cent on an annual basis owing to decreased investment and accumulation of stocks. The macroeconomic environment remained favourable for steady growth, however. In 1995, imports reached US$ 7,033 million against exports of US$ 824 million, resulting in a trade deficit of US$ 6,209 million. Imports increased by nearly 22 per cent compared with 1994. Exports increased from US$ 572 million in 1994 to US$ 824 million in 1995, up by 44 per cent. It is noted that re-exports dropped further in 1995, to US$ 243 million, down from US$ 281 million in 1994, owing to increased export fees, absence of free zones and lack of export facilities.
12. The public deficit for 1995 was 47 per cent of GDP, a considerable improvement from the level at mid-year, when it had reached 57 per cent. The public deficit remained more or less within the planned limit during the first quarter of 1996. Gross public debt stood at US$ 6,800 million at the end of 1995. Net total debt amounted to US$ 7.1 billion, corresponding to 62 per cent of GDP, of which LL 9,296 billion was net internal debt and US$ 1,282 million was net external debt. Payments of interest and principal on total public debt as a share of the budget amounted to 23.5 per cent in 1994 and 28.6 per cent in 1995, further reducing the Government's ability to devote resources to investment or to much needed social programmes. It is clearly a priority for the Government to get the budget deficit under control and to better manage debt.
13. The 1996 government budget was approved by Parliament on 31 January. Planned revenues and expenditures amount to LL 4,022 billion and LL 6,450 billion, respectively, implying a deficit of 38 per cent. The planned deficit of the 1996 budget exercise compares favourably with that planned for 1995 (44 per cent), and to the actual performance of 1995 (47 per cent). The budget plan continues the fiscal discipline imposed since mid-1995 after public expenditures had started to get out of control. The debt-servicing charge in the budget amounts to LL 2,600 billion, nearly 65 per cent of planned revenues. The 1996 budget aims at increased austerity, rationalization of expenditures, and promotion of productivity through implementation of national infrastructure projects. Allocations of the public administration have been reduced by 10-15 per cent in each line ministry. Revenues will be increased considerably through a range of measures, such as incentives for Lebanese industry and higher tariffs on luxury products.
14. The social situation in the country has remained very difficult - a direct consequence of the economic collapse that occurred as of 1984 and lasted through the early 1990s. Average wages dropped by two thirds between 1984 and 1992. This led to the disappearance of the large middle class which had been a stabilizing factor in the country's economy and society. The present high cost of living limits access to basic health and education services by the poorer segments of the population. According to a report commissioned by the High Relief Committee in 1994, 28 per cent of Lebanese families live on a monthly income of US$ 600 (the upper poverty line for a family of five) and 7.5 per cent of families survive on a monthly income of US$ 300 (the lower poverty line). It is observed that these data must be regarded as tentative until such time as an in-depth poverty assessment is undertaken.
15. The process of economic stabilization and reconstruction has been carried out at a high social cost. Throughout the review period, cost of living and social conditions were at issue between the Government and the trade unions, which campaigned for the adoption by the Government of a dynamic social developmental policy and adjustment of remuneration packages. The series of recommendations adopted by the Government in June 1994 to refocus its social action were not initiated until the second half of 1995. Parts of the trade union movement resorted to repeated strike action. Finally, the Government approved a cost-of-living adjustment and important social measures, such as the statute and salary scale of professors of the Lebanese University and of teachers, the unification of the salary scale of civil servants, an extension of the coverage of the national social insurance fund, and improvements in public transport. However, improved purchasing power of labourers and employees depends on sustained increases in productivity which for their part require increased investment. The latter depends on the availability of basic physical infrastructure and services which will be achieved through the implementation of the reconstruction programme. The Government pledged early in 1996 to continue to work towards narrowing the important social deficit. In this context, it is important that the Government address the continuing state of displacement of tens of thousands of families and support the creation of economic opportunities outside public reconstruction and private construction projects.
16. Displaced persons: More than 20,000 families had regained their villages of origin at the end of 1995. This still left tens of thousands of families displaced. Their continuing state of displacement is a potentially destabilizing factor. The priority of the Government of the past years has been evacuation of 60,000 illegally occupied dwellings which absorbed most of the available finance. The implementation of the return and rehabilitation programme has itself met with important resource constraints. Lack of financial resources did not allow implementation of the 1995 summer campaign, which planned to involve 22,500 families (16,200 for rehabilitation and 6,230 for reconstruction). At the end of 1995, only US$ 27 million had been disbursed towards this end, of which US$ 15.8 million was for repair of 13,800 housing units and US$ 9.4 million for reconstruction of 3,160 residential units. Increased availability of resources to the Fund for Displaced Persons/Ministry for Displaced Persons for socio-economic rehabilitation and reintegration of displaced families is warranted, in addition to urgent provision of financing for housing rehabilitation and reconstruction. Moreover, much remains to be done to provide adequate public services infrastructure in areas of return; for instance, tens of village schools are to be completely rebuilt. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) provides support for management and capacity development to the Ministry for Displaced Persons.
17. Toxic and hazardous waste: The Government entrusted the High Relief Committee (HRC) early in 1995 with the preparation and implementation of an action plan to identify and remove toxic waste imported illegally in the late 1980s and dumped at different locations in the country. The High Relief Committee implemented a four-stage plan of action. The first stage concerned identification of places where the barrels were buried; the second stage concerned retrieval of the barrels without causing any environmental disaster; the third stage involved testing of the material and determining its nature; and the fourth stage involved disposal of the waste. Following tests concerning affected areas, the Government announced in July 1995 the closure of this file. Since then, the Ministry of Environment has initiated a nationwide survey of hazardous waste, in particular industrial waste, with a view to establishing a national plan and programme, including national policy framework criteria and procedures, monitoring and control, and law enforcement, for which implementation assistance will be sought from international sources. The Government also initiated early in 1996 a national study for licensing, management and rehabilitation of quarries.
18. South Lebanon emergency: The conflict that started in southern Lebanon and the western Bekaa on 11 April 1996 lasted for a two-week period and affected in the main area of conflict more than 150 villages and towns, including the cities of Tyre and Nabatiyeh; it also affected other areas of the country, including greater Beirut, particularly the Beirut southern suburbs and Baalbeck. The conflict resulted in the displacement of 400,000 persons, who heeded the repeated ultimatums of the Israeli army to evacuate villages and towns. The majority of the displaced found shelter with relatives and friends who thus bore the brunt of the displacement. More that 120,000 found refuge in 470 public centres, mainly public schools. An estimated 60,000 persons remained in the conflict area during the period of violence. The conflict resulted in damage to the region's infrastructure, as road links, electricity, water and irrigation infrastructure were targeted, as well as important damage to housing and other private property. Government officials indicated that the military attacks on Lebanon aimed at, among other things, destroying confidence in the country's economy and uprooting the country's achievements of reconstruction.
19. The High Relief Committee managed and coordinated relief operations at the central level in an efficient manner with line operations undertaken by the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Ministry of Health, and the Lebanese army providing logistics support. The United Nations resident coordinator and the United Nations emergency management team provided major support to the Government for the management of the emergency (see below). Public and non-governmental sectors, in a wave of national solidarity, worked round the clock during the crisis period to meet the emergency needs of the displaced and besieged population.
20. On 27 April, a cease-fire came into effect at 4 a.m. By the end of the day on 28 April, the large majority of displaced had returned. By 30 April, the return process was completed. Following the cease-fire, emergency relief efforts immediately shifted to southern Lebanon. The concerned ministries, particularly the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Ministry of Health, set up coordination centres in Sai"da and Tyre to continue the humanitarian assistance activities. A large number of non-governmental organizations and volunteers joined the movement south and have since adjusted their operations. Emergency repair work towards restoring public services was completed within two weeks, but the major damage remained to be repaired.
21. The cease-fire understanding of 27 April agreed by concerned and interested parties called, inter alia, for the establishment of a consultative group to be organized by the United States of America with a view to meeting the needs of the reconstruction of Lebanon, including needs resulting from the April violence in southern Lebanon and the western Bekaa. Since then, the Government of Lebanon has deployed intensive efforts towards clarifying the objectives and setting out the scope and procedures of the consultative group. The consultative group would be a nationally led effort and would aim to mobilize US$ 5 billion out of total public requirements for the recovery programme of US$ 18 billion; this would be done at the rate of US$ 1 billion per year during a five-year period. The first year of the programme would be essentially for rehabilitation, whereas in subsequent years the emphasis would be on development. This effort is expected to rekindle long-promised international assistance for the reconstruction and development of Lebanon.
22. Recovery planning: The aim of the recovery plan is to position Lebanon as a competitive force in the regional and international economy, capable of confronting the challenges of the twenty-first century. The Recovery and Development Programme ("Horizon 2000") was deliberately formulated with ambitious objectives and targets, aiming for Lebanon to regain its position among the world's upper-income nations in the first few years of the twenty-first century through first completing the process of the reconstruction of the country and subsequently engaging in self-sustained development. The plan hinges on three lines of action: comprehensive re-establishment of adequate basic infrastructure, including social infrastructure, as a basis for stimulating the development of the productive sectors; balanced regional distribution of public investment; and promotion of private sector development through increased savings. The groundwork for the recovery and development programme was laid out in the National Emergency Recovery Programme (NERP) (US$ 2.9 billion) adopted by the Government in 1992. NERP emphasized emergency rehabilitation of war-damaged infrastructure and facilities over a three-year period.
23. The Recovery and Development Programme is regarded by the Government as a dynamic programming tool. During the review period, it was updated and redrafted by the Council for Development and Reconstruction (CDR) to take into account changing circumstances as well as capacity and resource constraints. Adjustments were made with a view to encouraging and supporting economic recovery and meeting basic social demands. The Recovery and Development Programme now incorporates public expenditures of US$ 18 billion during the 13-year period 1995-2007. The main thrust of the programme remains focused on basic physical infrastructure, but there is increased emphasis on projects of a social nature. The Recovery and Development Programme constitutes a public investment programme conceived within a macroeconomic framework, but it does not include specific sectoral objectives and targets, supported by coherent sectoral programmes. The Programme could be strengthened by incorporating and addressing the dimensions of capacity-building and of sustainable human development.
24. Approval of the Recovery and Development Programme by Parliament has been taking place on a piecemeal basis. The 19 sectoral programme laws submitted by the Government in December 1994 for approval have not been given systematic review and consideration. Instead, programmes and projects are approved on the basis of priority and urgency as preparations for their implementation are finalized. As of August 1995, 30 per cent of planned allocations under the Recovery and Development Programme had been approved by Parliament for implementation.
25. A strong, efficient public administration to fulfil the essential functions it has been entrusted with will become of even greater importance as the emergency rehabilitation phase nears completion. Thus, rehabilitation and reform of the public administration are further gaining in prominence. The strategic objectives of administrative rehabilitation and reform aim at eliminating corruption, building a stronger sense of accountability within the civil service, securing greater separation between the political and administrative functions, securing sufficient resources for the civil service to attract and retain superior staff and to carry out its responsibilities professionally, and moving from the present bureaucratic and control-oriented philosophy of public management to one focused on service and results.
26. The Government's strategy for reaching these objectives and strengthening the public administration is based on a practical, focused and phased approach. The aim is to address within a three-year period the urgent needs of the various administrative units and to rehabilitate them so that they attain a level of basic functionality allowing them to deal effectively with the day-to-day operations of any public entity, while at the same time preparing the groundwork for a comprehensive, more encompassing reform of the entire administration. The National Administrative Rehabilitation Programme (NARP) is the main vehicle for conducting the rehabilitation process; the Programme was designed and prepared with lead support from UNDP. The total cost of NARP has been estimated at US$ 126 million. This includes US$ 20 million of CDR-executed rehabilitation of office space and buildings, US$ 19.8 million in computers and equipment, US$ 3.6 million in furniture, US$ 23.1 million in vehicles, US$ 20 million in training and US$ 39.7 million in advisory services. NARP was approved in 1995 by Parliament for implementation.
27. The review period witnessed further important developments as the Government publicized and strengthened the approach and options retained for urban regeneration and development of the main coastal agglomerations and their suburbs. Within the context of the urban restructuring and development of greater Beirut and following the approval by Parliament of the Beirut southern suburbs redevelopment project in 1994, the Council of Ministers approved in July 1995 the creation of a mixed company, Elyssar, to implement the public works and housing redevelopment programme, estimated at US$ 2 billion. After the creation of the company, conceptual development and design work for the project as well as a number of baseline surveys was implemented during the review period.
28. The Council of Ministers also approved at the end of September 1995 the establishment of the Socie'te' libanaise pour le de'veloppement du littoral nord de la ville de Beyrouth (Lebanese company for the development of the northern coast of the city of Beirut) (LINOR). LINOR will be a privately held real estate company, capitalized at US$ 250 million, set up to develop the coastal area north of Beirut, including commercial and residential space, areas for free zones, a solid waste and waste-water treatment site, and an area to relocate storage tanks of petroleum products to be developed through land reclamation. The company will be in charge of completing reclamation of land on the sea totalling 4 million square metres and of developing the expanded area, including construction, infrastructure, leasing, investment, administration and maintenance. The Council of Ministers approved at the end of October 1995 the creation of a privately held Lebanese Company for the Development of the Coast of the City of Sidon (SIDON), with a capital of US$ 100 million, to be operated in the same manner as LINOR. SIDON will be responsible for developing the coastal area south of Sai"da, including the creation of a new port and adjacent business area.
29. The Government has maintained a clear vision, focus and determination in proceeding with master planning and programme and project preparations for the ambitious recovery plans. The Government has attempted to deal with the fiscal constraints and contingencies of debt management and exerted considerable efforts towards establishing and improving an environment conducive for reconstruction and development, including through an appropriate macroeconomic policy framework, the sequencing of sectoral and administrative reforms and the establishment of an appropriate legal and regulatory framework for private sector development. The effect of the emergency in southern Lebanon of April 1996 and its sequelae has given added weight and urgency to an in-depth review of the prioritization and phasing of the public investment programme, and to a contribution of fiscal reform through rationalizing recurrent expenditures, perfecting the cost-recovery mechanism, and so on.
30. Implementation: There was good progress in implementation during the review period. The fourth Progress report published by CDR in August 1995 showed that the process of reconstruction had accelerated in many sectors. At the end of August 1995, construction and supply contracts, amounting to US$ 2.6 billion, had been let; of this amount US$ 440 million had been disbursed. This compares with CDR expenditures for reconstruction in 1994 estimated at US$ 350 million. The sectoral distribution of contracts let by CDR as of end
August 1995 was as follows: basic infrastructure, 64.3 per cent; social infrastructure, 8.1 per cent; public services, 6.6 per cent; productive sectors (including - and essentially - airport and ports), 16 per cent; and public buildings and institutions, 5 per cent. The main beneficiary institutions were electricity (US$ 919 million contracted), post and telecommunications (US$ 550 million) and airport and ports (US$ 413 million). The fifth Progress report of CDR of March 1996 does not provide comprehensive data on total and sectoral commitments, but allows additional commitments made between August 1995 and February 1996 to be deducted. New commitments during that period amounted to US$ 168.7 million, of which US$ 46.7 million was for government buildings, US$ 40.1 million for electricity, US$ 39.7 million for roads and highways and US$ 23.9 million for post and telecommunications.
31. Several components of the emergency rehabilitation programme were completed and scores of new projects initiated as planned in the period under review. The rehabilitation of the power stations and transmission lines was completed and continuous supply of energy assured as of end 1995. Also rehabilitation of public schools, of administrative buildings, of technical and vocational schools, and of the Lebanese University at Hadath was completed. Projects in the sectors of public health, water supply and, to a lesser extent, waste water and solid waste still attest to their origin in the rehabilitation programme and have made good progress.
32. The implementation of the reconstruction project of the Beirut central district initiated in 1994 by the privately held Socie'te' libanaise de reconstruction et de de'veloppement du centre ville de Beyrouth (Lebanese company for reconstruction and development of central Beirut) (SOLIDERE) registered satisfactory progress during the period under review. Construction of public infrastructure is proceeding as scheduled and rehabilitation of historical and other buildings to be restored is under implementation. CDR was entrusted in mid-November 1995 by the Council of Ministers to launch the tender for the LINOR project and to supervise the implementation of works.
33. The performance during the review period was the result of the further enhanced management capacity of CDR, which partly offset the continuing structural and operational weaknesses of line ministries and autonomous agencies. CDR has taken measures both at the central and at the field levels to ensure adequate supervision, monitoring and control of reconstruction activities. Support to improve the capacity of concerned parties could make a contribution to the further improving of performance. It will still take many years of determined efforts to achieve the hoped-for results. To maintain international confidence, it is essential that due procedure continue to be followed in planning and design and in contractual and financing arrangements.
34. It is expected that there will be continued progress on a large number of projects launched in the recent past and that several new projects will be initiated in 1996. The fifth Progress report of CDR emphasizes an increased emphasis on projects in the social sector and on balanced development. This implies that projects in the education, health, public transport, domestic water supply and environment sectors will receive increased priority, hopefully along with more support for the process of return of displaced persons. However, CDR action will continue to emphasize reconstruction and development of basic infrastructure, in particular for roads, electricity and telecommunications; in these sectors, private sector involvement is likely to be introduced. The continued momentum of reconstruction activity is conditioned by the mobilization and availability of adequate financial resources.
35. Financing: Financing of projects of the Recovery and Development Programme is a major consideration. It involves a mix of external funding, private sector funding (both local and foreign) and government funding. The main guidelines of the funding strategy adopted by CDR are to not resort to deficit financing and to ensure that private sector recovery is not jeopardized. It is thus important that the right mix of financing be mobilized and allocated to the right type of projects. To secure further international finance is a cornerstone in the funding strategy of the Government.
36. During the review period, CDR has kept up its efforts to sensitize donors and to mobilize resources for reconstruction mainly through bilateral contacts with donor and financing sources (external grants and loans, contractor financing, Eurobond issues and build-operate-transfer (BOT) schemes). The efforts of the national authorities to mobilize resources consistent with the magnitude of the requirements of the reconstruction programme have met with relative success, particularly taking into account the difficult environmental conditions prevailing with respect to external assistance. The national authorities have been successful in mobilizing limited grant funding on an ad hoc basis and quite substantial concessional assistance from Arab bilateral funding agencies and Arab development banks. France signed with Lebanon bilateral protocols of 306 million French francs (FF) in 1995 and of FF 500 million in April 1996, and Italy reprogrammed its bilateral financial protocol of 1993 in April 1996. France and other main Western bilateral donors allocate specific annual budgets for development cooperation with Lebanon. A specific effort was made during the review period to sensitize donors who were not yet active in Lebanon; Japan and Canada have responded in a positive manner and initiated participation in the reconstruction programme.
37. Multilateral donors, including the United Nations system and the European Union, have continued to make available assistance to Lebanon under multi-year programmes. The United Nations system has remained strongly committed to supporting government efforts. The continued strong support from the World Bank group for the recovery programme has been a major positive sign. The national authorities are exploring ways to capture international financing, both for technical assistance and for investment, from funds and programmes established to address specific issues or themes, including funds under the new EU Mediterranean policy and programmes, the Global Environment Fund, the Mediterranean Technical Assistance Programme, and so forth. There exists potential as yet untapped to develop South-South programmes of technical cooperation.
38. The Government also took the initiative during the review period to explore possibilities for economic cooperation, including participation in the reconstruction programme, with the countries in transition from Eastern Europe and a number of the main developing economies, including Malaysia, Brazil, Turkey, Argentina and so on. After having successfully raised US$ 400 million in Eurobonds in October 1994, the Government again tapped the international market and issued US$ 300 million in Eurobonds in July 1995 and US$ 100 million in Eurobonds in May 1996. The quick placement of these issues reflects the confidence of the international financial community in the country's economy and recovery programme.
39. During the review period, the Government has continued its efforts towards developing the legal and regulatory framework for a financial market. The Central Bank has played a lead role in developing market operations and products. The Beirut stock market was reopened for business in January 1996. The establishment of a higher authority for market surveillance is under preparation. Main objectives for 1996, as indicated by the management of the Central Bank, include encouraging and developing capital transfers into Lebanon, encouraging the creation of investment banks, and reactivating operations of finance companies.
40. According to the fifth progress report of CDR, total secured foreign financing for the recovery amounted to US$ 2,729.5 million at the end of February 1996, compared with US$ 2,481 million in August 1995. The total comprised US$ 2,331 million in loans (85.4 per cent (33.1 per cent soft loans and 52.3 per cent other types of loans)) and US$ 399 million in grants (14.6 per cent). These figures do not include the proceeds of the three Eurobond issues of 1995 and 1996. The four main financing sources of the recovery programme, representing over half of total secured funding, are the World Bank (15 per cent), Italy (15 per cent), the European Investment Bank (13 per cent) and the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (13 per cent). The contribution of the United Nations system represented about 10 per cent of total available grants at the end of 1995.
41. As indicated, there were important commitments by the World Bank during the review period, including a number of small-scale technical assistance grants for project preparation, and loan agreements for solid waste/environmental management in September 1995
(US$ 55 million), administrative rehabilitation in September 1995 (US$ 20 million), road rehabilitation and development in April 1996 (US$ 40 million) and an extension to the loan of 1993 in May 1996 (US$ 15 million).
42. With respect to the financing of NARP, there have been important developments during the review period as several donors rallied in support of the objectives of the Programme. Following initial assistance of UNDP, Canada (preparing for administrative reform) and France (civil service training), and in addition to resources made available by the Government of Lebanon, loan agreements were signed with the World Bank (US$ 20 million) to provide information technology, to conduct a census of the civil service and to further studies in administrative reform and the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (US$ 20 million). A major grant agreement, amounting to US$ 50 million, will be signed with the European Union in June 1996.
43. The Central Bank of Lebanon in cooperation with CDR and the Ministry of Finance has continued to monitor fiscal and debt indicators with a view to maintaining an appropriate balance between the pace of development and fiscal requirements. This guarantees honouring of commitments to counterpart funding and reimbursement of external loans in a smooth manner.
V. UNITED NATIONS ROLE AND ACTIVITIES
44. The image of the United Nations in Lebanon has been strongly influenced by Security Council resolution 425 (1978), adopted in 1978, and still not implemented. This situation has kept national attention away from the considerable support for development provided by the organizations of the United Nations system in Lebanon.
45. The strategic objective to be achieved by the United Nations system in Lebanon is to be seen and perceived in terms of an effective and efficient system of United Nations organizations working together to make a difference in development that is participatory and sustainable and addresses the concerns and needs of the people. The achievement of this objective is pursued through mobilization and commitment of resources for sustainable human development. In this connection, a workshop was organized in May 1995, by the United Nations resident coordinator for the United Nations system, government and other development partners, to review and discuss their respective roles in development, and to identify the framework and options for priority support by United Nations system organizations. The workshop and its recommendations have proved a milestone in the process of strengthening collaboration with government and other development partners, and provide a basis for preparation of the country strategy note.
46. UNDP subsequently initiated in the second half of 1995, with the support of United Nations organizations, a process of advocacy of and support to operationalizing sustainable human development at the national level (see below). This process will contribute significantly to strengthening linkages with development partners, in particular national government counterparts, and to contributing to programme development.
47. The United Nations system in Lebanon supports the achievement of the national objectives and programmes of reconstruction and development of Lebanon. The United Nations resident coordinator, in cooperation with the organizations of the United Nations system present and active in Lebanon, through different formal mechanisms and informal arrangements, has continued to develop different roles, entailing: high-level advisory assistance to the Government on key issues, including institutional renewal, social development and environment; promotion of information-sharing and advocacy, including support for global themes and international agendas; management support for emergencies; implementation of programmes of operational activities for development; and resource mobilization.
A. Information-sharing and advocacy
48. The United Nations Coordination Committee and the Donor Coordination Committee have continued to provide forums for the exchange of information, views and experience. The UNDP Development Cooperation Analysis System (DCAS) has been kept up to date and has been expanded; it provides the basis for the annual Development Cooperation Report, which was published and distributed in September 1995. In the first quarter of 1996, UNDP approved support for the establishment of a Sustainable Development Network programme. The Central Administration for Statistics agreed in the second quarter of 1996 to establish a national database for sustainable human development, including related series of indicators.
49. Advocacy for and support to sustainable human development during the review period involved seminars on the concept and approach of sustainable human development for development partners in government and civil society and for the media. It also involved preparations towards the publication of a Human Development Profile of Lebanon, to be published in July 1996. This is conceived as a national human development report prepared by a national counterpart. The Human Development Profile of Lebanon will provide important leads for other initiatives, including policy support, research and studies, exchange of successful experiences and so on.
50. Advocacy has also been undertaken in support of global themes and international agendas. Important support was provided by different United Nations organizations in Lebanon to prepare the national contributions to the Fourth World Conference on Women and to the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II), the City Summit. Support is being provided to ensure translation of international agendas into national action. In this connection, the Government is considering the establishment of a national commission for social development, which would provide follow-up to the implementation of the agendas of the recent international conferences. United Nations inter-agency task forces on different aspects of the global agendas would be expanded to incorporate national partners.
51. A major programme of advocacy on the key issues of the World Summit for Social Development and on gender in development in the context of the Fourth World Conference on Women was implemented. Activities were targeted at creating awareness and commitment of non-governmental organizations and the civil society, and of the public at large, and promoting their involvement in preparatory activities, on the one hand, and mobilizing and providing training for the media, on the other. In follow-up to a recommendation of the National Plan of Action for Women in Development, an official reference was established within the Office of the Prime Minister early in 1996, with a view to coordinating initiatives, policy action and operational activities within an integrated approach. International organizations, including the United Nations system, have been requested to be supportive of this official reference which will seek to abolish discrimination against Lebanese women.
52. The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has continued its advocacy on behalf of the rights of the child and has undertaken a mid-decade review of the goals and targets of the 1990 World Summit for Children, with good progress of Lebanon reported. With the support of UNICEF, the Parliamentary Commission for Human Rights and the Child has continued to monitor child rights and human rights. The work of the Commission was also a basis of a decision by Parliament on the age of obligatory schooling.
53. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has promoted implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development
/ through the National Population Commission and through identification of new projects. UNDP has continued to support the Government, specifically the Ministry of Environment, in its efforts to adopt a national strategy and agenda for environment and development. A proposal prepared with support from the World Bank remains under review and consideration.
B. Operational activities for development
54. Programmes of operational activities for development of United Nations system organizations have covered during the review period a considerable range and scope. Disbursements amounted to US$ 17 million in 1995 compared with US$ 15 million in 1994. These figures do not include grant technical assistance (US$ 2.5 million (on a commitment basis)) and disbursements of loans (US$ 51.3 million), in 1995 by the World Bank. Programmes of operational activities involved United Nations organizations and specialized agencies, including organizations not represented in Lebanon; among the latter may be mentioned the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the World Tourism Organization (WTO). The totality of this assistance was on grant terms and more than two thirds was for technical assistance. The United Nations system provides up to 15 per cent of total technical assistance on a grant basis. The Government supports increased focus and concentration of resources to maximize impact. In view of the magnitude of the needs for capacity-building and other technical assistance, the Government has repeatedly stressed the need for increased allocation of resources by the United Nations system and has argued for special support of the donor community through the United Nations system.
55. The major provider of technical assistance among United Nations organizations is UNDP. Based on preliminary data for 1995, disbursements amount to US$ 4.7 million, the distribution of which matches the country programme focus: rehabilitation of the public administration, particularly economic management and control institutions (US$ 0.7 million), social reconstruction (US$ 1.9 million) and balanced economic development (US$ 1.2 million), mainly for Baalbeck-Hermel integrated area development; there were also disbursements of US$ 0.4 million for rehabilitation of the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation.
56. In addition, the World Food Programme (WFP) provided US$ 3.3 million worth of food assistance to a programme involving residential social institutions, mother and child health centres, and school canteens. UNICEF disbursed US$ 2.3 million for operational activities in connection with its programme of cooperation in primary health care, basic education and water quality, within a framework of empowering mothers and addressing regional disparities through developing baseline data, building national capacity and promoting inter-agency cooperation. In 1995 the United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) disbursed US$ 1.8 million for programmes of demand reduction and support for integrated development of areas that were involved with illicit crop production. The World Health Organization (WHO) disbursed US$ 1.6 million for policy advice and health planning assistance, for support to human resources development of personnel in the health sector, for promotion of the national primary health-care programme and so on. UNFPA has continued its support towards the implementation of the housing and population survey, and the promotion of reproductive health and family planning. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has continued provisional support to the rehabilitation of agricultural research and of the agricultural services network.
57. Administrative renewal and economic management: Programmes of operational activities for development of United Nations organizations in Lebanon focus on a number of thematic objectives and are concentrated in related sectors. A first area of concentration relates to renewal of the public administration, following on the lead support provided by UNDP to the Government in the early years of the decade. After leading the formulation process of NARP, UNDP is entrusted with managing and coordinating the programme implementation that started in 1995. As the rehabilitation programme has been assured, UNDP support is now gradually turning to capacity-building for administrative reform. Within the overall framework of NARP, UNDP is providing support for the rehabilitation of a major line ministry, namely the Ministry of Finance. Support is provided under a programme covering a broadly defined strategy loosely linked to projects. The rehabilitation programme is managed and coordinated by UNDP with provision of technical and financial support by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and UNCTAD. Financial support is further provided by several other donors. The programme has proved to be a platform for cooperation with other related activities and policy and project initiatives, notably with respect to trade development and governance. UNDP support to the Ministry of Finance was considerably expanded during the period under review, reaching a level of about US$ 3.7 million. United Nations organizations further provide support to rehabilitate and develop a number of other line ministries and agencies, including the Central Administration for Statistics, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Health.
58. Social reconstruction: Operational activities for development have continued to focus on the provision of basic social services and on the return and reintegration of displaced persons to their villages of origin. There were important developments and progress with respect to primary health care during the review period. A new balanced strategy between curative care and preventive care was adopted by the national authorities; a national primary health-care programme benefiting from an important budget was implemented with WHO support in 1995 and will be augmented during the next few years with the proceeds from a recently approved World Bank health sector loan. UNICEF, with technical support from WHO, has continued to implement a wide range of support programmes for primary health care (maternal and child health, essential drugs, control of diarrhoeal diseases, and acute respiratory infections, and an expanded programme of immunization). Vaccination campaigns, with support from UNICEF/WHO, have given very good results. Eighty per cent of children are vaccinated at present with a triple vaccine (diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus vaccine, or DTP). Poliomyelitis which had practically disappeared for three years was the subject of a national vaccination campaign launched by the Ministry of Health in July 1994, as two new cases were found earlier in the year. Measles has still not been eradicated, particularly in certain areas of north Lebanon. Operations of WHO closely fit within the government programme framework; there is considerable support for upstream policy advice as well as for capacity-building through different forms of transfer of experience and knowledge.
59. At the initiative of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), a seminar and a national conference (the latter held jointly with the World Bank) on the reconstruction and development of the education sector in Lebanon were organized with the Centre for Education Research and Development in June 1995 and in June 1996, respectively. The stage is now set for the formulation and implementation of a national programme for the modernization and development of basic education in Lebanon. UNDP has already has taken the initiative in preparing, in cooperation with UNESCO, a programme framework and programme support document.
Implementation will require inputs from other donors. On another score, it is noted that project assistance of US$ 1,045,000 was agreed in mid-1995 by UNDP, UNESCO and the World Bank towards the rehabilitation of higher education, in particular of the Lebanese University.
60. The reactivation of International Labour Organization (ILO) cooperation, with financial support from UNDP, for government programmes in the country has focused on the creation of a dynamic employment policy and on the development of an education and vocational programme responsive to changing labour-market requirements.
61. UNDP assistance to the Ministry for Displaced Persons has continued through the programme for the reintegration and socio-economic rehabilitation of the displaced. However, significant, concrete results require availability of financial resources for operational activities concerning employment creation, income generation, economic diversification, community development, and so forth. Increased support of the international community is required to accelerate the pace of the return programme and to expand the scope and reach of rehabilitation activities.
62. Balanced regional development: There was satisfactory though limited progress (owing to the dearth of resources available under the first phase, which will come to an end in June 1996) in the implementation of the Baalbeck-Hermel Integrated Rural Development Programme. The first phase emergency programme established an operational mechanism to provide urgent support to farmers and village communities, and started work towards crop replacement. UNDP formulated the second phase of the Programme, in close collaboration with UNDCP and with support from specialized agencies. The second phase regional development programme to be implemented in two stages over a five-year period covers a national programme involving a physical investment component and a socio-economic component. The latter component comprises three subprogrammes, namely, agricultural modernization and economic diversification, direct support to local communities, and social reconstruction. The programme has a strong poverty reduction focus, as it concerns one of the most neglected and poorest areas of the country. There will be a common approach of United Nations organizations with respect to the provision of integrated basic social services in the area. There will also be strong support for employment creation and sustainable livelihoods support activities, in particular through credit. The initiation of the second phase and the subsequent achievement of programme objectives is subject to the availability of adequate financial resources.
63. During the period under review, FAO and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) have continued to provide technical support to the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Industry, respectively, with a view to promoting economic diversification and modernization. In the same context, the Ministry of Tourism completed the preparation of a master plan for tourism development with support of UNDP/WTO.
64. UNDP has helped consultations with the Government during the review period with a view to formulating a programme for the rehabilitation and development of the potential of south Lebanon. The basic idea is to move smoothly with operational activities in a peace-to-development continuum. The violent conflict of April 1996 has added impetus to the efforts to formulate and implement such a programme. A draft proposal for preparatory assistance in this respect was submitted for review by the Government in May 1996. Mobilization of resources from bilateral and international donors is required for this programme.
65. Environmental management: UNDP project assistance through the Capacity 21 project at the Ministry of Environment continued through the provision of technical expertise, advisory services, training and so forth. Considerable efforts were made to provide policy and legal advice and to prepare programmes and projects, particularly in the follow-up of initiatives resulting from the Rio Summit. Early in 1996, a biodiversity project involving protection and management of three nature reserves was approved and signed by the Government; this was the first project in Lebanon financed by the Global Environment Fund, (US$ 2.5 million). Since then, there has been a rich pipeline of projects being developed for consideration for financing by the Global Environment Fund or by other sources of funds related to post-Rio programmes.
66. Other: The Directorate-General of Antiquities and the Ministry of Culture under the guidance of UNESCO, with support of UNDP and in cooperation with SOLIDERE, have continued to coordinate and finance research, surveys and excavations in key archaeologic sites in the Beirut commercial district area being reconstructed. SOLIDERE is committed to ensuring that archaeologic excavations and its own reconstruction work proceed in a coordinated manner that benefits all parties. UNESCO provides upstream assistance to field operations led by Lebanese and foreign teams of experts from different countries.
67. UNDP and the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) are in the process of formulating a programme of gender in development, expected to start late in 1996. UNDP started in November 1995 the implementation of a project supporting Forums for Peace programme initiatives of civil society, under the guidance and leadership of the Ministry for Higher Education and Culture. As of early June 1996, four projects had been approved and another five were under active consideration.
C. Resource mobilization
68. The United Nations resident coordinator has taken a number of initiatives during the review period in support of government objectives and programmes. These included the mobilization of cost-sharing from government and third parties, and the identification of potentially available resources for thematic programmes and for special purposes. Inasmuch as the mobilization of resources from bilateral donors through the United Nations system has proved difficult, mainly on account of changed priorities in the region, there has been success in mobilizing government cost-sharing for a considerable number of activities, namely rehabilitation of the public administration, fiscal reform, environment and civil aviation. The adoption of the programme approach is expected to open up new avenues for programme cost-sharing.
69. Very good working relationships developed with the World Bank group have led in the past period to collaborative arrangements in support of a number of key programmes and projects, namely in the areas of finance, institutional development, and community development/poverty alleviation.
70. During the past period, UNDP continued to provide assistance to the Government with respect to technical cooperation management. Within the context of NARP, UNDP assisted in mobilization of resources, which reached US$ 90 million as of June 1996. NARP provides a framework for multi-donor involvement and has at present the World Bank, the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, and the European Union as major contributors. The successful preparation and initial implementation of NARP has benefited from continuous consultations and support from the World Bank.
71. With respect to the Baalbeck-Hermel Regional Development Programme (second phase), sustained financial and technical support in terms of economic and social investment, including credit programmes, is essential to lift the region out of poverty and underdevelopment and to draw it into the mainstream of development. The United Nations resident coordinator provided support for an international donor meeting on the Baalbeck-Hermel Integrated Rural Development Programme convened at the initiative of the Government and hosted by the Government of France (Paris, 20 June 1995). The meeting praised the efforts of the Government of Lebanon in the different areas of drug control and several donors expressed their intention to support the programme requirements (US$ 34 million for 1996-1997). The United Nations resident coordinator subsequently provided support to follow-up meetings and undertook contacts in Lebanon with a view to concretizing the interest and good intentions of donors. As of June 1996, only limited donor support was available, and this was insufficient as regards envisaging the permanent eradication of illicit cropping and engaging in a sustainable development process.
72. During the period under review, efforts of the United Nations resident coordinator continued with a view to mobilizing resources for humanitarian assistance, and for alleviation of the situation of the local population in southern Lebanon. Support would be made available towards meeting basic needs of the population and supporting the rehabilitation of local government and the reactivation and development of local economic potential. The implementation of such a programme is subject to the mobilization of donor support.
73. During the review period, there emerged new programme and project initiatives, the implementation of which will require external support from donors, in addition to the programme requirements discussed above. Priority areas in need of assistance include basic education; sustainable livelihoods; gender in development; statistics development; and socio-economic rehabilitation of returning displaced persons.
D. Emergency management
74. Immediately following the eruption of the conflict of April 1996, the United Nations emergency management team was convened by the United Nations resident coordinator and met regularly throughout the crisis to monitor developments, to identify needs, and to mobilize and to organize United Nations assistance. The United Nations emergency management team, at the request of the Government, also prepared the international appeal and undertook related monitoring and follow-up with donors.
75. An international appeal was launched on behalf of the Government by the United Nations through the Department of Humanitarian Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat on Friday, 20 April 1996. The United Nations appeal was intended to supplement the very substantial expenditures already made by the Lebanese Government and covered the following sectors: food, health, water, basic social supplies and management and organization. The appeal sought to mobilize a total of US$ 8.6 million to address emergency relief and humanitarian needs of 20,000 families in dire need, representing 100,000 to 120,000 persons, during the period of end-April through end-July. (It is noted that, subsequent to the appeal, the needs greatly increased in accordance with the number of displaced persons.) As of 25 April, contributions from 28 countries and several international organizations and funds had exceeded US$ 11 million. Major contributors included Argentina, Japan, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Italy, the European Union and the Arab Gulf Programme for United Nations Development Organizations (AGFUND). As of 31 May, total contributions to the appeal had increased to US$ 15.5 million (excluding in-kind contributions). Donors committed funds for the appeal for execution by national authorities, non-governmental organizations, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), through the Department of Humanitarian Affairs, and United Nations bodies with operational capacity for humanitarian operations in Lebanon. Coordination of international contributions was assured by the Department of Humanitarian Affairs through New York and Geneva, and the United Nations resident coordinator in Beirut.
76. The United Nations emergency management team provided throughout the conflict management support to the High Relief Committee. The office of the United Nations resident coordinator undertook resource mobilization; provided support to information management and coordination, including needs assessment, monitoring and reporting; procured relief items and supervised and monitored their distribution, the latter particularly in the UNIFIL zone with assistance from UNIFIL; received, managed and distributed relief supplies on behalf of several government institutions; and initiated preparations for the rehabilitation phase. Cooperation among United Nations organizations proceeded in an excellent manner. The Department of Humanitarian Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat provided support to coordination, and dispatched two staff members during the crisis and in the period immediately following it to strengthen the United Nations resident coordinator system in the management of humanitarian activities. The logistics capacity of the UNIFIL base in Tyre was increased to handle the humanitarian assistance by the assignment of a UNDP staff member and a United Nations Volunteers (UNV) volunteer, and through provision of communications equipment and the rental of a warehouse.
77. UNDP and the United Nations Department of Humanitarian Affairs provided support to the organization of a workshop on the lessons learned in respect of disaster management and future planning with respect to emergency preparedness, convened by the Lebanese NGO Forum on 29 and 30 May 1996. The workshop grouped representatives of the High Relief Committee, concerned line ministries and agencies as well as of civil society, donors and United Nations organizations. Proposals for capacity-building with respect to emergency preparedness are expected to be implemented with the support of the United Nations system during the second half of 1996.
78. For Lebanon to regain the lost ground of the past two decades will take considerable time and substantial resources, as there are many dimensions and facets to the recovery process. The process will require a generation to complete and will fully mobilize the country's potential. Indeed, the country's longer-term stability, economic recovery and development depend on the complete achievement of conflict resolution, political and social modernization and economic reforms.
79. The underlying reasons preventing the realization of the country's potential have not disappeared. The full implementation of the Taif Agreement remains to be achieved and the country has yet to complete the difficult issue of Middle East peace negotiations. Structural problems continue to affect the performance and recovery of the economy.
80. The Government must continue to move quickly with respect to reconstruction, economic recovery and delivery of social services, for failure to do so would undermine economic growth, fiscal viability and social stability. During the review period, the Government remained strongly committed to the ambitious programme of reconstruction. Fiscal imperatives and the effects of the April 1996 conflict warrant a close review of objectives, priorities and the scope of the reconstruction and development programme.
81. Despite some uncertainty, the performance of the economy and of reconstruction has continued to be remarkable in 1995. Growth was strong even though there continued to be slack recovery in different segments of the productive sectors, which remained a long way from the exploitation of their full potential. The recent satisfactory performance should not conceal the need to resolutely address structural problems in the economy and deep-seated social problems, and the imperative need to move quickly with regard to capacity rehabilitation and reform of the public administration.
82. The emergency rehabilitation phase of reconstruction is being completed and the outlook is towards a perspective of development. The short-to-medium-term perspective must be development-oriented, thereby ensuring that programmes contribute to achieving permanent recovery. In this connection, the need is reiterated for strong national policies and programmes that aim at strengthening public sector management, developing the country's human resources, meeting basic needs, particularly those of the poor, and preserving and managing the natural environment. Increased democratization and participation will facilitate and enhance the process of national reconstruction and development.
83. The continuation of the reconstruction and development of Lebanon will mobilize national capital resources and increasingly draw on international market finance. However, the contribution of the international community through development cooperation, in other words, the making available of grants and soft loans, remains essential for the next several years. The international community is called upon to support the country's financial requirements for reconstruction through the mechanism of the planned consultative group presently under consideration. The consultative group, which will be led by the Government, will mobilize US$ 5 billion over a five-year period to meet urgent reconstruction requirements, including damage caused by the April 1996 violence.
84. The role and functioning of the United Nations system during the period under review have continued to be smooth and satisfactory. The approach and scope of sustainable human development must be further developed and fully incorporated into national plans and action. However, priority programmes and initiatives of government, which the United Nations organizations have been called upon to assist, face increasing resource constraints. These constraints must be overcome through mobilization of adequate levels of financial resources; otherwise, effective and efficient programmes of cooperation cannot be continued or considered. Priority areas for external support from donors to United Nations system programmes in Lebanon have been indicated above.
85. The role of the United Nations resident coordinator and of United Nations organizations in Lebanon encompasses operational activities for development, and related resource mobilization, as well as policy and advisory support with respect to issues and programmes of reconstruction and development. It further involves advocacy for priority international themes and international agendas, and the provision of related technical support. The system of United Nations organizations in Lebanon will continue to develop these roles in support of national objectives of reconstruction and development.
/ Report of the International Conference on Population and Development, Cairo, 5-13 September 1994 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.95.XIII.18), chap. I, resolution 1, annex.