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"As is" reference - not a United Nations document

Source: Lebanon
23 June 2008


A COMMON CHALLENGE

A SHARED RESPONSIBILITY


THE INTERNATIONAL DONOR CONFERENCE FOR THE RECOVERY AND RECONSTRUCTION OF THE NAHR EL-BARED PALESTINIAN REFUGEE CAMP AND CONFLICT-AFFECTED AREAS OF NORTHERN LEBANON
Vienna, 23 June 2008


Government of Lebanon




Executive Summary

Following the end of the Nahr el-Bared Camp (NBC) crisis, an initial donor meeting was hosted by the Government of Lebanon in September 2007. During that event, a two-phased approach was endorsed by both the Government and UNRWA: (i) a humanitarian emergency relief phase focused on the Palestine refugee population in NBC, and in the adjacent “New Camp”* area and the Beddawi Camp; and (ii) a longer term reconstruction and recovery phase for NBC and the larger surrounding region.

On June 04th 2007, UNRWA launched a Flash Appeal for three months of assistance totalling US$12.7 million. In September 2007, and following the end of the NBC crisis, UNRWA launched an Emergency Appeal for US$54 million to meet the emergency needs of residents in NBC and “New Camp” for the twelve month period ending August 2008. As of May 2008, US$60.31 million of both the Flashand Emergency appeals amounts have been pledged to UNRWA by the international community.

An additional Emergency Appeal to cover remaining relief and emergency requirements for the sixteen month period after August 2008 is planned in parallel with this Recovery and Reconstruction Appeal.

Since its establishment nearly six decades ago, NBC has given rise to a series of economic, social and environmental challenges that contributed indirectly to the NBC crisis. On the other hand, its markets, shops and skilled labor offered cheaper alternatives to more expensive goods and services found in Tripoli or other urban centers. However, with the armed conflict resulting in the deaths of Lebanese soldiers from local communities, serious resentments, distrust and post-conflict uncertainty have developed throughout the North. The Government considers the successful recovery and reconstruction of NBC and the conflict-affected areas an important trust-building exercise that could become a model for future interventions in and around the other eleven Palestine refugee camps in Lebanon.

The armed conflict in NBC and the adjacent areas has served as a reminder of the delicate situation in the refugee camps in Lebanon and its implication on national peace and security. NBC constitutes an integral part of the social and economic geography of its surroundings. While much of the direct physical damage resulting from the conflict was geographically bounded within the camp proper, any recovery strategy for the camp must be conceived in the context of the surrounding area that also suffered direct and indirect impacts from the violence. NBC surrounding areas are among Lebanon’s poorest and are marked by a relatively young population with high levels of school drop outs and youth unemployment. These conditions represent a fertile ground for promoting fundamentalist ideas among the disenchanted population.

The Government believes that the process of recovery and reconstruction of NBC and the conflict-affected areas in North Lebanon is a common challenge and a shared responsibility with the international community until a resolution is reached for the Arab-Israeli conflict. For its part, the Government has contributed over the years to NBC through electricity subsidies and payment arrears to the “Eléctricité du Liban” and lost revenues. Also, the opportunity cost for the Lebanese landlords of NBC land has been huge. The Government considers the process of recovery and reconstruction as donor-led and it cannot bear any further financial/political responsibilities towards the Palestine refugees. The recovery and reconstruction of NBC requires a fully integrated approach and a comprehensive solution.

This document signals the formal launch of the longer term recovery and reconstruction phase.

This Recovery and Reconstruction Appeal document is the result of consultations, assessments and analyses determining the best approaches for the recovery and rebuilding process in both NBC and the surrounding region.

The data and recommendations included in this report focus on three concentric areas centered on NBC. These “rings” of territory are depicted above in “Section III: Maps of the Nahr el-Bared Camp and Conflict-affected Region”. The “first ring” is the formal Nahr el-Bared Palestine refugee camp.

The “second ring” includes the conflict-affected territory just outside the camp boundary known as the “New Camp”, the Beddawi Camp for Palestine refugees and the six surrounding municipalities closest to NBC. A “third ring” of municipalities and communities surrounding the “second ring” includes an area bordered by Halba in the North, Beddawi in the South, the Mediterranean to the West and the communities of Abdeh and Muhammara to the East. The level of physical destruction and other related costs of the violence are most intense in the “first ring”, with the consequences of the conflict becoming more indirect moving outward from this epicenter of the crisis.

The Governorate of North Lebanon where the “three rings” of conflict-affected territory are located has historically contained the poorest communities in Lebanon. The area’s socio-economic indicators are among the lowest in Lebanon. The violence of the war with Israel in 2006, the NBC conflict in 2007, the particularly hard winter of 2008 have compounded economic vulnerabilities. Inter-Palestinian tensions and rivalries among communities have worsened due, in part, to this economic vulnerability, the stress of close quartered survival in temporary shelters, uncertainty over the future, and social competition for avenues to access and privilege that have been redefined by war and deprivation. Such conditions not ameliorated in other post-conflict venues, have inevitably led to extremism and additional violence.

The recovery and reconstruction approach outlined in this appeal recommends that coordinated activities take place among three strategic pillars of initiatives to address these conditions and challenges. The first strategic pillar is oriented towards “Creation of an Enabling Environment for Recovery and Reconstruction”. This entails establishing effective governance within NBC; acknowledging the property rights of the landlords in the NBC through land expropriation; capacitybuilding for improved security and rule of law; and burden sharing of recurrent costs. Also part of this pillar is integrative local development activities including infrastructure and socio-economic initiatives for the adjacent municipalities and the surrounding area of the camp.

The second strategic pillar centers on the “Implementation of Recovery and Reconstruction in the Nahr el-Bared Camp”. This is to include the bricks and mortar work of rubble removal and de-mining (funded partially under UNRWA’s Emergency Appeal and partially under Relief and Early Recovery Appeal covering the period September 2008 to December 2009); infrastructure repair; the rebuilding of residential and commercial buildings; repair and upgrades to necessary off-site infrastructure servicing the camp; socio-economic recovery; and budget support for recurrent costs. The camp will be rebuilt not simply as it was, but with physical improvements, environmental considerations and social safeguards that have been developed in extensive consultations with design experts and residents of NBC.

The third pillar focuses on “Repair, Recovery and Reconstruction in the “New Camp” and Beddawi Camp”. For the “New Camp”, an area that suffered both direct and indirect impacts of the violence, infrastructure, repair of housing and commercial buildings and socio-economic recovery interventions are proposed. For the Beddawi Camp which endured significant indirect impacts through migration of displaced population, housing repairs, infrastructure upgrades and socio-economic asset assistance are recommended.

The World Bank has prepared a model for a Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) as a coordination and fiduciary tool for the program. It proposes a three-window approach to financing the activities described in this appeal, management arrangements and approaches to environmental safeguards, donor contributions, cost recovery, performance indicators and reporting. Several parallel financing options are also described in this document including “direct to UNRWA” tracks, funding through the Government of Lebanon and direct resource transfer to preferred implementers. A full social and environmental safeguards assessment would be developed specifically for NBC and surrounding region for the successful establishment of the Trust Fund pending donor interest in this funding track at the conference.

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