LED workshop

ILO and government and non-governmental agencies choose the vegetable sector for development in Akkar, North Lebanon

To support rural host communities in Akkar affected by the Syrian refugee crisis, the ILO held a Local Economic Development Dialogue workshop to select in a participatory way an agricultural sub-sector to develop as part of the ILO’s wider local economic development (LED) strategy.

بيان صحفي | ٠٤ نوفمبر, ٢٠١٤
Beirut (ILO News) - As part of its response to the effects of the Syrian refugee crisis in neighbouring countries, the ILO in collaboration with the North Lebanon Local Economic Development Agency (North LEDA) convened a Local Economic Development dialogue workshop at the Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Agriculture in Tripoli, Lebanon.

With a focus on agriculture, the workshop selected the vegetable sector to develop as part of the ILO’s wider local economic development (LED) strategy to support rural host communities in North Lebanon affected by the Syrian refugee crisis.

“Our role as international actors is to encourage grassroots efforts to achieve durable social and economic transformation within crisis-torn communities,” said Frank Hagemann, ILO Deputy Regional Director of the Arab Region. “The most powerful instrument of this action is to develop local capacities and share experiences in order to combine creative solutions from local and global knowledge.”

Government representatives, local non-governmental organizations, cooperatives, and women’s groups, as well as workers ‘and employers’ organizations, were among those who participated at the workshop. North LEDA, a non-profit non-governmental organization established in March 2011 as a public-private partnership model for implementing regional economic development strategies in North Lebanon, pre-selected the vegetables, citrus, stone fruit and grapes as sectors with growth and employment creation potential. During the workshop participants deliberated the benefits of and constraints to developing these sectors in Akkar. The participants’ scoring resulted in the selection of the vegetable sector.

“The vegetable sector was chosen because it has the biggest potential for achieving large-scale impact, in particular in terms of employment creation and income generation for poor and vulnerable groups. Vegetables are a key contributor in building Akkar’s resilience against the economic and demographic shocks resulting from the Syrian crisis,” said Annabella Skof, the project’s Chief Technical Advisor and Socio-Economic Recovery Expert.

“Antipathy between Lebanese host communities and Syrian refugees is on the rise,” said Walid Mitri, North LEDA Secretary and spokesperson. “There was consensus at the workshop that there was much work to be done in the area to address this, especially in the troubled agricultural sector, which has great potential for improved production and development to counter unemployment and reduce migration. This project will have direct benefits for the various groups involved, and form an important starting point towards building a strong and balanced economy.”

The workshop is part of the ILO-funded project entitled “Enabling Job Resilience and Protecting Decent Work Conditions in Rural Communities Affected by Syrian Refugees Crisis in Northern Lebanon.” The project aims to create productive employment through local economic development and sustainable enterprises by taking action to improve the employability of job seekers made vulnerable by the refugee crisis, unleash the income generation and employment creation potential of agricultural value chains through LED, as well as enhance the capacity of service providers to enable the creation of LED opportunities.

For media queries, contact:
Salwa Kanaana, Regional Communication and Public Information Officer, ILO Regional Office for Arab States, Tel: +961 1 752 400 (Ext 117), Mobile: +961 71 505958, email:kanaana@ilo.org