UN Secretary-General visits ILO employment creation project in northern Lebanon

As part of a four-day official trip to Lebanon, UN Secretary-General António Guterres visited a joint ILO-UNDP project that is creating jobs and rehabilitating the Tripoli waterfront.

Press release | Lebanon | 20 December 2021
BEIRUT (ILO News) – ILO Regional Director for Arab States Ruba Jaradat and other UN officials welcomed UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to the Lebanese city of Tripoli, where he visited a joint ILO-UNDP project to rehabilitate the city’s famous seafront while creating much-needed decent jobs.

Jaradat welcomed Guterres and gave a quick overview of the project and introduced key partners and beneficiaries, including El Mina Municipality caretaker Iman El Rafei, as well as the President of Tripoli’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry, local NGOs, and employer and worker representatives from the fishery and tourism sectors.

The project, to rehabilitate the El Mina Corniche promenade and waterfront area, is part of the ILO’s Employment Intensive Infrastructure Programme (EIIP) in Lebanon.

“We are delighted and honoured that Secretary-General Guterres chose to visit our project that is creating decent jobs for some of the country’s most vulnerable people while bringing benefits for the broader Lebanese population by rehabilitating this beautiful and ancient city’s historic seafront,” said ILO Regional Director for Arab States Ruba Jaradat after welcoming Guterres. “Such projects ultimately contribute to Lebanon’s stability and prosperity. The Secretary-General’s presence here today is testimony to his dedication to ensuring that the UN family in Lebanon offers the assistance Lebanon and its residents truly need.”

Guterres and the project’s partners and beneficiaries exchanged ideas on the repercussions of the economic, financial, political, health and education crises affecting Lebanon multiple crises on the residents of northern Lebanon, one of the country’s most disadvantaged areas. Qaemaqam Eman El Rafei spoke of the importance of the project in creating livelihood opportunities for the residents of the area. The social partners called on Guterres to extend support to Lebanon and help bring investment to the country. They also highlighted the importance of building a robust social protection and social security system for the private sector.

Funded by Germany through the German Development Bank (KfW), EIIP Lebanon works with national, local and UN partners to improve livelihoods for both Syrian refugees and their Lebanese hosts through job creation and infrastructure development. The rehabilitation of the El Mina Corniche and the wider waterfront area is just one of 45 ILO employment intensive projects implemented across the country, which have proven to be an essential and effective approach to help alleviate the multiple crises facing Lebanon. The overall programme in Lebanon has so far benefited 14,000 people, 22 per cent of whom are women.

The El Mina project has created some 1,200 short and medium-term jobs for the most vulnerable Lebanese and Syrians, and provided the foundations for a long-term infrastructure network for the local community and visiting tourists.

Guterres is on a four-day visit to Lebanon to conduct talks with political, religious and civic leaders on how the UN can help the country overcome accumulating crises, including political upheaval, a crippled economy, and the effects of the devastating August 2020 explosion at the port of the capital Beirut.

During his visit to Tripoli, the Secretary-General also visited a school operated by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in northern Lebanon.