Towards the right to work: a guidebook for designing IPEP, background and experiences from the Syrian refugee crisis in Lebanon

The objective of this guidebook is to provide Lebanese background and experiences from the current context adding to the ILO guidebook for designing innovative Public Employment Programmes. Lebanon is experiencing a growing labour supply and increasing pressure on the labour market as a result of the Syrian refugee crisis.

This guidebook will provide practitioners in Lebanon with tools to better assess and understand the nature and complexity of the working age population, and unemployment and underemployment in Lebanon and take into account experiences to date. Building on responses as part of the Lebanon Crisis Response Plan 2015 – 2016, as well as the inter-agency standard operating procedures (SOPs) for Cash for Work (CfW) programmes, this guidebook aims to show options and possibilities for implementation of public employment and infrastructure programmes in Lebanon. It should be noted that while this guidebook still draws from the SOPs, these have never been endorsed by the Government of Lebanon but remain the main guidance for implementation to ensure a coordinated approach. The SOPs were designed to guide Cash for Work programmes as a humanitarian aid tool, which in light of today’s shift towards a more development- and resilience-based response to the refugee crisis would call for a revision.

This guidebook will also review the types of PEPs that are implemented and why. In Lebanon, the focus is on CfW, a type of PEP that is used to address emergency situations. In the protracted Syrian refugee crisis in Lebanon, CfW can help to mitigate the effects of high unemployment rates among affected communities, Lebanese host communities as well as refugees. It will also look at the different approaches and theories that can be used for setting wage rates including lessons learned from implementers. It will provide an overview of different targeting mechanisms and strategies commonly used in CfW programmes as well as introducing some of the criticisms and challenges of these mechanisms. The main targeting mechanisms discussed are Proxy Means Test, Multi-Deprivation Index and Maps of Risks and Resources. This guidebook will also provide information and insights regarding issues of gender equality during the implementation of PEPs.