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At a glance: Lebanon

Regional Director launches new survey to support development in Lebanon

© UNICEF Lebanon/2008/Shawwa
UNICEF Regional Director Sigrid Kaag inspecting damages at Nahr el Bared camp with UNRWA Director Richard Cook and UNICEF Representative in Lebanon Roberto Laurenti.

BEIRUT, 8 September 2008 – Recognizing the need to address economic disparities and gaps in social services throughout the country, the Government of Lebanon is working with UNICEF to develop a series of development indicators on the well-being of children.

Prime Minister Fouad Seniora and UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa Sigrid Kaag launched the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) last week at the conclusion of Ms. Kaag’s mission to the country.

“We know there are disparities in Lebanon, but the results of MICS3 will help UNICEF and the government to better allocate and manage resources, because our collective aim is to reduce poverty and advance in reaching the Millennium Development Goals,” said Ms. Kaag.

Lebanon will be the first country in the Middle East to use hand-held computers, supplied by UNICEF, to conduct the survey that generates the MICS data. Surveying will begin immediately and reach 16,000 households.

© UNICEF Lebanon/2008/Shawwa
Regional Director Sigrid Kaag and UNICEF Representative Roberto Laurenti inspecting a reservoir in Beit Yahoun, south Lebanon. UNICEF has contributed to the reconstruction of 22 reservoirs since the 2006 conflict there.

Stock-taking in South Lebanon

During her mission to Lebanon, Ms. Kaag visited villages in South Lebanon that were the sites of armed conflict in July 2006.

In Bint Jbeil, she looked in on the community centre that has provided an important base for children needing resources and recreation. The centre has hosted outreach programmes, mine awareness activities and hygiene promotion workshops, as well as psycho-social support and time for play.

Ms. Kaag received a briefing in Beit Yahoun on the situation with the water supply. UNICEF has contributed to the reconstruction of 22 water reservoirs since the war, but there are still gaps in supply due to lagging delivery structures and insufficient funds for pumping stations.

Need for sustainable reconstruction

During her two day mission, Ms. Kaag met with officials from the municipal level – as well as the Minister of Culture, with whom she discussed programmes to promote tolerance, and the Minister of the Interior, for talks on the juvenile justice system. She also met with President Michel Suleiman.

Ms. Kaag said she was pleased to see “reconstruction is really taking off” in Lebanon.

“I am very encouraged, but I am also very convinced of the fact that we need to do more. We need to make sure this is sustainable,” she added.




28 August 2008:
UNICEF correspondent Elizabeth Kiem reports on Regional Director Sigrid Kaag’s mission to Lebanon.
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