Has it succeeded in achieving those goals?
Building on its long-standing presence and partnership with Lebanon, the UN has dramatically increased its own presence and engagement in response to impact of the regional crisis in the country. Since 2011, more than $3 billion dollars have been provided to cope with the refugee crisis in Lebanon, making Lebanon the second top aid recipient in the world of aid per capita. Public institutions arethe most vulnerable people – including Lebanese and refugees -have been the focus of UN assistance: Since January this year, over 1,7 million people have so far received some form of assistance from the UN or its partners. 336 municipalities are being directly supported to mitigate the impact of the Syria crisis on their capacity to deliver public services for the populations they host; 416 Public Health Centers were equipped or rehabilitated; some 130,000 children have been enrolled in public schools; 400,000 children were vaccinated against polio and 57 Social Development Centers are being supported to provide services to a growing caseload of vulnerable people. These are only a few examples of the work being carried out. Importantly, this assistance is leveraging as much as possible local economies and networks to maximize its positive impact. Unlike other humanitarian operations, a significant portion of the UN’s support to the crisis in Lebanon is channeled through public institutions, civil society and the private sector making extensive use of local human resources and national goo ds and services. For example, the bulk of food assistance is provided through more than 400 WFP-registered shops across the country. Since 2013, WFP has injected $527 million directly into the local economy. A recent study revealed that the injection of US$ 800 million in international assistance by the UN in 2014 generated a GDP growth of 1.3 percent in Lebanon. Having said this, we believe the true judges of our success should be the Lebanese people. We therefore defer this question to them.
What is UN’s message to youth in Lebanon today?
Ekaruna P.L: My message to them is simple: you are our future, our inspiration and our motivation. It is for you that we need to transform the way we live, to make your future in this world viable. It is for you that the sustainable development goals I mentioned earlier are an imperative and not a choice. Because you all deserve an education, jobs, a protective environment, a life lived in dignity and choices. But you are also and will be the agents of the needed change. Today, we have the largest generation of young people in history. As such, you are the ones that can shape history. These much needed global goals will only be achieved with you, your ideas, your drive and engagement. This is why the UN SecretaryGeneral has called today’s youth “the SDG Generation”. The UN has prioritized investments to create opportunities for youth across the world, including in Lebanon. We are eager to listen and to engage with you actively, as you are also the future of the UN. As such, we stand by your side to help turn ‘the world we want’ into the world you deserve: a world of peace, tolerance, and inclusive and sustainable growth. A world worth passing on to future generations.