Has it suc­ceeded in achiev­ing those goals?

Ekaruna - - Interview Relay -

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.

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