Now in its ninth year, Lebanon remains at the forefront of one of the worst humanitarian crises of our time and continues to host the highest number of displaced per capita in the world, showing tremendous commitment to displaced Syrians and vulnerable populations within its borders. As of November 2019, the Government of Lebanon (GoL) estimates that the country hosts 1.5 million Syrians who have fled the conflict in Syria (including 918,874 registered as refugees with UNHCR, along with 27,700 Palestinian refugees from Syria (PRS) and a pre-existing population of an estimated 180,000 Palestinian refugees from Lebanon (PRL) living in 12 camps and 156 gatherings. Since 2015, Lebanon has received US$5.64 billion in support under the Lebanon Crisis Response Plan (LCRP).
The assistance made possible by donor contributions and implemented by humanitarian, Government and development partners under the LCRP, along with the exceptional hospitality of Lebanese communities, has brought substantial, vitally-needed support across all sectors and has prevented an even greater deterioration of living conditions for the poorest groups. Achievements under the LCRP and through government include: support to Lebanese critical infrastructure such as water and waste management; a wide range of initiatives helping local municipalities address livelihoods and service provision for their communities; extensive cash assistance bringing life-saving support to the poorest groups while boosting the local economy; support to health centers and hospitals around the country; and substantial advances in helping the Government of Lebanon enroll greater numbers of children in public schools every year.
Notwithstanding, the conflict in Syria has significantly impacted Lebanon’s social development and economic growth, caused deepening poverty and humanitarian needs, and exacerbated pre-existing development constraints in the country. Amid the unfolding economic crisis, poverty levels amongst displaced Syrians and Lebanese are on the rise, aggravated by a series of emergencies, from natural disasters to evictions, and this has crippled their ability to cope with the crisis. It has also increased social tensions, noting that competition for jobs and access to services remain among the primary drivers of tension at the local level, compounded by the recent implementation of more restrictive measures on refugees. In a nationally representative survey, the proportion of Lebanese respondents stating that relations are ‘negative’ or ‘very negative’ increased by 10 per cent from July 2018 to August 2019.
The first half of 2019 was marked by an increase in the number of identity controls and arrests, mostly due to the lack of legal residency. Despite the importance of legal stay documents, the percentage of displaced Syrians aged 15 years and above having legal residency continues to show a downward trend, from 27 per cent in 2018 to 22 per cent in 2019. On other fronts, progress is more tangible. The rate of official birth registration of refugee children at the Foreigners’ Registry level continues to show a positive development, increasing to 30 per cent of births of children born in Lebanon registered in 2019, compared with 21 per cent in 2018 and 17 per cent in 2017. Further progress is expected in 2020.
The LCRP, a joint plan between the Government of Lebanon and its international and national partners, aims to respond to these challenges in a holistic, comprehensive and integrated manner through longerterm, multi-year planning to achieve the following strategic objectives: ensure the protection of displaced Syrians, vulnerable Lebanese and Palestinian refugees; provide immediate assistance to vulnerable populations; support service provision through national systems; and reinforce Lebanon’s economic, social and environmental stability. The LCRP uses a needs-based approach which adapts to changes in experiences and context. The yearly appeal is developed based on this annual review of needs.