Since 2017, the Syria crisis response in Lebanon has been guided by a multi-year Lebanon Crisis Response Plan (LCRP), jointly developed by the Government of Lebanon (GoL) and the aid community (United Nations, national and international NGOs and donors). The LCRP provides an integrated humanitarian and stabilization framework to support the most vulnerable people affected by the crisis and to address Lebanon’s challenges in a holistic and comprehensive manner.
The response aims to ensure protection and provide immediate assistance to the most vulnerable populations, primarily displaced Syrians, Lebanese communities, Palestine refugees in Lebanon and from Syria. It also aims at strengthening the capacity of national and local service delivery systems and expanding access to basic services, while striving to reinforce Lebanon’s economic, social, and environmental stability.
Funding in 2019 Humanitarian aid flows to Lebanon remained stable in 2019, with $1.43 billion available for programming - including carry-over - towards the $2.62 billion appeal. With 55 percent coverage, the LCRP remains one of the best funded appeals globally. However, in terms of new funding received in 2019, the appeal was funded at 47 percent, leaving a significant gap in partners’ capacities to meet needs. While these funds are mainly provided to meet short-term humanitarian and stabilization needs, some progress has been made to ensure more predictability with an increase in multi-year funding from 30 percent in 2018 to 41 percent in 2019. The direct allocation of funds to NGOs remains consistently low, with 4 percent to national NGOs and 18 percent for international NGOs.
Though donors are largely fulfilling their pledges made at the Brussels Conference, a substantial proportion of needs identified under the LCRP remain unmet. The funding of assistance is also unbalanced, with some sectors consistently being prioritized over others, which undermines the ability of the LCRP to provide comprehensive support. Significant and consistent funding gaps persist in the shelter and livelihoods sectors.
Support to public institutions1 under the LCRP has continuously increased from $171.5 million in 2015 to more than $245 million in 2019. Support provided by local and international NGOs and UN agencies was channelled to the public sector so as to build capacity in service delivery and policy development as well as ensure institutional stability.
Despite a 10 percent decrease in funds, education institutions remained the most supported in 2019, receiving $133.6 million or 54 percent of the total amount provided in support to public institutions.
As a result, 444,247 children aged 3-18 years were enrolled in formal education during the 2018-2019 school year.
Unions of Municipalities and municipalities benefited from the largest increase in 2019, receiving $33.7m compared with $26m in 2018. These funds were provided through direct and indirect assistance. Funds provided to Lebanese community projects and municipal projects went for solid waste management, wastewater management, water management, flood risk management, recreational spaces, road infrastructure and community infrastructure. Technical, operational and financial assistance was also provided. In 2019, $8.2 million was channelled through agriculture institutions, a $5.4 million increase compared to 2018.
Impacts of the economic situation The economic situation in Lebanon continued to deteriorate during 2019, leading to increased economic vulnerabilities of refugees and vulnerable Lebanese, loss of employment and income, and higher debt. Poverty and extreme poverty levels among displaced Syrian households have increased.
Three in 4 households live below the poverty line and more than half of all households live in extreme poverty.2 There are high levels of disparity between governorates, with the poverty rates in Akkar, the Bekaa and Baalbek/El Hermel more than twice as high as in Beirut. In addition, some 26 percent of Lebanese households classified themselves as poor or very poor.3 Employment for vulnerable populations became an even greater challenge amidst the economic crisis. With LCRP support, some 2,174 Lebanese Micro-, Small- and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and cooperatives reported increased performance and expanded market access (i.e., new clients, contracts and market access). A total of 4,203 jobs were created or maintained, and 12,000 vulnerable persons were employed through public infrastructure and environmental assets improvement. Despite this progress, unemployment among Syrians increased in 2019 by 9 percent, with 59 percent of Syrian households having at least one family member working during the past seven days (down from 68 percent in 2018). The unemployment rate was higher for Syrian women (37 percent) than for men (30 percent). The main sectors of work for Syrian households remain construction (21 percent) and agriculture (17 percent).
Vulnerable populations faced increasing difficulties to meet their immediate basic needs. Shelter conditions continued to deteriorate in 2019, with 57 percent of Syrian households living in inadequate shelter conditions, compared to 55 percent in 2018.
Despite gains made in 2018, access to an improved drinking water source decreased by 3 percent in 2019 to 88 percent of individuals.
Food security improved in the first half of 2019, with 75 percent of individuals food secure or marginally food secure, up from 67 percent in 2018. Inflation and higher food prices cause food security to deteriorate in the last quarter of 2019. The food basket price in WFP-contracted shops, which averaged LBP 37,134 during January-September, reached LBP 48,401 in December 2019. Ten thousand vulnerable Lebanese households, representing 72,000 individuals, received food assistance through NPTP from January to November 2019, while in December food assistance was extended to 12,892 Lebanese households, representing 91,200 individuals.
Under these circumstances, cash-based assistance remains a necessary tool to provide relief to struggling families and prevent a further decline in poverty levels. The multi-purpose cash assistance programme reached 67,777 households in 2019 contributing to alleviating poverty.
It is vital that predictable support to longer-term programmes and more sustainable solutions is stepped up. This is particularly important at a time of great economic uncertainty, where additional investment in social safety nets is as necessary as humanitarian support lifelines.
Access to services The first half of 2019 was marked by an increase in identity controls and arrests, mostly due to a lack of legal residency. Despite the importance of legal stay documents, the percentage of displaced Syrians aged 15 years and older with legal residency continued to decline, from 27 percent in 2018 to 22 percent in 2019. In contrast the rate of official birth registration of refugee children at the Foreigners’ Registry continued to increase, with to 30 percent of children born in Lebanon registered in 2019, compared to 21 percent in 2018 and 17 percent in 2017. Further progress is expected in 2020.
The protests and roadblocks in the last quarter of 2019 interrupted public service access across Lebanon. Syrian children’s school enrolment remains low, with 69 percent of children aged 6-14 years enrolled in elementary schools and 22 percent of children aged 15-17 years enrolled in secondary schools. Increased transportation and school supply costs hindered enrolment, and children aged 15-17 years faced increasing pressure to work due to the economic situation.
There was a significant increase in demand for primary health care (PHC) services among Syrian families, with 63 percent of households reporting requiring PHC services during the past six months, up from 54 percent in 2018. Some 90 percent of those in need of PHC services received care. The main barrier to accessing both primary and hospital care was by far the cost, including doctors’ fees, and treatment and transportation costs. Persons with specific needs also faced challenges to access essential services and livelihoods.