In order to keep up with ever increasing urbanization, governments in most Arab countries face the challenge of providing increased access to land and provide for sufficient urban basic services and infrastructure. In general, access to services and infrastructure as well as health and education facilities is better in cities than in rural areas.
However, cities lack resources and the management capacity to cope with increasing demands for service provision and as a result some neighbourhoods are left without access to drinking water and sanitation, energy services, transport and public facilities, leading to unsatisfying and sometimes dangerous environments for their inhabitants. A lack of sufficient public transport systems also translates into less mobility for some social groups, which excludes them from a large part of the city.
Lebanon: Enhancing the Role of Unions of Municipalities to Respond to Refugees’ & Host Communities’ Needs
Since 2013 and funded by UNHCR and UNICEF, UN-Habitat Lebanon built on its previous experience in capacity building and launched the “Enhancing the Role of Unions of Municipalities to Respond to Refugees’ & Host Communities’ Needs” project. The aim of the project is to help local authorities affected by the rapid and significant influx of Syrian refugees to cope with the strains in the provision of water, sanitation and garbage collection within host communities and acute shelter needs of refugee families.
This has been achieved through enabling the active involvement of municipalities in identifying, assessing and facilitating sound shelter facilities and the delivery of basic urban services taking into account the existing and forthcoming numbers of refugees. The project launched two Regional Technical Offices in 2 Unions of Municipalities in Sahel Zahrani and Iqleem al-Kharoub. These offices work with municipalities in the region in identifying, planning and executing priority interventions in sectors of shelter, infrastructure and services. UN-Habitat identified and trained the RTOs and supported the coordination of project activities.
The project has increased the capacity of local authorities, and empowered them to take a lead in the planning and provision of urban basic services in refugee affected communities. The Regional Technical Offices are responsible for:- Improving water access for 20,000 individuals in Nabatieh area; - 45,000 of households now have access to wastewater/sewage systems in Mount Lebanon and the south; - 10 Municipalities with systems strengthened and harmonized to increase access to quality wastewater/sewage services.