Beirut, February 25, 2022 — Two new grants will help facilitate the return of socio-economically vulnerable households to neighborhoods damaged by the Port of Beirut explosion through historical housing rehabilitation, sustain the livelihoods of affected cultural entities and practitioners and provide immediate social recovery support to vulnerable groups impacted by the aftermath of the explosion.
The two projects — the Beirut Housing Reconstruction and Cultural and Creative Industries Recovery project (US$12.75 million) and the Support for Social Recovery Needs of Vulnerable Groups in Beirut project (US$7.8 million) — are funded through the Lebanon Financing Facility (LFF), a multi-donor trust fund established in December 2020 following the launch of the Reform, Recovery and Reconstruction Framework (3RF) to pool grant resources and strengthen the coherence and coordination of financing in support of the immediate socio-economic recovery of vulnerable people and businesses impacted by the Port of Beirut explosion.
"Three months after the launch of the first LFF-financed project — the Building Beirut Businesses Back and Better Fund (B5) —, we are launching today two equally important projects to help improve the lives of vulnerable population groups and the livelihoods of artisans, craftspeople and creators," said Saroj Kumar Jha, World Bank Mashreq Regional Director. "These two projects would adopt transparent and credible mechanisms for providing assistance to eligible families. The coordinated recovery of the housing and cultural sector is key to the socio-economic revitalization of Beirut’s affected neighborhoods. Such a recovery should be built upon a people-centered, inclusive and participatory approach."
Beirut Housing Reconstruction and Cultural and Creative Industries Recovery (US$12.75 million)
The Beirut Housing Reconstruction and Cultural and Creative Industries Recovery Project will prioritize complex, climate-resilient repairs of severely damaged residential heritage buildings located in neighborhoodswithin 5 km of the epicenter of the blast. Repairs will particularly focus on a subset of vacant damaged residential buildings that were inhabited by lower-income and vulnerable households with low tenure security, thus facilitating the return of displaced households to their homes. Buildings to be rehabilitated will be identified based on four prioritization criteria: geographic scope, level of damage, socio-economic vulnerability, and heritage value. The project will also provide technical assistance and grants to affected cultural entities and practitioners, prioritizing women and women-led entities,operating in targeted cultural and creative industries to provide them with incentives to continue cultural production in neighborhoods affected by the explosion. The project will be implemented by UN-Habitat in close collaboration with local authorities and other governmentsentities, and in consultation with a large body of CSOs, NGOs, and academia. Grants to cultural and creative entities will be approved by a Grant Approval Committee comprised of representatives of government and local cultural entities and chaired by UNESCO.
The project was designed through an iterative and participatory process with extensive consultations on its scope, prioritization criteria and implementation arrangements. These consultations included government entities, civil society, academia, development partners and local and international experts. The project will set the foundation for a future scale-up, and longer term, area-based urban recovery and regeneration for the city.
"Cities are made for people and the urban recovery of Beirut must focus on the needs of its residents. Placing housing recovery and cultural and creative industries revitalization at the heart of this process has the potential to retain and maximize the social and built fabric of the city, while safeguarding critical housing, land, and property rights. The Lebanon Financing Facility is enabling an important opportunity for UN-Habitat and key government and non-government stakeholders to collectively address immediate needs of people, while laying the foundation for longer term recovery and housing reform," said Taina Christiansen, Head of UN-Habitat Lebanon Country Programme.
Support for Social Recovery Needs of Vulnerable Groups in Beirut (US$7.8 million, including US$2.8 million for the State and Peace Building Fund)
The Support for Social Recovery Needs of Vulnerable Groups Project will address the immediate social recovery needs of vulnerable groups who remain impacted by the Port of Beirut explosion. Project beneficiaries will includesurvivors of gender-based violence, individuals suffering from deteriorated psycho-social wellbeing, and persons with disabilities and older persons facing difficulties in accessing appropriate care due to their disabled or elderly status. The project will be implemented by the International Rescue Committee (IRC). It will pilot an effective, inclusive and sustainable model for non-government support with grants provided directly to a select number of NGOs to provide social services to vulnerable groups affected by the crises in the immediate-to short- term. Beneficiaries of the project include women, men and children survivors and at risk of gender-based violence, people with mental health challenges, persons with disabilities and older persons, as well as migrants and refugees working as domestic workers in Beirut.
"This opportunity provides a great prospect to the IRC to champion and resource leadership and action that comes from the communities in which we work," said Matias Meier, IRC Country Director. "It would embody our vision of success which is: to partner first, and as equals, so that people impacted by crisis and the actors closest to them have the power and resources to respond and drive lasting change. We are aiming to work with around 20 civil society actors; we are very excited to engage with those national leaders in mutual capacity sharing."
The LFF is allowing the channeling of international support to help address the socio-economic recovery needs of the people of Lebanon. Generous pledges and contributions to date from the governments of Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Norway and from the EU have totaled US$73.79 million. More donors are invited to come forward in support of the 3RF priorities under the umbrella of the LFF.
About the Lebanon Financing Facility (LFF)
Established in December 2020 in the aftermath of the August 4 Port of Beirut explosion disaster and following the launch of the Reform, Recovery and Reconstruction Framework (3RF), the LFF is a 5 year multi-donor trust fund that will pool grant resources and strengthen the coherence and coordination of financing in support of the immediate socio-economic recovery of vulnerable people and businesses impacted by the explosion. To date, the LFF has received contributions and pledges from the governments of Canada, Denmark, France, Germany,Italy and Norway and from the EU. Subject to the commitment of all Lebanese stakeholders to critical reforms, the LFF will build the foundation for medium-term recovery and the sustainable reconstruction of the Port of Beirut and affected neighborhoods. The LFF prioritizes three focus areas of interventions: 1) Socioeconomic and business recovery; 2) Preparing for reform and reconstruction; and 3) Strengthening coordination, monitoring, accountability and oversight of the 3RF. The LFF will benefit from the World Bank’s high fiduciary standards, through the application of its fiduciary framework for financial management, procurement, and environmental and social safeguards. The LLF will also ensure that programs promote gender equality and community engagement that target women, youth and vulnerable populations.