Lebanon press release

New research reveals pressures and opportunities for urban areas affected by refugee crisis in Lebanon

Beirut, April 27, 2018 – Cities and other urban spaces in Lebanon are at the forefront of dealing with refugee influx, bringing with it opportunities but also tremendous pressure on community wellbeing, key infrastructures, services and the economy. New research from the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) and IMPACT Initiatives highlights significant implications for refugees, host communities and governments alike.

Urban environments in Lebanon are characterized by a complex web and hierarchy of actors where different communities co-exist and create overlapping networks of economic interaction and service use. In this context, a traditional humanitarian approach solely providing for the basic physical necessities is not sufficient, as it fails. A to consider the intricacies and implications of the refugee crisis on the wellbeing of both the newcomers and host communities.  Decision makers and humanitarian actors need to take into account available resources, needs and priorities of populations in need of assistance and frame their response around them.

Speaking at the workshop in Beirut where the results of the research were presented to practitioners and researchers on the ground, the Research Director Dolf te Lintelo from the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) argued that ‘wellbeing’ should be at the forefront of aid organizations and governments plans when it comes to designing their humanitarian response. “Wellbeing offers a common measure that can take account of both refugees and hosts, and that allows current challenges related to shelter, legal documentation, and access to livelihoods to be addressed in a holistic manner, instead of fragmented efforts that often leave gaps or reduce effectiveness.”

Cities and other urban areas in Lebanon are often overcrowded and lack public spaces such as parks and street markets where every day interactions between different community groups could be fostered. According to the research, this leaves little space for positive inter-communal relations to form, and instead keeps the focus in the competition for housing, services and livelihoods. “Instead of focusing on the ‘drivers of tensions’ in the refugee hosting communities, there is a clear need for the analysis of positive factors that could promote relationship building and peaceful dynamics in the densely built-up urban contexts.”

 

The research “Wellbeing of hosts and refugees in urban areas in Lebanon and Jordan” was conducted from April 2017 to April 2018 by reviewing existing academic literature and policy documentation, through stakeholder interviews, through the compilation of filmed urban community interviews for a participatory video, as well as analysis of primary datasets. It highlighted how significant challenges faced by displaced communities in Lebanon and Jordan to access shelter, legal documentation, and livelihoods have diverse effects on wellbeing for both displaced and hosting populations. All of these have serious consequences for living a safe and dignified life.

 

For further information or to request an interview please contact ACTED Country Director Ms. Hart Ford; hart.ford@acted.org; +961 76-421616 – IDS Research Fellow Dr Dolf te Lintelo, d.telintelo@ids.ac.uk +441273915767

 

Note for Editors

 

  • The study was conducted by the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) in cooperation with IMPACT Initiatives, with funding from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research and support from ACTED Lebanon. The study can be found at the following link: http://www.ids.ac.uk/publication/wellbeing-and-protracted-urban-displacement-refugees-and-hosts-in-jordan-and-lebanon
  • The methods used in the study are mainly based on review of existing academic literature, policy documentation, participatory video and analysis of primary datasets. You can watch the participatory video at the following link: https://youtu.be/D6VkjZbVeF4
  • The Institute of Development Studies is a leading global institution for development research, teaching and learning, and impact and communications, based at the University of Sussex; ids.ac.uk
  • The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research ensures quality and innovation in science and facilitates its impact on society through funding for scientific research at public research institutions and universities; nwo.nl/en
  • Partner Organizations:
    • IMPACT Initiatives implements assessment, monitoring & evaluation and organisational capacity-building programmes in direct partnership with aid actors; impact-initiatives.org
    • ACTED has been present and registered in Lebanon since 2006 working closely with state and civil society actors to engage them as front liners and boost the local development and job creation through climate smart agriculture and support to enterprises and municipalities; acted.org/en/lebanon
  • Partner Researchers: Dr. Wissam Mansour of Notre Dame University in Lebanon, and Prof Charles Watters of University of Sussex
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