The population shift from Syria, as a result of the Syrian Crisis, is causing enormous pressure on host communities and exacerbating instability factors. In an in-depth assessments in 12 vulnerable municipalities in Lebanon, Mercy Corps found that 71% of the surveyed host community indicated that conditions have worsened in their municipalities. As such, with socio-economic conditions in the country continue to decline and political instability rises, it is projected that there will be an increased risk of intolerance and withdrawal of host community assistance to refugees. To strengthen social cohesion and prevent further political instability, humanitarian organisations, donor agencies and the central government must immediately focus on remedying the socio-economic impediments and wider systematic needs exacerbated by the Syria refugee crisis with conflict sensitive approaches. Even so, the policy brief reveals that municipalities across Lebanon have developed successful responsesto manage the Syria refugee crisis. Furthermore, since municipalities are on the frontline of the crisis, they are aware of community needs, as well as how to best maneuvre project implementation in such a delicate environment.
As such, Mercy Corps sees enormous potential to address the afformentioned pressing social-economic needs in collaboration with municipal actors. At the same time, Mercy Corps aims to initiate and advance discussions about modalities to create humanitarian and development hybrid approaches to increase the effectiveness of assistance at this critical juncture in Lebanon. Thus, this policy brief upholds that it is essential that NGOs, donor agencies and the Government of Lebanon work to empower and support municipalities to strengthen their capacity to reconcile local-level challenges.