The Syrian conflict has seriously destabilized Lebanon; the scale of the refugee influx has proven immensely difficult for both host communities and local authorities to cope with. Severe socio-economic implications of the influx are being observed primarily at the job market level, causing heightened competition between refugee and host communities. To counter these challenges, LCPS argues, Lebanon must move away from an emergency/relief-oriented response to a developmental approach that considers the implications of the Syrian refugee crisis in the long-term. With this aim, LCPS held a closed meeting on 14 July 2015 with key stakeholders to collectively consider the best ways to address the refugee crisis, focusing in particular on the provision of services and job creation. With this meeting LCPS hoped to spur a series of discussions and produce and or support policy initiatives that address these pressing challenges.
The meeting was organized along three themes. The first, entitled, ‘A general framework to approach the refugee crisis’ focused on the major stakeholders already engaged in influencing policy decisions as well as those who could be engaged in responding to the refugee crisis. The second session, ‘Provision of Services’ focused on how the refugee influx has impacted Lebanon’s already strained water and sanitation, health, and education services. The last session, ‘Creating job opportunities’, diagnosed the state of the labor market and the effect that the influx of Syrian refugees has had on it.
Ultimately, these discussions generated the following recommendations; 1) Greater cooperation between the national government and local authorities 2) Municipalities should be empowered to deal with the crisis 3) Shift from focusing on direct aid to development to ensure that international funding assists both host communities and refugees alike. 4) Address deficiencies in the labor market to ensure that when Syrian labor is utilized it will not be to the detriment of Lebanese workers.