Diputació de Barcelona reaffirms its commitment to Lebanese local governments

6 October 2020

Following the violence of the explosion in the port of Beirut on August 4, which caused more than 170 deaths, more than 6,500 injuries and which would have left 300,000 homeless, the world has mobilised to support the dramatic situation in the country, eloquently reflected in the image of Beirut, ruined and in ruins.

The resignation of the Lebanese government six days after the disaster highlighted the fact that local governments are the only ones really facing the the economic and financial, social, health and political crisis that the country is going through and the difficulties that the Lebanese society is undergoing. Thanks to local authorities, the population continues to be served, certain basic services are provided and certain local policies are maintained to face the emergency that the country already knew and which has now become considerably worse. Due to their proximity to citizens and their essential role despite the difficulties, in general, citizens still place their trust in them, unlike other levels of government.

Thus, in parallel with the actions that the international community is putting in place in Lebanon, it is today more relevant than ever to bet on decentralised cooperation.

Aware of the value of local governance in the country, Diputació de Barcelona has maintained an uninterrupted cooperative relationship with the Lebanese local community for 12 years, working for its strengthening and democratic governance, and promoting cooperation between the municipalities of the province of Barcelona and its Lebanese counterparts.

On the basis of this commitment to strengthen the municipalities and local democracy, territorial cohesion and the well-being of citizens, and as a new expression of its solidarity with the Lebanese people, Diputació of Barcelona approved a new contribution of €260,000 to work in the areas of local economic development, youth employment and citizen participation. This new initiative, lasting two and a half years, will be set up with Cités Unies Liban, a network that brings together 57 municipalities and 18 municipal federations, the only entity in the country representative of local governments and with which the Diputació maintains a narrow and consolidated relationship.

At the same time, and in a complementarily, Diputació de Barcelona is in contact with the world organisation United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) in order to define a joint response of local governments at the international level in support of the city of Beirut and of its surrounding municipalities.

Therefore, on the basis of its long-term cooperation trajectory in Lebanon, the Department of International Relations of the Diputació of Barcelona today reaffirms its commitment vis-à-vis Lebanese local communities and international cooperation and solidarity.

(Photo by rashid khreiss on Unsplash)

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