New Program, New Approach for UNICEF in Lebanon

The last four years of prevailing political insecurity and conflict have not deterred UNICEF from pursuing efforts to improve the rights and condition of children in Lebanon. The draft country program document for 2010-2014 was finally presented to the United Nations executive board during the last annual session in June 2009.

This is the first five-year country program document for Lebanon since the 2002-2006 program. In line with the joint United Nations transitional recovery strategy for the country, UNICEF has operated on an annual program basis in 2007 and 2008, and under a transitory program in 2009.

The document indicates the proposed program plan for Lebanon from 2010 to 2014, and an aggregate indicative budget of $3.75 million from regular resources and $7.5 million from other resources in view of the country's middle-income status.

In an interview with a representative from the UNICEF Beirut office, Devex Early Intelligence learned that the proposed country program marks a shift in the strategy approach. The agency would gear its efforts toward a more systemic capacity-building framework at the policy level.

Proposed plans comprise of initiatives in the areas of social policy, skills enrichment and coping mechanisms education for adolescents, and child protection. These initiatives will involve providing technical advice in thematic policy analyses, generating gender-disaggregated statistical data for evidence-based policymaking, and forming child protection networks, among others.

The country action plan is expected to be completed by end of 2009, yet unstable conditions hinder the guarantee of a release date. The revised country program document was set for board approval at the second regular session last September 2009, but the decision remains pending. Devex Early Intelligence will stay posted for updates and developments.