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Lebanese municipalities and Syrian refugees: Building capacity and promoting agency

The war in Syria, which has now entered its sixth year, has led to major population displacements to neighbouring countries, including Lebanon, where 1.2 million Syrians were registered with the UNHCR as of January 2015. The refugee crisis in Lebanon has had the greatest impact on the Syrian refugees themselves, the majority of whom have settled in the country’s poorest areas. But it has also affected the host Lebanese municipalities, which suffer from a lack of capacity and yet have had to shoulder a large burden of the crisis. The response of the Lebanese government to the influx of Syrian refugees has been slow and partial, with a strong security orientation.

This project’s aim is to promote strategies and policies towards Syrian refugees, at the municipal and national level, that are more inclusive and that improve the livelihoods of both refugee and host communities. To achieve this, the project will study eight municipalities in Lebanon to understand and assess how refugees and Lebanese host communities have been managing their livelihoods and access to services, despite the numerous institutional, social, and economic constraints they face. Key objectives are to improve the capabilities of local governments to address the challenges directly and coordinate with key stakeholders, and to work closely with Syrian refugee communities to empower them and involve them in the process of developing the communities in which they live.

Quantitative fieldwork will be conducted in eight municipalities, four of which will be studied in depth through qualitative research. The four key outputs include policy reports for municipal interventions at the local levels; policy briefs to highlight best practices across sets of issues targeting central government, donors, and municipalities; short articles to be published in the press to disseminate the knowledge to the wider public; and a book that documents the knowledge production and findings.

Project ID
Project Status
End Date
30 months
IDRC Officer
Roula El-Rifai
Total Funding
CA$ 750,000.00
Democratic and Inclusive Governance
Governance and Justice
Institution Country
Project Leader
Sami Atallah
Lebanese Center for Policy Studies L.C.P.S.