“In one short year, the Global Concessional Financing Facility (GCFF) has unlocked US$1 billion in concessional financing to support Syrian refugees and the communities that host them in Jordan and Lebanon. One year after its launch, a high-level panel came together consisting of representatives from Jordan and Lebanon, donor countries, the World Bank, and the United Nations to evaluate the progress made by the GCFF.” (World Bank) The name of the panel was: “Addressing Refugee Crises in Middle-Income Countries: Lessons Learned”. Ghassan Hasbani has participated in a series of meetings with members of the World Bank at its headquarters in Washington, D.C. Ghida Fakhry, an international broadcast journalist, asked Hasbani if the financial support that Lebanon is receiving is meeting its needs. He replied by explaining the refugee crisis in Lebanon from a local perspective, rather than an international one. Watch the video below:
The percentage of refugees in Lebanon is the highest per capita in the world
During his speech, Hasbani mentioned that the percentage of refugees in Lebanon is the highest per capita in the world, which constitutes 30 to 40% of the population. Expecting from Lebanon to secure jobs, feed and provide services to refugees is a “virtual impossibility”. Hasbani elaborates that Lebanon cannot handle this situation easily. So, it needs a creative approach to find a suitable solution for the problem. He adds that the GCFF has been very helpful and generous, and the donors have been very active and supportive. However, it still falls short of what is needed, since a global situation like this needs a more aggressive approach.
What about unemployment?
Next, Fakhry asked him if the politics impact the availability of job opportunities and services for Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Hasbani replied that Syrians have always worked in Lebanon and that they have work permits. The bigger problem is healthcare. There are 40% of rejection rates in intensive care for the Lebanese people. Hence, a lot of Lebanese people are deprived of their basic right because of the increasing number of refugees. Also, Lebanon plans to invest $10 Billion in the infrastructure. If Lebanon does not get this type of support, the situation will keep getting worse. He concluded by saying: “I just want to thank the donor community. But I would like to remind them of one thing: this is a collective and global problem. […] We need to keep this in mind even when the conflict in Syria is resolved, because it is going to take some time for those people to safely return home”.