Najib Mikati, the Prime Minister, expressed hope that Lebanon will be able to complete the necessary reforms in full coordination with parliamentary, governmental, official, and private authorities, emphasizing that these reforms are a priority for Lebanon before they become an international requirement.
Mikati and Najat Rushdie, the UN Resident Coordinator in Lebanon, signed the “United Nations Framework for Cooperation for Sustainable Development” in Lebanon on Thursday at the Grand Serail, which will run from 2022 to 2025.
In her speech, Rushdie expressed her deepest condolences to the families of the victims of Tripoli’s ill-fated incident, which witnessed the drowning of individuals, including children, who were driven by desperation to undertake a dangerous journey in search of a decent life.
“In light of these sad developments, it is necessary to stress the pioneering and vital role played by the Lebanese Army in order to preserve national unity and protect civil peace in the country. The Lebanese army, with its unique cohesion, is the guarantor of security and stability in Lebanon,” she said.
“The title of our meeting today is to work hand-in-hand to put Lebanon back on the path of development. It is time for Lebanon, which has always boasted cultural and scientific progress, to return to the track of sustainable development. Lebanon endures a critical juncture that requires concerted efforts to face the challenges that restrict its progress towards the sustainable development goals and towards its recovery,” Rushdie said.
She suggested an “emergency development” transitional plan to achieve sustainable development, which helps put an end to humanitarian needs. “I am talking here about emergency development that puts an end to the prolonged economic stagnation and constitutes a possible catalyst for the country’s growth and prosperity,” the UN diplomat said.
“This development requires, above all, a strong and resolute commitment from all parties. It requires leadership, will, and the commitment of the Lebanese government to implement reforms and to adopt the various components of development in its policies and decisions — for the good of Lebanon and the Lebanese people,” Rushdie added.
“Today, we witness the beginning of a new chapter of hard and serious work with public institutions, civil society organizations, as well as the private sector, with the aim of translating these strategic priorities into joint action plans that fall within the framework of the sustainable development goals,” UN’s Rushdie concluded.
For his part, Mikati explained that the new strategic framework, which will extend over the next three years, aimed to strengthen governance while addressing multidimensional development issues and new challenges facing Lebanon in light of the unprecedented crises it is experiencing.
The “United Nations Framework for Cooperation for Sustainable Development” in Lebanon is rooted in a network of strategic partnership across ministries and municipalities, in full cooperation with the government’s presidency, parliament, and the central statistics; it stresses the importance of reliable data to identify social and economic issues and measure progress, Mikati added.
“The emergency programs of the United Nations constitute a necessary stage to confront the main challenges in view of the situation in Lebanon, but today, let us think together and focus on the long-term solutions noted by the new cooperation framework to achieve sustainable development,” the PM concluded.