Saroj Kumar Jha, World Bank (WB) Mashreq Regional Director, provided a brief overview of WB's emergency response in Lebanon and their plans going forward (October 8). Immediately after the August 4 explosion, the WB, in cooperation with the UN and the EU, launched a Rapid Damage and Needs Assessment (RDNA) to estimate the impact on the population, physical assets, infrastructure, and service delivery. The RDNA followed a “whole of Lebanon approach", engaging concerned public authorities, institutions, and civil society organizations. The RDNA recommended a framework for Reform, Recovery, and Reconstruction (the '3Rs') to build back a better Lebanon, based on principles of transparency, inclusion and accountability and concluding that to rebuild a more productive, equitable, and resilient economy, Lebanon must implement a reform agenda consisting of 5 packages: 1) Macroeconomic Stabilization, 2) Governance and Accountability, 3) Infrastructure Development, 4) Economic Opportunities and 5) Human Capital Development.
Mr. Jha commended the swift and inspiring response of Lebanese NGOs following the tragic event and indicated that WB seeks very creative ways of engaging directly with civil society organizations (CSOs) to bring the much-needed relief to poor and vulnerable populations. Mr. Jha emphasized the WB's commitment to engaging and nurturing long-lasting, productive partnerships with academic institutions in Lebanon. He highlighted the recent severe deterioration in human capital outcomes in Lebanon which required greater, more effective spending for health and education services to prevent erosion of the achievements of the past years.
In closing, Mr. Jha reiterated the WB's commitment to support Lebanon and the Lebanese people. He said that while the WB does not have the financial instruments to engage directly with CSOs, it does have the heart and commitment to do so by providing a platform to activate dialogue between the government, the private sector, and CSOs that will better enable them to complement the work of the government through advocacy.