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Public Services and Vulnerability in the Lebanese Context of Large-Scale Displacement

Public Services and Vulnerability in the Lebanese Context of Large-Scale Displacement

Principal Investigator: Professor Henrietta Moore, University College London

Co-Investigators: Dr Nikolay Mintchev, University College London; Professor Nick Tyler, University College London; Dr Camillo Boano, University College London; Dr Andrea Rigon, University College London; Professor Nasser Yassin, American University of Beirut

Since 2011 Lebanon has been at the frontline of the Syrian refugee crisis. It currently hosts over a million registered Syrian refugees and many more who are unregistered. According to UNHCR, approximately 25% of Lebanon’s residents are refugees, making it the country with the world’s highest number of refugees per capita. The influx of people since 2011 has put enormous strain on public services such as transportation, water, sanitation, electricity, and waste management, causing poor performance on access, distribution and quality, particularly in low-income areas where most refugees live. 

The increased pressure on Lebanon’s public services has exacerbated already existing social inequalities. The burden is falling primarily on poor refugee and Lebanese communities who are in a position of precareity but who are also forced to be super-resilient. In this context it is crucial to identify the ways in which refugees and hosts experience multiple forms of vulnerability, and to develop pathways towards implementing more inclusive service provision for better social welfare.

This requires co-designed solutions that take into account people’s experiences of vulnerability, resilience and agency as key factors in the design of service delivery. It also requires that academics work closely with multiple stakeholders committed to improving public services, including NGO’s and members of municipal government in order to develop the most effective ways towards implementing solutions to local challenges. Data collection on the ground must be integrated into a wider programme of workshop discussions, dialogues and consultations, which will be embedded into the project’s strategy for research and impact from the outset of its activities.

The project’s first event will be a multi-stakeholder workshop on public services and municipal governance, which will be held in Beirut in January 2017. 

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