Overview of Foreign Aid to Lebanon in 2023

Foreign aid has long played a pivotal role in shaping the socio-economic landscape of Lebanon. Given its strategic location, complex political environment, and history of conflicts and economic challenges, Lebanon has been a focal point for international assistance. This report delves into the multifaceted dimensions of foreign aid to Lebanon, examining the various sources, forms, and impacts of this aid on the nation’s development.

By the third quarter of 2023, Lebanon received substantial foreign aid through allocated and committed grants. The total amount disbursed to Lebanon in 2023 was USD 935.48M. Additionally, there were outstanding grants committed for 2023 amounting to approximately USD 188.73M. Looking forward to 2024 and beyond, the commitments amounted to a total of USD 190.77M.

Table 1: Top ten donors to Lebanon in 2023, based on the third-quarter data

Overview of Foreign Aid to Lebanon in 2023

Source: United Nations in Lebanon, Aid tracking Results as of 31 December 2023.

The top three major donors—USA, EU, and Germany—constitute over 50% of the total aid. In more details, the United States of America grasped 23%, the European Union gripped 17% and Germany accounted for 12% of the total aids inflows to Lebanon.

Table2: Grant disbursement in USD per quarter since 2019

Overview of Foreign Aid to Lebanon in 2023

Source: United Nations in Lebanon, Aid tracking Results as of 31 December 2023.

Lebanon has seen varying levels of grant disbursements over the past few years. The year 2020 witnessed the highest grants received, primarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with a total of USD 4,556,000. This was followed by 2021, which saw USD 4,163,000 in grants.

Aids and contributions inflows to Lebanon were distributed through different lines and programs, such as the Lebanon Emergency Response Plan (ERP) and the Lebanon Crisis Response Plan (LCRP). First, the UN released in 2021 the Lebanon Emergency Response Plan (ERP), which is an urgent response framework designed to address immediate humanitarian needs stemming from acute crises, such as the economic collapse, COVID-19 pandemic, and the Beirut port explosion in August 2020. The ERP focuses on rapid intervention to mitigate the most severe impacts of these crises.

The ERP is typically funded through emergency appeals to the international community, with contributions from various governments, international organizations, and private donors. Implementation is carried out by UN agencies, local and international NGOs, and relevant government bodies. The focus is on swift action, with flexible and adaptive programming to address the rapidly changing needs on the ground.

Second, the Lebanon Crisis Response Plan (LCRP) is a comprehensive, multi-year strategy developed to address the humanitarian needs arising from the Syrian refugee crisis and its impact on Lebanon. The plan is a collaborative effort between the Lebanese government, the United Nations, and various international and local NGOs. It aims to support vulnerable communities, including both Lebanese citizens and Syrian refugees, by addressing immediate humanitarian needs and fostering long-term resilience.

The LCRP operates through sector-specific programs coordinated by various UN agencies and NGOs. Funding is sourced from international donors, including governments and humanitarian organizations. Each sector (e.g., health, education, water and sanitation) has specific targets and funding requirements, and progress is monitored and reported regularly.

While both the LCRP and the ERP aim to alleviate suffering and support Lebanon’s vulnerable populations, they differ in scope and duration. The LCRP is a structured, multi-year plan addressing both humanitarian and development needs, focusing on long-term resilience and stabilization. In contrast, the ERP is a reactive framework designed to provide immediate relief and address urgent needs resulting from sudden crises. Together, these plans form a comprehensive response strategy that leverages international support to address both chronic and acute challenges facing Lebanon, helping to stabilize the country and support its recovery.

 Table 3: Contributions to the Lebanon Crisis Response Plan by sector for Q2 of year 2023:

Overview of Foreign Aid to Lebanon in 2023

Source: United Nations in Lebanon, Aid tracking Results as of 31 December 2023.

Lebanon’s heavy reliance on foreign aid underscores the critical role that international assistance plays in stabilizing the nation amidst its ongoing crises. With significant contributions from major donors such as the USA, the EU, and Germany, foreign aid has been pivotal in addressing immediate humanitarian needs and supporting vulnerable populations.

However, the country’s dependence on external support is not sustainable in the long term. To truly emerge from its multifaceted crisis, Lebanon must undertake comprehensive reforms. Key areas requiring urgent attention include:

  • Institutional Reform: Strengthening public institutions to ensure they are efficient, transparent, and capable of delivering services effectively. This involves tackling corruption and enhancing the accountability of government bodies.
  • Good Governance: Implementing policies that promote democratic governance, uphold the rule of law, and protect human rights. Ensuring that governance structures are inclusive and representative of all communities is crucial for maintaining social cohesion.
  • Economic Reforms: Developing and executing a coherent economic strategy that addresses structural weaknesses, stimulates growth, and reduces inequality. This includes fiscal reforms to manage debt, improve public finance management, and create a conducive environment for investment.
  • Social Services Enhancement: Investing in healthcare, education, and social protection systems to build human capital and improve the quality of life for all citizens. Adequate funding and efficient service delivery are vital for these sectors.
  • Infrastructure Development: Rebuilding and upgrading critical infrastructure to support economic activities and improve living conditions. This includes repairing damage from recent disasters and developing resilient systems for the future.
  • Environmental Sustainability: Addressing environmental challenges, such as waste management and sustainable resource use, to ensure long-term ecological health and resilience.

By implementing these reforms, Lebanon can create a more resilient and self-sufficient state, reducing its dependency on foreign aid. It is imperative for the Lebanese government, civil society, and international partners to collaborate on these efforts, ensuring that the path to recovery is inclusive and sustainable. Only through concerted and comprehensive reforms can Lebanon hope to overcome its current challenges and achieve lasting stability and prosperity.

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