Millenium Development Goals

Summary

Lebanon Millennium Development Goals Report 2013-2014

Lebanon’s track record with the MDGs remains mixed overall. This uneven record comes two years before the 2015 deadline. Within such a short time frame and as the country is facing significant threats, it is essential to take action to protect any achievements made. Accordingly, based on the analysis of the MDG record in the previous chapters, the first part of this chapter will provide broad suggestions for priority areas where interventions are required. At the same time, as global discussions are also under way to set a post-2015 developmental agenda, evaluating Lebanon’s experience in terms of how the MDG framework has impacted its development trajectory is also important, even though conclusions cannot be fully asserted in the absence of counterfactuals. Such a broad analysis looks into two main impact areas of the MDGs: policymaking in general and improving data and statistics.

Priorities to Sustain MDG Achievements:

Lebanon has achieved at least seven targets of the MDGs, mainly in health, primary education and gender equality in education. The remaining targets show mixed results, or are not applicable to Lebanon, or are not expected to be achieved on time. Most critical of the latter are poverty reduction and environmental sustainability. As the country faces an aggravating humanitarian crisis from the Syrian refugee influx that unveiled Lebanon’s development weaknesses, as the macroeconomic challenges mount, and as a political deadlock prevents any strategic decision-making, the outlook is not expected to unfold a significant transformation before the 2015 milestone. Lebanon’s most realistic bet in the short term, given constraining circumstances, is to try and protect the MDG achievements made and contain any deterioration in poverty levels and environmental sustainability, while maintaining macroeconomic stability. At the same time, the MDG framework has helped identify key areas for dealing with the problems faced by the significant refugee population in Lebanon, even though the MDG framework itself does not include any refugee-specific target. In order to protect achievements, policy response needs to move from being reactive to being proactive. This cannot be achieved without the political will to support decision-making. Most public administrations are trying to be pre-emptive, yet need to advance in planning, coordination, and this requires a fully operational Cabinet, and an active parliament for providing legislation, monitoring, and evaluation. A development-oriented approach in dealing with refugee assistance is essential in targeting both refugees and host population community needs. The refugee influx to Lebanon has managed to attract attention to the situation of host communities, which are mostly in remote areas that have been underserved for long periods. Although refugees are imposing a burden on local communities and economies, draining public resources and services and straining the environment, if policy action is taken, they could also benefit host communities by providing temporary cheap labour to local producers, expanding consumer markets for local basic goods, and justifying increased foreign aid.


The Eight Goals for 2015

1. Eradicate extreme hunger and poverty

Where we are:

Halve, Between 1990 And 2015, The Proportion Of People Whose Income Is Less Than One Dollar A Day Assessing poverty levels and trends in Lebanon is a challenging exercise, due to scarce data and irregular surveys, notwithstanding the fact that poverty measures also have methodological shortcomings. The international measurement of poverty at US$1.25 per day is not suitable to Lebanon’s conditions. National poverty lines and other poverty indices are more relevant, as the problem is not only money-metric but involves multidimensional deprivation of basic needs. Poverty in Lebanon is characterized by geographical and sectorial disparities. It is more concentrated in agriculture and in the informal sector. Poor people also live, in general, far from the country’s main centres, in peripheral areas of the North and Bekaa, though slums are expanding and nurturing poverty.

A Situation Analysis: Achievements And Challenges

The latest official nationwide survey results on the living conditions of households date back to 2004-2005. Another household budget survey was launched in 2012, but at the time of writing of this report, its results had not been fully released. A study conducted by United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Ministry of Social Affairs in 2008 used the 2004-2005 survey and applied the unsatisfied basic needs approach based on proxy indicators and found that the share of households that have unsatisfied basic needs accounted for 29.7 percent of total households (30.9 percent of the population). Out of these, 4.4 percent of households lived in extreme deprivation i.e. very low satisfaction of basic needs (3.9 percent of the population) (UNDP and MoSA 2007) .

2. Achieve universal primary education

Where we are:

Ensure that all boys and girls complete a full course of primary schooling Lebanon has witnessed commendable progress in the education system since the end of the war in 1991. The gross enrollment rate in pre-school education (ages 3-5 years) increased from 67.0% in 1999 to 74.0% in 2004. Primary education is almost universal: the net enrollment rate recorded an increase from 91.5% in 2001-2002 to 97.1% in 2005-2006. This last rate corresponds to 95% and 99.2% respectively for boys and girls in the same year. The survival rate (number of pupils reaching the terminal grade of primary education) stood at 96.3% in 2003, compared to 95.3% in 2000.

Nearly 86% pupils completing primary education are enrolled at the second level education in 2003; boys and girls accounting for 83% and 89% respectively. Of the total enrollment at this level of education, private education institutions shared 50% in terms of students' share and 37% in terms of number of schools, and girls' share in total enrollment accounted for 50% in 2003. The gross enrollment ratios for the lower and upper secondary levels of education were reported as 100% and 77%, respectively with a gender parity favoring the girls (GPI = 1.09) for both levels of education.

3. Promote gender equality and empower women

Where we are:

At first sight, Lebanon seems to have achieved Target 3.A of MDG 3 on eliminating gender disparity in all education cycles. However, an in-depth look at gender equality indicators in the economic and political fields reveals many gaps resulting from entrenched sociocultural, political, legal and structural factors that contest women’s rights as equal citizens in Lebanon.

A Situation Analysis: Achievements And Challenges

At all educational levels in Lebanon, gender parity is achieved (figure 5.1). At the university level, the latest available figures show a ratio of girls to boys of 1.12. When looking at the figures by location, there seems to be a bias against boys in the most remote poor locations. In areas of poverty, boys often drop out of school before girls, as they are the first entrants to the labour force (CAS 2010b). The successful narrowing of the male/female educational gap is still not fully reflected in labour force participation, though an improvement has taken place in recent years. A 2010 survey revealed that 70 percent of working-age men are in the labour force, versus only 24 percent of working-age women (World Bank 2012c). The latter had increased from 23 percent in 2009 and 21 percent in 2007. The figures show that increasing numbers of women are becoming economically active (CAS 2010b). The gap in participation between men and women is narrowest in the age bracket 25–29 years, where the rate for women peaks at 47 percent.

This might suggest that women exit the labour force once their family role expands to include motherhood. The indicator on the share of women in wage employment in the non-agricultural sector is deemed to be quite high in Lebanon. Of all working women, only 5.7 percent are in agriculture and more than 80 percent are in trade and services, reflecting the structure of the economy and the jobs offered. Moreover, 73 percent of working women are wage employees versus 36 percent of “own account workers”, and less than 1 percent are employers. Looking at occupation, women are more employed in mid-level jobs, as only 7 percent are senior officials, managers or legislators (that is, in high decision-making jobs), versus 16 percent of men (CAS 2010b). These occupations and positions are also in line with the choices of specializations made during university education that ultimately lead to wage employment.

4. Reduce child mortality

Where we are:

MDG 4 has been achieved and has reached comparable rates to developed countries. Overall, Lebanon is doing well in children’s health, yet more can be done to ensure fairness in access and to raise quality of services.

Situation Analysis: Achievements And Challenges

Under-5 mortality and infant mortality rates have fallen to a third of their 1996 level (table 6.1). According to data available from the Ministry of Public Health, the main causes of mortality among children below 5 years of age in Lebanon are neonatal causes (65 per cent), injuries (11 per cent), pneumonia (1 per cent) and diarrhea (1 per cent). Twenty-two per cent of deaths result from unknown causes. Vaccination coverage has increased to almost full coverage, as a result of significant efforts led by the Ministry of Public Health, along with the private sector and civil society, to build the capacity of the primary health-care system and reach out to the whole population. The Ministry of Public Health, in collaboration with the private sector, has revised the national vaccination calendar in order to progressively introduce new vaccines that will reinforce routine vaccination. Substantial steps have also been undertaken to ensure the quality of the storage of vaccines and improve their transportation at both the central and peripheral levels. However, it has been noted that some barriers to access children vaccination still exist, such as that doctors often charge a consultation fee, even though the Ministry of Public Health provides free vaccinations.

5. Improve maternal health

Where we are:

MDG 4 has been achieved and has reached comparable rates to developed countries. Overall, Lebanon is doing well in children’s health, yet more can be done to ensure fairness in access and to raise quality of services.

Situation Analysis: Achievements And Challenges

Under-5 mortality and infant mortality rates have fallen to a third of their 1996 level (table 6.1). According to data available from the Ministry of Public Health, the main causes of mortality among children below 5 years of age in Lebanon are neonatal causes (65 per cent), injuries (11 per cent), pneumonia (1 per cent) and diarrhea (1 per cent). Twenty-two per cent of deaths result from unknown causes.

Vaccination coverage has increased to almost full coverage, as a result of significant efforts led by the Ministry of Public Health, along with the private sector and civil society, to build the capacity of the primary health-care system and reach out to the whole population. The Ministry of Public Health, in collaboration with the private sector, has revised the national vaccination calendar in order to progressively introduce new vaccines that will reinforce routine vaccination. Substantial steps have also been undertaken to ensure the quality of the storage of vaccines and improve their transportation at both the central and peripheral levels. However, it has been noted that some barriers to access children vaccination still exist, such as that doctors often charge a consultation fee, even though the Ministry of Public Health provides free vaccinations.

6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases

Where we are:

Maternal health is an area in which Lebanon has recorded success. Lebanon has made significant progress in reducing maternal mortality and has reached the MDG 5 targets.

Situation Analysis: Achievements And Challenges

The maternal mortality ratio has decreased in Lebanon by more than two thirds compared to the 1990s, to reach a ratio of 25 per 100,000 live births in 2010 (table 7.1). That progress places Lebanon in a higher league than its regional peers, which register ratios around 10 times higher (WHO 2013a). The proportion of births attended by skilled personnel was 98 percent in 2004, and was estimated in 2009 at slightly below that rate. Likewise, the proportion of pregnant women receiving antenatal care is above the 95 percent threshold, though there are not many details on whether they make multiple visits versus a single visit.

The upgrading of the primary health-care system over the last decade, including the recent expansion of primary health-care centres supported by the Ministry of Public Health, has contributed significantly to the progress made. All active primary health-care centres supported by the ministry offer reproductive health services and refer patients requiring further treatment to an appropriate district hospital. Children and women, especially mothers, benefit most. In 2013, the number of pregnant women benefiting from the centres’ services was 40,651, the equivalent of 45 per cent of all pregnant women in Lebanon (Ministry of Public Health 2013a).

7. Ensure environmental sustainability

Where we are:

Lebanon has made progress in moving towards a more sustainable development path, though much more effort is still needed from the authorities and from individual citizens. In recent years the country has introduced a number of relevant initiatives, and this section cites some of the many successful achievements of the Ministry of Environment (Ministry of Environment 2012b). For example, Lebanon has started an air quality-monitoring programme that should ultimately lead to the development of an air pollution management strategy in the country. In the area of biodiversity conservation and in order to maintain forest coverage, Lebanon has resumed the National Reforestation Plan, which was halted between 2006 and 2008. Moreover, building on the momentum of the National Reforestation Plan, a five-year Reforestation Initiative was launched in 2010 to strengthen Lebanon’s forest seedling-producing nurseries. In addition, after the devastating forest fires that took place in 2007 and 2008, Lebanon developed a National Strategy for Forest Fire Management, and in 2010 a law prohibiting the exploitation of burned forest areas was approved. These planning initiatives are all favourable practices promoting environmental sustainability. However, rigorous implementation and enforcement and continuous follow-up will determine the sustainability of success. The ability of the Ministry of Environment, other ministries and intergovernmental agencies to pursue plans are, as in many other countries, subject to political conditions and Cabinet reshuffles. With every reshuffle, plans are reconsidered and redrafted (Ministry of Environment and UNDP 2010).

Environmental Resources And Biodiversity

In 2010, forests covered around 13 percent of Lebanon’s land, while other wooded lands covered another 10 percent. Coverage ratios have not change much in recent years, though high-density forest areas are decreasing. Forests in Lebanon have been facing many challenges (figure 9.1) due to habitat fragmentation, unplanned urban expansion leading to soil erosion, disease and dieback, forest fires, wood harvesting for home heating and charcoal production, and illegal quarrying. According to World Bank estimates, the cost of environmental degradation in Lebanon, linked to land and wildlife resources, is around US$100 million per year, or 0.6 percent of Lebanon’s GDP. Lebanon has launched and implemented a number of programmes to combat deforestation and other environmental threats, such as the National Action Plan to Combat Desertification, the National Reforestation Plan, the Safeguarding and Restoring Lebanon’s Woodland Resources programme and the Lebanon Reforestation Initiative. Civil society is likewise working on a number of reforestation project Greenhouse Gas Emissions Lebanon’s total greenhouse gas emissions were estimated at 18.5 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent in 2000, up by 2.8 percent on average annually from 1994. The most significant sources of pollution from economic activities are the transport, energy and industry sectors. CO2 is the main greenhouse gas emitted, with 84 percent of emissions in 2000, while methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) constitute 10.2 percent and 5.7 percent respectively. Energy production and transport are the main contributors of CO2 emissions producing 63 percent and 25 percent respectively, whereas the waste sector constitutes the main source of CH4 emissions (88 percent). The main contributor to N2O emissions is the agriculture sector.

Ozone-Depleting Substances

To protect the atmosphere, Lebanon established in January 1998 the National Ozone Unit as part of the Ministry of Environment to meet its obligation under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. Under the Protocol, Lebanon committed to the phase-out of all ozone depleting substances by 2010. The National Ozone Unit has provided technical and financial assistance to approximately 100 industries (in the foam, aerosol and refrigeration sectors) in the country, helping them to convert their production to technology using non-ozone-depleting substances. During the period 1998– 2010, Lebanon reduced consumption of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) from 923 tonnes in 1993 to zero consumption in 2010. Phasing out CFCs did not completely solve the ozone depletion problem.

8. Develop a global partnership for development

Where we are:

The eighth MDG assesses the macro setting in which all other goals are achieved. It differs from the other seven specific goals in that it puts a global responsibility towards developing countries, in addition to the national responsibility. While global responsibility towards a partnership for development remains essential to facilitate developing countries’ catching-up, this chapter will focus on the Lebanese national efforts in creating a macro setting conducive to development through linkages with the rest of the world. Having set the stage with a brief overview of Lebanon’s macroeconomic situation in the introductory chapter, this chapter will discuss the elements of MDG 8 most relevant to Lebanon. These are trade and financial cooperation for development (Target 8.A), debt sustainability (Target 8.D) and private sector cooperation for development through the pharmaceutical and telecommunication sectors (Targets 8.E and 8.F).

Situation Analysis: Achievements And Challenges

Lebanon’s geographical location at an intersection point between East and West, its history of economic liberalism including free movement of capital and goods, its full currency convertibility and well-developed banking sector, have all facilitated its integration within the global economy. Lebanon is pursuing trade liberalization reforms and reducing its tariff rates (table 10.1). The country already has a number of free trade agreements with large trading blocs such as the European Union, the European Free Trade Association and the Gulf Cooperation Council. Lebanon also became part of the Greater Arab Free Trade Area in January 2005, and is negotiating accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). To date, seven working party meetings have taken place with the WTO to review the country’s responses to issues that were raised by member States. Other bilateral and multilateral negotiations with trading blocs have been completed. Ongoing agreements such as the initiation of negotiations with Mercosur, the economic and political agreement between Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela are underway. These agreements have pushed Lebanon to introduce business reforms and to modernize the business and legal framework. However, their economic and social impact, particularly on decent job creation and poverty reduction, requires further in-depth investigation and might vary from sector to sector. Debt sustainability Situation Analysis: Achievements And Challenges Debt sustainability has been a major obstacle to development in Lebanon. The country has a swelling debt and high debt servicing ratios, which are constraining fiscal space and limiting the manoeuvring of fiscal expenditure. Lebanon has attempted a number of public finance reform measures and debt alleviation measures, supported by aid. Despite some successes, the country has not yet embarked on a soft landing scenario.

Selected Good Practices

Lebanon’s ability to secure financing, whether from the private sector through trade, or financial flows, or donor’s aid, has been noteworthy. International institutions have questioned the ability of the country after every crisis to weather shocks. Three donor conferences have provided Lebanon with concessional financing without the need to resort to the international financial institutions’ conditional programmes. It also pushed governments to start formulating long-term plans and for the first time incorporate a social plan, which was developed later into a strategy. Had this strategy been pursued more comprehensively to fulfil its vision, it would have advanced the country on its development trajectory. Among more specific selected good practices related to MDG 8 is the Lebanese Ministry of Finance’s endorsement of the International Aid Transparency Initiative. Lebanon was the 20th developing country to endorse such a voluntary, multi-stakeholder initiative that includes donors, partner countries and CSOs. The International Aid Transparency Initiative aims to make information about aid spending easier to access, use and understand.


AID TO LEBANON
Access the online tracking of development aid received by Lebanon
Lebanon Crisis Response Plan
LCRP - An integrated humanitarian and stabilization plan