Lebanon’s Joint Programme (JP) for Integrated Social Protection aims to establish a strengthened national social protection system that is inclusive, integrated, rights-based, efficient and effective, with a specific emphasis on gender and persons with disabilities. The JP seeks to support the Government in building the system through the development of robust national social protection policy, and transforming the country’s two existing social protection programmes- namely the National Poverty Targeting Programme (NPTP) and National Social Security Fund.
Over the first six months of the JP, Lebanon has suffered from the COVID-19 pandemic and a severe economic crisis. Despite these concurrent challenges, the JP has still managed to report some progress. Political and technical processes to develop Lebanon’s National Social Protection Response Strategy have commenced. Consultations on social protection policy have been held with experts representing the JP’s partners, employees and target beneficiaries. A UN position paper on social protection reform and a sectoral situation analysis have been produced.
Technical assistance has been provided to a parliamentary committee for the development of a sustainable pension scheme, and discussions are ongoing with the Government on an unemployment programme. More directly, the NPTP food e-card was scaled up to reach over 15,000 vulnerable households in March, and UN agencies have provided support to the Government’s emergency cash transfer programme that is now benefitting approximately 140,000 households nationwide.
In sum, though having faced multiple shocks over the first semester, the JP in Lebanon has been resilient in its quest towards establishing a national social protection system that “Leaves No One Behind.”