BEIRUT: Thursday evening marked a
serendipitous occurrence when the famous Beirut city center landmark
“The Egg,” also known as the Old Dome, finally hatched the highly
anticipated and promising “Live Lebanon” development project. Live
Lebanon is a United Nations Development Program (UNDP) initiative,
aimed at encouraging the vast Lebanese Diaspora to channel remittance
payments into development projects in the most deprived areas of the
crowd, including many ambassadors and representatives of
municipalities, gathered at The Egg, which proved to be a symbolic
venue for the launch in many ways: as The Egg stands for modern design
foresight and a testament to Lebanese talent and architecture, Live
Lebanon showcases the Lebanese talent for coming up with unconventional
ideas and inspiring platforms from which to encourage the Lebanese to
be more pro-active and make the development of Lebanon a priority.
has a long history of migration and it is well-known that the number of
Lebanese scattered all over the world greatly exceeds that of the
Lebanese residing in their native land.
stated in the “2009 UNDP Human Development Report on Migration and
Development,” migration is a complex phenomenon which can both have a
positive impact on the country of origin in terms of remittances, but a
more negative one regarding brain drain.
to Marta Ruedas, the UNDP Resident Representative, Lebanon is marked by
both the positive and negative aspects of migration: estimates show
that the annual migration rates of Lebanese leaving Lebanon are between
15,000 and 20,000.
the other hand Lebanon receives almost $4.5 billion per year in
remittances, which is almost 20 percent of the country’s GDP.
Worldwide, Lebanon is ranked sixth in the world in terms of
the highest percentage of these remittances is spent on family of those
living abroad, which is of course a very positive development, we aim
to have these remittances achieve a higher purpose and account for a
bigger effect on Lebanese development,” Ruedas said. “Unfortunately, no
systematic attempt to channel a share of the remittances into local
development and community projects in Lebanon existed prior to the Live
collaboration with the Directorate General for Emigration of the
Lebanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, UNDP is dedicating itself to
creating a network of individuals and associations worldwide who are
committed to local development in Lebanon’s most underprivileged areas.
this purpose the website, livelebanon.net, has been created as a
platform for the project; Here, visitors can make an online donation to
development and community projects throughout Lebanon and follow up on
the projects as they are being implemented.
projects presented on the website have been identified by local working
groups consisting of public and private actors in collaboration with
UNDP. For the first phase of Live Lebanon, 33 projects have been
identified in 27 villages encompassing all the different regions.
emphasized UNDP’s dedication to upholding a high standard of
professionalism and transparency throughout the implementation of the
project by assuring that “all projects will be implemented through
UNDP’s global project management system and in accordance with UNDP
rules and regulations, which will ensure that donations are used
efficiently and reported.”
Live Lebanon’s projects fall under the themes of health, education, youth, environment, and income-generating activities.
project is the construction of a refrigerated facility for fishermen in
Ouzai port, in the southern suburbs of Beirut, which will allow the
storage of 20 percent more fresh fish.
Currently, these fishermen have to spend 20 percent of their income on ice.
example is the installation of a water pump in Marjayoun, which will
ensure a stable water supply to 4500 households in five villages, which
are currently left without water for weeks on end.
thanked the British Embassy in Beirut, Bank Audi and Golden Tulip
hotels, which supported the Live Lebanon project long before its
important step in creating a global network for Live Lebanon is the
worldwide appointment of regional goodwill ambassadors, and the launch
provided the ideal platform to appoint Ghaleb Farha, a Lebanese
expatriate and accomplished businessman residing in Dubai, as the first
regional Goodwill Ambassador to Dubai.
concluded the launch by announcing UNDP’s first donation of $250,000 to
the Live Lebanon project, and hoped that those present felt inspired to
make a donation, which was facilitated at the launch by Bank Audi’s
secure wireless payment systems.
a reception was held with local Lebanese specialties complementing a
video exhibition and photo presentation, created especially for Live
Lebanon by the graphic design company “A fish in sea,” which also
designed the Live Lebanon logo. The exhibition, which will be
travelling around the world with the launching of Live Lebanon in other
countries, showed images from the different regions where Live Lebanon
will undertake its preliminary phase of activity.
pictures were displayed in combination with famous quotes about
Lebanon, such as Gibran’s “If Lebanon was not my country, I would have
chosen it to be my country.”
Arias, Head of Middle East Operations at “A fish in sea,” put together
the photo exhibition whilst travelling to deprived areas such as the
southern Nabatieh and Tyre.
[the] Lebanese love having pictures taken of them as they are very
dedicated to showing the beauty of their country to the world, as well
as its less fortunate conditions,” said Arias.
“I was amazed at how incredibly warmly we were received, everywhere we went.”
is a very inspirational and addictive place, which inspires creativity.
Here you can do whatever you aspire to do and be whoever you want to
be,” he added.