International aid to Lebanon (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 979).

This report maps international donor aid to Lebanon



Map international donor aid to Lebanon since the 2006 crisis (development and humanitarian aid). Where possible, identify funding committed in response to the Syrian crisis.

Key findings

Solid data from the OECD and OCHA makes mapping the official aid to Lebanon possible. However, official data is only part of the story: major aid flows have remained unrecorded, for example from Saudi Arabia and Iran. Information on macro-level aid also seems largely gender-blind.

Lebanon has received large volumes of international donor aid since the 1970s. The emphasis has regularly gone back and forth between, or at times combined, humanitarian assistance (emergency and recovery), reconstruction, or more traditional development.

Ideological, religious, political and economic interests have influenced the motivations and actions of all aid actors. Lebanon is the site of a development and reconstruction proxy conflict shaped by national and regional politics. This has translated into generally limited coordination.

Since the civil war, core players have mostly remained the same. Major bilateral donors have been Western states (especially the USA and some European countries), Western-allied Gulf countries such as Saudi Arabia or Kuwait, and Iran. UN humanitarian, refugee and development organisations have been consistently strong contributors. Likewise, NGOs and the Red Cross Red Crescent system have long been active, as have Lebanese actors themselves.

  • Between 2006 and 2011, EU institutions, the USA, UNRWA and France were consistently among the top 5 donors to Lebanon.
  • In 2011, by far the main sector funded was social infrastructure and services. Other significant sectors included ‘economic infrastructure and services’, humanitarian aid and production sectors. The most funded sub-sectors were education and ‘government and civil society’, followed by transport and storage, water supply and sanitation, and humanitarian aid.

As of 1 August 2013, close to 98% of humanitarian aid to Lebanon in 2013 has been related to the Syrian crisis (over US$ 427 million – out of the $1 billion deemed necessary). Top contributors include the USA, Kuwait and ECHO. Major channels are UNHCR, UNICEF, UNRWA and WFP, as well as the Red Cross Red Crescent system.


Combaz, E. International aid to Lebanon (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 979). Governance and Social Development Resource Centre, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK (2013) 16 pp.

International aid to Lebanon (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 979).

Published 1 January 2013