What lessons should donors consider when responding to the Syrian refugee crisis in Lebanon? Include relevant lessons from international responses as well as Lebanon’s own experience. Reference the role of international actors; capacity of government authorities; political implications; and the role of non-governmental organisations (the private sector and civil society).
Three groups of lessons emerge from the literature:
- Political lessons include: understanding Lebanon’s historic refugee experience; understanding how sectarian divisions affect policy and decision-making; the limitations of excluding key stakeholders; and understanding historic relations between refugees and host communities.
- Strategic lessons include: developing a medium-term refugee strategy for Lebanon, and ensuring donors meet funding pledges. UNHCR notes the need to improve: outreach to out-of-camp refugees, living standards and security in camps, and the early involvement of development actors.
- Practical lessons include: understanding the complexity and controversy of refugee camps; using service delivery to ease tensions – e.g. various reports recommend integrating refugee services into existing structures and making these accessible to host communities; partnering with local organisations; providing shelter and infrastructure; targeting urban refugees; understanding the varying impacts of refugees on different host communities; and using targeted development assistance that integrates the needs of refugees and host communities.
Herbert, S. Responding to the Syrian refugee crisis in Lebanon: lessons learned (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 987). Governance and Social Development Resource Centre, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK (2013) 12 pp.