UNIDO to strengthen innovation and creativity in the Lebanese agro-food sector with funding from Italy

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Monday, 25 September 2017

VIENNA, 25 September 2017 – The Government of Italy will fund a project of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in Lebanon designed to improve the competitiveness and value of selected authentic Lebanese products, specifically in the country’s host communities most affected by the high influx of Syrian refugees.

The strategic partnership between UNIDO and Italy has always been strong, and evidenced by the large portfolio of technical cooperation programmes and projects that the Organization implements with funding from Italy, including in the South Mediterranean and in the MENA region. These activities include shared priorities including facilitating youth employment; promoting economic empowerment of women; mitigating migration through job creation, private sector development and upgrading of industries; and protecting the environment.

In particular, and since 2011, UNIDO has been supporting Lebanon’s agro-industrial sector through numerous projects that have helped local micro and small enterprises (MSMEs) cope with the crisis and that have offered training in market-oriented technical skills to unemployed people in affected communities. Following up on this initial technical assistance, the new UNIDO project will focus on product development, innovation and creativity, which in turn will contribute to the creation of new jobs in the agro-food sector as well as to the continuous development of agro-industrial value-chains.

To this end, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed today by LI Yong, UNIDO Director General, and Ambassador Maria Assunta Accili Sabbatini, Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations Organizations in Vienna. The Ambassador also announced today that the Government of Italy just approved funding for another UNIDO project in Lebanon titled “Supporting the development of industrial zones in Lebanon – Phase II”.

Since the beginning of the Syrian conflict, over 1.5 million Syrians are being hosted in Lebanon, which constitutes the world’s highest concentration of refugees per inhabitant, and which greatly strains the country’s limited resources. In recognition of the protracted nature of the current crisis, the Government of Lebanon presented a new approach that focuses on creating economic opportunities and jobs. In support of this initiative, UNIDO and the national authorities signed a Country Programming Framework to stimulate manufacturing activities for job creation and income generation, within which the Organization will continue to support the development of agro-industrial value-chains.

To-date, some 2,000 households indirectly benefited from UNIDO’s technical activities, and a total of 68 MSMEs and 20 agricultural cooperatives were supported with specialized equipment. It is expected that the new Italian-funded project will improve the livelihood of at least 5,000 additional households.

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