The Syrian crisis and the influx of refugees in Lebanon have affected directly the socio-economic situation in Lebanon leading to stalled economic activity, loss of income and livelihoods, and shrinking access to quality public services.
For this matter, the ILO wants to implement a project to enhance resilience of entrepreneurs including farmers (individual and groups) and workers affected by the Syrian refugees’ crisis in Lebanon in rural areas, under the name of “Enabling job resilience and protecting decent work conditions in rural communities in Northern Lebanon”, this project aims to improve the employability of "vulnerable" job seekers regarding stresses of labor market due by the crisis from one side, and to unleash the income generation and employment creation potential of agricultural value chains through Local Economic Development (LED) and enhance the capacities of service providers to enable the creation of LED opportunities from the other. The beneficiaries will be Lebanese host communities in Akkar.
Subsequently, the ILO contracted the North Local Economic Development Agency to organize a Workshop under the title of “Local Economic Development Dialogue for Competitive Agricultural Sector Selection for Akkar” to gather the major stakeholders engaged within the framework of the activities, including but not limited to: Chamber of Commerce, Ministries, Municipalities, Unions of Municipalities`, NGOs, CSOs, Cooperatives…etc.
A brief about the project was presented by Ms. Annabella Skof – Project Manager and Expert of Economic and Social Development, in addition to a Desk Review prepared by the North LEDA that presented a quick review about the agricultural sector in Akkar in general with an emphasis over the sectors that have potentials taking into consideration that the feasibility of these sectors match perfectly with the following criteria:
1. Potential for achieving large-scale impact (large numbers of poor people).
2. Labor-intensive sector with potential for employment creation (including upgrading underemployment to fulltime employment)
3. Sector with potential for achieving improved growth and access.
4. Feasibility of achieving systemic change within the short to medium term (three to five years).
The workshop created the opportunity for these stakeholders to validate the findings of the desk review and the selection of the sector in order to proceed with the project in later stages.