Beirut, March 31, 2021– The Government of Lebanon, jointly with Civil Society, the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN), co-chaired today the first meeting of the Consultative Group for the Reform, Recovery and Reconstruction Framework (3RF) to address the needs of the poor and most vulnerable households in response to the tragic Beirut port explosion.
Building on the 3RF launched by the EU, UN and the World Bank Group in December 2020, the meeting brought together around 60 representatives of the Government of Lebanon, Civil Society Organizations, international donors and financing institutions, to assess the needs and priorities for recovery interventions needed under the 3RF implementation. The meeting also took stock of the humanitarian assistance provided to date within the context of a deepening political and economic crisis, increased poverty and worsening food security, all exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The meeting reviewed the reform priorities included in the 3RF and reiterated the urgency of adopting and implementing key credible reforms, which are essential to build back better and put Lebanon on the path of sustained recovery.
The 3RF Consultative Group fosters a new and innovative partnership model that brings all key actors together in a participatory and inclusive manner. Civil Society representatives play a key role in the process by bringing the voice of the people to the table, putting forward suggestions to address the underlying challenges and monitoring the implementation of the 3RF.
The following is the co-chairs summary of the first 3RF Consultative Group meeting
Reform, Recovery and Reconstruction Framework
First Consultative Group Meeting: Co-chairs’ Summary
31 March 2021
1. The first Consultative Group (CG) meeting of the Reform, Recovery and Reconstruction Framework (3RF) took place on 31 March 2021 in virtual format. In accordance with the institutional arrangements of the 3RF, the meeting was co-chaired by the Government of Lebanon, Lebanese civil society, European Union (EU) and United Nations (UN).
2. Building on the 3RF, developed by the EU, UN and World Bank Group in December 2020 in consultation with the Government, civil society and the private sector, the members of the Consultative Group discussed the urgent needs of the population affected by the Port of Beirut explosion within the context of a deepening political and economic crisis, increased poverty and worsening food security, all exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
3. Beyond the loss of life and many injuries, as well as the widespread physical damage and the loss of income, the members of the Consultative Group recognized the fact that the Beirut port explosion has deepened the crisis.
4. Members of the Consultative Group emphasized the need and urgency to assume responsibility to promote and support recovery and reconstruction in response to the Port of Beirut explosion, and to ensure effective coordination between different levels of government and the range of other stakeholders.
5. The Consultative Group underlined the importance of the 3RF guiding principles of inclusion and leaving no one behind; gender equality and women’s empowerment; transparency and accountability, including anti-corruption and justice; sustainable livelihoods for the impacted communities, and a green recovery.
6. The members of the Consultative Group hoped that a government could be formed at the earliest opportunity. Several members expressed concern on the deteriorating situation and the need to take urgent action on overdue reforms.
7. To move recovery and reconstruction forward, the Government of Lebanon confirmed its commitment to help operationalize the 3RF governance structures, jointly with civil society and international partners. The Government also took note of the reform actions included in the 3RF and committed to their implementation within their legal capacity of caretaker government, particularly to:
a. Conduct within a reasonable timeframe a transparent investigation on the causes of the Beirut Port explosion.
b. Deliver on foundational macroeconomic reform, including progress with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on macroeconomic stabilization and restructuring of debt and the financial sector. Efforts also include the forensic audit of the central bank, banking sector reform, capital control, exchange rate unification, and a credible path to fiscal sustainability.
c. Prepare and approve the 2021 budget, incorporating a strong inclusive social protection programme; establish a unified registry for social assistance programmes; and, put in place a grievance and redress mechanism, and verification and monitoring and evaluation systems.
d. Adopt a vision statement that lays out the principles and strategy for port sector reform and reconstruction, including customs. Establish clear institutional arrangements to manage hazardous materials and waste from damage, destruction and demolition.
e. Strengthen the independence and effectiveness of the judiciary; implement the anticorruption strategy, adopt the new Public Procurement Law and implement associated regulations.
8. The Government committed to present the state of play of these policy actions and reforms in the next CG meeting.
9. Members of the Consultative Group emphasized the needs and priorities of vulnerable groups, in particular women, youth and people with disabilities; and the importance of adopting an area-based approach engaging and involving communities at neighbourhood level in building back greener and smarter while preserving cultural identity.
10. The Consultative Group strongly welcomed its three-partite structure and considered that the successful implementation of the 3RF relies on a new partnership model and vision that brings all stakeholders together. To this end, the civil society representatives committed to ensure inclusive cooperation; to carry the voice and concerns of the people; to put forward constructive suggestions to address the underlying challenges and, to actively share information with civil society parties not represented in the Consultative Group.
11. Members highlighted the important role that civil society representatives and the Independent Oversight Body should play in monitoring the implementation of the 3RF and hold all stakeholders accountable.
12. The members of the Consultative Group took stock of the humanitarian interventions that were delivered for a total amount of 314M USD (to date) in response to the Beirut port explosion. They discussed lessons learned and took note of the recommendations to inform the 3RF recovery phase.
13. The members of the Consultative Group reviewed the 3RF strategic orientations and current financing needs, priorities and gaps based on the current financing prospects from donors. Furthermore, the World Bank updated the Consultative Group on the strategic priorities of the Lebanon Financing Facility and called on government to ensure swift endorsement of LFF.
14. International Donors and Financing Institutions agreed on the need to widen the resource base for 3RF people-centred recovery and to ensure predictability, coherence and effectiveness of aid. They will exert efforts to channel funds to the 3RF, including through the Lebanon Financing Facility.
15. The Consultative Group tasked the Technical Team to present in the next CG meeting an operational plan for the implementation of the agreed priorities of the four 3RF pillars, notably Improving Governance and Accountability; Jobs and Economic Opportunities; Social Protection, Inclusion and Culture, and Improving Services and Infrastructures.
16. The Terms of Reference of the Consultative group were adopted, and the members took note of the wider institutional arrangements, including the LFF Partnership Council, 3RF Secretariat and Independent Oversight Board (IOB). Access to information is essential to enable the IOB to fulfil its objectives in ensuring transparency and accountability. The Technical Team was tasked to facilitate the establishment of the CSO-led Independent Oversight Board by the next CG meeting.
The participants list is attached to this summary
First Consultative Group Meeting
31 March 2021
Lebanon Prime Minister, Hassan Diab
Civil Society Representative, Lebanese League for Women in Business, Asma Zein
EU Ambassador, Ralph Tarraf
UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Lebanon, Najat Rochdi
Representatives of the Lebanese Republic
Deputy Prime Minister
Minister of Economy and Trade
Minister of Social Affairs
Director General of the Presidency of the Republic
Member of Parliament
Advisor to President for International Cooperation
Advisor to Prime Minister
Representatives of the International Community and International Organizations
Civil Society Organizations
ALDIC – The Lebanese Association of Taxpayers’ Rights
Association of Industrialists
Beirut Urban Lab
Lebanese Physical Handicapped Union
Lebanon Humanitarian and Development NGOs Forum
Society of Saint Vincent de Paul
The 3RF report and the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document on the 3RF can be found here: LINK
Delegation of the European Union Lebanon: Tatiana Hosny Richa, Press and Information Officer, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
United Nations: Nadine Daou, National Information Officer, Resident Coordinator Office (RCO)/UNIC Beirut, Email: email@example.com
World Bank Group : Zeina El Khalil, External Affairs Officer, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org