In Lebanon, progress on Social Protection is needed on a wide range of fronts, including the urgent need to implement and expand social assistance and strengthen the systems underpinning them. The different types of social assistance provided to those in need in Lebanon should be complementary, align and feed into the social protection system in the country.
The Government’s Social Protection Strategy will guide all these efforts.
Lebanon has had a National Poverty Targeting Program (NPTP) in place since 2011, which is progressively being strengthened and scaled up to reach some 75,000 households. In addition, in January 2021, the World Bank approved a $246 million loan – the Emergency Social Safety Net Project (ESSN) – to provide cash transfers to an additional 150,000 households, bring the total extreme poor households to be reached to 225,000. In addition, significant humanitarian funding in Lebanon is implemented to address basic needs.
Gaps remain for vulnerable populations (e.g. persons with disabilities, those chronically ill, children, older persons) due to the absence of social grants that provide basic income security during lifecycle contingencies. The intention to scale-up social assistance, including the NPTP/ESSN as stated above, is conditional on reform of the Social Protection Sector, including a financially sustainable inclusion on the Lebanese State Budget and bringing it under greater oversight through a national unified registry. Programmes that typically target refugees should align with a longer-term sustained approach within the national system.
- Launch the National Social Protection Strategy and develop a costed implementation plan (particularly for social assistance expansion) with financing plan to identify fiscal space (linked to budget) and support establishment of coordination structures
- Continue acceleration of implementation of NPTP/ESSN and its institutionalization
- Establish and implement Social Grants to address life-cycle vulnerabilities (social pension, disability allowance and child grant)
- Continue to develop Social Protection information system/household registry (related to IMF indicative benchmark 25)
- Strengthen linkages and referrals between social assistance programmes and social services
- Introduce pension scheme and reform health insurance arrangements for private sector workers, while ensuring financial sustainability of the National Social Security Fund (related to IMF indicative benchmark 11).