BEIRUT: The Italian Embassy in Lebanon and the Social Affairs Minister launched a joint project to finance social development projects Thursday, pledging a new central finance center would better coordinate important projects that improve people’s lives.
The National Program for Local Socioeconomic Development was launched at UNESCO Palace by Italian Ambassador Giuseppe Morabito and Social Affairs Minister Wael Abu Faour and is intended to finance aid programs in particularly marginalized areas.
The project “aims to develop the networks of services and social investments at the local level in addition to usual care services,” a release from the Italian Embassy said.
Morabito stressed the importance of the project in helping marginalized groups, saying a central body can coordinate that help much more effectively.
“The design of such instrument is a pioneer experience in Lebanon since it introduces for the first time a central-local cooperation based on cash co-financing, government direct management, monitoring and evaluation,” Morabito said.
The ambassador stressed that more international investment in such a central coordinated area would be an effective use of funds.
“I would like to invite all the donors active in the social development sector to become part of this important social development procedure, by contributing either in funds or by building the capacities of the ministry and its Social Development Centers, or simply though sharing information on ongoing and planned projects in order to avoid any likely duplication,” Morabito said in the press release.
Italy is a continual contributor to development projects in the country and in particular to rural and underdeveloped areas. Italian officials have also made visits to the country recently to access the need of the growing Syrian refugee population.
Italy is also a major contributor to the United Nations peacekeeping force in the country with over 1,000 peacekeepers in deployment.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on October 05, 2012, on page 4.