UK Secretary of State Renews UK Commitment to Lebanon

The UK Secretary of State for International Development Priti Patel announced that the UK is delivering on its commitment to invest £160m over 4 years in quality education in Lebanon, a press release said.

Compared to last year’s enrollment figures, the funding will contribute to getting 147,000 more children into public schools, while maintaining free enrollment for all. The funding will support the London Conference goal of reaching all children with education by 2016/17, provide over three million textbooks, rehabilitate at least 10 schools, and raise standards.

The UK Secretary of State made the announcement during a visit to Lebanon to mark the one-year anniversary of the London Conference, which saw donors agree to support Lebanon’s medium and long term development through the Lebanese Government’s Statement of Intent.

On 4 February 2016, the international community pledged over $12bn to support Syria and its neighbors – more than has ever been pledged for a humanitarian crisis in a single day. The UK’s commitment to Lebanon this year alone was £114m, but we have pledged to continue supporting Lebanon not just in education but in its wider development for at least the next four years, added the statement.

Secretary of State for International Development Priti Patel is the first British Cabinet Minister to visit Lebanon since the new Lebanese government took office.

On behalf of the British Government, the Secretary of State for International Development congratulated the President and Prime Minister, and called on the Speaker of Parliament. And in a sign of the close partnership between the British Government and the Government of Lebanon, she also hosted a dinner for the ministers working on Lebanon’s Crisis Response Plan. In all her meetings she underlined the UK’s steadfast commitment to Lebanon’s stability.

Following her meeting with Prime Minister Hariri over the weekend, Patel said: “I am very pleased to have visited Lebanon at this time. Yes, this country faces great adversity, but it is also a country of great generosity, great resilience and great symbolism. Speaking to the Prime Minister, the President today. I sensed a new mood in the country, with the end of the political vacuum, reactivation of cabinet and the prospect of a renewed parliament on the horizon. I think there is a real opportunity for Lebanon to make the most of its partnership with the international community, both for its own people and for the many refugees it is hosting.

“The UK has delivered on the promises we made last year, reaching hundreds of thousands of Lebanese and refugees – now it is essential that the international community and host governments alike step up with the funding and reforms needed to complete the ambitious agenda agreed in London.”

In the morning, she had witnessed the challenging conditions of Syrian refugees coping with a harsh winter. She learned how the UK is lessening the burden by providing improved shelter for refugees and improved water and sanitation for tens of thousands of Lebanese and refugees.

SoS Patel had also visited a school where the next generation of Lebanese and refugee children were benefiting from international support for renovated school buildings and improved teaching standards. Patel said “It’s not enough for children just to get into school, we are working to ensure that they are learning well and thriving in their academic career for a brighter future.”