Beirut, 5 June 2003 (United Nations Information Service)--Concerned
ministers, parliament members, representatives of embassies
accredited to Lebanon, representatives of local and international
non-governmental organizations, representatives of the local
community in South Lebanon, as well as potential partners from the
private sector will be convened by the United Nations Economic and
Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) to discuss the
Commissionís assistance to South Lebanon and lay the ground for
future projects, in a one-day seminar to be organized on 9 June at
the UN House, Riad Solh Square, Beirut.
The Seminar, which will open at 10:00 am on Monday, 9 June 2003,
will evaluate the current assistance provided by ESCWA to South
Lebanon and focus on a number of proposed projects, namely in the
areas of Vocational Training, Information Communication
Technology, Environment, Water and others.
It is worth noting that the Commission's assistance to South
Lebanon is an initiative launched by ESCWA Executive Secretary
Mervat Tallawy in October 2001 with the aim of assisting in the
socio-economic development of the post-occupied areas. After
having held discussions with representatives of the community,
ESCWA specialists formulated project ideas within the track that
address clear needs in the physical, social and economic domains.
Two development centers in Marjeyoun and Kfar Kila were
established in 2002 in order to facilitate the implementation of
the assistance project and strengthen the linkages at the local
level. The centers also function as sites for the vocational
training activities. As many as 16 courses have been conducted at
these centers and more than 250 men and women have been trained.
The various courses address the local job market and include
various topics such as Hairdressing and Beauty Care; Cellular Pone
Repair and Maintenance; Livestock Sustenance as well as Car
Electronics Repair and Maintenance.
In the field of Information Communication Technology, ESCWA has
initiated a number of activities, utilizing the technical
assistance of the officers of the Indian Battalion of the United
Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). Computer laboratories
were established in a number of public schools in the area. This
has been coupled with the training of school instructors on the
basic use of computers in order to have them relay the knowledge
to their students in return.
In conducting the vocational training, the Association au
Development Rural (ADR), a local non-governmental organization,
with significant experience in South Lebanon has been hired on
behalf of ESCWA. UNIFIL has also been assisting in delivering
vocational training courses in the ESCWA centers following a
memorandum of understanding signed between the peacekeeping force
and the regional commission. The Ministry of Social Affairs has so
far contributed by providing premises for training upon demand and
by endorsing all training certificates.