20 October 2019

Lebanon: When Social Cohesion is being put to the test

Cancellation of the Field Exposure of the NOW Mayors’ Network in Lebanon

Recent developments in Lebanon show us, once again, why it is crucial to work for a peaceful, just and good coexistence. A short report from Beirut on the current protests happening in Lebanon and why we had to make the decision to cancel the field exposure of the NOW Mayors’ Network.

The NOW Mayors’ Network meets regularly to discuss challenges in and promising solutions for cities and towns. Therefore, we were looking forward to the current meeting, which would have started today in Lebanon, with great anticipation. More than 30 local decision-makers and municipal experts were expected to join us for this field exposure to discover and discuss the challenges and opportunities of Lebanese municipalities. Journalists were supposed to accompany the trip to learn more about the situation in Lebanese communities.

On Thursday, however, the situation in Lebanon changed abruptly. Thousands, primarily young people, took to the streets to protest against misgovernment and corruption in the political system. This resulted in the largest Lebanese protest movement of recent years, which is still ongoing. The demonstrators gather for mostly peaceful rallies in the center where the government is located, drive through the streets in protest marches on motorbikes and call for the resignation of the government.

In the course of these protests, which have grown during the movement and are spread over various Lebanese cities, a lot of the central main traffic routes in the country cannot be passed due to blockades. A smooth running of the planned Mayors’ meeting in Lebanon was thus impossible. Therefore, heavy-heartedly, we had to cancel the field exposure for the upcoming days.

Social Cohesion starts in local communities

Cities, towns and villages are the core of inclusive social cohesion. In all cultural, social, economic and religious differences, they can work for and have a huge impact on a good coexistence of all people. The protests in Lebanon also show the importance of involving young people and taking their concerns seriously. We will continue working towards these goals within our field of action!

We regret the short-term cancellation of the arrival of the participants of the field exposure and all inconveniences caused. More important, however, is the hope that the demonstrations will remain peaceful and that a bright future will be made possible for all people in this country.