In the presence of the President of the Council for Development and Reconstruction, Nabil Al-Jisr, His Excellency, Ambassador of Spain in Lebanon, Mr. Juan Carlos, Cafu, the Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Mrs. Marta Ruedas, Head of the Division of Planning and Programming of the Council for Development and Reconstruction, Dr. Ibrahim Shahrour, Head of Art Gold Team Project in Lebanon responsible for the project in the Council, a meeting was held in the Council on February 24, 2009 with the Spanish Delegation of the Decentralized Cooperation Mission who, are on a visit to Lebanon in the framework of the Art Gold project which is being implemented by the UNDP in collaboration with the Council for Development and Reconstruction. This delegation included representatives of a number of local Spanish authorities, led by the person in charge of international cooperation networks in Spain. The objective of this visit is to discuss areas of cooperation and partnership between Lebanese local authorities (such as municipalities and municipal associations) and Spanish Decentralized Cooperation Missions for the implementation of initiatives to reduce poverty and promote the principles of good governance, in order to exchange experiences and knowledge with each other.
The President of the Council referred, in his mediation, to the importance of availing support to the work areas of Art Gold (Akkar, Al-Minieh - Al-Daniyyah, Bab Ettabaneh, the southern suburbs, the Western Bekaa, central Bekaa, Rashayya, Marjayoun, Bint Jbeil, Nabatiyah, Sour and Hasbayya), being some of the poorest areas in Lebanon and, for the need for these areas to implement initiatives in the near future in the hope to improve their social and economic status. In turn, the Spanish Ambassador stressed that there should be a coherence between these initiatives, the needs and the national priorities. Ms. Ruedas considered that coordination and cooperation among all parties concerned are essential and stressed also the proximity of the strategic approach which will be adopted by the Art Gold Project in Lebanon in the planning and implementation process to achieve a greater level of participation and sustainability.
It should be noted in this context that the Spanish Government will provide a financial contribution in the form of a donation to the Art Gold Project in Lebanon for a period of three years of about 1.5 million Euros a year.