Monday, August 3, 2009

Profile of Lebanon as per a UNDP publication

Introspection has never been a strong suite either of the Lebanese character in particular or of the Arab world in general. It was hoped that this might change when the United Nations Development Programme commissioned independent Arab scholars and intellectuals to issue the series “Arab Human Development Reports”. The series has engendered slight interest in the academic community but it does not seem to have created the major impetus for reform and change that one would have liked. The best proof of the public indifference that has greeted the series can be best scene in the reception given to the fifth volume that was released recently . It has been met with a thud among the Arab politicians from all ideological stripes. The series presents in scientific unbiased terms the state of economic, social environmental and economic development of the Arab citizen and contrasts that to the developments that have taken place in these fields in other regions of the world. The sad conclusion is that the Arab countries as a group have underperformed all regions in the world except one; sub- Saharan Africa. Such a dismal performance is tragic given the financial resources that are available to the Arab countries and the human potential. The Arab media has also been conspicuous through its absence but then should we expect meaningful critical analysis by the press when it is very often an organ of the state?

The following is the less than complimentary profile of Lebanon that emerges from the 5th Arab Human Development issued by the UNDP:

35% of women experienced assault.

20% of the youth are unemployed.

35% of Households have at least one family member that is unemployed and looking for work.

8% live under conditions of extreme poverty

3% of the population is undernourished.

11% of children under 5 have stunted growth.

Medium level of Human Trafficking has Lebanon as a destination and whose purpose is forced labour and sexual exploitation.

Over 50% believe that the state does not respect their basic rights to (1) Fair Trial, (2) Freedom of Organization, (3) Freedom of expression and (4) Freedom of Belief.

Rule of Law: The Arab states as a region were the second worst in the world.

If we fail to express publicly and clearly our dissatisfaction with the above record then I am afraid that will be interpreted as an implicit approval of the policies that have resulted in the above unwelcome image. We can and we must do better.


Arabic Coffee Pot said...

Looks like the Nabatieh region has it the worst ... maybe if Nabih Berri didn't rip off all the funds heading in that direction the unfortunate kids in that area might be better fed.

ghassan karam said...

Arabic Coffee Pot,
Isn't it ironic though that the region that is poorest, least represented on a per capita basis is the one that has been allowed to call the shots for the last 4 years!!!!

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