- Alodia Heijmans
[The Guardian] Putting Healthcare & Education on the Agenda
Among the Arab League, Lebanon goes through an economic crisis and political instability which plunged more than 80 percent of the population into extreme poverty which exacerbated inequalities across marginalized communities within the country. These affected groups, such as refugees, people with disabilities, children, older individuals, migrant workers, and LGBT people, bear the brunt of this catastrophe. This undesirable situation has severely compromised public services, particularly in education, security, and healthcare.
To address this crisis, the Lebanese government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have reached a staff-level agreement for a 46-month program amounting to approximately US$3 billion. However, the current unstable government does not allow a fair, stable and wise use of these funds.
In May 2022, Lebanon held its first parliamentary elections since the widespread protests of October 2019. Unfortunately, the electoral process was by serious violations, including corruption, violence, and abuse of power by political parties. Since then, Lebanon regrettably has not made any public commitments to strengthening human rights protections.
As urgent actions are needed to alleviate the suffering of the Lebanese people and restore stability to this nation, the League of Arab States discusses possible solutions for alleviating the situation for Lebanese, within the negotiations offered by EuroMUN Maastricht, 2023. The issues of refugees as well as healthcare are broadly discussed as they are said to be major current issues that need to be shortly addressed. The need to provide more funding for Lebanon is also being discussed among the League, although some nations, such as Somalia are not able to ensure this part, being the poorest nation of the League. The issue of economic disparities appears to remain within the Arab League as it is composed of very wealthy nations as well as very unstable economies. Somalia is therefore not able to sustain Lebanon in healthcare infrastructure as the other nations suggest providing. Instead, Somalia emphasizes the need for improvement in education in Lebanon as it also constitutes a remaining problem which should not be undermined. This view is shared by the other members of the League although Oman, Egypt or Kuwait emphasize more the need of healthcare, in human resources and infrastructure, the latest especially emphasized by Qatar and Algeria.
During the negotiations, Lebanon stands firm in its position and invites its fellow members of the Arab League for more cooperation and further discussions.
Alodia Heijmans - Correspondent for The Guardian