CES-MED organised a “Donors Conference” meeting on the 7th of March 2017

The CES-MED project gathered several representatives of national authorities, EU delegation in Lebanon, funding agencies, NGOs, financial institutions and heads of several Lebanese municipalities and Unions of municipalities in a “Donors Meeting” at the Phoenicia hotel in Beirut.
 
As Mr. Amin, project team leader, mentioned in the opening session, this precedes a 4 years’ effort, since the start of the CES-MED project, which ultimate goal is to fund projects proposed in the SEAPs, and towards this, initiate collaboration between financial agencies and the municipalities across a round table to identify project funding opportunities.
 
Ms. Abou El-Hassan, Director of Municipalities and Local Councils in the Lebanese Ministry of Interior and CES-MED Focal Point, confirmed the Ministry’s commitment in the preservation of the environment and public health, and its help to manage local resources and to support local economy in a sustainable way.
 
She declared that it is the MOIM duty to set the vision and objectives and to allocate roles and powers to local authorities for the public interest in a context where there is a need to save energy, reduce consumption bills and play a role in fighting climate change.
 
Ms. Abou El-Hassan emphasized the CES-MED and the General Directorate of Municipalities cooperation in encouraging municipalities to take the lead in developing sustainable energy action plans, and implementing them and the returns arising from that. 
 
Mr. Gianandrea Villa, EU Delegation Representative said that during the last 10 years, the EU has intervened in all 25 Lebanese districts (Qada’a), with more than 150 municipalities and unions. He explained that, in general terms the EU has a two-fold’s approach for complementary interventions, with an emphasis on reinforcing the central level in its mandate to support local authorities, and at the same time the EU is trying to support them directly under different financial instruments.  
 
Mr Villa added that Energy supply is one of the greatest day-to-day challenges in Lebanon that existed even before the Syrian crisis. Therefore, current initiatives contributing to energy savings and the generation of electricity from renewable energy sources are so important. 
 
 
The discussion session was launched and led by Mr. Amin, who raised a question to the funding institutions about their available programs and how the SEAPs projects can be linked to their granting programmes. Representatives of agencies, embassies and NGOs each gave an outline of their programmes and activities. 
 
Several interventions by mayors and representatives of municipalities followed, whereby municipalities indicated that they are taking initiatives and putting major efforts from their side to fulfil the needs of their cities and prepare well defined and described action plans; however, they mentioned that needs are exceeding their financial capacities, and therefore they urged donors to assist them towards implementing the projects. 
 
The main needs identified through the discussion were the need to assure more visibility of funding opportunities, provide the support along the preparation of proposals and facilitate networking with potential funders and international partners. It was agreed that indeed there is a lot to be done in terms of taking initiatives from their part and that CES-MED is a useful tool to identify projects for future funding.
 
Mr. Naguib Amin concluded the meeting by stressing the importance of creating a special SEAP Support Unit in the Ministry of Interior & Municipalities to technically assist the municipalities in preparing their SEAPs as the external funding is not sufficient and there will be no united efforts between all the local & national authorities.
Conclusively, it was agreed that contacts, synergy and communication should continue; that the creation of a SEAP Support Unit is essential, and that ad-hoc support will continue to be offered through CES-MED offices.
 
The meeting was considered by municipalities as a very good opportunity to listen to all donors gathered in one event (first of its kind in Lebanon). From the donors’ side, it was believed to be a "very good dialogue opportunity with municipalities".