Prime Minister Rafic Hariri of Lebanon has been bestowed the prestigious Special Citation of the UN-HABITAT Scroll of Honor Award, 2004, for his outstanding and visionary leadership in the post-conflict reconstruction of Lebanon – the highest award given by the United Nations for achievements in the field of human settlements.
The award will be presented to him at the opening ceremony of the Second World Urban Forum on 13 September 2004 in Barcelona.
“At a time when millions of people and their communities are suffering from natural and man-made disasters, the rebuilding and rehabilitation of Lebanon provides a positive vision of how human, financial, technical resources and expertise can be harnessed to create peace and to revive economic development,” said Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka, Executive Director of UN-HABITAT.
The successful reconstruction of Lebanon, was officially submitted to UN-HABITAT for consideration in November 2003 by Ms. Mervat Tallawy, Executive Secretary of the Beirut-based United Nations Social and Economic Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA).
Lebanon's 16-year civil war, which claimed a huge human and economic toll, was one of the longest conflicts in the Middle East in the second half of the 20th century. After years of physical and human devastation, rebuilding and rehabilitation needed the vision and leadership he provided to restore the country’s political, economic and social fabric.
The story of the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Lebanon has been summarised in the publication, “Lebanon Rebuilt: 10 years of achievment”. This document, which was submitted to UN-HABITAT, provides a comprehensive and detailed overview of the administrative, economic, financial and physical aspects of a decade-long undertaking.
A special committee, working under the independent Technical Advisory Committee for the Dubai International Awards for Best Practices, noted that Lebanon had not only complied with but also surpassed the best practice criteria of tangible impact in improving people’s livelihoods through sustainable partnerships between the public, private and civil society sectors.
The experts noted, with particular interest, the speed at which this was undertaken. They also cited the innovative use of domestic and foreign resources for investment. They attributed the pace and comprehensive scope of this reconstruction process to Mr. Hariri.
UN-HABITAT will showcase this outstanding best-practice at the forum in Barcelona (13-17 September, 2004). It is also hoped that Beirut will host an international conference on post-conflict reconstruction in 2005 in collaboration with UNESCWA.