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    UNIS/OUS/048
    7 October 2010

    Re-issued as received

    Italy to Fund UNIDO Project on Economic Recovery in Lebanon

    VIENNA, 7 October (UN Information Service) - Italy will contribute 1.5 million euros towards a project by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to support the economic recovery in Southern and Northern Lebanon and in the Bekaa Valley.

    An agreement on this was signed in Vienna today by UNIDO Director-General, Kandeh K. Yumkella, and the Permanent Representative of Italy to UNIDO, Ambassador Gianni Ghisi. Lebanese Ambassador Ishaya El-Khoury also took part in the ceremony.

    The project will focus on technical assistance and revitalizing small and medium agro-processing enterprises affected by the 2006 war. It will help enhance the livelihoods in rural areas through technology transfer and promotion of non-farm income-generating activities. From 25 to 30 agro-enterprises and up to 250 rural households will benefit from the project.

    Calling Italy "one of the leading voluntary contributors to the work of UNIDO", Director-General Yumkella said: "At the request of the Government of Lebanon, UNIDO will help empower the war-affected communities by integrating humanitarian and development assistance and revitalizing the productive capacities of the country."

    Ambassador Gianni Ghisi added: "Our contribution towards this UNIDO project is in line with the programme of the Italian Cooperation in Lebanon, especially the activities targeting the rural and agricultural development."

    The project will also contribute to the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the country, including eradicating poverty, promoting gender equality and empowering women. It will help in capacity-building, improve food security and promote environmentally friendly processing technologies.

    Following the August 2006 war, the Government of Lebanon sought the assistance of the UN system in helping to reconstruct the destroyed infrastructure, economic recovery and resettlement of displaced persons. UNIDO, in line with its mandate that focuses on promoting sustainable industrial development, has responded positively to this request.

    UNIDO has implemented a 5 million United States dollar project supporting the rehabilitation of 70 agro-enterprises in various sub-sectors, including food, leather, textile and wood processing, which led to the creation of more than 670 new jobs and the enterprises resuming production for both national and export markets. UNIDO has extensive experience in Lebanon through its programme "Enhancing the competitiveness of the Lebanese industry and its integration in the global market".

    UNIDO has successfully implemented post-crises projects in many regions of the world, including in Afghanistan, Haiti, Indonesia, Iraq, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, and Uganda.

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    For more information, please contact

    Mikhail Evstafyev
    UNIDO Advocacy and Communication Coordinator
    Telephone: (+43-1) 26026-5021
    Mobile: (+43-699) 1459-7329
    Email: m.evstafyev@unido.org