Sharm el-Sheikh declaration warns of dangers of corruption in economic spending and health care

BEIRUT: UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres will travel to Lebanon on Sunday for an official visit to the country.

The UN Information Office in Beirut said the visit was a gesture of solidarity and that the Secretary-General “will reiterate the support of the whole United Nations family, the political mission, the peacekeeping forces and humanitarian and humanitarian workers in Lebanon and its people. . “

Two days before the visit, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children, Najat Maalla M’jid, toured Lebanon, discussing “the enormous impact of the economic, social and pandemic crises on children, especially the poor in addition to all forms of violence against them.

“We have sought ways to support and accelerate the activation of national policies for social coverage and protection of children against all forms of violence, in particular the fight against child labor, as part of an approach integrative of a series of very important services, ”M’jid said on Friday.

His remarks came after meetings with Lebanese President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

“The UN supports the Lebanese government in the field of the protection of children against violence, discrimination and poverty,” she added.

A UNICEF report warned that “children in Lebanon are at risk because 15 percent of families have stopped educating their children and 30 percent of children do not receive necessary primary health care.”

As of Thursday, 239,000 people in Lebanon had signed up for the poorest families program platform, Mikati said.

Among those registered, 166,000 applications met the required specifications, indicating the extent of social pressures, he added.

In the first step, he said, $ 125 will be paid to each family per month for one year, with funds guaranteed by the World Bank.

There is also the issue of the ration card which will adopt the same registration platform, which covers more than 500,000 families, he added,

“We have agreed with the World Bank that once the relief project has started and two months of credits paid for the ration card at an acceptable cost from the funds for special withdrawals at the central bank, the World Bank will guarantee the financing of the project for a period of one year, estimated at around 500 million dollars, ”he said.

Mikati assured the Lebanese people that “there is an international decision not to let Lebanon collapse”, adding: “There is an external and internal umbrella that protects the work of the government”.

The prime minister stressed that the government would not hesitate to resign if it led to a solution, but said he believed that the decision “would lead to a further deterioration of the situation and could lead to the postponement of the parliamentary elections”.

Mikati also said talks are underway to resume Cabinet sessions.

Lebanon is facing an economic crisis described by the World Bank as “one of the worst crises on Earth since the middle of the 19th century”. About 80 percent of Lebanese live in poverty.

UNICEF estimated in a report released in November that “more than 30 percent of families have at least one child who skipped a meal, while 77 percent of families report lacking sufficient food and 60 percent have ‘among them buy food by accumulating unpaid bills or by borrowing money. “

The dollar was on the verge of reaching 29,000 Lebanese pounds by midweek, but intervention by the Lebanese Central Bank brought it down to around 26,000 pounds.

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