By Sami Zaptia.
London, 18 August 2020:
The European Union is providing € 10 million in extra funding for the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) new initiative on Stability, Unity, Social Cohesion (SUSC) in Libya, the UNDP reported yesterday.
The initiative aims at supporting peaceful dialogue and reconciliation between communities to improve social cohesion and national unity.
With this new EU funding, the SUSC initiative will continue to support three existing complementary projects: (i) the Stabilization Facility for Libya, (ii) National Reconciliation and (iii) Local Elections, while introducing a new project on Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE) which will help those communities where it is most needed, the UNDP explained.
The EU/UNDP continuing partnership in this new initiative focuses on strengthening capacities of municipalities, which work for and with their communities to establish and sustain a peaceful environment by creating peace dividends and supporting local peace agreements. This will enhance opportunities and set the ground for socio-economic development, inclusive of the most vulnerable populations in Libya, while supporting the common goal of coexistence and stabilization, the UNDP added.
The UNDP explained that the SUSC initiative further aims to boost progress towards shared local stabilization goals. Through the restoration of basic services, reconciliation efforts and advancing peaceful dialogue at community level in cooperation with civil society, social cohesion and the quality of life for Libyans will improve; this in turn should pave the way for credible municipal elections and stronger local governance.
Another component of the initiative will focus on strengthening municipalities’ efforts to prevent violent extremism by raising awareness on the dangers of extremism and countering extremist messaging in communities.
Despite the existing deep political divisions in Libya, the UNDP said, in partnership with the EU, local communities and NGOs, local authorities, and government representatives have made progress stabilizing conflict-affected areas to improve the lives of vulnerable populations, and this new initiative strives to further strengthen national peace and reconciliation.
UNDP Resident Representative, Gerardo Noto stated: “UNDP and its partners have been working for a more stable Libya where people can have access to basic services, live in harmony and choose their local leaders in a democratic way. We are happy to receive this important contribution and continue working in partnership with the EU to support local authorities and promote inclusive and sustainable development and SDGs in Libyan communities. “
On his part, the EU Ambassador to Libya, Alan Bugeja said: “We welcome this continued partnership with UNDP. The EU firmly believes that local authorities have a key role to play in stabilising Libya. Through this joint initiative with UNDP, we reconfirm our unwavering support to Libya’s peaceful democratic transition”.
As trusted partners to communities all over Libya, UNDP and the EU will mobilise their support to ensure positive progress toward local stabilization goals and continue to contribute toward peace, reconciliation and social cohesion, the UNDP concluded.