Belgium announces 5 million euros additional humanitarian aid at donor conference for Lebanon

In cooperation with the UN, French President Macron is organizing a donor conference for Lebanon this afternoon. Minister of Foreign Affairs and Defense, Philippe Goffin, will represent our country. President Trump and King Abdullah II have already confirmed their participation. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Development Cooperation, Alexander De Croo, has already released 5 million additional humanitarian aid.

Minister Goffin will take part in the international donor conference in support of Beirut and the Lebanese population this afternoon at 2 pm. The conference will be chaired by French President Emmanuel Macron and Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations Amina Mohammed. The aim is to collect additional resources and coordinate international aid in order to provide the Lebanese population with the best possible assistance.

Additional Belgian aid

Like several other countries, Belgium already sent a C130 cargo plane to Beirut on Friday evening with urgent medical and humanitarian equipment. It was also decided to release one million euros for the Red Cross. In addition, consultations were held with NGOs and international humanitarian organisations in view of additional humanitarian efforts. Minister De Croo has now decided to increase Belgian humanitarian aid for hard-hit Beirut by 5 million euros.

Alexander De Croo: "Belgium will send 5 million euros in additional emergency humanitarian aid to Beirut. We will do this through multilateral partner organisations in sectors where the needs of the Lebanese population are the most urgent: in medical terms, of course, but also in terms of food distribution and the reconstruction of housing and infrastructure".

The decision fits within our country's humanitarian strategy to be able to respond quickly and efficiently to such disasters by means of so-called flexible funds.

Support through the United Nations

In addition to the additional aid mentioned above, our country already gave 2 million euros to the “Country Based Pooled Fund” (CBPF) for Lebanon in 2020. With 22 million euros in 2020, Belgium is also an important donor to the "Central Emergency Response Fund" (CERF) of OCHA, the UN's humanitarian arm. Belgium's support enables the UN organization to respond quickly and provide immediate and efficient assistance to countries such as Lebanon.

Philippe Goffin: "With this donor conference, it is important that the international community gives a strong signal to tackle this enormous catastrophe. For the citizens of Beirut, this comes on top of an extremely serious economic and health crisis that the country already faced. Despite the significant emergency aid that is already on its way - including from Belgium - additional resources are absolutely necessary and it is important to coordinate this international aid as quickly as possible".

Mandatory reforms

This initiative is in line with the messages already transmitted to the Lebanese authorities in the framework of the GIS of December 2019 in Paris and reiterated by President Macron during his visit to the Lebanese capital on August 6. Minister Goffin stressed the need to differentiate between humanitarian aid in Beirut, which was made even more urgent by the explosion on August 4, and economic and financial aid to Lebanon, which was linked to urgent reforms driven by both the international community and the Lebanese themselves.

"In the name of the Belgian population and its government, I would like to express our solidarity with all Lebanese people affected by this terrible disaster", said Minister Goffin. "If Lebanon so wishes, we are still prepared to send a medical team and a component of Civil Protection within the framework of B-Fast, whose expertise is recognized worldwide”.