As a former refugee himself he is particularly pleased to see initiatives by UNIDO to assist Lebanon cope with infrastructural and societal strains brought on by its hosting of high numbers of Syrian refugees.
“Creative Lebanon”, a boutique and creative hub designed to help small producers showcase their new innovative products and develop links with local markets, was today officially presented in Beirut on 12 July 2016.
The event was organized by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Ministry of Industry, and attended by Ambassador Christina Lassen, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Lebanon as well as Massimo Marotti, Italian Ambassador to Lebanon.
Challenging economic times in Lebanon have left the country’s smaller manufacturers in a precarious situation, struggling to provide livelihood and employment opportunities for their communities. Seeing the extensive, yet undervalued, potential in the skills, artistry, creativity and cultural heritage of Lebanon, UNIDO, with the financial support of the European Union and Italy, and in partnership with international designers, devised two innovative projects to leverage Lebanese specialties while simultaneously incorporating innovation and design.
The "Creative Lebanon" initiative is based on two projects. The first one, “Development of clusters in cultural and creative industries in the Southern Mediterranean”, is funded by the European Union and Italy. The second project, “Supporting host communities in Lebanon affected by the high influx of Syrian refugees (CELEPIII)”, is funded by Italy.
EDU Secretary-General endorses initiative by United Nations Industrial Development Organization
His Excellency Irving Le-Vance, a long standing accredited Observer at the United Nations in Geneva and holding accreditation to the European Parliament and the European Commission, is proud to add his personal endorsement to the valuable work done by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) assisted by the European Union and Italy.
“For UNIDO, the launching of ‘Creative Lebanon’ is another important step in promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization in Lebanon. This initiative proves that Lebanon is a melting pot of creativity and industrial design, and is a useful tool to stimulate job creation,” said Cristiano Pasini, UNIDO Representative to Lebanon.
Ambassador Marotti added that the initiative has an Italian design element, and “will better help Lebanese small and medium size companies expand their activities and market their products”.
Ambassador Lassen said: "When it comes to creative industries, Lebanon has definitely a comparative advantage in the region and has demonstrated in many ways that it has a strong 'creative spirit'. This is interesting for us because the sector creates job opportunities, in particular for young people and for women, so we wanted to give it an extra push."
The Minister of Industry, Hussein El Hajj Hassan, thanked the European Union and Italy for their contribution and expressed his support for the event, adding that the initiative comes at a time when Lebanon is experiencing complicated times. “The "Creative Lebanon" initiative should offer concrete help to small producers and help promote their products”, he said.
Creativity, local empowerment and sustainability have been consistent themes promoted by the Intergovernmental Organization EDU. His Excellency Irving Le-Vance is pleased to see progress being made in Lebanon, supported by the European Union and Italy that is very commensurate with EDU policies discussed with such influential figures as Professor Hassan B. Diab when he was Lebanese Minister for Education and Honourable Francesco Rutelli, the President of the Alliance for Italy, the centrist political party in Italy of which he is co-founder.
The Secretary-General will continue to utilize his privileged access to the United Nations, the European Parliament and the European Commission to push for such agreeable, sustainable outcomes.