Prospects for peace in crises

Lebanon context analysis, February–July 2020

This report aims to support organisations in planning and design of peacebuilding and development interventions.

It provides an update to the context analysis report Envisioning and contesting a new Lebanon? Actors, issues and dynamics following the October protests, which covered the period between October 2019 and January 2020, by considering the COVID-19 implications on issues and dynamics, and following the same framing of discussing actors, issues and dynamics.

The report covers the period between February and July 2020. It seeks to guide peacebuilding and development programmes, while identifying spaces for strengthening civic activism and political dialogue, amid a highly volatile, uncertain and tense situation.

It draws on semi-structured interviews with women and men of different age groups, interests and areas of activism, as well as different political affiliations – including affiliations with political parties of the establishment and opposition parties. Interviews conducted for this report also complement the field work of the previous report.

The data was collected and analysed before the massive explosion in Beirut Port on 4 August. This event has had extensive ramifications on the context in Lebanon and significant implications for the outlooks presented in the analysis and for peacebuilding overall.

The Beirut Port explosion hit the country at a time when it was already grappling with an economic crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic and the political stalemate since October 2019,2 leaving a heavy toll of human loss, injury and trauma, and destruction, in addition to wide-reaching implications in terms of political and economic fallout, ailing infrastructure and food security issues. The port is a major facility that imports 70% of Lebanon’s local consumption, and the damage has severely impacted the country’s main economic hub. The explosion has placed Lebanon at a critical juncture, both internally and regionally, the political ramifications of which are yet to be seen.

Given the timing of the data collection, this major development is not explored in this report. Conditions are still changing rapidly, dynamics are evolving and new risks are emerging, while at the same time opportunities to support community-based initiatives and solidarity efforts, (re)build social ties and support reform are also unfolding. As such, the issues and dynamics presented in this paper are still relevant today.

Read the report in English

Read the report in Arabic