The appointment of General Paolo Serra as UNIFIL mission commander is the latest in a series of acknowledgements of Italy’s commitment in Lebanon, and of our country’s contribution to the UN peacekeeping missions, as top G8-member supplier of troops and sixth largest contributor to the UN peacekeeping budget.
Italy’s active role in Lebanon is part and parcel of our efforts to foster stability and security throughout the Mediterranean and Middle East, the dynamics of which are of vital importance to international security.
On the military front, as part of the effort to maintain the ceasefire in southern Lebanon that followed the 2006 war, Italy deploys a contingent of over 1,000 troops whose professional skill has been acknowledged by international partners and the peoples with whom they have come into contact
On the civilian front, Italy is among Lebanon’s top donor countries and, over the past five years, has been number two in Europe. More than 60 cooperation programmes amounting to donations of over €100 million were approved and immediately implemented between 2008 and 2010; in excess of €10 million was earmarked in the same period to improve living conditions in camps hosting over 400,000 Palestinians, and to help the Lebanese people living in the areas adjacent to the camps, with a view to promoting dialogue and coexistence.
The Italian Cooperation in Lebanon is a broad-based expression of System Italy, developing and enhancing synergies arising from the presence on the ground of a variety of actors (UTLs, NGOs, decentralized cooperation and the CIMIC units of our UNIFIL contingent) under the comprehensive coordination of the Embassy in Beirut.
The efforts by the Embassy and Italian Cooperation are distinguished by an integrated approach and close interaction with the local authorities, the main channel to activating local development. Italy has thus gained a lead role in the donor community, where it has been assigned the presidency of community coordination in matters of local development, environment and gender.