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ICP Asks UNHCR Awad of World Bank & Jordan, Lebanon, Any Follow Up?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 9 -- “It is absurd that Lebanon has no access to World Bank grants because it is considered a middle-income country,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres' prepared remarks to the UN Security Council on Syria back on February 26 said.

 On April 9 at IPI Inner City Press asked Amin Awad, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Bureau of the UNHCR, what the agency and rest of the UN have been doing to bring about a change at the World Bank on this.

  Amin Awad replied to Inner City Press that “on the World Bank, I think there is a conviction at the Bank, at the high level, the management” for a “special provision or at least a suspension of the rule” that middle income countries are not eligible. “We are pushing in that direction,” he said, and “there is traction among donors.” He said the realities in Jordan and Lebanon are different now, on income, growth rate, the support they need. “The World Bank is a leading institution and has to be involved with Jordan and Lebanon” and other countries.

  But will they? We'll stay on this. Watch this site.

   Back on February 26 Inner City Press, when Guterres came to the Security Council stakeout after the meeting, asked him about this addition, and if he -- and UN Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Kyung-wha Kang beside him -- would be pushing for a change at the World Bank, which is official a part of the UN “family.”

  Guterres replied that development assistance should taken into account this new world, where Lebanon and Jordan but also Chad, Niger and Cameroon with respect to Nigeria, and Ethiopia and Kenya with respect to Somalia, are the “first line of defense for global collective security.” Video here.

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