UNIFIL attaches great importance to relations with the local population among whom the peacekeepers operate. There are several facets to this relationship: these include informing the people of south Lebanon about UNIFIL’s mandate and activities; providing or facilitating limited assistance to the extent possible; respecting and sharing in the local culture, customs and concerns; participating in community events and ensuring minimum disturbance to normal daily life from UNIFIL’s operations in the area. To this end, interactions with the communities are regularly conducted at every level.
Civil Affairs (civilian) and Civil Military Coordination (military) are the main interface between UNIFIL and the communities in which the mission operates. Personnel from these units play a key role in liaising with local authorities and communities on behalf of the Mission as well as undertaking a range of activities to support the population in the missions's areas of responsibility.
Liaison and coordination
UNIFIL liaises with a wide range of actors at the local, regional and national level. These include local government representatives, community leaders, religious figures, civil society groups and international agencies engaged in development activities. Such liaison and coordination is critical to relationship building and in coming up with collaborative activities for the benefit of the southern community.
Supporting local communities
Supporting local communities help build local goodwill leading to creation of conducive climate for mandate implementation. UNIFIL’s Civil Affairs Office assists in developing and strengthening the capacity of civil society organizations. It also facilitates the creation of networks or contacts between various organizations and advises on funding support from external donors for projects in south Lebanon.
Socio-cultural activities – key outreach tool
Although not a humanitarian or development agency, UNIFIL has, from the early years of its deployment in 1978, had a strong humanitarian disposition in addressing the consequences of wars and occupations in south Lebanon. Together with military personnel coming from different countries, organization of cultural events helps in building relationships and is the key to creating diverse communities that are powerful enough to achieve significant goals.
Direct support from UNIFIL battalions
UNIFIL battalions deliver a range of basic services to communities using the skills and technical expertise of peacekeepers, as well as through limited employment of UNIFIL’s engineering and other operational resources in support of the local population. UNIFIL contingents provide free medical, dental, veterinary and other such services to the local population. UNIFIL contingents have been conducting various training programmes for different sections of the local community in fields such as computers, languages, cooking, yoga, martial arts etc.
Quick Impact Projects
Quick Impact Projects (QIPs) are small-scale, rapidly implementable projects which complement, rather than substitute, longer term development initiatives of other agencies and actors. QIPs are intended to address some of the most pressing needs of the population and support local authorities while fostering troop acceptance and creating a conducive climate for mandate implementation.
In the immediate aftermath of the 2006 conflict, the focus of UNIFIL projects was primarily on access to basic services, particularly water and electricity, as well as rehabilitation of roads and related social infrastructure. Thereafter, UNIFIL diversified the projects it funds to include support to civil society and capacity-building initiatives. Following UNIFIL’s strategic review in 2012 and 2017, the Mission also utilizes QIPs as an essential tool to maintain and enhance the engagement of the central authorities in southern Lebanon through their involvement in implementation of projects that address the basic needs of the local population in the area. In 2020, following the outbreak of the pandemic, the mission reprioritized a portion of its QIP budget to support local COVID-19 efforts.
Civil Affairs and CIMIC teams work jointly in identifying projects based on needs expressed by local communities. Civil Affairs Office then takes the lead in managing the QIP process and keeps the relevant Mission components regularly informed on the status of ongoing QIPs.
(see list attached)
How to apply for funding for a Quick Impact Project?
QIP projects undertaken by the Mission are those that meet one or more of the criteria clearly established by the DPKO/DFS Policy on QIPs
(Civil Affairs Handbook - Chapter 12). QIPs are also required to have certain essential characteristics; such as small scale, low cost, of non-recurrent nature, not duplicative; and are not intended as humanitarian or long-term development assistance. The template for a QIP is attached for perusal.
Last updated: 28 May 2021