Press Release

Celebrating Results of the Joint UN Productive Sectors Development Programme

16 April 2024

  • Beirut, 16 April 2024 – The United Nations Productive Sectors Development Programme (PSDP) successfully concluded, marking a significant milestone in the joint UN efforts towards supporting Lebanon’s economic empowerment and sustainable development. The closing ceremony, held at the UN House, highlighted the main achievements of PSDP that contributed to the development of the country's agricultural and agri-food sectors.
Caption: Group Photo from the closing ceremony of the UN PSDP
Photo: ©ESCWA

The event was attended by Mr. George Bouchikian, Lebanese Minister of Industry, Mr. Mohamad Abou Haidar, General Director of the Ministry of Economy and Trade and representative of Minister Amin Salam, and Mr. Salem Darwich, Advisor to and representative of the Minister of Agriculture Abbas Haj Hassan, in addition to Mrs. Stefanie McCollum, Ambassador of Canada to Lebanon, and Mr. Imran Riza, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Lebanon. Representatives of local authorities, the private sector, UN entities, and media outlets also attended the event. 

Implemented by six UN entities, namely UNIDO, FAO, UN Women, UNDP, UNICEF, and ILO, and generously funded by the Government of Canada, the PSDP helped create jobs and economically empower women and youth in the agricultural and agri-food sectors in Lebanon. 

In his opening remarks, Minister Bouchikian stressed PSDP's success in supporting Lebanon’s productive sectors and in promoting innovation and investment in target areas, saying: "The impact of the programme goes beyond boosting direct economic growth, contributing to improved living standards and creating new jobs, leading to social and economic stability in the regions that are most in need." In his speech, Bouchikian also praised the achievements of the "Lebanon Exports Academy" established under PSDP, which helped enhance the export capacities of entrepreneurs and farmers and opened access to new markets.

Mr. George Bouchikian, Lebanese Minister of Industry
Photo: ©ESCWA

We gather today to celebrate the successful conclusion of the Productive Sectors Development Programme, recognizing the pivotal role of the agriculture sector amidst economic challenges. Through PSDP, we've fortified job creation and food security, ensuring access to sustenance and prosperity for all,” said Abou Haidar in his opening remarks. “With the support of the LEBTRADE team, we've identified new markets for Lebanese products, crafted commercial roadmaps, and facilitated export processes. This aligns with our strategy to empower Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and bolster our trade balance,” said Abou Haidar, renewing the Ministry’s commitment to a “resilient Lebanon, fostering growth and opportunity for all.” 

Caption: Mr. Mohamad Abou Haidar, General Director of the Ministry of Economy and Trade
Photo: ©ESCWA

For his part, Darwich thanked the Canadian government and the UN entities for their generous and unwavering support throughout the implementation of the programme. He also highlighted PSDP’s role and impact on the beneficiaries who provided positive feedback to the ministry, particularly for the acquired skills, and access to new customers and international markets. “The ministry is always looking to close the gap in the implementation of agricultural projects through funding from donors and UN entities. The ministry will soon announce a work plan for the coming years on priorities for the agricultural sector and food security in Lebanon,” he concluded in his opening remarks.

For her part, Ambassador McCollum stated: “The PSDP stands as a testament to Canada's steadfast commitment to bolstering Lebanon's productive sectors and fostering economic well-being, particularly for the vulnerable women working in these sectors. By investing in people, particularly those in rural areas, and prioritizing sustainable productive sectors of the economy, we chart a course towards a more prosperous and resilient future for all.” 

Caption: Mrs. Stefanie McCollum, Ambassador of Canada to Lebanon
Photo: ©ESCWA

The ceremony featured the distribution of awards to 11 partners, including high-achieving beneficiaries from PSDP, recognizing their outstanding contributions to the growth and development of Lebanon's agricultural and agri-food sectors in general, and the success of the programme in particular. 

In his opening remarks, Riza highlighted the timeliness of the programme amidst increased concerns regarding food security in Lebanon and the unfolding economic crisis, which is making access to financing difficult and the import of raw materials very costly. "In times of crisis, sustainable solutions are paramount,” he said. “PSDP exemplified the power of collaboration and innovation in supporting economic growth and empowering youth and women", he added. 

Caption: Mr. Imran Riza, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Lebanon

The event also included a short presentation of the PSDP's main results and achievements, and a Panel Discussion with the participation of five PSDP beneficiaries, who presented some inspiring stories of change and success resulting from the programme’s activities. 

The closing ceremony at the UN House was followed by the inauguration of the PSDP Booth at HORECA by Minister Bouchikian representing H.E. Caretaker Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati who stated that: “PSDP participation in HORECA is an important example of the needed support today for our productive sectors, private sector and farmers.” Highlighting the government’s commitment to continue collaboration with the UN and partners in supporting similar initiatives in the future, the minister thanked Canada for its generous support to PSDP through the Lebanon Recovery Fund. “We hope to continue our collaboration going forward,” he stressed.

Bouchikian was also joined by Mr. Walid Nassar, Lebanese Minister of Tourism, Ambassador McCollum and UN Resident Coordinator Riza in the inauguration of the PSDP booth that featured agri-food products of over 30 businesses, start-ups, and farmers showcasing a wide range of Mouneh, fruits, and vegetable products.

Caption: The inauguration of the PSDP Booth at HORECA
Photo: ©ESCWA

Moving forward, the successful conclusion of the PSDP sets a strong foundation for continued collaboration and innovation in driving sustainable development and prosperity in the productive sectors and will set the stage for future similar initiatives.

Nadine Abi Zeid Daou (RCO)

Nadine Abi Zeid Daou

National Information Officer

UN entities involved in this initiative

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
International Labour Organization
UN Women
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women
United Nations Development Programme
United Nations Children’s Fund
United Nations Industrial Development Organization

Other entities involved in this initiative

Embassy of Canada

Goals we are supporting through this initiative