Press Release

The European Union and United Nations improve the social and economic functions in Bickfaya-Mhaydseh

23 April 2024

  • Beirut, 23 April 2024 – Committed to supporting local authorities to improve livelihoods and restore socioeconomic functions of Lebanese societies, the European Union, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), in partnership with the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities inaugurated the newly rehabilitated Bickfaya-Mhaydseh town centre in collaboration with the Municipality of Bickfaya-Mhaydseh.
Caption: Group Photo from the ceremony

The protracted socioeconomic, financial, and political crises in Lebanon have severely impacted municipalities across the country. This has affected the services municipalities can provide and their efforts to preserve public infrastructures and facilities.

The rehabilitation of Bickfaya-Mhaydseh town centre, realized through the “paths to improved livelihoods” project, was made possible by the European Union's substantial funding of US$ 466,000. This contribution facilitated the restoration of more than 3.9 kilometres of the town main road, which hosts more than 200 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), 15 percent of which are led by women entrepreneurs.

The recently completed restoration will positively impact the lives of over 9,000 residents. Among the work completed was the rehabilitation of the public garden of the municipality and the planting of 25 landscaping trees, as well as the construction of pedestrian-friendly streets designed to attract a wide variety of shops and stores, thereby enriching the range of services available, providing new commercial opportunities for the local community. This includes upgrading existing infrastructure by establishing new and secure pedestrian crossings, rehabilitating the main road sidewalks, and installing more than 450 traffic and safety signs and more than 2,000 cat’s-eye pavement studs. 

Our sincere thanks go out to all partners who have supported the restoration of the town centre of Bickfaya-Mhaydseh. It is our hope that this initiative is replicated as widely as possible across Lebanese cities and villages. Our community and everyone visiting Bickfaya-Mhaydseh have been made safer and more secure by this project,” said Mayor Nicole Gemayel, Bickfaya-Mhaydseh Municipality.

Caption: Mayor Nicole Gemayel, Bickfaya-Mhaydseh Municipality.

“The urban regeneration of Bickfaya-Mhaydsseh town centre is part of UN-Habitat’s wider efforts in Lebanon to improve urban stabilization, regeneration and development​. This intervention further highlights the positive impact of the MERP project on the long-term resilience of subnational authorities and the safety and security of their communities. I am delighted that Bickfaya-Mhaydsseh prioritised these interventions to enhance the overall wellbeing of its community, including ensuring access to safe and inclusive public spaces, which often provide an equal ground for people to come together,” said Taina Christiansen, Head of UN-Habitat Lebanon.

Caption: Taina Christiansen, Head of UN-Habitat Lebanon

"MERP has made significant strides in strengthening municipal capacities. It has enabled municipalities to deliver key services crucial for economic and social resilience. Today, we celebrate the success of the Bickfaya-Mhaydsseh 'Path to Improved Livelihoods' project, which not only revitalized urban areas but also fostered local economic development,” said Raghed Assi, Crisis Prevention and Crisis Response Programme Manager, UNDP Lebanon.

Caption: Raghed Assi, Crisis Prevention and Crisis Response Programme Manager, UNDP Lebanon


Through MERP, the EU is supporting local economic development by building resilient, inclusive communities and basic service delivery for all,” said Alessia Squarcella, Deputy Head of Cooperation at the EU Delegation to Lebanon. 

Caption: Alessia Squarcella, Deputy Head of Cooperation at the EU Delegation to Lebanon

These initiatives were supported by a business development plan and a socioeconomic appraisal maximize the project’s impact through recommendations that included qualitative and quantitative assessments at the macro, meso, and micro levels, with a special focus on gender equality, people with disabilities, and vulnerable populations. The recommendations from the appraisal were used to strengthen the project’s final design and implementation.

By facilitating a series of workshops for residents and shop owners in Bickfaya-Mhaydseh, the UN, in partnership with the Municipality of Bickfaya-Mhaydseh, has enhanced the project’s long-term socioeconomic impact. This collaboration has resulted in the formulation of new urban design guidelines. The municipality will implement these guidelines in future construction works to preserve the community’s character and historic essence.

As part of the project, additional funds will be allocated to support implementing a vocational training program in crafts and food processing for entrepreneurs in Bickfaya-Mhaydseh which is expected to start in May 2024. These training courses aim to safeguard and maintain local heritage by transmitting traditional knowledge to future generations and reconnecting them with their heritage and cultural identity. Participants will also receive training in packaging, labelling, and marketing their products, paving the way for their future commercial success.



For more information please contact: 

Aline Kiwan, MERP Media and Communication Officer, at, mobile 03-294070


Note to editors


About the Municipal Empowerment and Resilience Project (MERP)

MERP is a joint project by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat). The Project is being implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities (MoIM) and funded by the European Union (EU). The project aims to strengthen the long-term resilience of subnational authorities in Lebanon as well as host communities and displaced persons affected by the Syrian crisis. Learn more about MERP at UNDP website and UN-Habitat website


About the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat)

UN-Habitat works in over 90 countries supporting people in cities and human settlements for a better urban future. Working with governments and local partners, its high impact projects combine world-class expertise and local knowledge to deliver timely and targeted solutions. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development includes a dedicated Goal on cities, SDG 11 – to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.


Learn more at or follow us on Twitter at @UNHabitatLB, on Facebook at UN-Habitat Lebanon and on Instagram at UNHabitatLB 


About the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

UNDP is the leading United Nations organization fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality and climate change. Working with our broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, we help nations to build integrated, lasting solutions for people and the planet.

Learn more at or follow on Twitter at @UNDP_Lebanon, on Facebook at UNDP Lebanon and on Instagram at UNDP_Lebanon


About the European Union (EU)

The European Union supports Lebanon’s stability, independence and sovereignty, its prosperity and democratic order. It strives also to help protect its environment and natural resources by supporting sustainable enterprise and development. The European Union is also committed to the promotion and protection of human rights in Lebanon including defending gender equality, children’s rights and freedom of expression. The EU Delegation in Lebanon represents the European Union to the Republic of Lebanon with the objective to maintain and develop mutual beneficial relations. It engages in political, social and economic development activities on behalf of the European Union and based on the most pressing needs of the country of Lebanon.

Learn more on the work of the EU in Lebanon or follow on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at @EUinLebanon


UN entities involved in this initiative

United Nations Human Settlements Programme
United Nations Development Programme

Goals we are supporting through this initiative