MP Tobias Zech and delegation of German politicians visit Beqaa Valley

June 28 Tuesday

Date/time

June 28, 2016

Loc.

Beqaa Valley, Lebanon

Type

Event

On Tuesday, June 28, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation’s Beirut office and a German delegation composed of visiting politicians undertook a joint tour of the Beqaa Valley.

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The German delegation consisted of MP Tobias Zech (CSU), member of the Bundestag Committee for Economic Cooperation and Development as well as member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Herbert Hofauer, mayor of the Bavarian town of Altötting and Erwin Schneider, district administrator of Altötting.

At the Order of Malta’s Kefraya office the German delegates were briefed about the order’s operations in the Beqaa Valley such as the distribution of food aid to Syrian refugees and the provision of medical services. Subsequently, the delegates were given a short demonstration of one of the order’s mobile medical care units in action in an unofficial makeshift refugee camp. Afterwards the delegation continued their travel to a refugee camp in Jeb Jannine supported by the UNHCR. Meeting officials of the Agency as well as a refugee family from the Syrian city of Homs, the delegates made themselves familiar with the living conditions of the camp and inquired about the inhabitants’ access to basic services and especially food aid.

In the afternoon, the German delegation met with local politicians, namely with MP Joseph Maalouf (Forces Libanaises), Assaad Zgheib, the head of the local council in Zahlé, Toni Abou Younes, the vice head of the Local Council, Antoinette Nasr and Anthony Nachar, members of the Foreign Affairs Department of the Forces Libanaises, Philippe Melhem, member of the municipality, Marie-Lina Hraoui, head of the International Relations Office of the Kataeb party and Marwan Abdallah, member of the International Relations Office of the Kataeb party.

During a round table discussion, the German and Lebanese politicians talked about their experiences with decentralization and municipal government. It was emphasized, that decentralization is a vital feature of both the Lebanese and German political system. Yet, various factors such as clientelism and corruption still hinder the fruitful implementation of this principle in the Lebanese context. The Lebanese participants to the discussion expressed hope, that the further implementation of e-government mechanisms could improve the efficiency of local government in Lebanon. Moreover, they stressed the importance of encouraging the youth to participate in politics.

In the German case there are four levels of government from local to national, which are responsible for different tasks, the German delegation explained. The national and regional government only takes care of services, which the more local levels of government are unable to provide. Furthermore, according to the German constitution living standards should be roughly equal in all municipalities, which is ensured by a complex financial equalization scheme. Lastly, the German delegation emphasized the importance of professional civil servants, who value the intrinsic purpose of their work above personal sympathies. After fruitful discussions, the participants pledged to continue the exchange of experiences on decentralization and especially on issues such as environment, water, energy and waste management in the framework of further joint projects.

MP Tobias Zech in the Jeb Jannine refugee camp

MP Tobias Zech in the Jeb Jannine refugee camp

Erwin Schneider, district administrator of Altötting, greeting Lebanese MP Joseph Maalouf

Erwin Schneider, district administrator of Altötting, greeting Lebanese MP Joseph Maalouf

Herbert Hofauer, mayor of Altötting, talking to Zahle's mayor Assaad Zgheib and Hana Nasser of the KAS' Beirut Office

Herbert Hofauer, mayor of Altötting, talking to Zahle's mayor Assaad Zgheib and Hana Nasser of the KAS' Beirut Office

Peter Rimmele, head of the Beirut Office of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation addressing the German delegation as well as Lebanese politicians

Peter Rimmele, head of the Beirut Office of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation addressing the German delegation as well as Lebanese politicians

Contact person

Peter Rimmele

Resident Representative India

Peter Rimmele
Phone +91 11 26113520
Fax +91 11 45506836
Languages: Deutsch,‎ English,‎ Français,‎ Bahasa Indonesia