A lecture titled “Economic Justice in Lebanon: The Role of the UNDP” was organized by the Faculty of Business Administration & Economics at Haigazian University on January 16th, 2015 at 12:00 noon in the auditorium.
In his welcoming address, Dean of the Faculty of Business Administration & Economics, Dr. Fadi Asrawi, introduced the topic of the lecture, which was economic justice in Lebanon, focusing on the role of the UNDP. Dr. Asrawi pointed out that many students at Haigazian University have asked him whether it should be called economic injustice in Lebanon, but he clarifies saying “at Haigazian we always like to look at the positive sides of these issues and search for ways that lead to economic justice.” Asrawi emphasized the importance of such a topic in Lebanon and the region explaining that classical moral philosophy places justice as one of the basic virtues along with courage, temperance, self-control, and prudence efficiency. He also added that a society that seeks peace must first work for justice.
Dr. Hassan Krayem, governance portfolio manager of the UNDP, was the guest speaker in addressing the issue of economic justice in Lebanon. Krayem emphasized on the importance of diagnosing the issue of social and economic injustice rather than justice, in Lebanon. He then identified the five major points which cause this injustice in Lebanon, elaborating briefly about each one. The first point was the structure of the Lebanese economy, where the service sector dominates over all the remaining sectors, namely Industry and Agriculture. Second, the uneven development of the different regions in Lebanon, where government resources and support are centralized in the capital, Beirut. Third, the concentration of wealth is with a minimal percentage of people of the whole population of Lebanon. Fourth, the monopolistic structure of the economy, not being free in terms of competition, giving the example of the banking sector, where only five Lebanese banks hold the 80% of the total deposits of the country. Fifth, the poverty map in Lebanon, which cross cuts with the two main issues of sectarianism and Syrian refugees.
Dr. Krayem then moved on to elaborate the role of the UNDP and other agencies concerning economic justice. He identified some of these main roles, for instance the issuance of MDG reports, the collaboration of the UNDP with municipalities, and the works of the UNDP concerning social cohesion.
An interactive session of Q&A session with students followed the lecture.
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