The SRTF Participates in the Barcelona Conference on “Post-Conflict and Re-Construction in Mena”

Barcelona, Spain – Sunday, 10 April 2016 – Eng. Hani Khabbaz, Director-General of the SRTF, participates in the “Post-Conflict Re-Construction in MENA: Previous experiences and stakeholders’ inclusive involvement in the future of Libya, Syria and Iraq” conference held in Barcelona, Spain, today.


Organized by the European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed) – Casa Arabe - in collaboration with ICEX Spain Trade and Investment, the conference was attended by a selective group of experts, stakeholders and institutions. These included, among others, the European Investment Bank, Chatham House, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), The Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade (ICEX), etc.


The conference, the first of two meetings organized in Barcelona and Madrid during 2016, will tackle the different challenges related to reconstruction in post-conflict countries in the MENA region.Taking into account previous experiences and stakeholders inclusive involvement,, the conference sought to address the evaluation and qualification of the physical reconstruction and its impact on different economic sectors. It also dealt with the issue of who and how to finance reconstruction and the different political and economic dimensions of reconstruction.


Addressing the participants, Eng. Khabbaz explained the SRTF structure, membership and stakeholders, operational strategy and approaches as well as its active projects and their achievements.


Eng. Khabbaz illustrated a series of lessons learned from the SRTF experience. Referring to the first lesson learned, he said: “Even amidst an ongoing conflict, recovery plans can be formulated and activities initiated in accessible areas, using existing capacities of local actors with the support of international experts.” The Director General underlined that reconstruction initiatives should avoid relying solely on international expertise but instead use to the maximum possible national and local capacities. “Never compromise international fiduciary and project management standards for the sake of expediency.” Eng. Khabbaz affirmed. However, he said: “These standards should be adopted and modified and be made ‘fit for purpose’ if required while maintaining their core integrity.”


Another lesson learned, according to Eng. Khabbaz, is that recovery and reconstruction, of the scale that would be required in the three countries, “cannot be done through uncoordinated bilateral engagements.” He said: “They are best done through the proven multilateral financing mechanism of a Multi-Donor Trust Fund.”  He emphasized that “TFs are important instruments to mobilize significant resources, target them to prioritized activities, improve resource efficiency and effectiveness, share risks, reduce transaction costs, promote transparency and ensure comprehensive reporting of results and challenges.”   


The outcome of the conference, including conclusions, proposals and recommendations will be published in Conference document.




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