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Gender based violence (GBV) coordination in a complex, multi-crisis context: a qualitative case study of Lebanon’s compounded crises (2019–2023)

Raftery, Philomena, Usta, Jinan, Kiss, Ligia, Palmer, Jennifer and Hossain, Mazeda ORCID: 0000-0002-1878-8145 (2023) Gender based violence (GBV) coordination in a complex, multi-crisis context: a qualitative case study of Lebanon’s compounded crises (2019–2023). Conflict and Health, 17 (1). ISSN 1752-1505

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Identification Number: 10.1186/s13031-023-00543-8


Background: Since 2019 Lebanon has faced multiple compounded crises. Political and social instability, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Beirut Port explosion, alongside the influx of refugees related to the ongoing Syrian conflict, have resulted in a nationwide economic emergency. In the context of the humanitarian response to the Syrian conflict, the UN and government-led gender-based violence (GBV) task force has coordinated the sub-sector since 2012. The compounded crisis, however, created new challenges for GBV coordination and service delivery, which we explore in this paper. We highlight lessons for strengthening GBV coordination in Lebanon and other complex emergencies. Methods: We conducted 29 remote in-depth interviews, reviewed key policy documents and observed seven GBV task force meetings. We analysed and presented our findings across three key themes: context-relevant and adaptable coordination mechanisms; coordination to support GBV service delivery; and stakeholders’ roles, legitimacy and power. Results: Parallel response frameworks developed to address the multiple crises, created a complex humanitarian architecture within an increasingly challenging operating context, with some perceived inefficiencies. Positively, coordination was integrated under the established government-UN interagency system and the GBV task force maintained GBV sub-sector coordination. The task force was commended for effectively adapting to the evolving context, including working remotely, maintaining essential GBV services, assessing the compounded crises’ impact on programming and adjusting accordingly, and harmonising guidance, tools and approaches. The importance of ensuring a government co-led response was highlighted by both UN and government informants, who pointed to examples where marginalising government leadership compromised coordination effectiveness and sustainability. The participation of local actors had become increasingly important but more difficult, with the impact of the various crises, and remote modalities, challenging service delivery and staff wellbeing. Conclusion: Experiences from Lebanon highlight the essential role of government leadership in coordination; the value of investing in local GBV capacity; the significance of effective national, subnational and intersectoral coordination to support service delivery and address cross-cutting GBV issues; the importance of targeted interventions to support marginalised populations; and the need to prioritize the well-being of front-line staff during crisis response. In Lebanon, and other complex crises, donors are encouraged to increase flexible, multiyear funding for GBV coordination and services, while women-led organizations should be at the forefront of recovery efforts, contributing to a more equitable society.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2023, BioMed Central Ltd., part of Springer Nature.
Divisions: IGA: Centre for Women Peace and Security
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
J Political Science > JZ International relations
J Political Science > JQ Political institutions Asia
Date Deposited: 06 Nov 2023 10:51
Last Modified: 15 Apr 2024 16:24

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