The Lebanese Center for Human Rights (CLDH) is a local non-profit, non-partisan Lebanese human rights organization in Beirut that was established by the Franco-Lebanese Movement SOLIDA (Support for Lebanese Detained Arbitrarily) in 2006. SOLIDA has been active since 1996 in the struggle against arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance and the impunity of those perpetrating gross human violations.

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May 31, 2012

The Daily Star - U.N. project looks to organize urban planning, May 31 2012

By Stephen Dockery
BEIRUT: A new data-gathering project is attempting to organize sprawling amounts of information about Lebanese cities in a more complex but easily visualized way.
The program, backed by the United Nations Development Program, is aiming at centralizing data so that local leaders can make more informed decisions on where to locate urban projects and deliver services to residents. The end product is a digital-layered map where mayors and municipal leaders can see information about streets and population at the same time.
Najat Rochdi from the UNDP said the project, which began to operate in Tripoli Wednesday, will allow city authorities to be much more responsive to citizen’s requests.
“This will help the planners and decision-makers and the local actors to know more about what is going on in the city,” Rochdi said.
She said the project would combine demographic and economic data that will let leaders “better plan simple things like a bus stop, so they know there is a need for a bus stop here, there is a need for a school here, there is a need for a hospital here.”
Difficulty in urban planning is a lingering malady. Due to bureaucratic and political wrangling there is no publicly accepted building numbering or road-naming convention, which impedes the development of programs such as an effective postal system.
The new organization program, if implemented in other cities, as the project managers intend, could be the first steps in fixing that.
“Let me say we were in dire need of this project,” said Nader Ghazal, the mayor of Tripoli, about the city’s broad array of previously non-centralized data. “We all know Tripoli is the second-largest city in Lebanon, and it needs new technology to provide better services for its citizens.”
Through the U.N. program, officials from the city of Malaga in Spain helped Tripoli implement the data organization system.
The city-to-city partnership is part of the United Nations’ effort to promote decentralized development in its project areas, so that officials can share information and implement projects without relying on a U.N. intermediary to set it up.
“Given the needs and gaps in north Lebanon, this intervention as well as other similar ones might be an effective agent contributing to development and pulling out more communities from the social and economic margins of the country,” said Luca Renda, a visiting UNDP official.

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