VIVICITTA 2015: RUN FOR EQUALITY

18 May 2015

Beirut

The Municipality of Tyre, the Italian Embassy in Beirut, the Italian Cooperation Office in Lebanon, Italian Association UISP, UNRWA and the Italian Contingent ITALBATT within the UN Peacekeeping mission (UNIFIL) have organized the Vivicittà Run for the second consecutive year.

Funded by the Italian Development Cooperation and UISP, the theme of Vivicittà Run 2015 was ‘Run for Equality’. For the fifth year in Lebanon, Lebanese, Palestinian and Syrian school children gathered to run together for a common theme.

The race began at the Rest House in Tyre, and was attended by the First Secretary of the Italian Embassy, Federica Mazzotta, Italian Cooperation Office director Gianandrea Sandri, Tyre Municipality President Hassan Dbouk, the Director of UNRWA in Lebanon, Matthias Schmale, ITALBATT Commander Col. Giovanni Biondi and UISP President Vincenzo Manco.  

Speaking at the event, Ms. Mazzotta emphasized the large participation in the day’s run. “One thousand children running together, regardless of their nationality, social and economic backgrounds, which constitutes an important indicator of this success,” she said.

Mr. Schmale said: “It is such a joy to see boys and girls from different backgrounds running together for a common cause. And not just any cause, but for equality, one of the core principles of the United Nations and an integral part of the UNRWA education programme. This image gives us all hope for a better future”.

The race was concluded by distribution of medals to the winners.

-Ends-

Background information about the Italian Cooperation

The Italian Development Cooperation in Lebanon supports the efforts for a gradual stabilization of the socio-economic and political situation in Lebanon. Active in the framework of emergency initiatives, the Italian Cooperation doesn’t represent only one of the lead partners for the Lebanese Government in activities of bilateral development cooperation, it also became preferential interlocutor for several sectors and for the strategy of intervention adopted to respond to the Syrian Crisis.

In addition to preserving the commitment in favour of Palestine refugees, various projects had been funded through the bilateral channel in favour of the politics of social development (support to child, to women and gender issues, improvement of health services), environmental preservation (enhancing the environmental conditions, development of renewable energies, sustainable use of natural resources), infrastructural politics especially the ones related to the water supply network (water purification plants, wastewater treatment, installation of irrigation canals) and politics for waste disposal, agriculture and rural development, protection and valorization of the cultural heritage (preservation of archeological sites, requalification of the historic urban areas, training).

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.

Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency's General Fund (GF), supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit. Currently the deficit stands at more than US$ 106  million.

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness

UNRWA Spokesperson

Mobile:

+972 (0)54 240 2659

Office:

+972 (0)2 589 0267

Sami Mshasha

Chief of Communications & Arabic Language Spokesperson

Mobile:

+972 (0)54 216 8295

Office:

+972 (0)2 589 0724

Zizette Darkazally

Public Information Officer – Lebanon Field Office

Mobile:

+ 961 (0)1 840 490

Office:

+ 961 (0)1 840 490