This information-sharing portal serves as an eye-opener on the living conditions and needs in Palestinian Gatherings in Lebanon, put in the hands of development organizations, donor agencies and researchers active or seeking to support these grey communities.

Launched by the UNDP project “Improving Living Conditions in Palestinian Gatherings Host Communities”, this interactive tool is expected to promote greater collaboration and transparency among organizations active in the Gatherings, by guiding them to coordinate their activities, explore partnerships, and design and fund informed interventions. Members of the Gatherings Working Group will be able to directly utilize this tool to share projects’ updates, map priority needs and disseminate publications on Palestinian Gatherings in Lebanon.

The Gatherings Working Group is a national coordination and information sharing platform that brings together national and international NGOs and UN agencies active in the Gatherings. Chaired by UNDP, the Group meets monthly to discuss needs in the gatherings and to jointly plan and coordinate their interventions in multiple sectors including WASH, shelter, and socio-economic and youth support.

Palestinian Gatherings

Palestinian Gatherings in Lebanon refer to neighborhoods located outside the official boundaries of Palestinian Refugee Camps that accommodate for groups of Palestinian refugees. Palestinian Gatherings were first identified by fafo (2003) as informal areas that constitute relatively homogenous refugee communities of a minimum of 25 households exhibiting humanitarian needs; 42 Gatherings fell under these criteria. In 2017, the Lebanese – Palestinian Dialogue Committee (LPDC) conducted a national census in Palestinian Camps and Gatherings in Lebanon and identified a total of 154 Gatherings by reducing the number of minimum households in a gathering to 15. Some of these Gatherings are the result of horizontal demographic expansion of the camps, forming a special category known as Camps’ Adjacent Areas (AAs). This website includes information on 60 Gatherings, including the 42 Gatherings defined by Fafo and those that exhibited higher needs and vulnerabilities. Population figures rely as much as possible on the results of the 2017 census.

According to the census, 55% of Palestinian refugees live outside the camps in gatherings with an average population of 120,000, the majority of whom are Palestinian refugees. While legal restrictions imposed on work and property ownership for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon contribute to the worsening of their socio-economic conditions, Palestinian refugees living in the Gatherings suffer from yet additional challenges. While these refugees are registered with UNRWA and/or the Lebanese Government, their place of settlement, unlike camps, is not officially recognized. This has a number of implications on refugees’ living conditions, starting with their tenure security. Moreover, UNRWA’s mandate limits its provision of basic urban services (except education and health, which is accessible to all registered refugees) to the borders of the 12 recognized Palestinian Refugee Camps in Lebanon. At the same time, Palestinian Gatherings are excluded from national development plans, local upgrading projects and the provision of municipal urban services. Refugees rely on short-term alternative solutions to access urban services, resources and jobs, which are usually associated with informality, risks and lack of efficiency. This has contributed in some cases to rising tensions with neighboring communities, especially in the absence of communication channels and coordination mechanisms between the two entities. The accommodation of new waves of refugees displaced from Syria in the Gatherings have also contributed to escalating competition over limited resources, jobs as well as aid.