WED 23 - 5 - 2018
Apr 21, 2018
The Daily Star
Wisdom of youth
Social cohesion is no longer a topic or theme tackled in the recipe of planning or implementing a developmental project; it is a global concern as a pillar for any developmental process. Some countries are putting cohesion policies based on place-based approach due to the impact of cohesion on any state building process.
In order to diagnose any community, one shall study the social influence and inclusion in it. This helps in setting place-based policies that are long-term strategies that aim at facing social exclusion and tackling the underutilization of any community’s assets. Social inclusion and effective community participation in community development is not anymore an activity or session conducted from time to time; however, inclusion and participation shall be structured in the society as a culture and life style.
The development of local cohesion policies has evolved during the last six decades tremendously. Starting with the classical institutional school which had clear assumptions that institutions know better. Society needs institutions, according to this school, in order to identify priorities and develop policies that lead to growth. This school has had another edition with the neo-institutionalism theory which identifies clear set of prerequisites for any given development setting in order to achieve escape velocity from poverty traps and move toward cohesion between many territories.
This was encouraged by the community of international financial institutions in Washington and was adapted by the world bank and the IMF under the title Washington Consensus. The results of the application of the reform list were not successful and in some countries harmful because it remained with the assumption that institutions know better and a fixed set of reform policies can achieve the same results regardless of the context.
This has led to a massive movement toward reform and care of social cohesion and context specificities of every country, every region and every city. Local economic development understood the concept of place-based policies, which is basically about the creation of policies starting with the assumption that people know better and that successful policies require engaged societies which participate in the development of their own priorities and policies.
Sidon is currently witnessing a clear application to place-based policies. It’s own people are deciding their priorities and planning for their future. In the framework of MP Bahia Hariri’s 2018 campaign, youth of Sidon are taking the lead and deciding the city’s priorities and appropriate policies that could lead to implementing them.
Hariri understood clearly the dynamics of effective socially cohesive policies and hence supported the youth of the city with an open space which can help them brainstorm and produce scientific material to understand what the city already has and what it still needs to include them in her electoral pledge program.
In their road to undertake such important tasks, they are cooperating with all the experts of the city based on their specialization. They are implementing such active and interactive workshops on daily basis based on tested international norms and methodologies.
Once again after the 2009 campaign, Sidon youth are engaged in the critical task of deciding the city’s future and creating their own understanding of what future they want in Sidon within a clear application to place based policies under the clear conviction that the people knows better.
Hiba Huneini is manager of the Youth and Civic Engagement Program at the Hariri Foundation for Sustainable Human Development. Email her at
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on April 21, 2018, on page 3.
The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the Arab Network for the Study of Democracy
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