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Speaking at Day 2

Cities and Health - Combating health disparities in high density and informal communities

Wael Sinno
Area Coordinator, UN-Habitat, Lebanon

Wael Sinno graduated with a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the Lebanese American University’s School of Architecture and Design with honors in 2013. Sinno’s work has been exhibited on a number of occasions while his thesis project was published in the LAU magazine. A registered architect in Lebanon, Sinno has worked with Dar al Handasah, a leading international multidisciplinary project design consultancy, for 5 years on numerous projects ranging in scale from urban planning and design to infrastructure, transportation, and residential projects. Additionally, in 2014, Sinno worked on the renovation of traditional apartments in London with Orproject. In 2016, Sinno volunteered as an architect and urban planner to take part in public spaces projects for Syrian refugees living in temporary encampments. Afterwards, in 2018, Sinno received a Dutch Government scholarship to complete a postgraduate diploma in Green Cities for Eco-Efficiency at Erasmus University Rotterdam. After coming back from Rotterdam, Sinno joined the team at UN-HABITAT as the Area Coordinator for Beirut and Mount Lebanon to plan, manage, and develop humanitarian projects related to civil society and local authorities’ empowerment, urban analysis, community-led neighborhood upgrading projects, and public spaces.

Insight from "Creating accessible and inclusive public spaces with/for resilient communities"

UN-Habitat Lebanon undertook rapid field assessments in April 2020 to identify current responses of local authorities to COVID-19 Pandemic and the key gaps and challenges. The aim was to check ways to support them in order to contribute to a broader coordinated response and propose urgent actions for the most vulnerable locations. The assessments covered 8 governorates and a total of 550 municipalities, and revealed the following: “Crisis Cells” were established at Governorate level and “emergency committees” on unions and municipalities level, focusing on sterilizing of public spaces, distribution of masks and gloves, and fixing checkpoints at main entry points; lack of access to clean water; improper management on waste; unclear guidelines on preparing isolation centers, etc. The assessments further identified immediate, medium and long-term needs and UN-Habitat worked closely with the governorates to prioritize actions and with municipalities to identify projects per unit, all compiled into the UN-Habitat Lebanon Unions of Municipalities’ COVID-19 Rapid Assessment Report. 


One immediate project UN-Habitat Lebanon is the provision of handwashing stations to improve hygiene and sanitation practises in order to reduce the risks of COVID-19 or any similar health disease. 22 stations will be established in crowded areas, and municipalities and community focal persons will receive capacity building training and will be responsible for the maintenance and operations. In addition, 992 hygiene kits were distributed to vulnerable urban communities. 

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