The World Bank partnered with the government of Lebanon and bilateral agencies in 2003 to implement the Cultural Heritage and Urban Reconstruction Project (CHUD) to help conserve and restore the country’s cultural heritage in five of its historic cities: Baalbek, Byblos, Saida, Tripoli, and Tyre. CHUD’s objective was “to create the conditions for increased local economic development and enhanced quality of life in the historic centers of five main secondary cities” and “to improve the conservation and management of Lebanon’s built cultural heritage”. The $119 million project was financed with an International Bank for Reconstruction and Development loan, parallel financing from the governments of France and Italy, and with counterpart financing.
CHUD was innovatively designed to help build a “connective tissue” between Lebanon’s cultural heritage sites and its historic urban cores. The project aimed to physically connect Lebanon’s historic sites to the tangible and intangible heritage embedded in its urban core. This connectivity would increase local economic development opportunities by widening the tourism playing field. It would also increase the quality of life by upgrading unorganized, congested and polluted parts of the urban core. The project placed culture at the heart of the country’s post-conflict reconstruction efforts. It offered a more socially cohesive reconstruction pathway than that experienced by other cases in the region and globally where modern reconstruction designs left people and culture behind.
The PPAR (Project Performance Assessment Report) used a layered approach and was conducted in three phases. The first phase consisted of a literature and document review, key informant interviews held in Washington, DC, in October and November 2018, and a stakeholder mapping exercise. A team of Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) staff and international consultants conducted the second phase, which was launched in Lebanon in November 2018. This phase included meetings and a workshop with the implementing agencies within the Council of Development and Reconstruction and the Directorate of Antiquities; interviews of local government officials, parallel financing partners, and other architectural and cultural heritage experts. The second phase included site visits to all five historic city centers, supported by the Project Management Unit and the local governments of Baalbek, Byblos, Saida, Tyre, and Tripoli. The third phase, conducted in December 2018, used learning from phases I and II to identify and assess implementation issues in Baalbek, Tripoli, and Saida, where implementation issues had been identified. Field protocols developed for these cities included interviewing a range of project-affected persons living and working around the project sites.