The Arsal Labour Market Assessment - ALMA

Publication language
Date published
14 Nov 2018
Research, reports and studies
Conflict, violence & peace, Livelihoods, Forced displacement and migration
Lebanon, Syria

Arsal is a town of around 30,000 residents on the Lebanese-Syrian border, known for the fruits of its rock and soil, and its strategic position along smuggling routes between the two nations. In 2012, the town became one of the main way stations for Syrian refugees entering Lebanon and, by 2014, Arsal had become occupied by extremist militants engaged in the Syrian conflict. The occupation prompted the Lebanese Armed Forces to seal the border, cordon off the town, and expel the militants in the summer of 2017. Now that some form stability has returned to Arsal, the town is in need of sustainable economic development and reform to provide services for refugees, improve the livelihoods of Arsalis, and redevelop markets diminished by years of conflict and demographic upheaval. To further this process, this study assesses adaptations in the Arsali labour market during the aforementioned period and provides the first representative baseline of labour market characteristics as of the end of 2017.

The study then maps and analyses economic activity, employment trends, and barriers to employment to inform future interventions by the state and development agencies.
This study’s analysis demonstrates that traditional non-hazardous economic sectors in Arsal such as agriculture have been upended in favour of fast-growing informal sectors, the war economy and sectors dependent on humanitarian funding. In response, the study highlights opportunities to increase sustainable employment and foster new higher-value-added as well as provide recommendations for livelihood interventions targeting vulnerable Lebanese and Syrian communities in Arsal.