Over the past decade, Lebanon has endured multiple crises, including political instability, the fast changing financial and economic situation, as compounded by the COVID19 outbreak, the Beirut Port explosions and the impact of the Syria crisis These compounded crises have significantly exacerbated pre-existing development challenges in the country, while contributing to the deterioration of an already fragile natural ecosystem, given the immense added pressure on resources.
Within this framework, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with support from the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Lebanon, have partnered to jointly prepare the “The State of the Environment and Future Outlook: Turning the Crises into Opportunities” in close collaboration with the Ministry of Environment. The purpose of the report is to consolidate, analyze and present the latest available data on the environment in various key sectors in Lebanon. Each chapter has been drafted and reviewed by experts across the fields of solid waste, water and wastewater, land management, air pollution and environment policies. The report ultimately seeks to make data and analysis available to the public, policy makers and humanitarian and development partners to support evidence based policies, and to facilitate better planning and programme on environment issues.
It also provides forward looking scenarios for the future of the environment and natural resource management in Lebanon. These scenarios include (a) a negative outlook that is based on the current situation and status quo and (b) a more positive outlook that considers these crises as opportunities to build Lebanon forward and break the country’s current unsustainable path. As the multiple crises that Lebanon is experiencing continue to negatively affect the environment across the board, there is a real risk that the positive gains made could be reversed and that the country could face accelerated environmental emergencies of greater impact. This is notwithstanding the fact that the continued environmental degradation will likely further exacerbate Lebanon’s overall crises.