LEBANON Essay, Research Paper ?Agriculture ?Atmosphere ?Biodiversity ?Desertification and Drought ?Energy ?Forests ?Freshwater ?Land Management

LEBANON Essay, Research Paper




?Desertification and Drought




?Land Management


?Oceans and Coastal Areas

?Toxic Chemicals

?Waste and Hazardous Materials


Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies

The Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) and The Rural Development and Natural Wealth Directorate are most responsible for agriculture. National and International NGOs and UN organizations are also active.

Programmes and Projects

In terms of rural development, MoA is implementing a $5.5 million internationally-supported integrated rural development programme in the Baalbeck-Hermel region to provide small- and medium-scale farmers assistance which would lead to sustainable human development through startup activities. These activities include improvement of health, social services, education and income-generating non-agricultural activities.


Three broad areas exist where agriculture practices are having adverse effects:

?Misuse of water – the present use of irrigation water is inefficient with high losses and wasteful applications to most crops.

?Misuse of agrochemicals – agrochemicals misuse constitute a serious health hazard with an urgent need for pesticide control through law enforcement; fertilizers pose a less serious health hazard, but their use appears to be haphazard and may be contaminating water resources.

?Soil erosion from land abandonment and overgrazing.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising

Farmer capacity and awareness building is on-going. In rural areas support for groups like women is provided to help prevent migration to urban areas. Additionally, through UNDP, international assistance to local NGOs is helping vulnerable groups such as women and the disabled. NGOs like the YWCA have programmes of their own with similar goals. YWCA-USA has provided YWCA Lebanon with a $50,000 fund for rural area support.

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This information is based on Lebanon’s submission to the 5th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997.

For country reports on Plant Genetic Resources, click here.

To access the FAOSTAT Data Base for information by country, item, element and year, click here:

Click here to link to the Biosafety Information Network and Advisory Service (BINAS), a service of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), which monitors global developments in regulatory issues in biotechnology.

Click here to link to Country and Sub-regional Information on Plant Genetic Resources of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations.

Click here to go to Web Site of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, which includes information on the Codex Alimentarius and the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme.

Click here to access the Web Site of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).

Click here to access the sixteen international agricultural research centers that are members of the CGIAR.

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Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies

The Ministry of Environment (protection of the environment), Ministry of Energy, and Hydraulic Resources (management of energy and energy resources).

Other ministries are responsible the management of related issues. For instance, the Ministry of Public Health is responsible for health and health related issues, the Ministry of Interior to enforce regulation pertaining to car emissions, and the municipalities for all enforcement at local level.

The Ministry of Environment drafts decrees/laws that are forwarded to concerned Ministries (Ministry of Energy, Hydraulic and Electrical Resources, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Health, etc.) for review and comment, and then to the Council of Ministers for final approval and activation. In the case of laws, draft laws are sent to the Parliament where they will be subject to an in-depth study by the Environment Parliamentary Committee. The approved law/decree will be disseminated through the Official Gazette.

In the case of implementing internationally funded projects, e.g. the Ozone Office (a UNDP Project executed at the Ministry of Environment), the Ministry of Environment along with the Ministries of Finance, Industry, Education, gave consent to implement the Ozone Country Programme. In early 1994, a National Working Committee on Ozone Depleting Substances was formed to support the Ministry of Environment in the ODS issue. This Committee has representatives from the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Industry and Petroleum, Ministry of Education, Department of Customs and Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Association Libanaise pour la Maitrise de l?Energie (ALME), Lebanese Universities (research institutions) and Industry Association. The role of the National Working Committee is to be the main consultative body in ODS and Montreal Protocol related issues in Lebanon and is responsible for the preparation of governmental/publicly supported measures to phase out the ODS in Lebanon.

The same procedures were applied during the execution of the Climate Change Project, and now for the project on ?Alternatives to methyl bromide?, these two projects are UNDP projects executed at the Ministry of Environment.

Finally, the Council for Development and Reconstruction prepared a Five Year Development Plan (2000 ? 2004) with the aim to address social issues, achieve balanced development through concentration on less developed regions, and upgrade productive sectors. The rate of air polluting gases and deforestation were adopted as main indicators for planning and execution of projects during the defined period.

Authorities for decision-making are linked to central government. Local decision-making takes place through Mohafazats (Governorates) that provide municipalities with decisions and laws required to be implemented. Then local authorities have the full right to enforce the application of these laws through the municipal police.

The Ozone Office was established to implement obligations required by Montreal Protocol. The project targeted the public sector for introducing appropriate regulatory and legal mechanisms, the private sector for phasing out ODS, and public at large to be aware of ODS negative consequences.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations

The Decision 52/1 (1996) issued by the Ministry of Environment, and pertaining to specifications and rates relative to reducing pollution of air, water and soil. Four Annexes were included with relevant interest to the protection of the atmosphere (Article 1), these are:

- Annex 11: Maximum value allowed for the emissions of air pollutants resulting for used burned oils;

- Annex 12: Maximum value allowed for the emissions of air pollutants resulting from domestic waste incineration;

- Annex 13: Maximum value allowed for the emissions of air pollutants emitted from cement factories;

- Annex 14: Maximum value allowed for ambient air pollutants.

The Law 6603 (issued 1995, Ministry of Environment) defines in its article 1 the conditions for use of large vehicles (trucks), buses, diesel operating vehicles, in addition to monitoring the acceptable average and quality for smoke emissions. This law defines the maximum allowed main pollutants emitted by these vehicles according to the following rates:

Type of pollutantsMaximum allowed

Carbon monoxide10 mg/m3 Carbon Monoxide (CO)

Nitrogen Dioxide0.1 mg/m3 Nitrogen dioxide (NO2)

Hydrocarbures0.16 mg/m3 Hydrocarbres (HC)

Smoke0.075 mg/m3 smoke (TSP)

Also the article 2 of the same law defines Diesel specifications as follows:

- sulfur should not exceed 0.5%;

- Lead free;

- Water free;

- Residues free.

Decision 15/1, 2000 (amending decision 23/1, 1995) pertaining to banning the use and import of vehicle fire extinguishers containing halons.

Currently, work is proceeding on promulgating decisions pertaining to licensing system for import and export, banning importing equipment containing ODS, and specifically CFCs.

An EIA decree is currently under preparation by the Unit of Planning and Programming, a World Bank project executed at the Ministry of Environment. This decree would indirectly contribute to the protection of the atmosphere by regulating industrial and development projects to take place and requiring appropriate mitigation measures for the implementation of any plant inducing air pollution. An EIA chapter is provided in the Code of the Environment.

The project for ?Strengthening the Permitting and Auditing System for Industries? (SPASI) is aiming at strengthening the permitting, monitoring and auditing system for industries through the development of necessary legislation and the introduction of adequate tools. In this respect, environmental quality standards will be prepared as one of the objectives set by the project. SPASI is funded by EU-LIFE Third Countries, managed by UNDP and executed at the Ministry of Environment.

Finally, the Code of the Environment (that is still in the Parliament for review since 1998) proposed by the Ministry of Environment stipulates in the Chapter 2- Section 14 the mechanisms needed for environmental monitoring on the regulatory and technical aspects. Chapter 5, section one, puts in place the basis for establishing national standards, adopting measures for reducing consumption and importing items and gases listed in the annexes pertaining to the conventions ratified by Lebanon, developing alternatives to fuel, conserving and developing green cover, in addition to enforcement rules and regulations.

Proposals to amend Law 6603 suggests incentives and measures such as adopting lower prices for unleaded fuel prices compared to leaded fuel. Regulatory measures would include the obligatory use of catalytic converters, annual inspections of car exhausters, etc.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans

A national GHG mitigation strategy has been elaborated by the team of experts of the Climate Change Project (GEF/UNDP funded project) in 1999, and introduced in the Technical Annex to Lebanon?s First National Communication Report to UNFCCC, which assesses and evaluates in details feasible options for GHG emission reduction in the following sectors:

- Electricity supply;

- Building sector relative to building equipment and energy use industry;

- Transportation sector;

- Forestry sector; and

- Waste sector.

The above-mentioned strategy includes small, medium and large term goals.

Conserving and increasing greenhouse gas sinks;

The establishment of protected areas and increasing the vegetation cover is a main priority of the Ministry of Environment?s programme for the following years. In addition, all reforestation activities and initiatives undertaken by NGOs and local communities are highly supported.

Mitigating ozone depletion;

The following programme was developed based on the overall strategy of Montreal Protocol:

Phase I: 1998-2000:

?Total ODS phase out in aerosol industries;

?Total ODS phase out in foam industries;

?Total ODS phase out in production of commercial and industrial refrigeration industries;

?Implementation of reduction, recovery and recycling programme during refrigeration and commercial units maintenance.

?Implementation of Methyl Bromide alternatives Demonstration Project.

Phase II: 2001-2003:

? Total phase out in production of commercial refrigeration and foam sectors.

? Retrofitting of all commercial and industrial refrigeration units,

? Continuation of the reduction, recovery and recycling programme

? Implementation of Methyl Bromide Investment Projects.

? Halon Bank.

? Rules, bans and regulations.

Phase III: 2003-2005:

? Progressive decrease of ODS due to the reduction in the number of mobile air conditioners and household refrigerators using CFCs (20% less per year)

?Total phase out of ODS

? Monitoring and evaluation.

The Methyl Bromide Alternative Demonstration Project was an outcome of the Ozone Office. Managed by UNDP and executed at the Ministry of Environment, the project aims at demonstrating the efficacy of various chemical and non-chemical methods as technical and economical alternatives to methyl bromide. The non-chemical methods include the soil solarization, bio-fumigation, and use of resistant varieties where available. A national strategy to implement methyl bromide will be formulated at a last phase of the project implementation upon obtaining of all results of the demonstration sites.

The proposed scenarios were elaborated based on 1994 data. Two plans were proposed (1) a short term plan (1994-2004) and (2) the long term plan (2005- 2040). These projections are linked to what the government has announced in terms of policies and priorities, e.g. commitment to full restoration of the generation, transmission and distribution networks.

The project outcomes will be sustained through the network of focal points that encompass all concerned ministries and institutions. Another project the Top-Up Project for Climate Change will assist in reinforcing this step by assessing the technology needs required to assess greenhouse gas emissions in the different sectors.

The implemented strategy in Lebanon is the overall strategy adopted by Montreal Protocol in phase of ODS consumption and production (Lebanon?s mandate is based on regulating the consumption patterns since the Country is not a producer).

This strategy which is implemented by the Ozone Office (GEF/UNDP), a programme executed at the Ministry of Environment, includes among others formulation of required laws, covering other industrial sectors for a complete phase out of ODS, as well build the capacities of the various national participants of this programme.

Strategy related to transboundary air pollution is not elaborated yet since Lebanon is a not a signatory of the Convention on Transboundary Air Pollution, which is still restricted to European countries.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement

Scientists, university academicians and only one NGO (Association Libanaise pour la Maitrise de l?Energie) are highly involved in (1) the Steering Committees pertaining to Climate Change and Ozone Office, (2) research programmes and (3) technical consultants. Their role is rather advisory with a high participation level.

Industries are highly involved in the Ozone Office activities as (1) target groups in phasing out ODS substances and (2) decision-makers in participating to the formulation of regulatory and legal tools.

Women, children and youth are rather included in awareness raising activities, with no effect on decision-making process.

Programmes and Projects

No measures have been introduced yet to the industrial and agricultural sectors, although greenhouse gas emissions in Lebanon mainly come from energy activities, responsible for 85% of all CO2 emissions. Recommendations were proposed in the Technical Annex to Lebanon?s First National Communication carried out in the framework of activities of the GEF/UNDP Climate Chang project (1999), the outcomes of this report are still awaiting to be studied by the concerned ministries.

The CO2 emissions from energy use in manufacturing industries and construction represent 24% of the energy sector?s total emissions. According to data of 1994, Lebanese manufacturers consumed 39.15 million of gegajoules of fuel for heat and power, including both the fuel used directly and the fuel burnt remotely to generate electricity. In addition to being processed by combustion, CO2 is generated in the calcination of carbonates when manufacturing cement, iron and glass. However, the Technical Annex proposed mitigation scenarios for reducing CO2 emissions at 10% discount rate. Most of the mitigation options for the industrial sector are concerned with the improvement of energy efficiency, either in the use of electricity for motors and lighting or in cleaner combustion processes in boilers and furnaces through fuel switching or replacement with efficient systems. e.g., Bakeries fuel switching from Diesel to LPG, Natural Gas replacing fuel Oil, cement reduction 10-20% with pre-heat, and so on.

Regarding the agriculture sector, the same report proposed some recommendations to be adopted at the governmental, private and individual levels. These measures are: lower population growth, sustainable and economic water use, soil fertility conservation by land reclamation, less regulations to mitigate the disintegration of estate ownership, advanced agricultural techniques used and governmental subsidence policy for social reasons. These measures were suggested based on the increasing demographic pressure on the coast and inland, urban expansion on the expense of agricultural lands, and the changes in the agricultural practices.

However, it is worth mentioning that the Climate Change Project paved the way for two major programmes that would reduce emissions and concentrations of greenhouse gas, these are: (1) the establishment of the Energy efficiency Center, and (2) the Elaboration of the thermal building energy efficient guidelines.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that two international programmes are targeting the conservation of Lebanese forests in Lebanon. These are (1) the Protected Area Project (GEF) administered by UNDP and implemented at the Ministry of Environment, with aim to manage and protect three reserves (out of which two are forest, Barouk Cedar Reserve with 500 km2 and the Horsh Ehden Reserve), and (2) an EU assistance to forest protection along with support to the sustainable development of forested areas in Lebanon. This programme aims at training forest guards and engineers of the Ministry of Agriculture and the elaboration of plans for sustainable forest management. Three pilot sites of sustainable forestry have been developed successfully in three different regions of Lebanon.


Air pollution is considered among the most serious problems in Lebanon mainly due to its increasing impacts on health (asthma and other respiratory problems) although Lebanese inhabitants are still unaware of the linkage to be made between their healthy problems and the status of the surrounding environment where they live. This pollution is resulting from the high density of people living in urban areas (around 350 inhabitants/km2) lacking the minimum needs of green cover. In addition, more than a million cars are operational in Lebanon (more than 50% in Beirut Capital with an average of 3 persons per car). It is to note that more than 65% of industries are located on the coastline highest in terms of population growth.

After the war ended, environment was not considered a priority. Therefore, building infrastructure, establishing touristic complexes, constructing marinas, licensing industries and quarries as well as expanding residential complexes were achieved on the expenses of the vegetation cover estimated now to not exceed 6% of the total Lebanese surface area. Finally, it is not to forget the bad agricultural practices (high use of pesticides, bad irrigation techniques, de-weeding causing forest fires most of the time). All these factors exert an impact on the atmosphere, some of them reflecting an immediate negative effect, others will be more visible at medium and long term.

A total of 75.000 ha of forest trees (65.000 evergreen and 10.000 deciduous), as well as 50.280.000 non-forest trees, according to estimates of the final report of Lebanon?s First National Communication (1994).

The non-forest trees include (1) 49.794.000 farm and village trees (21.980.000 of evergreen fruit and olive trees and 27.814.000 of deciduous fruit trees) (2) 486.000 urban trees (450.000 evergreen urban trees and 36.000 deciduous urban trees).

However, the report noted that forests in 1994 constituted a minor source of carbon dioxide rather than a sink due to the increasing loss of woody biomass stocks and to forest fires. Finally the total amount of Carbon dioxide emission from land-use change and forestry was estimated to 200.413225kt.

CFCs drop from 1 million tons (1990) to 150.000 tons (1998-1999). Very rough estimates indicate that this volume is decomposed into 75% of the total amount trapped into refrigeration and 25% go to aerosols and foams.

Changes in Methyl bromide were noticed as 297 tons (1998) to 267 tons (2000) due to decreasing availability in the market and organizing awareness campaigns.

Annex 11 maximal values to be respected during oil incineration

(Incinerators of thermal value greater than 3 MW).

ElementMaximal valuemg/m3

Cadmium (Cd)0.5

Nickel (Ni)1

Chrome (Cr) + Cupper (Cu) + Vanadium (V)1.5

Lead (Pb)5

Chlore in HCL100

Fluor in HF5


Sulfur Dioxide (SO2)-

Source: Decision 52/1 (1996) – Annex 11: Maximum value allowed for the emissions of air pollutants resulting for used burned oils.

Values to be respected during incineration of domestic waste

Incinerator capacity

* 3 tons/ hour1-3 tons/ hour* 1 ton/hour

ElementMax. value mg/m3Max. value mg/m3Max. value mg/m3

Total suspended bodies20010030

PB + Cr + Cu + Mn-55

Ni + As-11

Cd + Hg-0.20.2

Cl in HCl25010050

F in HF-42


Source: Decision 52/1 (1996) – Annex 12: Maximum value allowed for the emissions of air pollutants resulting from domestic waste incineration.

Limited allowed emissions from cement factories

Total suspended bodies

Max. limits (mg/m3)

Existing furnaces150

Furnaces under construction50

Cooler (in case of lack of gas recycling)100


Other installations50

Nitrogen Oxides (NO2)

Limits (mg/Nm3)

Furnaces operating through dry process with heat recuperation* 1200

Furnaces operating of dry or semi-humid processes* 1500

Furnaces operating on wet process (without additional heat)* 1800

Heavy metals

Limits (mg/Nm3)

Cd +Ti + Hg0.2

AS + Co + Ni + Se + Te1

Sb + Cr + Cu + Sn + Mn + Pb + Va + Zn5

Sources: Decision 52/1 (1996) – Annex 13: Maximum value allowed for the emissions of air pollutants emitted from cement factories;

Maximum allowed values for ambient air pollutants

PollutantMaximal value UG/m3Exposure duration

Sulfur dioxide (SO2)350120801 hour24 hours1 year

Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2)2001501001 hour24 hours1 year

Ozone (O3)1501001 hour8 hours

Carbon monoxide (CO)30000100001 hour8 hours

Total suspended bodies12024 hours

Black suspended bodies less than 10 microns (PM*10) 8024 hours

Lead1.001 year

Benzene5ppb1 year

Source: Decision 52/1 (1996) – Annex 14: Maximum value allowed for ambient air pollutants

Apart from establishing national protected areas, no tangible measures were detected to land-used practices, whether in the Directorate General for Urban Planning or at the Ministries concerned by the transport system and the industrial sector. It is hoped that the Integrated Coastal Area Management Programme in Lebanon financed by the Mediterranean Action Plan and executed at the Ministry of Environment will assist in demonstrating an effective and integrated land-use planning that would reduce harmful effect on human and natural resources in the country (expected to be launched in early 2001).

In 1992, Lebanon used 886.6 ODP Tons of ODS, equivalent to 0.23 kg per capita. In 1993, Lebanon imported and used 923.1 ODP Tons of ODS, equivalent to 0.24 Kg per capita. Between 1992 and 1998, the consumption decreased to 536.82 Tons equivalent to 0.13 per capita consumption. The main substances used are CFC 11, CFC 12.

There is no ODS production in Lebanon. Measures are being done to phase out ODS consumed in the industrial sector. Progress has been made in phasing out these substances from 41 refrigerator companies, 12 major manufacturers of domestic and industrial air-conditioning equipment, 9 foam companies, 8 aerosol companies. Some refrigeration and air-conditioning maintenance companies have already introduced some reduced ODP substances like HCFC 22 as refrigerants. Some foam producers in Lebanon have been starting to use water as a blowing agent.

Some activities are taking place to protect forests and marine resources through the establishment of protected areas (five protected areas by-law, and other ten areas by ministerial decree) and regulating the fishery sector (e.g. ban of dynamite use). Unfortunately, these activities are still not widely applicable and lack an integrated strategy and an action plan to be put in place, adopted, implemented and above all, to be enforced by the concerned national authorities.

The baseline for this strategy and the action plan are already proposed in the Technical Annex to Lebanon?s First National Communication. This Annex pointed out to forest areas as the main proportion of land considered as greenhouse gas sinks. Based on statistics of the year 1994, forest land consist of land covered with forest with two levels of crown density cover (1) more than 40% and (2) from 10 to 40%, and wasteland where the crown cover is less than 10%. Wasteland includes woodlands and rangelands covering 60.000 and 147.000 hectares respectively in year 1994. To increase greenhouse sinks, the following mitigation options should be adopted:

- The protection and conservation of natural forests and the improvement of forest management; and

- Increasing the bio-mass density of existing and under-stocked forests, through increasing of the area of more than 40% crown cover from 32.000 ha in 1994 to 55.000 ha by year 2040;

- The reforestation of 38.000 ha of woodlands up to the year 2040.


The study made on Air pollution in Lebanon made by Harvard Institute in cooperation with the Ministry of Environment showed some measures on polluted air in Beirut. These results could be summarized as follows:

- A severe pollution in lead reaching 8 micrograms/m3, while the maximum allowed international rate is 1.5 micrograms/m3, micrograms/m3, due to the fact that 85% of drivers are still using leaded fuel.

- 44% of the blood samples taken at the American University of Beirut showed an amount of lead exceeding 16 micrograms/ deciliter, while the international allowed rate is 10 micrograms/deciliter;

- pollution with particulates reaching the double;

- pollution with ozone gas due to the transport system;

- Pollution with other gases such as carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide.

On the other hand, the same study pointed out to some facts relative to health impact of air pollution in Beirut. According to the study, 1 million inhabitants live in Beirut (out of 3.5 million in Lebanon), and the estimated number of deaths is 28.700 per year in all of Lebanon and 8.200 persons in Beirut. Out of 150.000 health cases admitted to Hospitals in Beirut, 15% are admitted for diseases affected by air pollution. However no break down by age, sex or diagnosis is available.

Finally, all studies on air pollution are still concentrated on cities rather than rural areas due to the severity of cases reached in urban areas.

The main problems could be summarized in the:

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