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MPAs Network Forum – First Seminar

Under the Patronage of the Lebanese Army Commander, General Joseph Aoun, and in the framework of Marine Reserves MPAs Network Project, financed by the European Union and implemented by the Lebanese Environment Forum in partnership with the University of Balamand, a seminar for the MPAs Forum, has been organized at the Central Military Club – Manara with the aim of creating the MPA Network and implementing an integrated coastal zone management in Lebanon.

An opening speech by the president of the Lebanese Environment Forum, Eng. Malek Ghandour, stating the project’s goals for developing the needed scientific and legal frameworks to declare new MPAs within the national strategy of the Ministry of the Environment, pushing for the adoption of the two draft laws: “the Fisheries and Aquaculture” Law and the “Integrated Coastal Zone Management ICZM” Law, by the Lebanese Parliament and developing a legal framework for establishing the network of marine protected areas.

Ms. Alessia Squarcella, Deputy Head of Cooperation at the European Union Delegation, highlighted the importance of marine biodiversity and the sustainable development of economic activities such as fisheries and tourism, hoping that this forum will be acting as a platform for an active participation of relevant authorities and for all the initiatives on coastal ecotourism and sustainable fishing by civil society organizations local NGOs and private sector to jointly advocate for the protection of marine areas based on scientific knowledge and research. Also, Ms. Squarcella mentioned the ongoing call for Proposals under EU Interreg Next Med Programme to address shared challenges and foster sustainable and inclusive development in the Mediterranean region with a submission deadline 28 march 2024, and concluded by thanking LEF and UOB for their efforts “which not only contribute to the protection of marine environment but also in improvement of socio-economic conditions on coastal areas”.

The word of the Commander of the Army, General Joseph Aoun, represented by the Commander of the Marine Forces, General Haitham Dennawi about the announcement of the Marine Reserves Forum as a very important step at the environmental and development level in the context of the network of marine protected areas and integrated coastal management. Marine reserves are vital for protecting the marine ecosystem and biodiversity, enhancing fish wealth, and developing eco-tourism, which carries a great importance from the economic and social aspects. The army, through the Naval Operations Room, contributed to support marine reserves by providing information and studies in cooperation with relevant organizations and centers. In line with the Ministry of Environment’s strategy for the marine environment, we hope that we will be able to complete what has been achieved, as it is a national responsibility.

The Director of the Institute of Environment at the University of Balamand, Dr. Manal Nader, highlighted the importance of protecting the five estuary sites included in the MPA Network within the national strategy of the Ministry of Environment while Ms. Rawan Jamal from UOB, presented the key points for an effective MPA Network. In addition to a presentation on the objectives and the modalities of the Forum by G. Hassan Bashroush as well as a presentation by the program coordinator, Mr. Wael Humaidan on the role of this Forum and its importance for an effective coastal management and marine protection.​

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