Lebanon advances its National Adaptation Plan process
Plan to include clear economic benefits with a focus on water, agriculture, gender equality and capacity building
Lebanon, August 2017 – Lebanon kicked off its National Adaptation Plan process in a stakeholder consultation meeting held this July 4 and 5 in Beirut.
The meeting was tailored to provide a platform to discuss priority areas for climate change adaptation in Lebanon, and identify next steps in the formulation, implementation and monitoring and evaluation of the National Adaptation Plan (NAP).
“The Paris Agreement has set for the first time a global goal on adaptation, which to the delight of vulnerable developing countries, gave to adaptation the same importance as mitigation. We want to seize this international momentum to satisfy the global goal on adaptation and reap the benefits to satisfy national interests,” Acting Head of the Service of Environmental Technology for Lebanon’s Ministry of Environment and Lebanon’s National Designated Authority Samar Malek said.
The meeting was attended by technical personnel from relevant ministries and agencies, experts and academics and NGOs. It was facilitated through the Ministry of Environment with support from the UNDP-UN Environment National Adaptation Plan Global Support Programme (NAP-GSP) and funding through the Global Environment Facility, in close coordination of UNDP Lebanon Country Office.
“We hope that the UNDP’s assistance to line national institutions and the coordination it provides at several geographic scales in the country (from local to national) will help mainstream adaptation needs in terms of policy, capacity building and project implementation in targeted manner, while avoiding duplications and optimizing resources available,” UNDP Project Manager Vahakn Kabakian said.
After two days of workshops, discussions, and assessments of challenges, opportunities, and information and capacity gaps, the participants concluded that Lebanon’s National Adaptation Plan should include “a clear political mandate as well as concrete projects with clear economic benefits.”
According to event participants, the social aspect of the plan should be focused on knowledge generation, with the majority agreeing that National Adaptation Plan initiatives need to be built on accurate data.
The NAP will concentrate on three key sectors – water, agriculture and forestry – with a focus on gender equality. The NAP will also be opened up to the private sector and will work to support host communities, support improved public health and strengthen the adaptive capacity of local communities.
Through the meeting, it was agreed that the adaption component of Lebanon’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) should become as robust as the mitigation targets.
“This adaptation component will be based on the targets to be agreed in the National Adaptation Plan, defined as one comprehensive adaption plan with an implementation strategy,” according to a meeting report prepared by the Ministry of Environment.
Adaptation to climate change is essential in Lebanon
Lebanon is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Projections for 2090 indicate that a 3-5oC jump in temperatures would result in 40 percent less snow cover, a 25 to 50 percent decrease in rainfall, and increased chances of extreme weather events such as flooding, storms and droughts.
According to a report shared at the meeting outset by Ms. Yara Daou, Climate Change Projects, UNDP, Ministry of Environment, these impacts will affect diverse economic sectors such as tourism and agriculture, public health, and energy supply demands and costs, also causing increased risks of coastal flooding, erosion and salination of coastal aquifers.
“All these dangerous impacts will affect all aspects of sustainable development in Lebanon; economically, environmentally and socially,” read a news release on the meeting published on the climate change website of the Lebanese Ministry of Environment.
Data is key
One key goal for the NAP will be building capacities, strengthening existing institutions and improving the capture, analysis and sharing of key climate data.
In order to achieve this goal, meeting participants suggested a review of existing strategies, laws and institutional arrangements to create a systematic and digitized information exchange platform.
Among the technical data requirements, sectoral experts identified the following gaps in information: data related to water, temperature, precipitation, radiation, evapotranspiration, regional assessments for resilient crops and plants, economics of land degradation, historical data for all sectors, lack of sustainable forest management, lack of information on the impact of climate change on crop productivity, species, water scarcity, and a lack of gender disaggregated data.
Mainstreaming climate change in sectoral plans
Achieving these goals will require the coordinated work of various economic sectors, civil society, line ministries and other key stakeholders. Across these various stakeholders, many plans are already in the works to foster improved climate change adaptation.
For instance, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs National Strategy for Gender Equality includes a strategic objective to integrate “gender perspective into environmental policies, promote gender equality in mitigation, adaptation and responding to crisis and disaster, and to the effects of climate change.” The Ministry of Finance plans to use information to assess the financial needs for effective climate change adaptation. The Ministry of Agriculture has set targets to improve crop resilience, encourage the use of native species and enhance ecosystem resilience. The Ministry of Environment will acquire new technology and weather and air monitoring services to support reforestation plans, agricultural activities and the INDC.
Main highlighted needs
- Data needs to be more accurate and readily available.
- The necessity to have a joint, common platform with all actors.
- The need for sustainable and institutionalized data generation and dissemination in order to successfully monitor climate change and establish a baseline.
- In order for the implementation of actions to properly take place, it is necessary to formulate projects and to submit them to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) for funding in parallel with the NAP process.
- To determine capacity building needs on different levels.
- To tackle the fragmented approach of dealing with climate change.
- To identify climate change adaptation targets.