Factsheet on the 2030 Agenda in Lebanon

I.  Background

Statistical Country Profile SDG Country Profile Stimulus Tracker

 

II.  Planning and implementation – institutions and processes

SDG institutional framework

Lebanon’s National Development Planning country profile.

In June 2017, the Council of Ministers established an SDGs National Committee to oversee and guide the roll-out of SDGs in Lebanon. The committee is chaired by the prime minister and includes more than 50 state officials at Director General level to ensure work continues regardless of political developments. It also includes civil society and private sector representatives. The committee is mandated to act as a coordinating body, to raise awareness of the 2030 Agenda, integrate the SDGs into national policies and programmes, build a national database to assess achievement towards the SDGs, and to regularly review progress using the VNR process.

Lebanon’s most comprehensive cross-sectoral development policy is the National Physical Master Plan for the Lebanese Territory (NPMPLT) which was prepared by the Council for Development and Construction in 2005 and endorsed in 2009.

Leadership, engagement and buy-in

The Office of the Prime Minister is the secretariat of the SDGs National Committee.  

SDGs ownership in Lebanon is not limited to the government but extends to academia, CSOs and the private sector. The Lebanese University’s Institute of Social Sciences, with support from UNFPA, has engaged in technical and substantive discussions on the SDGs. A number of research centers at the AUB are also advocating for the 2030 Agenda such as the Suliman S. Olayan School of Business at AUB which hosts the Global Compact Network of Lebanon. The CNRS-L, Lebanon’s national research institution, leads scientific research, human resource development and dissemination of scientific knowledge that supports the government’s scientific policies.

Coordination mechanisms

While inter-sectoral coordination takes place on specific subjects, Lebanon does not yet have an overarching framework on sustainable development that integrates the different dimensions of development, which the 2030 Agenda 2030 calls for. There are, however, stakeholder-based mechanisms.

A parliamentary Committee for Follow-up on the 2030 Agenda, previously the SDG Committee, was established in the Lebanese Parliament. The committee has mapped legislations to the SDGs in 2016-2017 and in 2019. It continues to engage in thematic meetings that relate to the 2030 Agenda.

In January 2018, the CNRS-L established a committee, of researchers in various domains, to follow up on how to work towards achieving SDGs is being implemented by the CNRS-L and government institutes.

The Global Compact Network Lebanon has engaged private sector companies and academia. It leads awareness-raising campaigns and dialogue activities on the 2030 Agenda and specific SDGs.

III.  Follow-up and review

Data collection, availability and accessibility

Lebanon does not have a national SDG Dashboard.

According to the VNR, collecting data was a challenge. Data was primarily obtained from Lebanon’s Central Agency of Statistics (CAS) as well as administrative sources. Data was also drawn from the Arab Development Portal and the UN’s SDG indicators global database. The validation process included a thorough review of the content of the report by various stakeholders, including the development of certain sections of the report. A task force for statistics was formed under the leadership of CAS to collect SDG data and statistics.

CAS is mandated to collect, process, produce and disseminate social and economic statistics at the national level. There is room to improve the quality of data and the frequency of it, so that reporting against indicators is regular, harmonized and coherent. CAS is participating in the SDMX—a global initiative to standardize and modernize the mechanisms and processes for the exchange of statistical data and metadata between international organizations and their member countries.

Voluntary National Reviews and/or national SDG reporting

Lebanon presented its first VNR in 2018. The preparatory process for the VNR was participatory and included collecting information from public administrations and academia. It also included engaging with civil society stakeholders through consultative workshops. Civil society representatives were asked to draft input which was included in the VNR report.   

Several spotlight reports were published by civil society on the 2030 Agenda in Lebanon. The 2016 and 2019 reports were developed by the Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND) and the 2018 report was also developed by ANND in collaboration with Issam Fares Institute at the American University of Beirut.

Voluntary Local Reviews and/or subnational SDG reporting

CAS has recently published statistical district reports covering the 26 Lebanese administrative districts[1]. The reports are based on the Labour Force and Household Living Conditions Survey 2018-2019. While not SDG-focused, these reports could support future efforts in local reporting.

Monitoring and evaluation

Lebanon has not set-up a monitoring and evaluation framework on the 2030 Agenda commitments and progress. The Court of Accounts of Lebanon has not conducted an audit on the SDGs. The institutional setup is currently the SDGs National Committee as well as the parliamentary committee.

 

IV.  Initiatives implemented in support of the 2030 Agenda, persisting gaps and challenges

SDG Acceleration Actions and Good Practices
  • American University of Beirutthe creation of a community of researchers and experts from different disciplines working together to respond to the call to achieve the SDGs.
  • IDAL Agri-Plus programme: in support of SDG 2, the programme provides agricultural export subsidies and other incentives to local producers to enhance product quality and improve packaging, promotion and marketing. Other public institutions such as the Central Bank of Lebanon, the Ministry of Economy and Trade and the Ministry of Finance also provide subsidies.[2]
  • CNRS-L: in support of SDG 15, the centre launched the OLife initiative to collect, perpetuate, share and valorise environmental information between French and Lebanese scientific research communities. [3]
  • Presidency of the Council of Ministers: in support of SDG 9, the ‘Summer of Innovation’ was launched to promote the participation of youth in activities on innovation, science, technology, entrepreneurship and creativity. [4]
  • Presidency of the Council of Ministers: in support of SDG 9, ‘Public School Innovation Gates’ was launched in collaboration with the Ministry of Telecom and the Minister of Education and Higher Education, to connect public schools to the internet and set up tech hubs that provide students with access to innovation, science, technology, and entrepreneurship activities. [5] 
  • Ministry of Environment: in collaboration with the World Bank, Central Bank of Lebanon and Italian Cooperation, established Lebanon Environmental Pollution Abatement Project to help industries identify their environmental problems and obtain financing through subsidised loans to comply with regulations. [6] 

SDG Good Practices

  • Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund: a fund of AED 100 million established to support 20,000 refugees and vulnerable youth in Lebanon and Jordan to access quality education. A total of 15 programs have been funded in the first two grant cycles providing access to secondary education to over 15,246 students, and vocational and tertiary education to over 5,275 students.[7] Contributes to realizing SDG 4, 8 and 17.
  • The Abjad Centre: serves as a socio-cultural hub for vulnerable Lebanese, and Syrian and Palestinian refugees in the area. The center has reached over 5,000 beneficiaries in cooperation with UNICEF, UN Women, UTOPIA (Lebanese NGO) and the Municipality of Tripoli.[8] Contributes to the achievement of SDGs 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11.
  • Ardi Ardak: aims at reviving the food security sector and promoting the local food system by developing capacities of small-scale farmers focusing on rural women and youth. 100 lands assessments were conducted, more than 140,000 seedlings and 14,000 seeds-bags, distributed to vulnerable farmers, more than 1,500 pantry boxes and more than 7,000 hot meals prepared and distributed to vulnerable households.[9] Supports SDGs 1, 2, 12 and 17.
  • Compost Baladi SAL: seeks to promote the sound management of organic and non-organic waste fractions using appropriate technologies that are tailored to local economic, social and environmental conditions. diverting more than 1,000 tons of solid organic waste. We also successfully installed, in the summer of 2018, two wastewater and solid organic waste treatment devices in refugee settlements, treating 2,000 L per day of bio-waste. [10]
Key challenges to SDG implementation and progress, as identified by the Government

The following challenges are extracted from Lebanon’s 2018 VNR report.

  • Food and waterborne diseases remain a challenge in Lebanon. Food safety legislation was introduced in 2015, focusing on risk analysis. However, food safety legislation is not well enforced by the various concerned ministries.
  • The public health system continues to face a number of challenges, including financial constraints, understaffing (specifically an imbalance between medical doctors and nurses, paramedics, and administrative staff), a focus on tertiary care and poorly regulated ambulatory care.
  • The absence of intra-sectoral coordination and planning between the different stages and tracks in education, examples being coordination between schools and universities or general education and vocational training. The general education curriculum also needs revision to reflect competencies and skills relevant to the professional and future life of students.
  • The existing legal framework for compulsory education does not include pre-primary education. The sector is also in need of system strengthening and better policies for the regularization of education providers.
  • The ability for a woman to pass her nationality remains a challenge.
  • Lebanon has sufficient natural water resources but faces complex challenges due to uncontrolled consumption and increased pollution. The sudden increase in population due to the influx of approximately 1.5 million displaced Syrians has put further strain on the system.
  • Given that the water supply is not continuous, especially during the summer, households rely on private water suppliers (water trucking) or artesian wells. The wells are often established illegally to meet household water needs. For drinking, medium- and high-income households resort to purchasing bottled water, while low-income households use unsafe sources, which can lead to health problems that affect children and other vulnerable groups.
  • Ensuring reliable and sustainable access to electricity to all remains a challenge for the country, notwithstanding managing energy’s impact on pollution.
  • Solid waste management is a large, ongoing sector policy challenge.
  • Lebanon faces the challenge of high fiscal deficits and debt ratios.
  • While numerous pieces of environmental legislation have been ratified over the years, applying these laws and regulations remains a challenge.
  • Land transport of goods suffered a lot as a result of the war in Syria and border closures: it dropped 33 percent between 2011 and 2017. The Lebanese economy tried to adapt to this challenge by shifting from inland to maritime transport, as the government launched the Maritime Lebanese Exports Bridge.
  • Most urban plans address territorial scales, issues, and sectors with a focus on spatial, technical, legal and aesthetic considerations. The challenge is to combine these plans into an integrated vision, consistent with the NPMPLT, and ensure they effectively target environmental sustainability and climate change vulnerability in line with economic and social policies.
  • Housing remains one of the challenges linked to urban expansion.
  • The situation has been exacerbated by the impact of the Syria crisis. While Lebanon has shown exceptional solidarity, this has come at a high cost, compounded pre-existing development challenges and stretched Lebanon beyond its limits.
  • Capacity building on integrated planning remains a key challenge that needs to be addressed through additional technical assistance and international support.
  • Despite the challenges of a deficit and the slow economic growth, Lebanon is determined to mobilize the funding it needs to implement Agenda 2030 through partnerships with the international community.
  • The main challenges CSOs face are corruption, a lack of transparency and good governance in public institutions, sectarianism, law enforcement, outdated legislation, centralization, access to data, the impacts of the Syrian crisis, and the absence of a comprehensive social protection strategy, especially for the most vulnerable people.

 

Endnotes


[1] To access the reports, visit: http://www.cas.gov.lb/index.php/component/content/article/79-english/222-district-statistics-based-on-the-labour-force-and-household-living-conditions-survey-2018-2019

[2] Source: VNR of Lebanon 2018.

[3] Source: VNR of Lebanon 2018.

[4] Source: VNR of Lebanon 2018.

[5] Source: VNR of Lebanon 2018.

[6] Source: VNR of Lebanon 2018.

[7] Source: SDG Good Practices database (2nd call). https://sdgs.un.org/partnerships/abdul-aziz-al-ghurair-refugee-education-fund

[8] Source: SDG Good Practices database (2nd call). https://sdgs.un.org/partnerships/abjad-centre

[9] Source: SDG Good Practices database (2nd call). https://sdgs.un.org/partnerships/ardi-ardak

[10] Source: SDG Good Practices database (1st call). https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/partnership/?p=28567