| 20 May 2024, Monday |

Yassin: to resort to expanded decentralization via the environment gateway

The “Green Hand” Organization (GHO), in cooperation with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, organized a workshop on Sunday entitled “Green Climate Fund Projects” in the district of Aley, in the presence of Environment Minister, Nasser Yassin, MP Akram Shehayeb, Aley Qaem’Maqam Badr Zeidan, and various dignitaries from the region.

In a brief word during the event, Yassin pointed to the efforts that the Environment Ministry is trying to undertake to address the many environmental issues prevailing in the country. “The environmental problems in Lebanon are enormous, and the Ministry of Environment is a small-scale ministry, but it deals with huge issues and problems, all of which indicate the weakness of good governance in Lebanon,” he said.

“There is a huge problem of air pollution due to emissions from factories and generators, which is one of the biggest environmental problems, while the water problem is parallel to the seriousness of air pollution as well, for the underground wells suffer from excessive use and most of the springs are polluted…yet, we do not see these issues, we only see the waste problem… All of these matters point to our weak institutions in the sense that there is no control over air quality,” Yassin went on.

He added: “All environmental issues are resolved through strengthening institutions and good governance, and the same applies to forests that we cut down or burn because there is a weakness in the prevention or protection against forest fires since the concerned authorities do not play their role.”

However, Yassin noted that “this does not mean that there are no solutions to these issues, for the solution lies in strengthening institutions,” adding that “the role of the Ministry of Environment is that of a regulator and a protector that guards the environment and protects the people.”

“The Ministry has a significant role in the sense of being at the heart of all these sectors in terms of water, energy, forests, eco-tourism, agriculture and facilities, but to play this regulating role we must go to new frameworks, and we are thinking on three levels, the first of which is decentralization,” Yassin underlined. He pointed to the importance of working with municipalities to ensure an expanded decentralization through the environment gateway in terms of waste management, forests and fires and the protection of water sources from pollution, all of which can be carried out by municipalities and local authorities.

“The Ministry will provide everything that is required of it, and is ready to extend all support for the implementation of the projects submitted to the International Union for Conservation of Nature,” the Environment Minister reassured.

It was agreed during the workshop to form a coordination committee with Minister Yassin, whereby regular meetings will be held in this regard.

  • NNA