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Protecting and preserving coastal marine environment for Benefit of Lebanese community

The European Union and the National Council for Scientific Research - Lebanon (CNRS-L) launched today, from on-board the CANA Research Vessel in Beirut, a multidisciplinary study project to evaluate the Lebanese Marine Environment.

The project is funded by the European Union and the CNRS-L.

The environmental study will be implemented by the CNRS-L National Centre for Marine Sciences andwill focus on the regions of Beirut and Tyre.

The beach in Beirut is affected by pollution due to poor infrastructure, rapid population growth, uncontrolled dumping of solid waste and direct discharge of raw wastewater. With a less polluted coastal area, Tyre has also been selected for the presence of the Tyre Coast Nature Reserve which requires enhanced efforts for preservation and development.

The project will measure, assess and evaluate climate change and anthropogenic stressors in order to draw new marine spatial plans for a sustainable management of the Lebanese coast. It will also assess innovative marine biodiversity, from planktons to cetaceans, providing the tools needed for innovative solutions in marine resources management. Finally, the project will raise awareness on the importance of marine and coastal restoration and conservation, effective waste management and environmental practices.

"This project goes to show how precious we think the Mediterranean Sea is for Lebanon, for this region and of course for Europe. All of us - citizens, environmentalists, public authorities, fishermen, divers, industrials, tourists - have an interest in ensuring that the Mediterranean Sea, including Lebanon's coastal and marine environment, is kept clean, healthy and productive," European Union Ambassador Christina Lassen said.

Ambassador Massimo Marotti highlighted that the Italian cooperation always focuses on providing support and implementing initiatives that accelerate the acquisition of capacities and equipment that help protect the environment in Lebanon. The Improvement of the knowledge of coastal marine eco-systems can bring important economic and social benefits to communities and territories including the creation of job opportunities. The civil cooperation activities implemented by the Italian Government in the field of environmental marine protection were recently complemented by supporting Lebanese Navy's capacity in the field of Hydrography and Cartography. An added capacity that, combined with CNRS-L, will further benefit the environmental and pollution control activities.

Prof. MouA´┐Żn Hamze, Secretary General of the CNRS-Lnoted that Marine Research is increasingly becoming key to strengthen the capabilities of a country's socio-economic progress. The Mediterranean, its waters and eco-system are a shared resource, making the quality of Mediterranean Waters, the sustainable exploitation of its resources and the protection of the environment crucial to all of us. Since its inauguration, the CANA-CNRShas been an innovative and unique tool and programme for the sustainable development of the Lebanese Coastal Eco-System. Dr. Hamze stressed that ELME, with the much-appreciated funding and support of the European Union, ensures that the regular and sustainable enhancement of capacity and update of techniques, tools and equipment continues to support complementary studies, within targeted areas, to further explore and understand the processes governing the coastal marine ecosystem in the context of increasing anthropogenic pressures.

During the presentation that followed, Dr. Milad Fakhri, Director of the CNRS-L Marine Research Centre highlighted the aim of the project tocontribute to effective and sustainable multilevel marine and coastal management and governance in Lebanon. Dr. Fakhri stressed that the results obtained through the project will be used along the entire Lebanese coast to apply better coastal management techniques for the conservation of the marine ecosystem, responding in an integrate effort to: enhance governance and a participatory approach, further develop environmental and resources management, increase economic development, and ensure visibility and public awareness.

Source: National News Agency

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