American Univesity of Beirut

Civil Society Actors’ Downhill Struggle: Preserving the Lebanese coast

​This OpEd is part of the Issam Fares Institute opinion articles series written by Alexi Touma, Researcher at the civil Society Actors Program, Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs, AUB. It was republished by An-Nahar website. 

In recent years, civil society actors prompted the issue of public maritime property to resurface.

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s coastline is far from picturesque. Out of the two hundred and twenty kilometers binding us to the Mediterranean Sea, approximately forty kilometers remain accessible for public use.

The decline of available public maritime property was most pronounced during the civil war years whereby private investors took advantage of the general lawlessness of the country to convert public maritime property into private resorts and hotels. Many of these resorts are blatantly illegal and are estimated to owe up to USD 1 billion in taxes and fines to the government. The issue of public maritime property, like many other cases, has engaged civil society actors with various degrees of success

In recent years, civil society actors prompted the issue of public maritime property to resurface. In 2013, the Civil Campaign to Protect the Dalieh of Raouche (CCPDR) formed with the purpose of preventing private development of the Dalieh and from being sealed off from the public.

The movement successfully mobilized to prevent the anticipated construction of yet another large-scale luxury touristic project by lobbying the Ministry of Environment to classify the Dalieh as a nationally protected zone in a draft law, and by tearing down the wired fence that sealed off the area.

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