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Machnouk launches environmental reforms

  • Environment Minister Mohammad Machnouk speaks during an interview with The Daily Star in Beirut, Saturday, April 5, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)

BEIRUT: Environment Minister Mohammad Machnouk announced the launch of a program to reform environmental governance Friday at the Grand Serail in Beirut.

The program is funded by an 8 million euro ($11 million) grant from the European Union and is managed through the prime minister’s office, according to a press release from the Environment Ministry.

“Environmental degradation has emerged as one of the key challenges facing Lebanon’s economic and social development,” said Angelina Eichorst, EU ambassador to Lebanon, addressing a crowd that included Suheil Bouji, the Secretary-General of the Cabinet; Nabil al-Jisr, president of the Council for Development and Reconstruction; and Machnouk.

“Air and water pollution, illegal landfills and release of untreated wastewater in the sea are just some of the aspects of the challenges affecting the economy and livelihoods.”

Eichorst said the cost of environmental degradation in Lebanon exceeded 800 million euros each year. She added that EU had recently agreed to allocate “an additional 40 million euros for two programs in these sectors: 21 million euros for the program aiming at improving the overall efficiency and effectiveness of solid waste management and 19 million euros for the program contributing to the protection and the sustainable use of maritime resources in Lebanon.”

Described as “one of the biggest and most important environmental programs in the history of the Environment Ministry,” the project aims to improve the environmental performance of the Lebanese public sector by implementing reforms through coordination through various ministries, including Interior, Justice, Finance, Energy, Industry and Agriculture.

The program will also provide equipment for the existing air quality monitoring network established by the ministry. The press release said that the program would lay “the foundations for a comprehensive environmental strategy for Lebanon” and “support the Environment Ministry in updating the draft National Environmental Action Plan.”

 
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