(The Daily Star/Dalati Nohra, HO)
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"Land degradation might be the No. 1 problem Lebanon is facing" Environment Minister Tarek Khatib said at the launch of a program setting national standards to combat the phenomenon Thursday at the Grand Serail.Over the last 10 years, Lebanon lost a total 2,257 hectares of farming land, 1,780 hectares of forests and 1,200 hectares of grazing land.The district of Baalbeck was identified as being among the areas that have suffered the most from this phenomenon, with the loss of 630 hectares of agricultural land and 180 hectares of grazing land. The newly launched program – funded by the United Nations – identified national standards to prevent and combat land degradation, in line with the U.N. Convention to Combat Desertification, ratified by Lebanon in 1994 .Over half of the Lebanese territory is currently at risk of land degradation.The president also emphasized the importance of the National Afforestation and Reforestation Program, in partnership with FAO, which seeks to plant 40 million trees on 70,000 hectares of land by 2030 .
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