On the occasion of the National day for Nature Reserves in Lebanon, under the patronage and presence of H.E the Minister of Environment, Dr. Nasser Yassin, the Lebanese Environment Forum launched the project for Marine Protected Areas Network, funded by European Union in Lebanon and implemented jointly by LEF and the University of Balamand, with the cooperation of the Ministry of Environment.
The ceremony was held in the presence of Eng. Malek Ghandour, LEF President; Jihad Jradi, European Union Representative; Eng. Rebecca Baissari, Project Manager; and Dr. Manal Nader, Director of the Institute of Environment at the University of Balamand.
In an opening statement, Eng Malek Ghandour stressed on the role of the LEF in unifying environmental NGOs, coordinating their efforts, and aiming for the establishment of an effective MPAs network in Lebanon.
During her intervention, Eng. Rebecca Baissari, presented the project objectives and outputs for the upcoming three years, which include the establishment of an effective MPAs network in Lebanon for the protection of Lebanon’s coastal and marine biodiversity.
In turn, Dr. Manal Nader, talked about the different crises in Lebanon, while focusing on the environmental one, which is affecting our society and the further deterioration of our environment. He highlighted “The pressures that the Lebanese marine ecosystem is exposed to have led to dangerous and harmful changes, habitat destruction and a massive reduction in marine biological resources.” In closing he reinforced that “The University of Balamand is committed to its mission of investing in scientific research, and implementing projects such as this, which aims for the establishment of a network of marine reserves.”
Jihad Jradi then stated: "The launching of this project comes within health, social, economic and financial crises that greatly affect the Lebanese people”.
H.E. Dr. Nasser Yassin expressed his hope for better days ahead and highlighted that the reserves are part of the beauty of Lebanon, and this should be protected.