Working Towards Maritime Strategy Development in Lebanon
In partnership with the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), the World Maritime University (WMU) carried out the first phase of fieldwork in furthering the Lebanon Maritime Strategy project that is part of the EU-funded “Strengthening Capability for Integrated Border Management in Lebanon” (IBM III) project. The endeavour includes holding large-scale stakeholder meetings to inform the formulation of a policy document that will be submitted to Lebanese authorities for adoption.
A WMU delegation to Lebanon participated in meetings from 4-15 October with Ministry and EU officials. The University is providing key expertise in developing a blueprint for policies and dealings with the sea and its resources to address some of the challenges facing Lebanon.
WMU expert and project lead, Dr Aref Fakhry, stressed that the maritime policy under development should include key values such as proactiveness, inclusiveness, realism, transparency, rule of law and justice, and take into account the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Dr Fakhry emphasized the need to think holistically, and across government agency boundaries, about the requirements of a healthy and thriving maritime and ocean sector in Lebanon.
As part of its fact-finding mission, the WMU delegation carried out visits to relevant maritime and coastal sites and institutions, including traditional salt pans at the ancient city of Anfeh in the north of Lebanon. In Saida, the country’s third-largest port, the WMU delegation toured the old and new harbour facilities, the solid waste treatment park, and a rehabilitated dumpsite repurposed into a thriving public garden. Meetings were held with the mayor of Saida and city officials, the head of the local fishers’ association, and the President of the Lebanese Union of Professional Divers.
The WMU delegation also visited maritime education and training institutions. WMU President, Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, took part by live video link as the keynote speaker in the opening ceremony of the Phoenician Maritime Agency, hosted by the International Maritime Academy (IMA) in Jounieh, Lebanon.
The field visit increased awareness of the challenges and opportunities presented by past and prospective policies and practices connected with Lebanon’s marine resources. WMU’s development of a maritime strategy for Lebanon, in partnership with ICMPD, is instrumental in defining the principal orientations regarding the range of public and private undertakings in the maritime, marine and coastal space, including national defence and security, law enforcement, maritime transport and ports, fishing, coastal tourism and development, maritime spatial planning, marine environmental protection, offshore oil and gas exploration and exploitation, among many existing or potential uses.
The next phases of the project will include a series of consultation meetings with relevant ministries and state organizations, as well as town hall meetings. The draft maritime strategy is expected to be finalized by the end of February 2022.