Enhancing the resilience and sustainability of Lebanon's agricultural sector - United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia
10-11 November 2021
Regional Consultation

Enhancing the resilience and sustainability of Lebanon's agricultural sector

  • Beirut, Lebanon

Within the framework of the project on enhancing the resilience and sustainability of the agricultural sector in the Arab region, ESCWA, in cooperation with the Arab Organization for Agricultural Development, organized a national consultation session on the agricultural sector in Lebanon. The session is part of a series of five national consultation sessions in Arab countries.

The consultation session considered ways to bolster Lebanon's agricultural sector in the face of climate change, the unsustainable use of natural resources and the COVID-19 pandemic. The session, which gathered key national stakeholders from the agriculture sector, resulted in practical recommendations and the identification of national priorities. Representatives from the Ministries of Agriculture and Economy and Trade and experts from public entities, research centers and academia, including the general directorate of cooperatives, the Green Plan, the Lebanese agricultural research institute and the faculty of agriculture at the Lebanese University, participated in the consultation session. Also participating were representatives and experts from the agricultural engineers’ branch of the Order of Engineers, the general union of agricultural syndicates, the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture in Beirut and Mount Lebanon, and representatives from the private sector, non-governmental associations and UN-Habitat.

It is expected that these five national consultation sessions in the targeted countries will result in a comprehensive document that identifies priorities and recommendations for the region's agricultural sector.

Outcome document

The national consultation session aimed at identifying ways of enhancing the agricultural sector’s resilience and sustainability in Lebanon in the face of climate change, the unsustainable use of natural resources and the COVID-19 pandemic. Main key messages that resulted from the consultation session included:

  • Allocating appropriate budgets for research and strengthening the role of agricultural extension to reduce the gap separating farmers from latest research
  • Conducting joint studies with universities on profitable crops and trees such as carob, changing cropping patterns and directing investment towards productive crops
  • Promoting the role of supplementary irrigation, biological agriculture, and conservation agriculture in addressing the problems of low productivity and quality in Lebanon
  • Encouraging the private sector to invest in agriculture
  • Encouraging the adoption of alternative renewable energy in agriculture
  • Providing facilities and support to farmers through credit services or by providing agricultural inputs
  • Providing famers with large quantities of certified seeds to counter the impact of the economic crisis in Lebanon
  • Encouraging agroforestry and promoting its important role in conserving water and soil
  • Benefiting from the experiences of mountain lakes implemented in Lebanon to provide water for agriculture and considering the ecological balance when designing large infrastructures for collecting water, such as big dams

This paper presented an overview of the most important factors that affect agricultural development and food security in the Arab region, especially those related to water and land conservation, and to climate change impact. The paper also included a conceptual framework on resilience and sustainability, and a guide for following up and evaluating the state of sustainability in the Arab agricultural sector. It also addressed the main requirements for enhancing the resilience and sustainability of agriculture in the Arab region.

This paper presented the context of the agricultural sector in Palestine, Jordan and Lebanon and the challenges faced by rural agricultural communities in these countries, mainly climate change, decline in areas of agricultural lands and water scarcity. Additionally, the paper addressed vulnerabilities of rural agricultural communities in the three countries and presented a number of proposed measures to enhance the resilience of the rural agricultural communities in each country.

Given the water scarcity problem in the Arab region, this paper focused on the high potential of rainfed agriculture to improve production and productivity levels in several countries of the Arab region. The paper also presented agricultural strategies and practices that allow improving water and land productivity in rainfed agriculture through adopting rainwater harvesting, supplemental irrigation, conservation agriculture, genetic improvement, integrated disease and weed control, among other good practices. Additionally, the paper noted the need to increase investment, capacity building and research in rainfed agriculture.

During this session a brief introduction to the agriculture sector in Egypt was presented, in addition to efforts made in agricultural development and main risks and challenges facing the sector and its sustainability, especially in relation to water and land resources and climate change impacts. The presentation also covered main interventions and trends towards enhancing resilience and sustainability of the agricultural sector in Egypt.

The session included an overview of the following projects:

  • UN-habitat project on increasing the resilience of both displaced persons and host communities to climate change-related water challenges in Jordan and Lebanon in partnership with UNESCWA and others,
  • UNESCWA project on enhancing the resilience and sustainability of the agricultural sector and its related capacity-building activities implemented in Lebanon
  • Livelihood improvement project in Darfur State in Sudan aiming at enhancing food security, increasing income, and building the resilience of poor rural families to shocks

Participants were separated into three working groups, and each group was assigned to study one dimension of enhancing the resilience and sustainability of the agricultural sector, as follows:

  • Socio-economic dimension
  • Environmental dimension and climate change
  • Women and youth empowerment

For each dimension, participants were specifically requested to identify the main challenges facing the agricultural sector in Lebanon, and to propose for each challenge a number of solutions and indicators to measure improvement.

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