Delegation of the European Union to Lebanon

Evaluation of the Lebanese Marine Environment: a multidisciplinary study (ELME)

10/03/2020 - 14:53
Environment and Climate Action

The project aims to improve Lebanon's coastal management, with a special focus on Beirut and Tyre, support the promotion of high-quality analysis of biological elements including different species, their habitats and their communities, and identify challenges or "stressors" for the marine environment.

eu ennvironment marine lebanon


Budget: €905,483 (EU contribution: € 725,987)
Location: Beirut and Tyre
Date of project: June 2018 - June 2020
Implementing Partner: National Council for Scientific Research (CNRS Lebanon) - National Center for Marine Sciences 

The Mediterranean Sea is the largest and deepest enclosed sea on Earth and is considered as a hotspot for biodiversity. The Lebanese coastline extends 240 km from Abdeh to Naqoura along a north-south axis in the eastern Mediterranean. Nearly 60% of Lebanon’s population lives along the coast where industrial, commercial and urban activities are concentrated. 

Severe threats are affecting Lebanon's coastal zone, including the unregulated disposal of solid waste, wastewaters, and oil residues (mainly from storage stations and tankers). Chemical pollution and privatisation of the coastline, urban sprawl and poor territory planning schemes are other key concerns for the country’s seaside communities. Wastewater, including sewage, is discharged directly into the sea or nearby rivers, with a daily average of half million cubic meters, causing serious health problems. The limited budget dedicated to the protection of the environment, the too often cross-cutting institutional mandates and legislation and the limited specific expertise are also hindering the effective management of the Lebanese marine ecosystems.

As part of its ongoing commitment to protecting Lebanon’s environment, the European Union therefore aims at supporting marine biodiversity in Lebanon – with a focus on the protection and sustainable development of its maritime resources in coastal areas.



  • Improve  Lebanon’s coastal management – with a special focus on Beirut and Tyre
  • Support the promotion of high-quality analysis of biological elements including different species, their habitats and their communities
  • Identify challenges or "stressors" for the marine environment
eu ennvironment marine lebanon


  • The National Council for Scientific Research (CNRS Lebanon) is the main and direct beneficiary of this project. CNRS works under the direct patronage of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers. It has four research centres, including the National Center for Marine Sciences.  The mandate of the latter includes the supervision of the coastal zone and sea through the creation of a network of observation, as well as the evaluation of Lebanon's marine biodiversity and its various habitats. Prior to the beginning of the project, the National Center for Marine Sciences organised several consultations with the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), the Ministry of Environment (MoE), as well as with Beirut and Tyre Municipalities to discuss issues related to the management and restoration of marine resources. 
  • Indirect beneficiaries of the project include fishermen and their families, diving centres, civil society organisations, local communities are also targeted through this project.


  • Better analysis and understanding of the stressors affecting marine and coastal resources 
  • Development of innovative marine biodiversity assessments leading to revised marine plans for an improved and more  sustainable management of the Lebanese coast
  • Increased knowledge and awareness of local, national and regional stakeholders about marine and coastal restoration and conservation, effective waste management and environmental practices 
eu ennvironment marine lebanon


  • Improvement of an effective and sustainable multilevel marine and coastal management and governance in Lebanon
  • Institutionalisation of an integrated and participatory mechanism for marine resources restoration and management.
  • Curbing of marine pollution and improved livelihood opportunities for coastal communities (such as fishermen, etc.)
Editorial Sections: