“Water in Lebanon: Turning Current Challenges into Future Opportunities”

AUB’s Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs in collaboration with WAAD consortium organized a youth conference aimed at discussing Lebanon’s water future

Beirut, March 13, 2019. Ahead of World Water Day on 22 March, the EU-MADAD funded Water Access and Development (WAAD) consortium, in partnership with the American University of Beirut’s (AUB) Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs (IFI), organized a youth conference titled “Water in Lebanon: Turning Current Challenges into Future Opportunities”. The conference, which took place within IFI’s facilities, was also live-streamed within the campuses of Beirut Arab University (BAU) in Bekaa and Phoenicia University (PU) in the South, turned the conference into a national event, as access to water is a collective problem that needs a collective solution.

Participants from AUB, BAU, PU and Balamand Universities, and industry experts, the conference encouraged the next generation to focus their studies and careers on the water and environmental sector in order to turn Lebanon’s problems into solutions. The conference focused on energy and water policy, featured various private and public actors who are involved in water management as well as Mr. Michele Pierpaoli – Attache’ for Water and Waste Water Affairs from the European Union Delegation to Lebanon. The final panel concentrated on various private venture success stories such as Clean2o and Talaya Water that focused on fruitful initiatives and growth opportunities both within Lebanon and abroad.

The Conference assessed the major water challenges in Lebanon, explored innovative solutions, future opportunities, and identified potential new job opportunities. It also provided an open discussion and knowledge-sharing platform for researchers, executives, policymakers, financial institutions and international donors.

World Water Day draws attention to the importance of fresh water conservation and its sustainable management. This year’s edition “Leaving no one behind” is linked to the Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6) which includes a target to ensure availability and sustainability of water and sanitation to all. Water is vital for creating jobs, supporting economic, social and human development and affects all people.

The EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis ‘MADAD ‘ is providing its support to the Water and Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector across Lebanon by awarding WAAD (Water Access and Development) consortium a fund of about 8million USD to improve water and wastewater services across Lebanon. The consortium is comprised of three international humanitarian non-governmental organizations (INGOs), ACTED, Action Against Hunger and INTERSOS, which have significant experience in implementing WASH interventions in Lebanon.

Lebanon’s overstretched water sector is a result of decades of under-investment policies, withering infrastructure, local population growth, and the drastic influx of displaced Syrians, which has resulted in a 30% increase in the number of individuals’ in-country who require access to safe water. With the aim of ensuring humanitarian assistance, sustaining development and the fostering of social cohesion, the EU Regional Trust Fund ‘MADAD’ has provided funding to the sector to alleviate Lebanon’s water matters and ensure that both local and displaced populations are able to respond to their basic human needs.

WAAD: WAAD – Water Access and Development is consortium composed of ACTED, Action Against Hunger and INTERSOS, funded by the EU “MADAD” Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis. The Consortium is currently implementing a multi-country program in Jordan and Lebanon aiming at improving water and sanitation infrastructures, and enhancing the capacity of institutions and communities to manage these services in a participatory and inclusive manner. Through a multi-level approach targeting infrastructures, communities and households, the project provides a holistic response to multi-layered challenges

EU Regional Trust Fund ‘MADAD’: Since its establishment in December 2014, an increasing share of the EU’s non-humanitarian aid for Syrian refugees and their host countries (Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey) is provided through the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis, the ‘MADAD’ Fund. With contributions and pledges from 22 EU Member States and Turkey, amounting to now more than €150 million, and contributions from various EU instruments, the Fund has reached a total volume of €1.5 billion to date.

ACTED: has been present in Lebanon since 2006 and implements projects to rehabilitate infrastructure, improve WASH services, and support civil society and micro-enterprises in the health, education and environment sectors. www.acted.org          @ngoACTED            @ACTEDLebanon

Action Against Hunger: Has worked in Lebanon since 2006 and currently delivers emergency WASH services in the North, West Bekaa and Central Bekaa and works on WatSan infrastructure and solid waste management interventions in the South of Lebanon. www.actionagainsthunger.org                                                                       @ACFMiddleEAST  @ACF_MiddleEast

INTERSOS: began working in Lebanon in 2006 and expanded its operation country-wide in response to Syrian Crisis. The organization works across the country in the sectors of WASH, protection, solid waste management and rehabilitation.   www.intersos.org         @intersos.lebanon           @INTERSOS_Lebanon

About the AUB Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs

The AUB Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs is an independent, research-based, policy-oriented institute. Inaugurated in 2006, the Institute aims to harness, develop, and initiate policy-relevant research in the Arab region.

The institute is committed to expanding and deepening policy-relevant knowledge production in and about the Arab region; and to creating a space for the interdisciplinary exchange of ideas among researchers, civil society and policy-makers.