Last Friday the Environment Minister Mohammad Machnouk launched an EU funded environmental governance program. The program aims to improve the environmental performance of the Lebanese public sector by implementing reforms in the different ministries. The cost of environmental degradation in Lebanon is over 800 million Euros a year and all the various problems (such as waste management, land degradation, air and water pollution) has been affecting the livelihoods of the Lebanese. This project will assist the Ministry of Environment in updating the National Environmental Economic Action Plan and will also “lay the foundations for a comprehensive environmental strategy for Lebanon.”
The problem of environmental degradation is a big burden to many other Arab countries. The figure below summarizes the World Bank’s calculated cost of environmental degradation (as a percent of GDP) of 7 Arab countries. The country with the worse performance is Egypt at 4.8% and Tunisia has the lowest cost at 2.1%. If no efficient measures are started to tackle this problem, the cost of environmental will be much more significant than it is today.