BEIRUT: Lebanon’s overstretched water sector is a result of decades of under-investment policies, withering infrastructure, local population growth, inconsistent and incomplete water legal framework, which resulted in a 30% increase in the number of individuals’ in-country who require access to safe water.
In collaboration with the South Lebanon Water Establishment, The Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut launched “South Lebanon Water Establishment’s (SLWE) 2020-2025 Strategy” on Wednesday, at the IFI Auditorium at AUB.
The launching ceremony included a presentation of the new strategy and an open discussion with the audience that featured various private and public actors who are involved in water management. During the discussion, operational challenges and opportunities were examined, which made the conference stand as a knowledge-sharing platform for researchers, executives, policymakers, financial institutions, and international donors.
The panel structured unpacked issues related to the financial and administrative capacity, the impact of various investments in infrastructure and systems, accountability and measures to improve the road map for improving water conditions and service delivery in the country.
"Our humble vision is water for everyone in the South within five years,” said Wassim Daher, Chairman of South Lebanon Water Establishment, in his opening speech. He also emphasized how this strategy is made to ensure the availability and sustainability of water and sanitation to all.
The latest partnership between Issam Fares Institute and South Lebanon Water Establishment was a water security analysis for the SLWE, conducted by the Climate Change and Environment Program at IFI as part of the USAID funded Lebanon Water Project 2015-2020.
This helped inform the new SLWE 2020-2025 strategy, which the establishment has set as a framework that delineates its midterm goals and its envisioned development path. The collaboration between the two institutions stems from their mutual efforts to improve water services in Lebanon, while ensuring the protection of water bodies.
The water security and water-energy nexus provided by the institutions can stand as a great way to potentially build assistance, sustain development, foster social cohesion, and alleviate especially, but not exclusively, the South's water, ensuring that both local and displaced populations are able to respond to their basic human needs.
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