BEIRUT: Along with the extreme scarcity of water resources in the region, Lebanon is currently facing other challenges manifested by increased financial, economic, and environmental costs linked to providing water supplies. These challenges are on the rise due to the rapid population growth, management deficiencies, and impact of climate change.
As part of its Citizen Circle initiative, an active lobbying platform that aims to inform citizens, promote civic engagement and to further reflect on these issues, Fondation Diane, hosted a debate targeting the water challenges and proposing innovative solutions in Lebanon, on Thursday at L'Appartement Beirut.
The event adopted a holistic approach ranging from assessing and prioritizing the major water challenges in Lebanon to suggesting innovative solutions while identifying what job opportunities could be generated from these solutions.
Participants featured experts in the water sector to showcase the innovative projects developed by the participants of the Water Innovation Lab and Waterluition.
Speakers magnified that many factors contribute to the water sector’s vicious cycle trap, like the gaps in the legal and regulatory framework, the absence of sincere political will for water sector reform, and the lack of awareness at the citizen level, along with infrastructure and management challenges.
Charbel Rizk, civic engagement team leader at USAID’s Lebanon Water Project (LWP) explained how enhancing civic engagement in water management is one of the important objectives of the 5-year plan. Rizk explained that the LWP aims at increasing access to clean, reliable, and sustainable sources of water for Lebanese citizens.
Rizk explained that the project is, thus, partially focused on increasing water users’ awareness and sense of ownership, in order to enhance their water use behaviors.
Foundation Diane is an organization that aims to promote eco-sustainable development by identifying best solutions to exploit and value resources, while preserving the environment, creating and promoting “green” projects and companies, and consequently, creating jobs.
“Such discussions can help the community strengthen existing networks or build new ones between people, and help them foster a greater level of citizen involvement,” Diane Fadel, founder and president of Foundation Diane told Annahar, emphasizing that civic engagement, at its core, builds community.
This photo shows some of the attendees at L'Appartement Beirut, on Thursday. (Annahar Photo)
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