Under the auspices and in the presence of the Minister of Environment Mr. Mohamad Al Mashnouk, the Ministry of Environment and the United Nations Development Programme organized the first official meeting for the INDC working group on implementing Lebanon’s Nationally Determined Contribution, in cooperation with the Ministry of Energy and Water, and with funding from the European Union and the Governments of Australia and Germany. The meeting took place on Tuesday July 26, 2016 at 9 a.m. at the Movenpick Hotel.
During the meeting, participants discussed means of implementation of Lebanon’s climate change commitments as formulated in the INDC. In addition, roles and responsibilities for implementation were assigned to each relevant institution, especially for the energy, transport, waste and forestry sectors.
Lebanon had already submitted its climate pledge under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change ahead of the Paris Climate Summit which was held in December 2015, and which resulted in the new Climate Change Paris Agreement. The latter was signed by the Prime Minister Tamam Salam in New York on April 22. With the endorsement of the Paris Agreement by the Lebanese Government, Lebanon’s commitments under its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution compiled with other countries’ commitments became the new international road map for climate action for the coming decade.
Some of Lebanon’s targets under its INDC include generating 15% of electricity and heating demand from renewable energy sources by 2030, and increasing energy efficiency by 3%. Should Lebanon receive adequate technical and financial international support, these targets could reach 20% and 10% respectively. In the transport sector, Lebanon committed to increase the share of public transportation between 36% and 48%, depending on international support. In the forestry sector, Lebanon will plant at least half of the 40 million trees planned to be planted.
United Nations Development Programme Resident Representative Philippe Lazarrini presented in his opening speech a quick overview of the various UNDP projects implemented in Lebanon in partnership with the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Energy and Water. He emphasized on the importance of these projects in securing the sustainability and low emissions of Lebanon’s economy.
Christina Lassen, Head of the delegation of the European Union to Lebanon gave an opening speech where she said that Lebanon’s input to the COP21 was an excellent beginning. She highlighted that this first meeting of the INDC Working Group is an important step that illustrates Lebanon’s ambitious action. She reminded the audience that the European Union currently funds and implements climate change related programmes in Lebanon (on water, sanitation, solid waste, energy and protection of natural resources), through grants accounting to more than 180 million Euros. She mentioned that many obstacles still hamper a smooth development of crucial sectors in Lebanon and that reaching Lebanon’s ambitions for COP21 follow up will be challenging. However, she remained confident that the dedication of all from decision makers to experts will ensure progress every day.
Fadi Comair, Director General of the Directorate of Hydraulic Resources at the Ministry of Energy and Water said in his speech, representing the Minister of Energy and Water that his ministry adheres to the principles included in the Climate Change Paris Agreement, especially those related to improving climate governance and securing an appropriate regulatory framework to implement Lebanon’s commitments under the Paris Agreement. Comair presented some of the activities of the Ministry of Energy and Water which took place after the Paris Summit in addition to some of the recommendations which emanated from these activities to make the water and energy sectors more sustainable and more climate friendly.
Finally, Mohamad Al Mashnouk, Minister of Environment said in his speech that Climate change is an essential component of many policies in Lebanon, not only those of the Ministry of Environment. When we say climate change, we say opportunity to improve financial, social, economic and banking policies in all sectors: energy, public health, agriculture, forestry, water, industry and others. He added that the major challenge is the successful execution of the INDC goals through proper means of implementation adopted by each concerned ministry according to what is stated in the INDC. The Minister emphasized on the importance of the reinstatement, as soon as possible, of the prevailing national circumstances prior to the latest refugee crisis, coupled with the absence of the emergence of any new crisis which could adversely affect Lebanon’s national circumstances as two main conditions to enable Lebanon to meet its commitments.
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