Improving National Assessment and Monitoring Capacities for Integrated Environmental and Coastal ecosystem Management

Place: lebanon, Asia
Sustainable management of natural resources Sustainable management of natural resources
Total Budget: € 500.000,00 | Period: From January 2011 To May 2013


INCAM project was funded by the EC under the FP7 ERA WIDE programme that intends to expand the positive European Research Area experience into the non-EU countries. One particular aspect of such scheme was that for the first time in EU funding history the project coordinator should be from a non-EU country. INCAM brought together 3 partners, with the National Council for Scientific Research (CNRS) of Lebanon as coordinator and then Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari (IAMB) along with the Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD) CESBIO, Toulouse France as partners. INCAM contributed to increase Lebanon's capacity in important environmental concerns based on a regional approach that assessed the anthropological impacts on natural resources towards achieving the objectives of improving assessment and monitoring capacities in environmental protection and coastal zone management in Lebanon by strengthening and enforcing the role of the National Council for Scientific Researc


National Council for Scientific Research in Lebanon - Lebanon

Lead applicant

The National Council for Scientific Research is a national public institution, which, since its establishment by law on 14 September 1962, has been entrusted with a double mission: the first advisory, the second executive. Reporting to the Prime Minister, the CNRS is an autonomous office directed by a Board of Directors and managed by a Secretary General. The consultative mission of the CNRS involves the formulation of guidelines for national scientific policies aimed at enhancing the development of the country. As part of its executive mission, the CNRS secures the promotion, organization and realization of these policies in programmes of action, implemented in its own research centres or in collaboration with other academic, research and development institutions. As part of its main mission, the objectives of the CNRS are to develop scientific research in Lebanon and to direct that research to respond to the needs of the country and to science evolution and innovation worldwide.

CIHEAM Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari - Italy

Initiative partner

The Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari (MAIB) is a Centre for post-graduate training, applied scientific research and design of in-loco partnership actions in the framework of the international cooperation programmes. It works in four thematic areas: “Land and water resources management”, “Integrated pest management of Mediterranean fruit and vegetable crops”, “Mediterranean organic agriculture” and “Sustainable agriculture, food and rural development”.

Institute for Research and Development (IRD - CESBIO) - France

Initiative partner

The Centre d'Etudes Spatiales de la Biosphère is a leader in France for research on biosphere functioning and monitoring from space. Its main research focuses on the understanding of bio-physical processes and the modelling of land surfaces and of their interactions with climate and human activities from local to regional scales, putting an emphasis on the use of remote sensing measurements.

Lebanon is a country of contrasts. Rarely somewhere else in the Middle East within such small territory sand beaches and snowy mountains co-exist. Population pressure is fast increasing and much of the coastal zone has already been sealed by urban development. INCAM tried to identify all the pressure factors, both physical and socio-economic and provide to Lebanon's policy makers a detailed plan for environmental protection and sustainable development.

Natural resources in Lebanon have been continuously subject to increasing pressures since the Phoenician and Roman times. The abundance of bare rocks and deteriorated lands with shallow soils points to processes of severe erosion and land degradation. Several natural and human-induced factors contributed to that degradation both in the interior as well as in Mediterranean coastal areas. INCAM developed an innovative web-based natural resources database suitable for all stakeholders and easy to use. This is a valid instrument especially for the decision makers.

Natural resources database on the website of INCAM Examples of the natural resources database built by the project and available on the web site of INCAM
Natural resources database on the website of INCAM Examples of the natural resources database built by the project and available on the web site of INCAM

Lebanon is acknowledged as one of the world's 18 major biological hot spots, and one of the richest in terms of natural capital  - with Mediterranean ecosystems characterized by unique landscape structures of forest and natural zones and intersecting matrices of manmade landscapes. It can be considered a very vulnerable country in terms of geological, hydro-geological and biological components as well as, over the past few decades, rapid urban development and coastal encroachment. INCAM aimed and successfully fulfilled the goal to transform the CNRS into a regional centre of excellence for dealing with important environmental concerns deriving from anthropological impacts on natural resources including soil, water, biodiversity, and coastal zone management merging them with monitoring, testing and research.

Publication of the project INCAM A landmark publication of the project setting the stage for continued environmental protecion in Lebanon

Two successful workshops (held in Beirut) and one regional conferences held in Izmir, Turkey
One book published (see above)
Web-based GIS Natural Resources Database completed
1 training regional seminar on EU procedures for research proposal
3 peer review papers in international journals
2 visits on critically polluted sites in Lebanon to increase public awareness
1 student earning MS thesis at IAMB

CNRS experts visiting critically polluted sites CNRS experts visiting critically polluted sites, on the left the Selaata chemical plant and on the right the Qartaba site

Main beneficiaries of the project:
· National Council for Scientific Research of Lebanon.
· Research community of Lebanon
· Experts from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco, Turkey, Spain, France and Greece

Project partners on regional conference in Izmir Project partners during the final regional conference in Izmir, Turkey on board a boat used for monitoring sea water quality along the coasts of Turkey

Human resources involved in the project included 5 scientific staff from CNRS Lebanon, 1 from IAMB and 1 from IRD. 

Human resources Organisation chart of human resources involved in the project
Kick-off meeting in Lebanon Project partners during the Kick-off meeting in Beirut, Lebanon March 2011
Ms. Pancera Greetings of the EC project scientific officer Ms. Aurelie Pancera
Project partners discussing Project partners discussing the methodology and the work programme

The project fulfilled very well many of its obligations. However, one small shortcoming regarded the number of MS students at IAMB that instead of 3 as planned only one was able to come to Bari, no matter continued efforts from the CNRS staff to select suitable candidates.

INCAM proposed to establish a comprehensive monitoring system as the key environmental and socio-economic tool for checking the status of environment in Lebanon. Particular attention was devoted to integrated coastal environmental management that must meet three requirements i.e. must be sustainable over long periods, must be adaptable to conditions that change rapidly and must provide mechanisms that encourage or require particular forms of resource use and collaborative behavior among institutions and user groups.

Urban and greenhouse establishment Intensive urban and greenhouse establishments along the heavy urbanised Lebanese coasts

INCAM experience was transferred to several Middle Eastern and north African countries like Jordan, Palestine, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, and Algeria. 


INCAM endorsed a very extensive dissemination campaign that involved many stakeholders both inside and outside Lebanon. One particular Work Package was devoted only to knowledge dissemination. I
NCAM results were made available in English and Arabic to the large scientific community. Also newsletters about the project were pubblished. Two workshops held in Izmir and a published book 

INCAM Brochure Brochure explaining objectives and workpackages of the project
INCAM Brochure Brochure explaining objectives and workpackages of the project
INCAM Newsletters Newsletters about the INCAM project
INCAM Newsletters Newsletters about the INCAM project
Review and perspectives of environmental studies in Lebanon Published book about the environmental studies in Lebanon