Legal, Policy and Institutional Changes to Support Decentralised, Community-based Natural Resource Management in Lebanon and Syria


To put in place enabling conditions for the preservation of existing traditional systems of resource tenure that contribute to conservation and sustainable management of natural resources


Background and activities

Many traditional systems of natural resource tenure are known to have been sustainable and even beneficial for conservation. IUCN and its partners wish to enable these traditions to continue despite modern changes in economy and society. Syria and Lebanon provide case studies of the potential for traditional practices to ensure sustainable natural resource management. This sub-project works to promote sustainable livelihoods through better governance rooted in local and district level institutions.

IUCN and its partners are carrying out activities in the Akkar Hermel Region of Lebanon and the Abu Rigmin protected area, Abbasye Cooperative and the Palmyra Desert in the Ibis Protected Area/Al Talila Reserve in Syria.

In Syria, there is a need to improve the national legal framework regulating management of protected areas to ensure that land rights are recognised and tangible benefits from conservation are gained by traditional users. Sustainable eco-tourism is a potential avenue for economic security and IUCN and partners support development of these ventures through consultations and capacity building.

In Lebanon, the economy depends largely on dryland agriculture and important fishery breeding activities along the Assi River. In the upper watersheds, there are important forest areas that need protection, restoration and management.  IUCN and partners are analysing governance structures of existing community-based management systems to help set up two National Policy Committees that will function as mechanisms for regular dialogue between policy makers, local agencies and community leaders on natural resource governance and required policy responses.

A set of policy guidelines and recommendations are being developed to integrate stakeholder participation in natural resource management policies and investments. This will allow for the establishment of new institutional frameworks for local governance, including community conserved areas, to be achieved through participatory and consensus building approaches.  

Training workshops and knowledge/experience sharing form an important part of this project. This will improve the capacity of local decision-makers and community members to manage natural resources sustainably.


Expected changes in policy and practice include:

  • Developed policy frameworks, institutional mechanisms and legislation put in place to ensure biodiversity conservation and the maintenance of viable traditional resource tenure systems
  • Opportunities for sustainable livelihoods and nature conservation through development
  • Improved capacities of local decision-makers to manage natural resources sustainably as a result of increased participation and representation in planning and decision-making processes


IUCN West-Asia is responsible for the overall project activity.

Local partners include: the Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon (SPNL), MADA Communities & Environment in Lebanon, Municipalities of Hermel and the Bekaa region in Lebanon, the General Commission for al-Badia Management and Development DC, the Syrian Society for Wildlife Conservation (SSCW) and several community-based organisations in target areas in Syria.

Funded by UKaid from the DFID's Governance and Transparency Fund
  • UKaid
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