Lebanese Republic


Introduction to the SDGs  |  Relations between SMEs and SDGs  |  SDG related resources

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. These 17 Goals build on the successes of the Millennium Development Goals, while including new areas such as climate change, economic inequality, innovation, sustainable consumption, peace and justice, among other priorities.


During the SME Forum 2017, H.E. the Minister of Economy and Trade has signed a letter of commitment to the principles of the UN Global Compact Network. Since then, the Ministry of Economy and Trade has participated in a number of SDG related activities, and has included SDGs as applicable in the vision and project planning of the Ministry.


Introduction of the SDGs

Image result for sustainable development goals Description of the Sustainable Development Goals

Sample of work by the Government of Lebanon for the SDGs

Source: Voluntary National Review on SDGs

SDG Goal 1 Goal 1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere. The Ministry of Social Affairs has launched the National Poverty Targeting Program (NPTP) project, using a targeting mechanism to deliver social assistance and service provision to the extreme poor, based on a USD5.70 per day poverty line. It currently supports 43,000 families.
SDG Goal 2 Goal 2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.

The Ministry of Agriculture has a Strategy 2015–2019 that is based on principles of good governance. It  aims  to  develop  the  agriculture  sector  by  ensuring  food  security  and  food  safety,  reducing  poverty and rural–urban migration, creating job opportunities, and increasing efficiency and sustainable use of natural resources.

Other initiatives include IDAL Agri-Plus programme that provides agricultural export subsidies to local producers and other incentives to enhance product quality and improve packaging, promotion and marketing. The Central Bank of Lebanon also subsidises medium- and long-term agricultural loans and provides microfinance to enterprises with up to four workers.
In addition the Ministry of Economy and Trade subsidises 
wheat and controls bread price and the Ministry of Finance subsidises farmers planting tobacco.

SDG Goal 3 Goal 3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. The Ministry of Public Heatlh  has  integrated  SDG  targets  in  its  plans  and  strategies. It has also set the baseline statistics for almost every indicator of the SDGs, and is in process of setting its  own  specific  indicator  targets.
SDG Goal 4 Goal 4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all. The Government of Lebanon is developing its Education 2030 SDG 4 Strategy that will set out its vision, goal and targets, contextualised to Lebanon’s environment. The strategy will take the form of a roadmap for transforming the performance of the education system for the years 2019 to 2030, which will focus on continuous improvement of students’ learning outcomes and skills. The strategy will have a clear focus on equity: ensuring every child, regardless of background or special educational needs, reaches his or her full educational potential.
SDG Goal 5 Goal 5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. In 2012 the government approved the NCLW’s Strategy  for  Women’s Affairs in Lebanon 2011–2021. This ten–year strategy has 2 strategic objectives that touch on all aspects of women’s lives. The strategy’s plan for 2017–2019 is being implemented and monitored through published annual reports.
SDG Goal 6 Goal 6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. The Lebanese government is working on protecting and upgrading water resources, and on the completion, expansion and rehabilitation of the water and wastewater networks.
SDG Goal 7 Goal 7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all. In 2017 the Council of Ministers approved a five-year strategy for the electricity sector, which builds on a previous plan made in 2010. The strategy aims to bridge the electricity generation supply-demand gap, resolve transmission and distribution problems to improve accessibility and reliability, and work on energy efficiency and increasing the share of energy from renewable sources.
SDG Goal 8 Goal 8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all. The Ministry of Economy and Trade's SME Strategy aims to support SMEs grow by promoting innovation and ensuring business viability, sustainability and competitiveness. Through the strategy, the Ministry of Economy and Trade is working on a national job creation programme aimed at addressing gaps in the spectrum of financing solutions available to SMEs. The ministry is also working with the World Bank to provide matching grants and support for entrepreneurs including women, youth and lagging areas. The Kafalat plus programme (a partnership between the Ministry of Economy and Trade and the EU) offered loan guarantees to existing SMEs and conventional starts-up to help them develop their business ideas or activities by providing access to finance in five different sectors: industry, agriculture, tourism, high technology and craft. OMSAR also funds projects that provide management training to small businesses to ensure growth and productivity. OMSAR has taken the lead on a digital transformation strategy for the government, to radically improve its citizen services and operations.
SDG Goal 9 Goal 9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation. The Ministry of Industry has mainstreamed the relevant SDGs (1,3,7,9,11,12 and 17) into its integrated vision (Lebanon industry 2025), executive strategy for 2016–2020 and operational plans for 2017 and 2018. The Ministry of Industry is organising existing industrial zones and constructing new and sustainable industrial zones in all Lebanese regions. Preliminary studies to establish four industrial zones in municipal properties (Turbol-Qusai, Bekaa; Baalbek, Bekaa; Al-Kaa, Bekaa; and Al-Mtein, Metn) have been completed and work is underway to secure the necessary financing for design and execution that will include rehabilitating existing industrial zones. The government is also prioritising a sharp increase in public investment through accelerated implementation of projects for which loans have already been extended. It has also prepared an ambitious Capital Investment Plan (CIP) that covers water, wastewater, solid waste, transport, electricity, telecommunications, and infrastructure for tourism and industry.
SDG Goal 10 Goal 10. Reduce inequality within and among countries.

Social protection policies in Lebanon are gaining attention and building up. Ministry of Public Health coverage of all those who do not have health insurance; the expansion a primary health network that offers consultations and medications almost for free; the network of grassroots and programs of SDCs and the sector-wide upgrading in public education – all aim to enhance social protection.

The Ministry of Labour, with the support of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), is currently drafting a five-year comprehensive strategy for the period 2017-2020 based on a tripartite consultation as per the ILO approach. The strategy aims to: (i) strengthen policy coherence with a focus on labour management and labour inspection systems; (ii) improve working conditions for all workers in accordance with Lebanese laws and regulations and in line with international labour standards; (iii) promote productive employment with a focus on the employment of Lebanese youth; (iv) improve social security contributions and provide a minimum level of social protection, focusing on vulnerable groups within society.

SDG Goal 11 Goal 11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. The Ministry of State for Planning was established in 2016. This ministry started to develop a national urban policy and the ‘Habitat III National Report for Lebanon’, with support from UN-Habitat and other institutions concerned with urban planning.
SDG Goal 12 Goal 12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns. The Ministries of Environment and Industry developed Lebanon’s  Action Plan for Sustainable Consumption and Production for the  Industrial Sector in 2015.
SDG Goal 13 Goal 13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. Lebanon signed the Paris Agreement in April 2016, and, in August 2016, the Council of Ministers forwarded the draft law of the Paris Agreement to Parliament where it remains under study. Although Lebanon does not yet have dedicated national legislation to address climate change, several policies and pieces of legislation, such as those on energy efficiency, renewable energy 
and air pollution, contribute to SDG13 and the country’s commitment to climate change. For instance, the law on the protection of air quality was adopted in April 2018. By setting emission standards, roles and responsibilities and penalties on polluters, once implemented this law will contribute to the reduction of emissions and improvement of air quality. The same applies to article 55 of law 79/2018 (2018 National Budget Law), which establishes customs and registration reductions on hybrid and electric cars.
SDG Goal 14 Goal 14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. A draft national integrated coastal zone management law has been prepared, which could, along with the environment protection law, determine new principles for the protection of the coast and marine environment. At the same time, along the lines of the National Physical Master Plan of the Lebanese Territory, the Council for Development and Reconstruction is preparing a master plan for the coastal zone that could facilitate work towards SDG14 and connections with the social and economic SDGs.
SDG Goal 15 Goal 15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss. The Lebanese government has several programmes to restore forests including the National Action Plan to Combat Desertification, the National Afforestation and Reforestation Programme and the 40 Million Trees Programme. Other projects that target biodiversity conservation have also been implemented. Lebanon is party to international agreements such as the Convention on Biological Diversity, Rio de Janeiro, 1992; the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, Paris, 1994; the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (and specifically Waterfowl Habitat of 1999); and most recently the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and 
the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization under the Convention on Biological Diversity (ratified in April 2017). These international agreements have benefited Lebanon by building its capacities in sustainable biodiversity protection.
SDG Goal 16 Goal 16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants, with EU support, is leading work on a draft national counter terrorism strategy. The Internal Security Forces (ISF) have adopted a 2018–2022 strategy aimed towards ‘ensuring a more secure society’. It focuses on fostering stability, safety and security; partnering with society; protecting human rights and raising accountability; and building the ISF’s professional capacities, effectiveness, and efficacy.

The public-private partnership (PPP) law was also ratified in 2017. The PPP law will be applied to government and municipality projects, such as infrastructure. A public procurement law that is expected to enhance the transparency and efficiency in contracting has been sent to parliament.

SDG Goal 17 Goal 17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

Despite the challenges of a deficit and the slow economic growth, Lebanon is determined to mobilise the funding it needs to implement Agenda 2030 through partnerships with the international community. This community demonstrated its relentless commitment to Lebanon and the domestic and foreign private sector at the recent CEDRE conference.

The PPP law is a major step towards the accomplishing SDG17 as partnerships with the private sector will be the principal mode to provide essential public services. Given the PPP law has adopted the PFI’s definition of PPPs, SDGs are targeted as PPP projects will normally be financed by the private sector, with much of financing by FDI.


Relations between SMEs and SDGs

The critical contribution of MSMEs to broader social economic objectives, including job creation makes them a key priority area for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Job creation through MSMEs will often directly benefit the poor and vulnerable, particularly women and youth, thereby directly reducing poverty, increasing income and positively impacting on household investments in education and health over time, therefore contributing to economic growth and social stability. MSME development has the potential for wide reaching impacts on the SDGs globally, including;

  • SDG 1 - End poverty
  • SDG 2 - Zero hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good health and well-being
  • SDG 4 - Education for all
  • SDG 8 - Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work
  • SDG 9 - Improve sustainable industrialization and fostering innovation

Sustainable Development Goal #1 – End Poverty

The basic impact of a growing and sustainable economy is the alleviation of poverty. An increase in MSMEs will foster job creation, and generate more opportunities while simultaneously improving the quality of life in the country.

Sustainable Development Goal #2 – Zero Hunger

The target 2.3, a subsection of goal #2, explicitly points to the important role played by smallholder farmers and agricultural-focused SMEs in creating and maintaining a sustainable food supply. This target is to “by 2030, double the agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers, in particular women, indigenous peoples, family farmers, pastoralists and fishers, including through secure and equal access to land, other productive resources and inputs, knowledge, financial services, markets and opportunities for value addition and non-farm employment.”

Sustainable Development Goal #3 – Good Health and Well-being

In many developing countries, healthcare SMEs fill the gap left by the inability of the public sector to meet health care needs of the population.

Sustainable Development Goal #4 – Education for All

Public funding alone in many developing countries is insufficient to provide the breadth and the quality of education services needed to reach the ambitious goals laid out in SDG 4. In many regions of the developing world, low cost private schools have been identified as a key means to provide the necessary educational services to the population, and can be considered essentially “educational SMEs.”

Sustainable Development Goal #8 – Promote inclusive sustainable Economic Growth

Given the employment generating role of SMEs, allowing these companies to thrive and prosper is clearly a critical area for achievement of this goal. Subsection 8.3, clearly states “Promote development-oriented policies that support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and encourage the formalization and growth of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, including through access to financial services.”

Sustainable Development Goal #9 - Sustainable Industrialization and Fostering Innovation

Target 9.3, a subsection of goal #9, identifies the importance of access to financial services and is to “increase the access of small-scale industrial and other enterprises, in particular in developing countries, to financial services, including affordable credit, and their integration into value chains and markets.” This target again points to the importance of providing funding to SMEs, but it also includes the idea of strengthening the ability of SMEs to access markets and expand their businesses through value chains, thus going beyond pure credit. By offering business development services and networking opportunities to their clients, SME lenders can facilitate further development of these enterprises.


SDG related resources


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Grain and Sugar Beets

Grain and Sugar Beets