Destruction of Adloun Port, Lebanon

The coast of Adloun, one of the few remaining beaches in Lebanon that have not yet been privatised, is being demolished by the government to build Nabih Berri Fishermen's Port.

Lebanon’s historic Adloun coast, believed to be the location of an ancient Phoenician port town and a valuable heritage, is being destroyed to build a port to be known as “Nabih Berri Fishermen’s Port”, named after the head of the Amal movement in Lebanon, a political party and an important Shi'a militia during the Lebanese Civil War, and the country's Speaker of Parliament since 1992. While the official announcement of the project was on 14 September 2014, bulldozers arrived on site on January 15, 2016, and started working without informing the locals. Although there was some public and media outrage against the project at its initial phase, these mobilisations have died down. Two protests that got some media attention were the ones organised in Beirut, the first in front of the National Mesuem, by “The Coalition of organisations and civil society groups for Adloun” (تجمّع جمعيات وهيئات المجتمع المدني لأجل عدلون)* on January 22, 2016, and the second on 11 February, 2016 by the Civil Campaign to Protect the Dalieh of Raouche, which highlighted the corruption of State institutions and their protection of private interests, under the slogan: If you want to know what is happening in Adloun, you must know what is happening in Dalieh (إذا أردت أن تعرف ماذا في عدلون، فعليك أن تعرف ماذا في الدالية). The majority of the public, especially the locals of Adloun, is scared to speak up against the project since it has the backing of Berri, and the region is dominated by his Amal party. As reported by one anonymous local, “no matter how much we object and launch campaigns against it, we know de facto that the new port will be built against our will. It all goes back to the power dynamics in Adloun and in Lebanon, in general.” [11]. The Ministries of Culture and Environment were also against the project, where the former demanded a halt to it until a joint committee assesses it, while the latter demanded stopping the project due to violation of EIA decree 8633, which states that ports require an EIA. [1] The Ministry of culture also sent two letters to the South Lebanon Governor asking him to stop all construction work, all to no avail. The Ministry of Public Works carried out with the excavation works, claiming that other ministries did not come up with alternative proposals for over 15 days, giving itself the de facto right to destroy the rocky coast. It is important to note that the Minister of Public works at the time, Gazi Zgheiter, had political ties with Nabih Berri, after whom the port is being named. A report by Al Akhbar provides more evidence of corruption, demonstrating that the $5 million excavation contract given to “Khoury Contracting Company” came under an irregular and unfair bid, [6] and with no consultation with the local community [2]. Of note, this company was recently also awarded a contract to operate the controversial Bourj Hammoud landfill. The call by the Ministry of Environment to halt the project was in response to the organizing against the project, led by the local activist group Green Southeners, who were documenting the destruction of the beach, as well as highlighting its archeological and ecological significance, particularly as one of the few remaining sea turtle nesting grounds on the Lebanese coast. Local activists claim that Adloun is a historic site and the project will only bring destruction to the beach and its prehistoric caves and Phoenician ruins, and ruin the city’s historic identity. They sent a letter to the Ministry of environment asking it to classify the coast as a protected site of natural and cultural heritage and to forbid any kind of development to preserve its biological diversity. The Ministry of public works has retaliated that the new port will create jobs and help the local fishing community, while activists have responded that the purpose of the port is to accommodate 400 luxury yachts, being of no service to the local community while creating massive environmental damage to the village. Moreover, Dr. Maha El-Khalil, the head of the International Association to Safeguard Tyr, has claimed that there has not been a proper archeological excavation of the site, which is essential before planning construction on the site, and has refuted the claim that the project will provide jobs for the locals by saying that preservation and celebration of Adloun’s heritage will bring economic benefits, rather than creating yet another marina for the wealthy. [3]  Although some local groups are against the project, there does not seem to be massive organising to stop the project, and the former mayor of Adloun, Samih Wehbi, was supportive of the development, thanking Berri and Zeaiter for implementing a project everyone will benefit from. Meanwhile, during his visit to the site in the January of last year, Zeaiter announced that “To those who wanted to sabotage this work, we tell them that this vandalism will not make us back down on projects that we are working for [on behalf of] our people in the South.” [4] He was referring to activists setting fire to a machine belonging to the project contractor.  *The groups present were The Green Southeners, Greenline, NAHNOO, The Lebanese Eco Movement, and independent activists.
Basic Data
NameDestruction of Adloun Port, Lebanon
ProvinceSouth Lebanon
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Land acquisition conflicts
Ports and airport projects
Tourism facilities (ski resorts, hotels, marinas)
Wetlands and coastal zone management
Specific CommoditiesLand
Tourism services
Project Details and Actors
Project Details
There have been various archaeological excavations of Adloun beach dating back to the 1800s, where archaeological sites have been discovered dating back to the Middle Palaeolithic Age [7] . The current site where the project is ongoing has not been properly studied. However, Adloun beach has become yet another zone of public maritime domain seized for private interests and luxury development. As Habib Battah, a local investigative journalist, has reported, there are around 5 illegal resorts on public maritime property for every kilometre of Lebanon’s 220 Kilometre coastline. [5]
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Project Area (in hectares)16.4
Level of Investment (in USD)26,600,000
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Start Date15/01/2016
Company Names or State EnterprisesKhoury Contracting Company from Lebanon
Relevant government actorsMinistry of Environment

Ministry of Culture

Ministry of Public Works and Transport

Governor of South Lebanon
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersThe Green Southerners

The Civil Campaign to Protect the Dalieh of Raouche



The Lebanese Eco Movement
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LOW (some local organising)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingLocal ejos
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationInvolvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Other Environmental impacts
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity)
OtherLoss of archeological heritage
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusUnder construction
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCorruption
Development of AlternativesThe Green Southerners propose reclaiming their archeological and cultural heritage as a means of preserving their historical identity.
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.The project is ongoing and mobilisations against it by activists has halted.
Sources and Materials

[1] Decree 8633 specifying conditions for conducting an EIA
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[2] Construction of Adloun Port demolishes ancient Phoenician town
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[4] Zeaiter visits the site of the Adloun port project
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[5] How the historic Adloun coast is becoming “Nabih Berri Port”
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The Minister of Environment issues a notice to the Ministry of Public Works requesting the cessation of the construction due to violations of Decree 8633
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Adloun Port: Another environmental transgression by the Lebanese government
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[6] A report by Al Akbar highlighting the corruption in the bidding process
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On sea turtles in Adloun
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[7] An article by GreaaArea on the historical significance Adloun beach
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[13] Article highlighting the similarities between the Adloun an Dalieh cases
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[11] The new name of Adloun’s port, Nabih Berri Port, says it all
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South Construction Company files a lawsuit against the Ministry of Public Works
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Article by the Legal Agenda on the protest in front of the National Museum
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The municipality of Adloun supports the Adloun port project
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Statement by the Civil Campaign to Protect the Dalieh of Raouche regarding the Adloun port project
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[8] Deforestation in Ansar village for rock quarries
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Green Southerners demand from the Ministry of Environment to classify Adloun coast as a protected area
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Article about the historical significance of Adloun coast from the Green Southener's website
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[12] Adloun port project destroys ancient Phoenician town
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Article about the history of Adloun and the significance of its archeological sites
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[13] A public statement by the Green Southerners after the start of the construction works on Adloun coast
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Media Links

Official Website of the Green Southerners
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[3] A report by Al Jadeed TV, stating that Phoenician port site has not been properly excavated
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Facebook page of the Green Southerners
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Protest by environmental organisation in front of the national museum
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Other Documents

Construction happening on Adloun beach; Credit: Elie Fares
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Sea turtle at Adloun Beach; Credit: Green Southerners
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Map of the project
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Letter of Environment Minister to Public Works Minister
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Detailed map of the project
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Other CommentsThanks to Mohammad Ayoub from NAHNOO for providing maps and legal documents.
Meta Information
ContributorCatherine Moughalian, Asfari Institute, AUB
Last update23/03/2017