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The Dalieh of Raouche, Lebanon

Development frenzy in Beirut has led to illegal privatization and fencing-off of the seashore from the public. Today, development plans threaten Dalieh, a prominent landmark in Beirut and one of the last remaining public spaces along Beirut's shoreline


Amid massive neoliberal development in post-civil war Lebanon, most of Beirut’s shoreline has been privatized and fenced off by upscale resorts that are inaccessible to the majority of Beirut’s citizens. The Dalieh of Raouche remains one of the last stretches of the shoreline that is still open to working class Lebanese and non-Lebanese citizens alike. Postwar privatization, however, has reached the shores of Dalieh, and the site is threatened today by potential development plans.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:The Dalieh of Raouche, Lebanon
Location of conflict:Beirut
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Urban development conflicts
Tourism facilities (ski resorts, hotels, marinas)
Wetlands and coastal zone management
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific commodities:Land
Tourism services
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The Dalieh of Raouche is divided into several plots, which were historically owned by various Beiruti families, such as the Chatila, Baydoun, Itani, Matar, and Mu’awwad families. Although these plots were privately owned, property records that date back to the 1940s indicate that the area was deemed “non aedificandi”, meaning not designated for construction, and Order 144 of 1925 categorizes the seashore as public property, defined as the furthest high-water point on the beach.

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Level of Investment for the conflictive projectUnclear
Type of populationUrban
Affected Population:Unclear
Start of the conflict:13/03/2014
Company names or state enterprises:Al-Bahr Real Estate
Sakhrat Al-Bahr Real Estate
Sakhret Al Yamama
Relevant government actors:The Governor and Municipality of Beirut
Ministry of Environment
Ministry of Public Works and Transport
Directorate General of Urban Planning (DGU)
Council of Development and Reconstruction (CDR)
The Directorate General of Antiquities (DGA) which falls under the Ministry of Culture
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:The Civil Campaign to Protect the Dalieh of Raouche. The coalition includes NAHNOO, Greenline, Cedars for Care, Public Works, and independent experts. The campaign also has independent supporters such as We Want Accountability (بدنا نحاسب).
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Informal workers
Local ejos
Recreational users
Local scientists/professionals
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Artistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusUnknown
Conflict outcome / response:Corruption
Court decision (undecided)
Strengthening of participation
Proposal and development of alternatives:The Civil Campaign to Protect the Dalieh of Raouche launched a competition on March 24, 2015, entitled “Revisiting Dalieh,” calling on citizens to submit their alternative visions of Dalieh to protect it as a natural site used openly by the public instead of becoming a private resort. The competition was open to architects, landscape architects, urbanists, planners, and other related environmental design disciplines. The aim of the competition was to provide alternatives to the current trend of privatization along the entire coast of Lebanon, in terms of coming up with environmentally sustainable design alternatives as well as opening up the debate about open-access shared spaces in the face of the market-driven urban geography of Lebanon. The winning projects included in their designs wildlife conservation systems, ecological workshops, a fishing port, market, and eatery, a landscape promenade, diving area, fishermen’s exhibition spaces, urban agriculture spaces, training areas, etc… More details about the three winning projects can be found on the campaign’s website.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:A coalition was formed to defend public spaces with both experts and citizens in it, including those living nearby, which hopes to stay intact and work on other public space issues next. Due to this campaign, Dalieh received a lot of publicity and most people in Beirut have now heard about the issue, and a culture of public space has been developing in Beirut. In addition, the coalition managed to create a dialogue with the authorities, including the relevant ministries and the Governor of Beirut, something that is new in Lebanon. Members also consider it a huge success that the Minister of Environment eventually supported the campaign. And throughout it all, the coalition managed to remain transparent and reveal corruption without even using the names of specific politicians, and so they couldn't be accused of publicly shaming them. Of course, the ultimate victory would be in Dalieh is preserved as a public space, and there is still a lot of work to be done.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Booklet published by the Civil Campaign to Protect the Dalieh of Raouche
[click to view]

Booklet published by Dictaphone group with details about the zoning laws of Beirut
[click to view]

Open Letter by the campaign to architect Rem Koolhaas
[click to view]

Collection of photos of Dalieh by Beirut Report
[click to view]

Dalieh and the ongoing struggle for public spaces
[click to view]

News piece about fisherman Ali Itani who got evicted from Dalieh
[click to view]

Ministry of Environment announces decree to protect the coast of Dalieh
[click to view]

Detailed news piece about Dalieh
[click to view]

Timeline of fencing of Dalieh
[click to view]

Fishermen of Dalieh are threatened with eviction
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Footage from a protest to reclaim Dalieh after activists tear down the fence (credits: Habib Battah)
[click to view]

Facebook page for Dalieh
[click to view]

The Civil Campaign to Protect the Dalieh of Raouche
[click to view]

Trailer of the performance "The Sea Is Mine" by the Dictaphone Group about the privatization of Dalieh
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Catherine Moughalian, Asfari Institue, [email protected]
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:2458
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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