Over 300 civil society activists and residents of Beirut came together to discuss and debate the future of Beirut’s biggest green space.

The public debate was organized by Nahnoo, a youth lead organization that aspires to provide a platform for young Lebanese to engage in activities that promote self-development and gain the skills necessary to meaningfully contribute to their communities.The debate was held on 8 February at Madina Theatre in Beirut and is part of a campaign to open Horsh Beirut to the public.
Panelists included Dr. Bilal Hamad (President of the Beirut Municipality), Mr. Nizar Saghiyeh (Lawyer), Mohammad Ayoub (Executive Director of Nahnoo), and Eric Bovard (Representative Ile de France)

Dr. Hamad announced that the Municipality of Beirut will open Horsh Beirut to the public at “the end of the year” but he did not specify a date. He invited Nahnoo and all interested organizations to take part in a process to outline appropriate steps for opening the park in a responsible way that protects the public space from being damaged.

Nizar Saghiyeh discussed the issue from a legal perspective saying that access to the park is a public right entitled by law and that closing the park is an illegal act. He believes the municipality is not fully at fault for the park closure but it nevertheless has done nothing to rectify the situation and is an accomplice in the legal violation. Saghiyeh stated that limiting access to only a certain class of people is part of a greater problem where public properties such as beaches have been taken over by elites. He believes that the only available solution is through legal action.

Eric Bovard said that the Horsh was designed in a way to bring the Lebanese together especially from difference neighborhoods in Beirut and that Isle de France financed the project so that the park would open and not stay closed. He added that there isn’t an effective policy to administer the park and that it should be developed by the Municipality of Beirut in order to protect the park from any violation.

Mohammad Ayoub said that the Municipality of Beirut needs to set a clear date to open the park. He said that a failure to set a date is equivalent to avoiding responsibility and that if the municipality does not abide by a clear timeline, the park will remain closed. He said that a policy paper was presented to the municipality but admitted that blame cannot solely be placed on the municipality and that the all organizations involved in the campaign to open the park “are ready to cooperate in order to follow up on the case and denounce those who are hindering the project but a clear timeline is needed in order to follow through with the work ahead.”

The discussion between the President of the Municipality and audience members was lively and at times heated with many explaining that they feel deprived of their rights.

After the meeting, a photography exhibition on Horsh Beirut was launched Maddina Theatre in Hamra and will remain on display until February 12.

Nahnoo Public Debate – One Step Closer to Opening Horsh Beirut

Articles & Media

Nahnoo Launches Petition to... Hot off the Web on Apr 2, 2013

Past Events

Public forum debate about the... Seminar & Lecture (Discussion, Debate)


Avatar 1
Post to facebook