Lebanon has a democratic and a presidential government. Governing is divided into three branches: The first branch is the Executive Branch in which the National Assembly elects the president for a 6-year non-renewable term. The president then appoints the prime minister (that is by custom a Sunni Muslim) from the National Assembly with their approval, and he also appoints a deputy prime minister (by default a Shia’a Muslim). The last part of the executive branch is the cabinet that is chosen by the prime minister. The cabinet is a committee for the ministers. The second is the Legislative Branch where there are 128 seats in the National Assembly through which members get elected to serve for a 4-year term. Members are elected by popular vote on the basis of their sectarian representation. The chairman of the National Assembly is by custom a Shia’a Muslim. The final branch is the Judicial Branch where the Lebanese courts are based on a French model and its legal system is a mixture of Ottoman law, canon law (religious laws), Napoleonic law, and civil law. In this branch there are four courts: three for civil and commercial cases and one for criminal cases. Political parties are grouped into three categories: religion, clan, and economic considerations.
Lebanon is located in the Middle East bordering the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea between Israel and Syria. Its area is 10,400 sq. Km with land boundaries that total to 454 Km. In the northeast, Syria borders Lebanon with 375 Km, while in the south Israel borders Lebanon with 79 Km.
Lebanon enjoys a Mediterranean climate with hot and dry summers and cool, wet, rainy winters. The Lebanon Mountains experience heavy winter snows and plentiful rain. Humidity is high along the coast in summer and daytime temperatures range with an average of 30°C with night temperature not much lower.
There are four major geographic regions from north to south of Lebanon. The first is the coastal strip which totals to a distance of 225 km. The main cities on that line are Beirut and Tripoli. The second region is the Lebanon Mountains that contain numerous rivers. The highest peak is Qurnat Es Sawdaa at 3,090 meters above sea level. The third feature is the Bekaa Valley, which is 15 km in width and is the country’s main agriculture region. The last region is the Anti-Lebanon Mountains that form borders with Syria.
Agriculture is abundant and represents 12% of the Lebanese economy. The agriculture products that are produced in Lebanon are as follows: citrus, grapes, tomatoes, apples, vegetables, potatoes, olives, tobacco, sheep and goats. In addition to agriculture, water-surplus state in water deficit region, limestone, iron ore, arable land, and salt are also considered valued natural resources.
Lebanon maintains two-sided and many-sided trade agreements with several countries. One of Lebanon’s trade agreements is with Egypt, established in 1997. The two countries signed 12 agreements in different fields and set up a free trade zone.
Lebanon exports $700 million worth of goods to Arabian countries and very few foreign countries. However Lebanon imports $6.2 billion worth of goods. When comparing the imports to the exports, the ratio is 8.8 : 1. This means that for each export there are 8.8 imports, which is clear evidence that Lebanon is not a self-sufficient country.
The ethnic structure of the Lebanese population is diverse. The largest group, the Arabs, consist of 95% of the total population. 4% indicate their origins from Armenia. The only remaining 1% of the Lebanese inhabitants are from other ethnic groups.
Most Lebanese people are Muslims in one of the 5 legally recognized groups, which are: Shia’a, Sunni, Alawite or Nusayri, and Druze. The remaining 30% are Christians belonging to one of the 11 legally recognized groups, which are: four Orthodox Christian, six Catholic, and one Protestant. The Jewish and Judaism religion are not significant in Lebanon and are neglected.
Outside the cities, especially in mountains, the people preserve the old customs and traditions. The Lebanese people, despite being ethnically and religiously diverse because of the country’s long history of defeat and adjustment, are friendly and hospitable.
The monetary system of Lebanon uses the Lebanese Pound (LL), locally known as Lira. The currency depreciated during the civil war and suffered from fluctuation. However, in the past two years the currency remained stable because of the stability of the Lebanese government after the war.
Following to the civil war, the LL has been suffering and has unfortunately lost the trust of the population in and out of the country. The US. Dollar ($) has widely substituted the LL. because of its firm stability contrasting the LL.
Lebanon's GDP is $17.61 billion (2002 est.) and grows at a rate of 2% per year. The inflation rate is 2%. 28% of the population is below the poverty line; the unemployment rate is 18%.
Trade partners include Belgium (4.5%) and the UK (4.2%).
The structure of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) is divided into three categories, which are: Army, Navy, and Air force. Militias widely exist in Lebanon. Militias were divided depending on sector, region, or religion. The two major militias in Lebanon were the Muslim militia and the Christian militia. The formation of militias in Lebanon began in the early 40’s and 50’s, and their existence became bolder throughout the 70’s.
Lebanon has weak military power and therefore depends mainly on France and Syria for military support. Dependence on France has been a tendency for Lebanon because France’s former possession of Lebanon. Lebanon is also part of a defense alliance with Syria, which played a major part in obtaining Lebanon's security during the civil war.
The Syrian Armed Forces still stand guard in Beirut and other parts of Lebanon as a result of Lebanon's weak military power.
Views on World Problems
The Arab World’s geographical setting and location has always maintained a great value and importance because of its location in the middle of the world. Lebanon fortunately is in the center of this geographical treasure and has a mixture of various cultures. Because of Lebanon’s' strategic location, it had to struggle head-to-head with the Arab World's enemy, Israel, which shares it’s borders from the south.
Initiating from the establishment of Israel on Palestinian land in 1946, there was the problem of the refugees that were forced to go to neighboring countries that included Lebanon. The periods of the migration of the Palestinian refugees ranged but generally revolved around 1946 to 1950 during the establishment of Israel, 1967 after the Arabian-Israeli war, and during 1970 after the Palestinian issue in Jordan.
The Palestinian refugees faced obstacles and they soon became an aggravating obstacle for the Lebanese Republic. The Lebanese government faced many difficulties that included home deficiency for the Palestinian refugees and their lack of education. The government built camps for the refugees but this still did not end the endless amount of conditions as well as health problems and employment problems. The Lebanese people faced social, political, and economic troubles and this interfered with the population structure of Lebanon.
The earliest settlers of Lebanon were the Phoenicians who came from the Arabic Peninsula around 3,500 BC. They established cities at Beirut, Byblos, Tyre, Sidon, and Baalbek and spread literacy through the entire region.
Throughout the centuries, Lebanon had progressed with different rulers and had then become part of the Roman Empire in 64 BC when Pompey the Great governed Lebanon as a part of Syria or as named in the early establishment, "The Greater Syria."
While in the early years of the Christian era, Lebanon had just started its long-running reputation of being a refuge for religious minorities. The Arabs had converted most of the region to Islam and the geographical detachment of Lebanon also appealed to the Muslims as a religious refuge. The variety of beliefs in Lebanon gave each religious group a certain amount of independence in specific areas, but it also weakened the unity of Lebanon as a whole.
In the early establishment of the Republic of Lebanon, the majority of the population was Christian. This soon changed however because of the Christians’ tendency to migrate to other countries and because of the Muslims’ higher birth rate. By the 1950’s, the Muslims and Christians had become equivalent but the governing rule had an unbalanced power-sharing arrangement. The Shia’a Muslims in particular, felt excluded from the real government and protested causing the pre-civil war in 1970. The pre-civil war then led to the civil war, which took place during the period from 1975 throughout 1991 causing total destruction and chaos to the Lebanese community politically and economically in 16 years.
1. The issue of the rights and availability of generic drugs:
Generic drugs are drugs that are cheaper than brand-name drugs. Although these drugs are cheaper they have the same therapeutic value. Lebanon is with generic drugs since Lebanon has 18% unemployment rate and even the people who have jobs only receive hardly sufficient money to support themselves and their families.
Lebanon would help funding so it can to help develop generic drugs. Lebanon severely believes that making generic drugs available will help suffering countries. After donating the money Lebanon wants to buy generic drugs to help poor people not only in Lebanon but also throughout the world.
2. The issue of rights of displaced people:
Recently, the UN started helping with providing humanitarian support for displaced people. Lebanon thinks, since it has displaced people of their own, that the UN should provide more humanitarian assistance to displaced people. The absence of nationalities should be severely dealt with.
Lebanon wants to help wield the UN to focus more on this topic by funding and other methods like sending support of it’s own. Lebanon deeply believes that if displaced people no longer exist there would be more labor force and the economy will rise for all the countries that are suffering from having displaced people.
3. The issue of the trade of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction:
Nuclear warheads and weapons of mass destruction are lethal and they are incentive to war. By approaching the issue in a right way the UN could ascertain less wars between nations.
Lebanon will help funding and send support of any possible kind to help the UN to disarm major sources and countries that obtain nuclear warheads. Lebanon believes that by targeting one country after the other the world will be one-step closer to unified peace.
Noting with regret that most of the world’s countries contain displaced people,
Stressing that if displaced people continue budding, labor rates will fall resulting in a drop in the nation’s economy;
Condemns the UN for their little attention to the fact that the numbers are escalating;
Congratulates all the countries that want to help displaced people in their country;
Keeping in mind that all actions will only take place if the displaced person and the country in hand agree;
1. Calls upon the formation of the United Nations Association for Assisting Displaced People (UNAADP) which will be mainly based in South Africa and will have other bases in each continent consist of the following branches: A. Health and Medical Care (HMC), B. Personal Defense Care like guarding (PDC), C. Clothing Support (CS), D. Shelter Support (SS) which will do the following: Construction, Maintenance, and Guarding E. Educational Association (EA) which will create a school which will consist of the following people: 1. Administrative Staff (Director and Principle), 2. Teachers, 3. Researchers, 4. Caretakers;
2. Resolves that the EA which will consist of 20 specialists whom will create several schools around the world to help educate displaced people who cannot enter schools;
3. Assures that with the help of the SS peace and tranquillity will be accomplished;
4. Affirms that fund-raisers and marathons will take place annually and the money raised will be donated equally among displaced people;
5. Urges that the countries punish anyone who deliberately hurts displaced people;
6. Calls upon all nations to vote for this resolution since it details how the UNAADP will help displaced people;
Honorable Chair, Fellow Delegates; welcome, marhaba;
I am here representing Lebanon, a country that is described as "heaven" in Arab lands. Lebanon is with the production of generic drugs as well as helping displaced people around the world and giving them their rights. On the other hand Lebanon is deeply against the production and trade of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction.
Thank you, shookran.