Count of Public State Property Reclassification Decrees (per district and timeframe)

The state’s “public” property — legally known as “reserved protected land” includes any property meant to be used in the public interest, such as riverbeds, riverbanks, sea shores, waterfalls, lakes, irrigation canals, roads, paths, sidewalks, and storm drains, among others. This type of property is “protected” because the state cannot sell it or dispose of it, nor can ownership over it be acquired over time. Unless it is first redesignated as “private” to remove these restrictions — which is precisely what has happened over time. We collected and analyzed data from the Official Gazette on reclassifications of public state property into private state property between 1922 and 2022. The results of the analysis showed that the first decree was issued in 1933 during the French mandate by a decision of the High Commissioner, and the use of this legal loophole continued after independence, with the period between independence and the outbreak of the civil war witnessing the largest number of reclassification decrees. The issuance of reclassification decrees meanly peaked between 1950 and 1955 – during the period when the national economy was accelerating on a revenue-based basis. Geographically speaking, the governorates of Mount Lebanon and Kesrwane-Jbeil were subject to the highest percentage of reclassification decrees, followed by the North, the Bekaa, and the South. The decrees were also concentrated in the districts of El Meten (151 decrees), Zahle (94 decrees), Kesrwane (93 decrees), Baabda (91 decrees), Tripoli (66 decrees), and Saida (54 decrees) respectively. Similarly, the city of Zahle (40 decrees) and the city of Tripoli (56 decrees) were the most prominent cities in terms of the number of reclassification decrees.

Natural Resources Public Property