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Environmental Observatory (OLIFE)

O-Life L'Observatoire Libano-Français de l'Environnement

Given the urgent need to collect, perpetuate, share, and valorize environmental information, actors of the French and Lebanese scientific research community wished to establish the foundation for a shared observatory between France and Lebanon.

This first step aims subsequently to the creation of an ambitious Circum-Mediterranean observatory network.

The initiative is carried out in partnership with the MISTRALs program.

In France, the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), the Research Institute for Development (IRD) and the University of Montpellier 2 via its Observatory of the Sciences of the Universe (OREME) have associated with the Lebanese National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS-Lebanon) and several Lebanese and French universities (The University of Toulouse, the University of Grenoble, the University of Aix Marseille, the University of Pierre et Marie Curie, The Université d’Avignon et des Pays de Vaucluse, the Collège de France, the Lebanese University, the University of Balamand, the University of Saint Joseph, the American University of Beirut, the University of Saint Esprit de Kaslik, the Beirut Arab University, the Lebanese American University) to create the O-LiFE observatory.

In summary, the main activity of the observatory is to study the critical zone around the Mediterranean, of water resources, biodiversity, natural hazards, management of the environment and ultimately the study of land use. To carry out its mission, O-LiFE will provide means of mobility and shared services. The observatory aims to construct environmental databases, create collaborative software tools, and also provide the Scientific and technical support to facilitate responses from researchers to international calls for tenders.

The creation of an international associated laboratory between all actors involved will quickly materialize this initiative.

Mission and Objectives:

The Mediterranean basin is a priority area and a leading area for the analysis of environmental data, and also for the extrapolation of trends that will allow a better management of the present and help envisage plausible scenarios for the future. Understanding the mechanisms governing the functioning of the critical zone of the Mediterranean is essential to the protection of water, soil, and biodiversity resources.

From this observation, O-LiFE has the following objectives: - Conduct simultaneously: Observation, Research, Training and Valorization. - Federate skills through common tools and objects. - Organize, share, sustain and enhance environmental data.

Priority tasks:

To achieve these objectives, O-LiFE has defined five priority tasks:

1- Build environmental databases of the critical zone in consideration.
2- Conduct monitoring services: Provide instruments, equipment, assist in the operation and monitoring of sites.
3- Enhance environmental data and research among scientists, public policy makers, and the public in general, to promote a coordinated approach:
- To sustain development.
- To Facilitate the prospective approach and exchange through innovative web-services.
- To be a force of exploration and proposal for relevant calls for projects.

Priority themes:

Among the many important environmental issues in the Mediterranean basin, and more particularly in Lebanon, priority will be given to themes already having a body of data, and where there is also a sense of commitment by well-identified actors. These missions will be conducted on four priority themes, which will determine the activities of the Observatory during its start-up phase (2013-2015):

- Resources (water and biodiversity).
- Risks (waste management, urbanization, seismicity, pollution).
- Interaction between science and society and the social and environmental implications of environmental research and the sustainable development approach.
- Training of and information to the general public and public policy makers.


This initiative aims to expand to and involve all stakeholders wishing to provide support and to share the synergy implemented.

In its preparation phase, O-LiFE´s coordinating cell was taken in charge by 6 people (part time) divided between CNRS Lebanon, CNRS France and the University of Montpellier 2. As of January 1st 2014, O-LiFE is recognized as an International Associated Laboratory between all actors will materialize this initiative as of January 1st 2014.



- CNRS-Lebanon

- CNRS-France

- The Research Institute for Development (IRD)

- The University of Montpellier 2 via l’OSU-OREME


- The University of Toulouse

- The University of Grenoble

- The University of Aix Marseille

- Université Pierre et Marie Curie

- L’Université d’Avignon et des Pays de Vaucluse

- Le Collège de France

- The University of Saint Esprit de Kaslik

- The Lebanese University

- The University of Balamand

- The University of Saint Joseph

- The American University of Beirut

- The Beirut Arab University

- The Lebanese American University



Major Outputs

Document d’objectif_O-LIFE - French

Document scientifique O-LIFE - French

Document de presentation O-LIFE - French

Presentation document O-LIFE - English


Means (Financial, technical and human) should be dedicated to the equipment and the operation of the Observatory, in close partnership between the groups already involved. The partners commit on measures on both short and long terms, so that their actions and common goals can be developed in the time required. The terms of engagement of each will be defined in the establishing agreement of O-LiFE. Additional resources will be sought by the different partners through international tenders, where the effect of each should be amplified by this joint action, thus creating a strong lobbying effect.

In this context, the CNRS-Lebanon and the University of Montpellier 2 will make use of their common doctoral fellowships program as of this year to support the mission of the Observatory. The French and the Lebanese CNRS will both support the running of the observatory from its initial phase, in particular to enable the implementation of the prospective approach.


Nicolas Arnaud - Carla Khater
e-mail: o-life@cnrs.edu.lb


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