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‘We Have No Hope for Anything’: Exploring Interconnected Economic, Social and Environmental Risks to Adolescents in Lebanon


  • Megan Devonald

    (Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence (GAGE), Overseas Development Institute, London SE1 8NJ, UK)

  • Nicola Jones

    (Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence (GAGE), Overseas Development Institute, London SE1 8NJ, UK)

  • Sally Youssef

    (Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence (GAGE), Overseas Development Institute, London SE1 8NJ, UK)


Sustainable development is an effort to balance social progress with environmental equilibrium and economic growth. Young people affected by forced displacement are particularly vulnerable to the economic, environmental and social challenges of their surroundings. Using a framework that centres sustainable development on these three interconnected pillars, this article explores how the economic and environmental contexts in Lebanon impact adolescents’ and youth social development, drawing on qualitative data from adolescents in refugee and host community settings. The article highlights that adolescents face economic challenges because of the national economic crisis, exacerbated by COVID-19 lockdowns and service closures, poor labour market opportunities for youth—and for refugees in particular—and rising living costs. The environmental challenges facing adolescents include inadequate shelter (especially in collective shelters and informal tented shelters) and inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities. These economic and environmental conditions in turn influence adolescents’ social capabilities such as their physical and mental health, and voice and agency. The article concludes by highlighting the need for a more integrated approach to sustainable development that will allow both present and future generations in Lebanon to meet their own needs and live empowered lives. It outlines measures that could help achieve this approach, including: creating policies and programmes that promote investment in technical and soft skills-building to equip young people with the skills they need to take up jobs within the green economy; investing in adolescent-friendly social protection with linkages to environmental projects; and improved shelter, health and WASH facilities, particularly in response to the ongoing and future impacts of climate change.

Suggested Citation

  • Megan Devonald & Nicola Jones & Sally Youssef, 2022. "‘We Have No Hope for Anything’: Exploring Interconnected Economic, Social and Environmental Risks to Adolescents in Lebanon," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 14(4), pages 1-17, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:14:y:2022:i:4:p:2001-:d:746067

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    References listed on IDEAS

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