Definition of Youth

According to Lebanon’s 2012 youth policy, youth is defined as aged 15-29 years old.


Marriageable Age

  • Opposite Sex
  • Same Sex
  • Without parental consent
  • with parental consent
  • Male
  • 16
  • 13
  • XX
  • Female
  • 12.5
  • 9
  • XX

  • Minimum ages for marriage vary across ethnic and religious groups. Although the provision for girls to marry at 9 exists, the government reports that it is not enforced and no longer customary. Homosexual acts illegal. Source: UNSD, ILGA

Candidacy Age

Criminal Responsibility

Minimum Age
Source:  UN Child Rights Periodic Report

Majority Age


Source: European Union & Euromed (2009)

Voting Age


Situation of Young People

Literacy Rates

Both sexes (15-24) %
  • 98.85% Male (15-24) %
  • 99.31% Female (15-24) %

Net Enrolment Rate

Secondary School
Both sexes %
  • 67.44%Male %
  • 67.60% Female %

Situation of Young People

Prevalence of HIV

Male (15-24) %
Female (15-24) %

Tobacco Use

Consumed any smokeless or smoking tobacco product at least once 30 days prior to the survey.
Both sexes (13-15) %
  • 65.80% Male (13-15) %
  • 54.10% Female (13-15) %
  • Year: 2010
  • Source: WHO

Policy & Legislation

Is there a national youth policy?
Lebanon endorsed its national youth policy in 2012. A 2009 youth policy study is available.

The Document of the Youth Policy in Lebanon (2012) outlines policy recommendations in five areas:  

  • Demography and migration;
  • Labour and economic participation;
  • Education and culture;
  • Health;
  • Social integration and political participation.
The document is drafted by the Youth Forum for Youth Policy, a national-level organisations comprised of youth NGOs and youth wings of political parties.   On 3 April 2012, the youth policy document was endorsed by the Lebanese Council of Ministers, however as noted on the Youth Forum website, the endorsement does not mean it can be directly implemented. As such, the Youth Forum also created a 160-page technical and legal review of the youth policy (2012), which identifies where new legislation or implementation mechanisms are needed to action each recommendation.

Public Institutions

Is there a governmental authority
(ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth?
A January 2010 e-newsletter of the Youth Advocacy Process (YAP) describes the genesis of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, which is responsible for youth affairs in Lebanon.  Formed in 2000, it inherited youth from the Ministry of Education. In 2009, the ministry established a department for youth, apart from sport, with a special focus on youth development and policy issues. As described in the 2012 youth policy, the ministry works in partnership with the Youth Forum on Youth Policies, and had helped lobby the Lebanese Council of Ministers to adopt the policy.

Youth and Representation

Does the country have a national youth organisation / association (council, platform, body)?
The Youth Forum for Youth Policy is comprised of youth NGOs and the youth wings of political parties. It is recognised by the Lebanese government via Decree No. 80/2007. It aims to influence decision-makers through its youth policy recommendations, monitor the endorsement of the youth policy, as well as its implementation and evaluation. The Youth Forum is the result of the cumulative work of its predecessor, the Youth Advocacy Process (YAP), which began in 2000 as network of youth NGOs in collaboration with UNESCO and the Ministry of Youth and Sports.

Budget & Spending

What is the budget allocated to the governmental authority (ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth and/or youth programming?
While the Ministry of Finance provides some information relating to Lebanon’s national budget, it is not possible to determine the budget spent on youth. According to the World Bank, Lebanon spent 7.11% of its government expenditure and 2.20% of its GDP on education provision in 2012.
Total Expenditure on Education as a Percentage of Government Spending and GDP

  • % of GDP
  • % of gov. expenditure

Source: World Bank
Gaps indicate missing data from the original data source. (Accessed May 2014).

Additional Background

From The Youth Policy in Lebanon: Case Study (2012):  
The age bracket for youth in Lebanon is defined to be 15- 29 years old, as a result of an agreement between the Ministry of Youth & Sports, youth organizations, and the United Nations Youth Task Force, and based on socio- economic characteristics relevant to Lebanon. This age group makes up around 27% of the total population of Lebanon.
However, youth in Lebanon face discrimination at both the society and law levels. On one hand, society looks at youth as the “generation of tomorrow”; hence, their active role is postponed till tomorrow. On the other hand, the law does not allow youth participation in the public sphere as decision makers. The most 2 prominent examples are: the voting and candidature age in the election law; the age to form and join associations in the associations’ law known as law 1909. [...]
The characteristics of the youth policy experience in Lebanon within “YAP” and the “Youth Forum for National Youth Policies” (emphasis in original)  
  • The presence of consensus over the youth policy document from all stakeholders, including: youth, youth NGOs and political parties, relevant ministries, experts, United Nations agencies working with youth. Moreover, the President of the Republic, the Speaker of the House, and the Prime Minister support its endorsement.
  • Being a cumulative process where interim achievements have led to having a comprehensive youth policy document that has been paving its way to the Council of Ministers for endorsement. One interim achievement has been the establishment of the Ministry of Youth& Sports in the year 2000, as a result of lobbying efforts by civil society, after it was a Directorate under the Ministry of Education.
  • Being a participatory process, whereby Lebanese youth from all political, religious, intellectual, and regional backgrounds participated in the development and review of the youth policy document. The current youth policy document is a “basket” of policy recommendations that reflects the diversity in Lebanon. It is an evidence of young people’s tolerance and acceptance of each other’s opinions, away from narrow favoritism. This is an unprecedented model that we should maintain, and advocate for the endorsement of the youth policy full document without any truncations.
  • Being a democratic process, whereby all stakeholders, especially youth from NGOs and political parties, have had the opportunity to make their voices heard and reflected in the policy document.
  • The presence of diversity inside the “Youth Forum for National Youth Policies”. Today, the Forum has 36 members from NGOs and political parties who belong to all colors of the Lebanese political spectrum; but who have agreed to have concerted efforts over the youth policy document, following the “issue based” approach.
  • Working within a network (i.e. YAP and the Youth Forum) has required the presence of a clear and unified vision among all members, and the making of compromises at the individual i.e. NGO or political party level for the sake of the collective benefit i.e. the benefit of all youth in Lebanon who are affected by the policy document.
  • Accepting the concept of the “basket” by all members in the Youth Forum i.e. the basket that includes all youth policy recommendations, despite the presence of deep political strives at the national level.
  • Being “bottom up” i.e. from youth to the government: the youth policy document is the product of 12 years of hard work with youth, who articulated the policy recommendations based on their needs and aspirations, and presented them to the government. It is the first time in the Arab world where youth present policy recommendations to the government, not the government policy trickling down to young people.
  From Studies on Youth Policies in the Mediterranean Partner Countries: Lebanon (2009):  
When one talks about culture in Lebanon, it is inevitably about several cultures. One aspect is linked to the 17 religious communities which have legal recognition within the political system. The Lebanese territory is based on religious communities - “cantonisation”: a village, a region or a district in a town can correspond to a religious community. This situation is also reflected in the use of different languages in Lebanon. The second cultural element is often ancestral and linked to traditional supports and breeding through families. Because of the complex cultural situation, young Lebanese people often reproduce traditions, cultural and religious divisions. Young people are given opportunities for training, becoming open to modernity and to foreign languages, but often staying within the limits of their community frontiers. Therefore, the young people move between three identities, which clash with each other according to mobilised interest and resources: the religious community, the national community and the supra-national community, which could be considered as either Islamic, Arabic, or occidental. In addition to being strongly sensitive to the culture of their own community, Lebanese young people are also sensitive to elements of the world mass culture, which are strongly conveyed by modern channels of communication technologies such as satellite televisions, the internet and mobile phones.
Lebanese young people share many characteristics and challenges with the other Mediterranean youth: a high unemployment rate, desire to leave the country, a narrow relationship with the extended family, a strong openness towards the outer world through communication technologies. Lebanese youth also has a particularly high degree of political consciousness. [...]
Young Lebanese people are very attracted by foreign countries, and according to a survey in 2003, more than 37% of young people aged 18-35 wish to emigrate or leave provisionally the country - this rate is higher among young men (43.3%) than young women (23%). The postponed departure from the parental house, the lack of housing and the absence of the young people’s financial autonomy hinder young people’s transition to adulthood and create tensions which need to be negotiated between their aspirations of autonomy, independence and the achievement of experiences, and the parents’ needs and requirements, family values and economic realities.