Public Policies in Times of Conflict
The conflict that Libya endured between 2014 and 2018 weakened both the administrative and security authorities’ control over utilities and infrastructure. The resulting insecurity greatly affected many sectors and has had repercussions in Sebha, the most populous city in southwestern Libya. Among the sectors affected is the water and sanitation sector. In addition to the conflict, there are various factors that have contributed to the crisis in the sector in Sebha. These include a lack of investment in the sector in the last decades; the deterioration of pipelines in the water distribution system; general mismanagement; and an absence of financial support.
Since its formation, the Government of National Unity (GNU) has addressed this crisis through the “Reviving Life” initiative: announced by the prime minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, 27 August 2021. However, the question remains whether the government will be able to find long-term solutions to the crisis and ensure provision of services. In this blogpost, we show how different factors have affected the water and sanitation management sector in Sebha.
Libya’s higher education sector has suffered from various crises since the 2011 revolution, particularly during the past several years of war, as a result of the deteriorating security situation. One of the most significant crises has been the horizonal expansion of universities without any attention to quality standards, a phenomenon which has reduced the quality of higher education in the country. The number of public universities in Libya grew from 13 in 2014 to 26 in 2021.
Despite the substantial increase in Libya’s youth population during the last decade, the proliferation of universities remains unjustified. Out of Libya’s total population of 6,871,286, youth currently make up 56.78 percent. In fact, young people between the ages of 15 and 34—the age group targeted by all levels of higher education—make up 24.25 percent of the population. In other words, there are 1.5 million young people within this age bracket, but there are currently only 350,000 university students in Libya. Based on these statistics, we can say that there is no correlation between the proliferation of universities in Libya and the demographic distribution of these age groups.
The armed conflict between the Libyan Arab Armed Forces and forces loyal to the Government of National Accord (GNA) from April 2019 led rapidly to a major waste management crisis in Tripoli. While the crisis ended in June 2020, with the military operations, it flagged up some of the key service provision challenges for the Libyan authorities. This policy brief analyses the role of state authorities and municipalities in service provision in Libya; asks how it has developed since 2011; and how it changed during the 2019-2020 waste management crisis. It also sheds light on structural issues, such as: the absence of policy planning; the gaps in the state administrative structure; the overlapping prerogatives of specialised bodies; as well as obstacles to decentralisation.
The south western city of Sebha has had to deal with a multiplicity of crises over the past years. Since May 2020, the eruption of the Covid-19 pandemic has tested and ultimately overwhelmed the healthcare system. This paper sheds light on dysfunctions in the health sector in Sebha during the Covid-19 crisis. It explains the weakness of the existing healthcare infrastructure and also underlines the importance of other factors such as political division, the mismanagement of resources and tribal dynamics on the health crisis.
Since the Libyan Arab Armed Forces took control of the southern region on 15 January 2019, the southwestern capital Sebha has continued to deal with several crises, including the most recent outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
The first coronavirus case was recorded on 26 May and only some days later the National Centre for Disease Control announced a dramatic increase to 84 cases and one death. All the recorded cases are inhabitants of Sebha and so far it has been sufficient for many of them to quarantine at home as their health condition is stable. While three critical cases are receiving treatment at the recently opened Abdul Rahman al-Barakuli Centre located in the Thanawiyyah District, Sebha’s Medical Centre only remains open for treating non-coronavirus medical conditions.
The coronavirus pandemic has now reached Libya. It threatens to further exacerbate the crisis in Tripoli and the western part of the country, which is already directly affected by the continuing war. The Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) is faced with several challenges in its attempts to deal with the crisis: political divisions that hinder its actions; military developments and their humanitarian impacts; and also a rapid deterioration of the economic situation.