- Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdel Karim Ali on Wednesday called on the international community to provide financial assistance to Syrian refugees after they return to their home country to encourage more Syrians to do the same.
"If the funds provided by the international community are given to the refugees after they enter Syria, their situation will improve along with the Syrian state's aid to its citizens," Ali was quoted as saying by the Elnashra news website during his meeting with former Lebanese President Emile Lahoud. .
While expressing Syria's willingness to welcome all citizens into the country to help rebuild it after years of war and destruction, the ambassador said that Syrian refugees in Lebanon would likely remain where they were if funds were distributed to them in Lebanon. .
The ambassador praised the position of Lebanese government officials, including the social affairs and displacement ministers, who aim to ensure the safe return of Syrian refugees to their country of origin.
Earlier this year, Lebanon launched a plan to return 15,000 Syrian refugees to their homeland every month.
Abbas Ibrahim, head of the Lebanese General Security, said last month that around 500,000 Syrian refugees have registered for their voluntary return from Lebanon to their homeland and the number is expected to increase in the near future.
Lebanon hosts the highest number of refugees per capita, and the government estimates that 2 million Syrian refugees currently live in the country. ■
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) today announced its 2022 Champions of the Earth, honouring a conservationist, an enterprise, an economist, a women’s rights activist, and a wildlife biologist for their transformative action to prevent, halt and reverse ecosystem degradation.
Since its inception in 2005, the annual Champions of the Earth award has been awarded to trailblazers at the forefront of efforts to protect our natural world.
It is the UN’s highest environmental honour.
To date, the award has recognized 111 laureates: 26 world leaders, 69 individuals and 16 organizations.
This year a record 2,200 nominations from around the world were received.
“Healthy, functional ecosystems are critical to preventing the climate emergency and loss of biodiversity from causing irreversible damage to our planet.
This year’s Champions of the Earth give us hope that our relationship with nature can be repaired,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP.
“This year’s Champions demonstrate how reviving ecosystems and supporting nature’s remarkable capacity for regeneration is everyone’s job: governments, the private sector, scientists, communities, NGOs and individuals.”UNEP’s 2022 Champions of the Earth are:Arcenciel (Lebanon), honoured in the Inspiration and Action category, is a leading environmental enterprise whose work to create a cleaner, healthier environment has laid the foundation for the country’s national waste management strategy.
Today, arcenciel recycles more than 80 per cent of Lebanon’s potentially infectious hospital waste every year.
Constantino (Tino) Aucca Chutas (Peru), also honoured in the Inspiration and Action category, has pioneered a community reforestation model driven by local and Indigenous communities, which has led to three million trees being planted in the country.
He is also leading ambitious reforestation efforts in other Andean countries.
Sir Partha Dasgupta (United Kingdom), honoured in the Science and Innovation category, is an eminent economist whose landmark review on the economics of biodiversity calls for a fundamental rethink of humanity’s relationship with the natural world to prevent critical ecosystems from reaching dangerous tipping points.
Dr Purnima Devi Barman (India), honoured in the Entrepreneurial Vision category, is a wildlife biologist who leads the “Hargila Army”, an all-female grassroots conservation movement dedicated to protecting the Greater Adjutant Stork from extinction.
The women create and sell textiles with motifs of the bird, helping to raise awareness about the species while building their own financial independence.
Cécile Bibiane Ndjebet (Cameroon), honoured in the Inspiration and Action category, is a tireless advocate for the rights of women in Africa to secure land tenure, which is essential if they are to play a role in restoring ecosystems, fighting poverty and mitigating climate change.
She is also leading efforts to influence policy on gender equality in forest management across 20 African countries.
Following the launch of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030), this year’s awards shine a spotlight on efforts to prevent, halt and reverse ecosystem degradation globally.
Ecosystems on every continent and in every ocean face massive threats.
Every year, the planet loses forest cover equivalent to the size of Portugal.
Oceans are being overfished and polluted, with 11 million tonnes of plastic alone ending up in marine environments annually.
One million species are at risk of extinction as their habitats disappear or become polluted.
Ecosystem restoration is essential for keeping global warming below 2°C and helping societies and economies to adapt to climate change.
It is also crucial to fighting hunger: restoration through agroforestry alone has the potential to increase food security for 1.3 billion people.
Restoring just 15 per cent of converted lands could reduce the risk of species extinction by 60 per cent.
Ecosystem restoration will only succeed if everyone joins the #GenerationRestoration movement.
- Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati announced on Monday that the World Food Program (WFP) will allocate US$5.4 billion to provide food support to Lebanon between 2023 and 2025.
The food aid will be distributed equally among vulnerable Lebanese families and Syrian refugees, Mikati said in a statement issued by the Council of Ministers.
The prime minister made the remarks after his meeting with Abdallah Alwardat, country director and WFO representative in Lebanon.
The statement said Mikati asked the WFP to purchase all food aid from Lebanon to support the country's agricultural sector.
For his part, Alwardat said WFP will continue to provide cash assistance to Syrian refugees and Lebanese citizens.
"We will work together, in cooperation with the World Bank and many partners, to strengthen social protection in the country," he said. ■
UN-Habitat, in cooperation with Nestle Waters, Diageo, Arcadis IBI Group and Development Inc. organized a side event during the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) under the title “Transitioning towards a circular economy: Innovation in plastic and glass waste recycling”, addressing the challenges and solutions of solid waste management in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
During the session, moderated by Dr. Laila Iskandar, Former Minister of Environment and State for Urban Renewal and Informal Settlements in Egypt and Founder of CID Consulting, experts from UN-Habitat and the partner organizations showcased the achievements of the “Plan Zero” and “Dorna” initiatives in advancing innovative solutions in plastic and glass waste recycling to support the transition towards a circular economy.
“UN-Habitat is committed to taking transformative measures towards creating a circular economy and raising awareness of the social, economic and environmental benefits of reducing, reusing and recycling glass and plastic waste” said Dr. Erfan Ali, UN-Habitat Regional Representative for the Arab States.
Each partner presented its efforts, all moving toward more sustainable and greener approaches through glass and plastic collection and recycling, as well as protecting, renewing and restoring natural resources.
“Our Bottled Water packaging can be fully circular and has a central role to play in a circular economy: it has value, is recyclable, is collectable and can be used as recycled content,” Mr. Rasem Dabbas, Business Executive Officer Nestle Waters Egypt, said.
“It is crucial that more PET plastic is collected, to increase the availability of feedstock, to achieve greater circularity.
Advancing circular economy requires systemic transformation, and we take it as our responsibility to be at the forefront of this transformation.
That’s why in Egypt Nestlé Pure life was the first Bottled Water brand to revolutionize packaging through the launch of the first recycled water bottles made of 100% recycled plastics.”“We’re proud to be all setting bolder and ambitious targets to help us transition towards a circular economy and more sustainable world,” Ziad Karam, Diageo Corporate Relations Director, MENA, commented.
“What we can reuse we will reuse and what we can’t reuse we will recycle.
Our collaboration and partnership in Plan Zero help us accelerate our executions and scale to create best practices and positive consumer and customers experience with our packaging and glass.”The “Plan Zero” initiative is a regional alliance that aims at reducing carbon footprint in the targeted countries – Lebanon, Jordan, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt– by diverting packaging waste from landfills, water bodies and the environment, through retrieving recyclables and non-recyclable plastic, fiber, glass and metal packaging material.
In Lebanon and Jordan, water bottles are being collected from consumers through reverse vending machines.
In Egypt, the “Dorna” initiative undertakes the collection, recovery and recycling of post-consumer plastics through tracking and documenting the movement of material along the value chain to the final manufacturing point.
“It is time that the construction industry fully embraces and takes the circular economy seriously.
At the core of our designs is sustainability, so naturally Arcadis IBI Group is excited to further enhance and infuse into design the innovative Rejects of Glass and Plastic (ROGP) technology and not only into buildings but also across critical engineering designs.
From the pipes and engineering systems to the places we live in and the furniture we sit in, there is an opportunity to re-use these resources and truly achieve a circular economy,” Hassan Ktaech, Associate, Built Environment of Arcadis IBI Group, said.
In 2016, the MENA region generated 129 million tons of waste of which only 9% are being recycled and the vast majority disposed of in open fields and dumpsites.
The region is expected to double its waste generation by 2050.
Glass and plastic waste comprise almost 15 percent of the total waste generated in the region.
“The packaging problem has proved to be one of the most pressing environmental issues the world is facing.
We are happy that we are working with the producers and UN-Habitat to sort this issue out in an impactful way in Lebanon and Jordan and soon in Egypt and more MENA countries,” Mohamed Daoud, CEO of Development Inc, stated.
“Development Inc’s role is to design and implement the project towards this target using out of the box impactful methods, while maintaining a flawless traceability for the operations.
We are grateful to the opportunity that was given to us by UN-Habitat to implement these methods around the targeted areas.”The COP, which is the main decision-making body of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is held every year, to assesses the measures of the parties to limit climate change.
This year COP27 is held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, from 6 to 18 November.
By popular demand, the Stevie Awards have announced a general entry deadline extension for Middle East & North Africa Stevie ® Awards (https://StevieAwards.com/MENA) sponsored by RAK Chamber (http://RAKChamber.ae/), UAE.
Entries will now be accepted through January 17 (the original final deadline was November 9.) Details are available at http://MENA.StevieAwards.com.
The Middle East Stevie & North Africa Awards are the region’s only awards to recognize innovation in all its forms through the workplace.
The awards are open to all organizations in 18 nations in the MENA region: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran (newly eligible for 2023), Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, UAE & Yemen.
All individuals & organizations may submit any number of nominations to any number of the categories.
There are no entry fees in this awards program.
Organizations may submit as many nominations as they would like, without cost.
Instead, Gold, Silver, & Bronze Stevie Award winners will pay a “winners fee” for each successful nomination.
Winners of the Gold, Silver, & Bronze Stevie Awards in the competition will be announced on Jan 25, 2023, & celebrated during a gala event in RAK, UAE on March 18.
The 2023 competition features new categories.
The Thought Leadership (http://bit.ly/3TC7Gr4) categories will recognize innovation in thought leadership strategy, development, & executive.
Innovative Achievement in Corporate Social Responsibility & Innovative Achievement in Diversity & Inclusion have been added to the Achievement categories (http://bit.ly/3ExeIca).
Nominations citing innovative achievements will be accepted & judged in both Arabic & English in more than 100 categories across the following category groups:Apps (http://bit.ly/3GgMm7r) & Websites (http://bit.ly/3O3UbiR) Achievements (https://bit.ly/3ExeIca) Annual Reports & Other Publications (http://bit.ly/3AhCarA) Company/Organization (http://bit.ly/3UB2oNZ) Corporate Communications & Public Relations (http://bit.ly/3g91yJ9) COVID-19 Response (http://bit.ly/3AehVuE) Customer Service (http://bit.ly/3X6H8kz) Human Resources (http://bit.ly/3AfuIgK) Live & Virtual Events (http://bit.ly/3gcKl1n) Management (http://bit.ly/3AhYktA) Marketing (http://bit.ly/3TANDJx) New Products & Services (http://bit.ly/3EybtRW) Social Media (http://bit.ly/3g3Dd7u) Technology (http://bit.ly/3UVMNrR) Videos (http://bit.ly/3g4Npwu) Thought Leadership (http://bit.ly/3TC7Gr4)Winners of the 2022 edition of the awards included Bahrain Tender Board, DHL Worldwide Express LLC, Emirates Health Services, Eon Dental Jordan, Hilton Supply Management Cairo, HOPE Consortium Abu Dhabi, Inkript Beirut, Omantel, Ooredoo Algeria & Qatar, VakifBank Turkey & Zakat Customs Authority Saudi Arabia and many more.
The 2023 competition will be judged by more than 150 professionals around the world.
Amid growing geopolitical divisions and deepening inequalities, cooperation is the only way forward, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in Algiers on Tuesday, addressing the League of Arab States Summit.
The League is among the regional organizations that have a vital role to play in advancing peace, sustainable development and human rights, he added.
Mr. Guterres also called for unity across the Arab world, which he said has never been more essential.
“The division opens the door to non-Arab foreign interference, terrorism, manipulation and sectarian strife.
But together, their leadership can shape a region that makes the most of its enormous potential and contributes to global peace and security,” he said.
Support for Palestinian refugees The Secretary-General began his remarks by drawing attention to the continuing suffering of the Palestinian people, underlining the UN's clear position that peace must move forward and the occupation must end.
"Our shared goal remains two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security, with Al-Quds/Jerusalem as the capital of both states," he said.
With the UN agency that helps Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, in financial crisis, Mr Guterres urged Arab states to generously support this "vital pillar of regional stability".
He also looked forward to continued collaboration to address conflicts and growing humanitarian needs in Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, and Sudan.
Concern for developing countries The Secretary General highlighted how developing countries today require greater support because they are not receiving the financing they need.
Nations across the Arab world, Africa, and beyond, are being weakened by conflict, battered by the COVID-19 pandemic, and battered by the climate crisis.
The fallout from the war in Ukraine, in the form of rising food and energy prices, spiraling inflation and crushing debt, have added to the burden.
“I am pushing for an SDG stimulus, led by the G20, to boost investment in sustainable development for emerging economies,” he said.
The objective is to increase liquidity, accelerate debt relief and restructure debt in a comprehensive, effective and fair manner.
Save the Ukraine grain deal "We are also working nonstop with all relevant stakeholders to end the suspension and extend the Black Sea Grain Initiative and remove all remaining obstacles to the export of Russian food and fertilizer," Mr. Guterres said.
The historic deal has been vital for the Arab region and the entire world, as food prices have fallen in the wake of it.
Russia's decision over the weekend to suspend cooperation caused prices to rise immediately.
"We must do everything we can to ensure the continued success of the Black Sea Grains Initiative in providing help to those in need, including countries in the Middle East and North Africa that depend on accessible and affordable food and fertilizer, both from Ukraine like from Russia.
Federation,” he said.
Cooperation on climate action The upcoming UN COP27 climate change conference, taking place in the heart of the Arab world in Egypt, represents another vital opportunity to restore trust between developed and developing countries, Mr. Guterres continued.
The UN chief urged richer countries to be at the forefront of action to curb global temperature rise.
“They must reduce their emissions this decade, in line with keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees, and fully pivot to renewable energy.
They must ultimately mobilize $100 billion annually to help developing countries build resilience,” he said.
Furthermore, half of all climate finance must go to adaptation, and the global community must urgently address climate impacts that are beyond the ability of countries to adapt.
“I have just arrived from Pakistan and it broke my heart to see a flooded area that is three times the size of my own country, Portugal,” Mr. Guterres said at the Summit.
He said action on 'loss and damage' is a moral imperative that must be front and center at COP27, which opens this weekend in Sharm el-Sheikh.
“It is immoral and unreasonable to expect communities that did nothing to cause global warming to pay the price for climate impacts,” he said.
The Israeli government has approved an agreement with Lebanon on a common maritime border which involves undersea gas exploitation.
Israel’s Prime Minister, Yair Lapid said the step was a diplomatic achievement ahead of a special cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, which paves the way for the deal to be signed after Lebanon gave its approval two weeks ago.
“It is not every day that an enemy country recognises the state of Israel in a written agreement before the international community,” he said.
Lebanon and Israel are officially in a state of war.
The agreement, signed separately by Israel and Lebanon, is to be handed over to the U.
S. mediator, Amos Hochstein, by the negotiating teams at a United Nations (UN) base in Nakura in southern Lebanon Thursday afternoon.
The decades-long conflict for control of the border intensified after the discovery of natural gas resources.
The border conflict concerns 860 square kilometres off the coast claimed by both sides as an exclusive economic zone.
In mid-October, Hochstein handed over the final draft of the deal to both countries.
Talks had been ongoing for the past two years.
According to the agreement, Lebanon is to exploit the Qana gas field and Israel the Karish field.
Lebanese energy expert, Marc Ayoub said that Qana field is expected to contain a good amount of gas, but will take at least five to six years before Lebanon starts benefiting.
Lebanon hopes that such a deal will help the country’s ailing economy.
Lebanon is experiencing its worst financial crisis in decades.
The World Bank has described the crisis as among the worlds most severe since the mid-1800s.
A funding shortfall has forced the United Nations’ refugee agency (UNHCR) to make cuts to a number of its operations across the globe The agency said in a statement on Tuesday that at least 700 million dollars in funding was needed before the end of the year, warning that “the next round of cuts in assistance will be a catastrophic for people in need.
” It had already scaled back essential programmes, including in Uganda which is currently battling an Ebola outbreak and where the UNHCR was unable to procure enough soap and hygiene kits.
In Chad water supply in camps had been cut due to fuel shortages.
In Lebanon, 70,000 “extremely vulnerable refugee families no longer receive their safety net help from UNHCR,” the agency said.
“This is real, immediate emergency call with people’s lives and livelihoods on the line,” UNHCR’s division for external relations director Dominique Hyde said.
“Needs are rising due to a confluence of war and violence as well as economic and geopolitical crosswinds.
“While donors have once again been generous, new wars especially in Ukraine and unresolved crises mean that funding is not keeping up with the needs of millions of the world’s most vulnerable people.
” The agency said the “ripple effects of the Ukraine crisis” was affecting its ability to deliver equitably around the world.
It is that, it was particularly concerned about the funding gaps in the Middle East as winter approaches, while people displaced in other countries would also suffer.
“People forced to flee already pay the price for conflicts that have ravaged their homelands.
Hyde added that, further suffering this year and 2023 can be reduced with swift international action,”
Lebanon’s parliament failed again to elect a new president on Monday, just one week ahead of the end of the term for outgoing President Michel Aoun, local media reported.
House Speaker Nabih Berri announced that the voting session, attended by 114 deputies out of 128, resulted in 39 votes for Michel Mouawad, 10 votes for Issam Khalife, 50 blank votes, and some scattered votes with political slogans.
This is the fourth time that the Lebanese parliament failed to elect a president.
The previous three elections were held on Sept. 29, Oct. 13, and Oct. 20. The failure of political parties to reach a consensus on a future president raised concerns of a presidential vacuum as the country continues to suffer from a steep financial crisis.
Over the past years, Lebanon has witnessed several periods of presidential vacuum as a result of divisions among political blocs governing the country.
Berri said he will call for another parliamentary session for the election of a president but did not specify the date.
On October 17, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defense, Simon Coveney TD, will attend a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg.
The Council will consider and discuss the EU's strategic response to a wide range of recent issues and events, including Russia's continued aggression against Ukraine and developments in Lebanon, Iran, Ethiopia and Burkina Faso, among others.
The ministers will also discuss coordinating their efforts ahead of the COP27 UN Climate Change Conference in Egypt.
The Council will also assess the EU's relationship with China ahead of the European Council's strategic debate on EU-Asia relations later this week.
Speaking before the discussion on Russian aggression against Ukraine, Minister Coveney said: “It is clear that Russia has decided to choose the path of escalation in this war, proceeding with its attempted annexation of the sovereign territory of Ukraine.
We have said since the beginning of the Russian invasion that we will respond with unity, firmness and determination, in solidarity with Ukraine.
The Council is now ready to act and I hope to adopt a series of decisions that will support Ukraine and deter Russian aggression."
Speaking about COP27, Minister Coveney said: “Ireland is very involved in the EU's preparations for the COP27 Conference in Sharm el-Sheikh.
This includes working to increase our collective climate ambition in line with the Paris Agreement and driving urgent implementation of previous commitments.
We have been coordinating with other EU partners and we look forward to taking a significant step today to enhance the closeness and effectiveness of that partnership."