AFED's SwitchMedPanel in Barcelona: Green Economy and Cleaner Production in Lebanon
Barcelona, 20 October 2016
The Arab Forum for Environment and Development AFED) today hosted a session at SwitchMed annual gathering in Barcelona, on Sustainable Development Goals in a Changing Arab Climate. SwitchMed is an initiative that supports and connects stakeholders to promote sustainable consumption and production (SCP) in the southern Mediterranean region, through social and eco innovations. The initiative, supported by the EU, UNIDO and UNEP, gathers some 500 innovators annually from 8 Mediterranean countries.
Moderated by AFED Secretary General Najib Saab, the SDGs session featured 3 panelists: Michéle Gendreau-Massaloux, Vice President of Groupe Intéracademique pour le Développement, Hossam Allam, Regional Program Manager at CEDARE, and Sabine Ghosn, Program Director at the Lebanese Ministry of Environment.
Saab introduced the subject by presenting main challenges facing Arab countries in achieving the SDGs. He concluded that, by applying traditional methods, it will be difficult for most Arab countries to re-establish the status-quo which was prevailing in 2010, rather than achieving the SDGs by the 2030 target. He outlined the approach advocated by AFED, based on integrating sustainable development principles in the re-construction plans in countries that suffered from wars, conflicts or political upheavals. He stressed the need of a nexus approach, combining water-energy-food, with the impact of climate change.
Gendreau-Massaloux discussed the role of education and research in advancing development. Allam focused on green economy as a smooth transition route to human-centered development, which creates real jobs and preserves the natural capital.
Ghosn discussed options of international cooperation in achieving sustainable development targets building on local assets. As a model, she presented the industrial pollution abatement project in Lebanon, funded by the World Bank and UNIDO in cooperation with Banque du Liban. The project enables factories to get soft loans to shift to cleaner production, provided they comply with conditions imposed by an environmental commitment certificate.
Innovative practical initiatives were presented by young entrepreneurs from Mediterranean countries. Among them was a project to transform used plastic bags into stylish purses, by Lebanese graphic designer Nour Qais.
PHOTO CAPTION: From left: Saab, Gendeeau-Massaloux, Allam, Ghosn.