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Forum for Environment and Development (AFED) received award of the
Parliamentarian Assembly for the Mediterranean (PAM) on AFED report Health and
the Environment in Arab Countries. The award was presented to AFED Secretary
General Najib Saab at a ceremony on 18 November 2021, hosted by the Italian
Senate in Rome.
PAM Secretary General Sergio Piazzi described AFED reports as main source for reliable information and analysis on environment and development, which inspired policies and action in the Arab region and beyond. He noted AFED report on Health and the Environment came at the right time during the corona virus pandemic, and helped to identify discrepancies in health systems in the Arab region, with recommendations on ways to rectify the situation to be more responsive to such emergencies.
Upon receiving the award, Saab addressed the meeting, explaining that the report on health was the 13th in AFED series on the State of Arab Environment, produced annually since 2008, with the main aim of advancing prudent environmental policies and action based on science and driven by awareness.
He said that the report emphasized the intricate relation between health and the environment, especially regarding air pollution, fresh water availability and quality, marine pollution, land degradation and exposure to waste and harmful chemicals- all multiplied by the impacts of climate change. The COVID-19 outbreak exposed inadequate, fragile and inequitable public health care systems in the Arab region.
Saab concluded by stressing that “all talk and good intentions on environment and climate change remain empty rhetoric until translated into binding laws. Here comes the pivotal role of parliaments in enacting legislation which can translate words into action. PAM has a crucial mission to unite parliamentarians around legislating in favour of protecting the environment, within the framework of achieving the sustainable development goals. This is necessary to protect quality of life and preserve our common natural heritage.”