Arab and Mediterranean Regional Conference on Environmental Resources monitoring and managementMay 16, 2013
Under the patronage and in the presence of H.E Mr. Nazem El Khoury, Minister of Environment, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) -Environmental Resources Monitoring in Lebanon (ERML) Project, organized the “Arab and Mediterranean Regional Conference on Environmental Resources monitoring and management” on the 15th and 16th of May at Hotel Monroe – Beirut.
The conference was attended by delegations from Egypt, Kuwait, Bahrain, Yemen, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, Greece, Switzerland, United Kingdom and France. During the opening ceremony, H.E Mr. Nazem El Khoury mentioned in his speech the increasing hazards facing the environment by saying: “the cost of environmental degradation in Lebanon is considered high, estimated to an alarming 800 million dollars, equivalent to 3.7% of national GDP. Water resources, air, and coastal zones are impacted the most, but we do not neglect impacts on soil and biodiversity.” In addition, Mr. Luca Renda, UNDP Country director, gave a speech where he thanked all the project partners for their ongoing support throughout the implementation: “The Environmental Resources Monitoring in Lebanon project tackles a crucial environmental issue that was initially aggravated by the 2006 conflict in Lebanon, namely the damage to the marine environment as a result of the catastrophic oil spill as well as the deteriorating issue of air pollution. The detrimental impact of conflict on the environment has long-term consequences that need to be addressed immediately and continuously as is the case in Lebanon.” On the other hand, Mr. Iyad Abumoghli, Regional Director and Representative for the UNEP Regional Office for West Asia (ROWA) in Bahrain gave a speech where he discussed the partnership between UNEP and the ministry of environment and explained the goals of the project: “The UNDP Ecosystem management program aims to support the region in order to increase integration of the ecosystem management approach in the development and planning processes, gain the skills for using environmental management systems tools, and the reorganization of the environmental programs to address degradation of important ecosystem services.”
The aim of the conference was to discuss the status and management of coastal areas at local and regional levels focusing on critical issues such as monitoring and management of coastal and marine resources and air quality and to engage experts and decision makers in protecting environmental resources through knowledge synthesis and sharing.