Launching of the National Air Quality Monitoring Network in under the Environmental Resources Monitoring in Lebanon Project – ERML project

05 Dec 2013

-          Speakers in the opening session are:

o   Ms. Nour Masri, Project Manager of the "Environmental Resources Monitoring in Lebanon" project, UNDP

o   Mr. Iyad Abumoghli, Regional Director and Representative for the UNEP Regional Office for West Asia (ROWA), Bahrain

o   Mr. Luca Renda, Country Director, UNDP

o   Mr. Alexander Seferiadis, Hellenic Aid Counselor, Greece

o   H.E. Mr. Nazem El Khoury, Minister of Environment, Lebanon

 

TALKING POINTS FOR SPEECH

 

-          It is with great pleasure that after two years of intense work on the “Environmental Resources Monitoring in Lebanon” project, we have reached the end of its implementation.  At a time where the Lebanon’s resources are clearly under huge pressure, the project tackles crucial environmental issues, one of them being the aggravating impacts of deteriorating air quality.

 

-          A special Thank you goes to the Government of Greece, through the Embassy of Greece in Lebanon and the Hellenic Aid, for its readiness to assist Lebanon after the crisis in 2006.  The continued support despite Greece’s own financial difficulties is greatly appreciated.  We believe the work undertaken together is a positive step towards a better environment in the Mediterranean Region as a whole.

 

-          This project is also a model of cooperation not only between countries but also between agencies, ministries and national institutions, including the academic sector.  The collaboration between UNEP and UNDP on this project testifies to the importance of efficiently using resources for the execution of development projects.  Beyond meeting the project objectives, we strived to ensure that the outputs meet the expectations of the national authority and that these outputs complement existing initiatives.  Most importantly, we work towards building sustainability mechanisms.

 

-          To demonstrate this approach, the air pollution component of the project which was entrusted to UNDP, designed the air pollution monitoring programme and completed the procurement of appropriate equipment in line with the legal texts of the Ministry of Environment.  That is the Clean Air Act.  The project also engaged local actors such as the Municipality of Beirut, the Municipality of Zahle, the Ministry of Defense and the Lebanese Armed Forces, the Rafic Hariri High School, and the Lebanese University to host the stations and take part in ensuring the sustainability of the national air quality monitoring network. 

 

-          I would like to stress on the exceptional cooperation extended to us by the institutions who accepted to host the air pollution monitoring equipment in their premises, knowing that these equipment would not benefit them directly.  They would benefit the population at large and the environment in Lebanon.  Thank you for believing in the need to improve the environment in Lebanon and for your support in this initiative.  A big thank you to the Municipality of Beirut, the Municipality of Zahle, the Ministry of National Defense and the Lebanese Armed Forces, the Rafic Hariri High School, and the Lebanese University.  Your role was crucial to the successful implementation of the National Network for Air Quality Monitoring. 

 

-          I would also like to thank the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications who granted free access to its mobile network on a trial basis in order to transmit the data from the stations to the Ministry.  Additionally, and as part of our partnership with the private sector, namely with Touch, the mobile network provider, we very much appreciate the continued technical support provided, and we as UNDP appreciate and build on such collaboration.  We look forward to future collaborations.

 

-          We thank all the project partners without whom this project would not have been completed.  The UNEP ROWA management and team, the UNDP Project Manager and communication teams, the Ministry of Energy and Water, the Ministry of Industry, the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, Ministry of Interior and Municipalities, and the Council for Development and Reconstruction, whose support and collaboration were essential for data collection.  

 

-          A final and sincere acknowledgement goes to the Ministry of Environment, to H.E. Mr. Nazem El Khoury and his team for their continued trust and support throughout project implementation, hoping for renewed collaboration.