Inauguration of the “Green Roof” at the Central Bank of Lebanon

30 Jun 2014

Statement of Mr Ross Mountain

UNDP Resident Representative in Lebanon

 

on the occasion

of the Inauguration of the “Green Roof” at the Central Bank of Lebanon 

  

 

Beirut - Lebanon

 

30 June 2014

 

Governor Salame, Distinguished Guests,

-         All are aware of the security and refugee issues linked to the Syrian crisis currently afflicting Lebanon.  Yet even prior to this influx the country faced significant development challenges.  These challenges, like that of energy supply and environmental degradation, are unfortunately only worsening and draining the economy.  

-         Some $2 billion a year is paid by the government to subsidize the power supply and still the supply and management of power is not adequate.  The cost of environmental degradation on the other hand was equivalent to 2.8 – 4.0 percent of GDP in 2004.  The most significant negative impact is caused by the effect of urban air pollution on health in Greater Beirut and Tripoli.  Therefore, we believe that to increase the efficiency and competitiveness of Lebanon’s economy, we must tackle its energy crisis and improve environmental protection. 

-         One initiative that increases energy efficiency in buildings, reduces urban air pollution and improves human health is “green roofs”.  For one, “greening” the top of buildings, or planting the rooftop space with grass and trees, provides insulation that reduces energy consumption by up to 10%.  The layers of soil, plants and water absorb heat and, therefore, reduce the need for air conditioning in the floors beneath. 

-         From an environmental perspective, green roofs reduce carbon dioxide emissions and increase the absorption of particulate and air pollution.  Finally, these spaces have positive effect on people; they provide a great way to escape the stresses of day-to-day life, constitute a buffer to the surrounding noises and pollution, and increase value of real estate in surrounding areas.  And, as you can see around you, green roofs are very beautiful to look at and visit.

-         Today we are here to see a win-win project, which proves that enhancing the urban environment can also lead to lowering energy costs. Governor Salame, allow me to congratulate you on this initiative and your concern for the environment.  You are promoting environmental awareness, energy efficiency and renewable energy use through this pilot and also through the soft loan and grant programmes that specifically encourage environment-conscience development. 

-         You are a leader in these innovative approaches demonstrates to banks and other business institutions alike that Lebanon must enhance its environmental performance and reduce its energy demand.  And in doing so; new opportunities and economic activity will be created.  It therefore was most appropriate that last year you were awarded the “UNDP Green Award” for your work in this sector.  Your continuing efforts to carry this message forward and spread understanding throughout the country are very much appreciated.  UNDP naturally stands ready to further support your efforts to this end.

-         Finally, I would like to thank all the people that worked on this project, the Central Bank’s Facility Manager, Mr Walid Halik, and his team; the UNDP-CEDRO project team, and the contractors that have implemented this project.

-         I would like to thank the funders, the Central Bank itself, the Spanish Government through the Lebanon Recovery Fund that financed the first three phases of the CEDRO programme.  Thank you, Governor, for having us here today and we look forward for to your leadership in financing and promoting a greener economy in Lebanon.