The Eighth Annual Conference of the Arab Forum for Environment and Development (AFED) will convene on 16-17 November 2015 in Beirut, Secretary General Najib Saab announced at a press conference held at AFED headquarters in Beirut today. AFED’s flagship report on Sustainable Consumption, which discusses how changing consumption patterns can lead to better management of resources and protect the environment,will be presented and debated at this high-level event. Chairman of AFED Board Dr. Adnan Badran said “This prime international environmental event returns to Beirut after relocating the past two years to Sharjah and Amman, as sign of confidence in the future.”
The international conference, which will take place at Phoenicia Intercontinental hotel in Beirut, is expected to attract major key players, including ministers, policy makers, heads of organizations, energy, food and agriculture industry leaders, experts and strategists. Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi (EAD) is supporting this conference as regional official partner. Participating organizations include FAO, ESCWA, UNEP, Kuwait Fund, Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences and Islamic Development Bank.
Dr. Hafez Ghanem, Vice President of the World Bank for MENA region, will deliver keynote speech, concentrating on green finance and the World Bank’s views on how to assist the region in overcoming its difficulties in these crucial times.
Over 100 top-notch experts have contributed to AFED’s report, which will focus on energy, water and food, with climate change in the background to promote and reflect the nexus approach.
Speakers comprise renowned experts and policy makers, including, Taher Shakhshir, Jordanian Minister of Environment, Abdulrahman Al-Awadi, Executive Secretary of ROPME, Ali Al Tokhais, Chairman of the Water and Environment Committee at the Saudi Shura Council, Abdessalam Ould Ahmed, Regional Representative of FAO, Cosimo Lacirignola, Secretary General of the International Centre
for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM), Alessandro Galli, Director of Global Footprint Network for Mediterranean region, Ahmed Al Muhairbi, Secretary General of Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, Jamila Matar, Head of Energy Directorate at the League of Arab States, Carlo Scaramella, Regional Director of the World Food Program (WFP), and Gaetano Leone, Coordinator of the Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP).
Over 50 university students from across the Arab countries meet again at AFED annual conference in the context of Future Environment Leaders Forum (FELF). Every year, AFED sponsors interns from its member universities to take part in preparations of its annual report and in the conference debates.
AFED Secretary General Najib Saab disclosed that the results of a pan-Arab environmental survey will be unveiled during the conference. “In view of tracking how people perceive consumption and to what extent they are ready for positive change, AFED carried out a wide-ranging public opinion survey, which attracted over 31,000 participants from 22 countries,” Saab said. Preliminary results showed that the Arab public is ready to pay more for energy and water and embrace changes in consumption patterns if this will help preserve resources and protect the environment, Saab added. However, a vast majority, reaching 99 percent in some countries, thought that governments were not doing enough to
address environmental problems and that the environment in their countries deteriorated over the past ten years.
The conference will also include special thematic sessions, in cooperation with international and specialized agencies. ESCWA will be conducting a session on consumption and production in post-2015 sustainable development agenda. The Regional Activity Center for Sustainable Consumption & Production (SCP/RAC) in Barcelona will hold a workshop on innovative entrepreneurships for sustainable lifestyle. United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) will host a regional consultation meeting on the Global Environment Outlook.