UNIDO launches the safety guidelines for the industrial sector in response to COVID-19

Beirut, May 20, 2020 – Under the patronage of H.E. the Prime Minister of Lebanon, represented by  H.E. Dr. Imad Hoballah, Minister of Industry, The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), in partnership with the Ministry of Industry, launched a safety guidelines developed for the industrial sector entitled “Recommendations and Preventive Measures in Response to COVID-19”, at the Grand Serail.

The event was held in the presence of H.E. Dr. Hamad Hassan, Minister of Public Health; H.E. Mr. Abbas Mortada, Minister of Agriculture; H.E. Mrs. Lamia Yammine Douaihy, Minister of Labor; HE. Ms. Nicoletta Bombardiere, Ambassador of Italy to Lebanon; H.E. Mr. Okubo Takeshi, Ambassador of Japan to Lebanon; and Mr. Claudio Cordone, United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator ad interim.

The initiative has been funded by Italy and Japan, and comes as a preventive measure with the objective of supporting the Ministry of Industry´s efforts to develop and disseminate specific procedures to help the industrial sector to cope with COVID-19 and prevent the spread of the pandemic throughout all processing steps of the value chain.

During his intervention, H.E. Dr. Imad Hoballah stated his “pleasure to launch this activity together, initiating a new phase of scientific and practical measures to confront the Corona epidemic in factories.” He also stressed the joint efforts and coordination among all the ministries under the umbrella of the Prime Minister H.E Dr. Hassan Diab.

On his turn, H.E. Dr. Hamad Hassan mentioned that “until the vaccine is discovered and we are more familiar with the characteristics of this virus, we must change some of our social habits to protect our society”. On the safety guidelines he added “this activity comes as a result of cooperation between different sectors that take care of different social interests with adoption of collateral health controls”.

Mrs. Lamia Yammine Douaihy, started by saluting and praising the work done by the Ministry of Industry and UNIDO and the effort to confront the global pandemic and protect the public health in general and safety of the workers in the industrial sector in particular. She also underlined the importance of the guidelines as they constitute an effective way to communicate the necessary information and clarify preventive means about this disease.

H.E. Mr. Abbas Mortada remarked the solidarity “demonstrated by societies upon the spread of this epidemic”, he also thanked international organizations with field presence in the country, for supporting Lebanon in this extremely difficult and complicated economic conditions situation.

H.E. Mr. Okubo Takeshi, Ambassador of Japan, stated “the newly developed guidelines will articulate basic standards for Lebanon’s industrial sector to help safeguard the health of the employees and strengthen its resilience as the country tries to recover its economy.” He also commended the efforts of

the Lebanese Government to contain the spread of the COVID-19, highlighting Japan’s support to Lebanon in its fight against COVID-19 through international organizations such as IFRC, UNHCR, UNRWA, UNICEF.

H.E. Ms. Nicoletta Bombardiere, Ambassador of Italy, confirmed the strong commitment of the Italian development cooperation strategy with Lebanon, as it focuses especially on the development of productive sectors, human capital, and the creation of employment opportunities.

In particular, the Italian Cooperation has long focused on the agro-industry value-chain, improving the quality of food products through the supply of specialized equipment, technical assistance and training.

The outbreak of the Covid-19 emergency prompted us to expand the scope of our programs, focusing on the importance of prevention in the productive activities”.

Mr. Claudio Cordone admitted that the industrial sector plays a key role in the Lebanese economy and should be strengthened.  He highlighted that ¨the formulation and dissemination of safety guidelines for this sector are important and timely, not only in the context of the current pandemic crisis, but to set new, stronger standards for the future”.

The guidance document is designed to be used in all phases of the industrial process, from reception of raw material, to handling, manufacturing, and distribution, and it is expected to raise awareness from industrialists and workers on the required measures to be applied inside their factories to prevent the expansion of COVID-19.

Recommendations have also been provided on the organizational and managerial levels to help industries boost their resilience to COVID-19. The document is available online and it can be downloaded from the Ministry of Industry´s official website www.industry.gov.lb . It will also be enforced through a short animated video that will be disseminated on TV and social media channels.

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