Three weeks ahead of the annual conference of the Arab Forum for Environment and Development (AFED), taking place in Beirut on 4-5 November, more international and regional leading environmental figures are confirming their participation. Among them, Minister of Environment of Jordan Hazem Malhas, Minister of Water Resources of Tunisia Abdelsalam Mansour, Minister of Water Resources of Iraq Abdellatif Jamal Rasheed, Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources of Sudan Kamal Ali Mohamed, Director General of the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) Dr. Shawki Barghouti and Director of the Arab Water Academy in Abu Dhabi Dr. Asma El-Kasmi. This is in addition to participants from almost every relevant ministry in all Arab countries and heads of regional and national organizations and UN agencies.
At the international level, the Mexican National Water Commission (CONAGUA) will be highly represented. CONAGUA handles the administration of national waters, manages and controls the hydrologic system and promotes social development. Members of CONAGUA will meet with the participants from Arab countries who can benefit from Mexico’s experience and know how, in terms of efficient water use. Other international participants include representatives from ministries and water institutes in Turkey, Greece and the Netherlands, among others.
Besides the regular conference sessions, two special sessions will be taking place; one discussing the public-private partnership in the world of water, chaired by former Minister of Finance of Lebanon Dr. Jihad Azour, the second dealing with the role of regional and international organizations regarding water issues, with the participation of a number of heads of agencies.
As a follow up on AFED’s 2009 conference, which dealt with the impact of climate change on Arab countries, and ahead of the forthcoming Climate Change summit in Cancun, Mexico, “The Road to Cancun” special session will be dedicated to discuss Arab participation in the summit. During this session, and in the presence of a special envoy from the host country Mexico, high level participants will discuss a paper prepared by AFED to catalyze a constructive Arab contribution towards achieving practical results in Cancun.
AFED Secretary General, Najib Saab, disclosed that “as part of AFED’s aim to promote and advocate sound environmental practices and procedures on different levels, the forum organized a regional school competition entitled ‘Make Every Drop Count’ on water management practices in schools. The results will be released during the conference”. Winners come from 6 countries.
Since AFED is keen on presenting practical solutions, it will also release the ‘Water Efficiency Handbook’ during the conference. This comprehensive guide identifies methods to increase water use efficiency in industry, buildings, and agriculture in the Arab World.
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