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Green Economy: Sustainable Transition in a Changing Arab World
Global Arab Network - Mohammed Tafraouti
Global Arab Network - The Arab Forum for Environment and Development (AFED) announced that its Annual Conference will convene in Beirut on 27-28 October 2011. The conference will debate a report on transitioning to the green economy, being prepared by AFED experts. The report puts forward various options for social and economic development, while preserving the natural balance and resources sustainability. It follows the publication of three reports, Arab Environment: Future Challenges in 2008, Impact of Climate Change on Arab Countries in 2009 and Water: Sustainable Management of a Scarce Resource in 2010, which were highly acclaimed and became the main credible reference on the state of Arab environment.

AFED’s Secretary General Najib Saab said that “the report will draw out economic, social, and environmental implications of suggested green policies, highlighting new green investment opportunities, pioneering business models and innovative solutions.” The report targets eight economic sectors where “Green” transitions are anticipated: Energy, Water, Agriculture, Industry, Cities & Green Buildings, Transport, Tourism and Waste Management. A unique feature of the report will be case studies demonstrating relevant and novel green approaches in the region.

The conference will examine whether the same old development policies can generate sustainability and stability in a volatile Arab world, and create productive jobs for millions of unemployed people. Saab disclosed that “the first findings of the report clearly demonstrate that transitioning to the green economy is not only an option but an obligation for the Arab region, to secure prosperity and stable development.”

Edited by a team led by Hussein Abaza, senior economist and former head of the Economics and Trade Branch of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the AFED report will be a joint effort of a multi-national team of 100 highly qualified lead-authors, co-authors and researchers, in collaboration with various research centers.

AFED Annual conference has become the major environmental gathering in the Middle East, due to the timely themes discussed and the wide spectrum of participants, representing major players from the private and public sectors, along with civil society, academia and media. Among speakers in the October conference are Achim Steiner, UN Under Secretary General and Executive Director of UNEP, who has championed the transition to green economy, and Brice Lalonde, Coordinator of Rio+20 and former French Minister of Environment. A host of leading regional development leaders are also expected to participate, including Abdulwahab Al-Bader, Director General of Kuwait Fund and Suleiman Al-Herbish, Director General of OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), alongside influential figures from the banking and corporate sectors.

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