CLIMATE ACTION

Introduction


There is no country in the world that is not experiencing first-hand the drastic effects of climate change. Greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, and are now more than 50 percent higher than their 1990 level. Further, global warming is causing long-lasting changes to our climate system, which threatens irreversible consequences if we do not act now.


The annual average losses from earthquakes, tsunamis, tropical cyclones and flooding amount to hundreds of billions of dollars, requiring an investment of US$6 billion annually in disaster risk management alone. The goal aims to mobilize $100 billion annually by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries and help mitigate climate-related disasters.


The Arab region is seeing temperatures rise faster than the global average, with temperatures expected possibly rising as much as 4°C by end of the century. Droughts are already more frequent and severe, with agricultural output possibly decreasing by 20% in value by 2080 and climate change leading to a 20% reduction of renewable water by 2030. Climate-induced displacement is a special threat, from both droughts and sea-level rise, with about 9% of the population in coastal zones five meters or less below sea level. All Arab countries have now issued national plans (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement to scale-up investments into climate resilience.


Helping more vulnerable regions, such as land locked countries and island states, adapt to climate change must go hand in hand with efforts to integrate disaster risk measures into national strategies. It is still possible, with the political will and a wide array of technological measures, to limit the increase in global mean temperature to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. This requires urgent collective action.


Lebanon has signed several conventions, such as the Paris Climate Change Agreement, and established several institutions dedicated to the protection of the environment. Lebanon is also vulnerable to extreme events that are increasing due to climate change. More can be done to reduce Lebanon’s contribution to climate change and increase the capacities of institutions working with environmental issues.

Upon an invitation from the President of Beirut Arab University Professor Amr Galal El Adawi, a lecture was delivered by the Engineer Aly Abousabaa Director General of The International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) who gave a lecture on "Food and Water Scarcity in the Light of Climate Change".


After the Lebanese and BAU Anthems, Colleague Ms. Nadine Koleilat opened the lecture saying, "The majority of the adverse effects of climate change are experienced by poor and low-income communities around the world as they are significantly exposed to environmental factors affecting health and wealth among many others as well as low levels of available aptitude to adapt to climate change."


BAU President Professor Amr Galal El-Adawi spoke about the importance of this lecture as “it addresses the climatic changes represented by the lack of rainfall and high temperatures which constitute a major challenge that will have repercussions on Arab food security.” 


El-Adawi also praised the lecturer and his researches to find available solutions and proposed expectations in order to help countries and people face this painful reality.

Engineer Aly Abousabaa explained that "scarcity of water is a global issue. A large number of countries will be affected by climate change. Water scarcity will persist faster than we think, particularly in North Africa and the Gulf Region because they are most affected by water scarcity whether through rain or rivers. The shortage of water resources will be accompanied by severe desertification and deterioration in land quality, which will have a serious impact on the region's ability to produce food. 


Therefore, the solution is multifold, including intensifying the search for water sources, and increasing the efficiency of its use by converting the current irrigation systems to modern and sophisticated irrigation such as sprinkler and drip irrigation instead of drenching the soil with water.”


He continued, “In the next phase, the focus will be on the development of crop species and varieties capable of providing food in light of the challenges of water scarcity and climate change that threaten food security,” pointing out that “the coming years require a change in the dates of agriculture together with the development of irrigation systems, the adoption of a new agricultural policy and the necessity to change the food style."


Abousabaa also maintained that “ICARDA is exerting a concerted effort to deal with the impacts of climate change on the region, including the production of seeds that tolerate high temperatures, the development of irrigation methods and the introduction of some plants into the animal diet.” 


The lecture ended with a series of questions and interventions from the attendees followed by presenting him the BAU Shield of Appreciation by the President.

Conference panels at AUB-IFI, Beirut hosted participants from AUB, BAU, PU and Balamand Universities, and industry experts who encouraged the next generation to focus their studies and careers on the water and environmental sector in order to turn Lebanon’s water challenges into opportunities. The panels also featured various private and public actors who are involved in water management as well as Mr. Michele Pierpaoli – Attache’ for Water and Waste Water Affairs from the European Union Delegation to Lebanon. Interactive discussions with students and participants was held. The live streaming and BAU- ACF live discussion panel at BAU-RCED, Bekaa, conducted a discussion and knowledge-sharing platform led by Dr. Safaa Baydoun & Dr. Kamal El Kalaani with around 150 participants from universities, freshman and school students. Major water challenges in Lebanon, especially on Litani River, Bekaa region and management means of the impact of Syrian crisis and climate change on water resources issues were highlighted. Students were encouraged to purse higher studies on water resources related majors and contribute to local and national activities towards turning challenges into opportunities.

The Faculty of Science in cooperation with the Faculty of Engineering at Beirut Arab University , Tripoli Campus , organized a world day entitled "Earth Day Pollution and Solutions"

The Faculty of Science in cooperation with the Faculty of Engineering at Beirut Arab University in Tripoli Campus organized a world day entitled "Earth Day Pollution and Solutions". The ceremony was attended by the BAU Vice-President for Tripoli Campus affairs Prof. Khaled Baghdady, the Deputy Secretary General for Tripoli Campus Mr. Mohamed Hammoud, Director of the Faculty of Engineering Dr. Ahmad Lakkani, Director of the Faculty of Science Prof. Mohammad Jayyar, other directors and professors of all faculties, and a group of students. Dr. Jalal Halwani, Director of Water and Environmental Science Laboratories and Head of Health and Environment at the Lebanese University, conducted a presentation on the steps taken to preserve the Palm Islands Reserve in Tripoli from pollution. Dr. Safaa Baydoun from Beirut Arab University and Director of Center for Environmental Research and Development - Bekaa Campus, highlighted the current challenges facing natural resources in the Bekaa region of Lebanon. After that, Dr. Rami Owayni of the Faculty of Science presented innovative environmental techniques. A lecture on the desalination system was presented by Dr. Yasser Al Samdouni from the Faculty of Engineering, then followed by Dr. Mohamed Al Jawhary from the Faculty of Engineering who presented a lecture on solid waste management system. The students, Ryan Farha and Sarah Moubeid, from the Faculty of Science, concluded with a research about the factors that are leading to the increase in the number of adolescents, in northern Lebanon, smoking what is called ‘’Nargileh’’. This day was marked by an exhibition of students’ projects and ended up by distributing honor shields to lecturers and awards for successful projects.

The Faculty of Science at BAU hosted a workshop entitled “Green Environment: Pollution Control” in collaboration with the Research Center for Environment and Development in Bekaa and sponsored by PEER/ USAID.


The workshop aimed at highlighting the latest issues related to pollution and ways to control it in order to reach a Green Environment in Lebanon. It provided a platform for leaders, innovators, researchers, and students from across the Lebanese community to exchange ideas and solutions.


The workshop speakers were Mr. Bassam Sabbagh , Head of Urban Environment Service, Ministry of Environment), Mr. Zaher Redwan, Green Hand Organization, Mr. Elie Abou Sleiman, Green Insight, Dr. Majida Mcheik, Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Ali Fadel, Center for Remote Sensing, CNRS-L, Ms. Nohal al Homsi, WHO representative, and Dr. Jamila Borjac, Beirut Arab University.


The workshop brought up together key environmental activists and researchers, officials involved in environment and NGO’s to highlight on pollution in Lebanon and ways to control it. Moreover, more than 20 Environmental Projects from more than 50 Makassed Schools’ Students were displayed.

The Human Rights Center (HRC) at Beirut Arab University organized its Seventh Exhibition of NGOs at Beirut campus under the title of "United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for the 2030 Agenda and Environment Preservation" in the presence of Minister of Environment Fadi Jreissati represented by Mrs. Anna Shaderfian. 


HRC Specialist Ms. Salam Zahran opened the exhibition, stressing the fact that "this exhibition is an opportunity to introduce students to human rights issues with the participation of 47 associations and organizations concerned with all that aims to give the individuals their rights to contribute to the development of society at all levels."


BAU Secretary General and HRC Director Dr. Omar Houri stated that “this exhibition in its seventh edition has become an annual tradition for our students to meet with civil society organizations, the unknown soldiers in our country, keep abreast of their progress, discuss social affairs and harness these efforts to serve sustainable development. "


In his speech, BAU President and Chairman of the HRC Board of Directors Prof. Amr Galal El-Adawi indicated that, since its establishment in 2009, the Center has played a major role at the university, Lebanese and regional levels through its relationship with local and international organizations. BAU has also committed itself to achieving the 17 UN objectives both at the levels of research and education at the various faculties. BAU also seeks to achieve sustainable development through the application of the concept of community service which is a key component of its current strategy. El-Adawi, also, thanked the participating associations and organisations for their participation in this exposition. 


Afterwards, the attendees toured the booths of the participating associations. On the sidelines of the exhibition, a student discussion session was held which tackled the current environmental challenges and the most important initiatives to solve them. Dr. Safaa Baydoun, Director of Research Center for Environment and Development at BAU Bekaa Campus participated in the session, presenting the most important BAU projects and initiatives within the environmental and sustainable development framework. Ms. Zeina Karameh, representing The Arab Thought Foundation, introduced the Short Story Competition, which was launched by the Foundation as part of the "Arab21" Project aimed at high school students to write texts in Arabic on the importance of sustainable environment and the risks resulting from its neglect. President of Beam of Environment Association (BEA) Engineer Salim Khalife presented the solid waste crisis, its risks and treatment. The session concluded with a speech by Ms. Anna Shaderfian, representing the Ministry of Environment, in which she presented the most important environmental strategies adopted by the Ministry and the existing initiatives to reduce the environment crisis in Lebanon.


The exhibition hosted 47 associations from various fields (environmental, social, health, educational and developmental). The distribution of the associations’ tasks in this exhibition was determined according to the objectives that serve sustainable development.