Words Varouj Tenbelian
Environmental degradation and growing scarcity of natural resources are crucial problems that are being encountered everywhere in the world today. Lebanon is no exception. The increase in world population and rapid industrialization have resulted in an increasing global demand for energy. This increased demand has created global environmental concerns mainly related to pollution of the air, the water, and the soil. Governments have to take immediate and effective actions to address these issues. Sustainable use of energy and raising public awareness of this issue have become priorities. There is an ever-increasing need to adapt ways in which energy consumption is reduced and pollution associated with energy use is limited.
In 2015, IPT Energy Center (IPTEC), a specialized research center in the fields of energy, oil, and gas that actively strives to enhance knowledge about energy conservation and efficient energy use in Lebanon, signed a three-year agreement with UNDP to collaborate in several areas of common interests related to sustainable and renewable energy, the transportation sector, and the oil and gas sector in Lebanon.
Energy Awareness Awards
The Energy Awareness Awards were established. UNDP and IPTEC realized the need to reward institutions and organizations, including businesses, civil society, and the academic sector, for their accomplishments in promoting the sustainable use of energy in four different categories: I- Energy Efficiency and Conservation, II- Renewable Energy, III-Transportation and Fleet Management, and IV- Sustainability Champions. There is also an Appreciation Award dedicated to public authorities at the local and regional level for their outstanding achievements in the area of renewable energy, energy efficiency, and clean transport.
“Through the Energy Awareness Awards, UNDP and IPTEC aim to promote sustainable consumption of energy resources and raise awareness levels about energy-related matters,” said Dr. Toni Issa, the president of IPTEC. He added: “Therefore the main objective of the awards is to recognize efforts put forth by institutions and organizations in reducing their energy footprint and integrating sustainable practices within their respective fields. Ultimately, these initiatives will contribute to reducing air pollution at the local level and to improving environmental performance through the reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) that contribute to climate change.”
The Energy Awareness Awards were launched last year. Applications were received from September 2015 through April 2016. “It’s worth mentioning that though it is its first year, I can say that the application rate in terms of number and categories was quite good,” said Dr. Issa. He noted: “We received more than 40 applications submitted to all the previously-mentioned categories. Many of them are highly qualified and showcase outstanding projects with proven results and a high replication potential.”
“Besides having moral connotations, the rewards also include financial prizes,” said Dr. Issa. He added: “We will select three shortlisted applicants from each category. Winners of the first and second places will receive a financial reward, in addition to a certificate and a trophy. Winners of the third place will receive a certificate and a trophy. Winners of the first place will also be supported for applications to international awards.”
For transparency and to assure a fair assessment, an independent committee including experts in the field from UNDP and other renowned institutions will review and evaluate the information provided in the applications in each of the categories based on the following criteria: originality and added value, impact, sustainability and replicability, and collaborations and synergies. Dr. Issa said: “The results will be announced at a ceremony planned for early October 2016. We will announce all related details in due time.
“We hope that the Energy Awareness Awards will raise the level of awareness about the importance of implementing sustainable practices within the operations of institutions and organizations in both the private and public sectors,” concluded Dr. Issa.