The Ministry of Environment, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme and Beyond magazine, held for the first time in Lebanon, a National Green Awards Ceremony at a dinner at the Phoenicia Hotel. Green Awards were granted to donors and institutions for their generous support to Lebanon and its environment.
Under the patronage of Minister Nazem El Khoury, the awards were granted to the following institutions and individuals: Lebanese Armed Forces represented by Commander General Jean Kahwaji, Head of the European Union Delegation in Lebanon the ambassador Angelina Eichhorst, UNDP Resident Representative in Lebanon Mr. Robert Watkins, Chairman of Libano-Française Bank, former Minister Farid Raphael, BankMed represented by Mr. Muhyi El Din Fathallah, Chairman of BLC Bank Mr. Maurice Sehnaoui, Middle East Airlines represented by Maitre Michel Tueni, Vice President of Haykal hospital Dr. Nisrine Bazerbagi , owner of Zetra Industries Mr. Salim Zeenni, Dr.Tony Issa of IPT Energy Center represented by Mrs. Myrna Issa, and MTV media station which won the shield of appreciation .
In his turn, UNDP Resident Representative Mr. Robert Watkins granted a Green Award to Minister El Khoury, to Mr. Riad Salameh, governor of Lebanon’s central bank, representatives of the Italian and Spanish governments, General Director of Beyond magazine Mrs. Pascale Choueiri Saad, the Association of Green Cedar Lebanon, and to NewTV station.
Following the opening, a speech was given by Mrs. Pascale Choueiri Saad, General Director of Beyond Magazine in which she stressed on the “continuous cooperation and coordination with the Ministry of Environment and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to transform ideas into real projects and initiatives”.
Then followed the word of UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Robert Watkins.
Speech of the Minister of the Environment
The Minister of Environment Mr. Nazem El Khoury ensured that “this First National Green Awards ceremony will become an annual tradition and an opportunity for the ministry to give credit to those who collaborated with it and provided support in achieving its goals.”
“This is an approach which we hope will help build and reinforce the concept of partnership between the ministry and the civil society, a very important investment through which the preservation of the environment and the protection of our natural wealth is achieved. I can assure you that the benefits from such an investment are collective and losses would be irrecoverable on our health and that of future generations.”
He added: “The objective of granting these awards is to motivate citizens, institutions, governmental and non-governmental organizations to be concerned as environmental damage equally affects the polluter and the receiver. Therefore, we all ought to be convinced that the protection of the environment is a shared responsibility among all of us.
He also said that “the honored organizations are pioneers in adopting and promoting environmentally friendly initiatives. Their interventions had a significant positive impact on the environmental arena in Lebanon and made of them examples to follow. Not only are we appreciative of their efforts but we also find it in hope for the future. They have given the green light for a new start as they paved the way to a healthier and safer future.”
Mr. Khoury stressed that “the most important issue sought by the Ministry of Environment is making every citizen an environmental watch and a member of the Ministry’s team by being more aware of the environment and by refraining from harming it and tediously working towards conserving and improving it”. The Minister also declared that “within the next month, the Ministry of Environment will launch three national competitions targeting schoolchildren, university students, and the media, respectively. In addition, the Ministry will organize a ceremony to honor the efforts of civil society organizations which have continuously supported the Ministry in its activities.”
The Minister of Environment concluded by saying: “The path is still long ahead of us, but we are moving steadily and with determination. The awards tonight are just one step on this path.”