Arab environment ministers council session in Damascus
Regional-Syria, Environment, 5/23/2002
The executive bureau of the council of the Arab ministers of environment which concluded its 28th meeting in Damascus on May 22 following two -day deliberations approved several decisions that would give a push forward to efforts for ensuring coordinated Arab stances in the realm of the environment.
Among these decisions are adopting unified measures to boost the ability of Arab exports to compete in world markets, to assign the council's technical secretariat for making contacts with Arab and regional organizations concerned to maintain coordination and cooperation as well as to discuss the reflections of liberalizing inter- Arab service trade on the environment.
In its final session which was headed by the minister of the environment Adnan Khuzam, at the presence of the Arab ministers of the environment in Morocco, Lebanon, Kuwait and the representatives of Arab and international organizations concerned, the bureau also recommended to report on measures taken by environmental affairs departments in the Arab states to develop co-ordination and co-ordination with other national ministries concerned to produce high quality products that can compete in international markets.
In the area of sustainable development, the bureau commended preparations for the world summit on sustainable development and called on the Arab states to reinforce its participation in the works of the first Islamic conference for the ministers of the environment which, by its turn, aims at preparing for the world summit on sustainable development.
As for its plan for the next two years, the bureau adopted several decisions in particular those pertinent to improving the role played by the media in tackling environmental issues through specialized programs addressed to the Arab women, children, peasants and workers in Arab industry fields.
The bureau also called on the Palestinian authority to prepare a report on the Israeli practices in transporting and dumping toxic in the occupied Arab territories to be debated before the 6th conference of Basel agreement. It also called on the Arab states to sign Stockholm agreement so as to benefit from the material support, given as a result, to developing Arab environmental projects as well as to enhance co-operation between the UN programs and the council's technical secretariat in environmental projects and to reinforce the concept of inter- Arab tourism.
The bureau also assigned the council's technical secretariat in collaboration with Palestinian sides concerned to prepare a complete file on the destruction inflected on the Palestinian environment as a result of the Israeli aggression and to circulate this report on regional and international organizations and the world Summit conference on sustainable development due to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, this year.
In his debate during the meeting,the Arab league AL assistant secretary general for economic affairs Abdul Rahman al-Suheibani said that the most important debated issues is to complete Arab preparations for the world summit conference on Sustainable development. He explained that as it happened in Damascus in 1991 during the 3rd session of the council of the Arab ministers responsible for environmental affairs when they completed Arab preparation for Rio de Janeiro summit, Damascus is also now hosting Arab preparations for Johannesburg conference.
He said that in their final statement at the Beirut's recent Arab summit the Arab leaders stressed the importance of achieving a sustainable pan- Arab development. They also stressed their looking forward to the world conference to achieve closer co-operation among the world countries to fighting poverty and attain pan development whose results will be reflected on all peoples of the world. He also indicated that the Arab leaders called don the developed states to fulfill their obligations to support the developing countries in implementation of the Earth summit of 1992 held in Rio De Janeiro, and the resolutions to be taken by the Johannesburg conference.
Al-Suheibani indicated that the second important issue is crystallizing Abu Dhabi's declaration on the future of inter- Arab environmental work into materialized programs and activities. He noted the meetings of work teams held in Abu Dhabi in the mid of may, attended Arab and regional organizations concerned.
He also indicated a third issue which is of no less importance, namely the deterioration of the environmental conditions in the occupied Palestinian territories. He explained that at the Beirut's summit, the Arab leaders, and prior to the brutal Israeli invasion of the Palestinian territories, expressed their concern over the deterioration of these conditions. Conditions which have been drastically deteriorated after the Israeli invasion.
He also indicated the urgent need to provide aids to the state of Palestine to withstand the destruction which affected the environment and the resources in the Palestinian territories as a result of the Israeli brutal aggression.
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