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Arab forum urges reduced ecological footprint.

Summary: The Arab Forum for Environment and Development wrapped up its fifth annual conference Friday, calling for countries to reduce the demand they place on their ecosystems.

BEIRUT: The Arab Forum for Environment and Development wrapped up its fifth annual conference Friday, calling for countries to reduce the demand they place on their ecosystems.

The conference recommended that Arab countries reduce their ecological footprints by restoring degraded de·grad·ed  
1. Reduced in rank, dignity, or esteem.

2. Having been corrupted or depraved.

3. Having been reduced in quality or value.
 land, refilling depleted de·plete  
tr.v. de·plet·ed, de·plet·ing, de·pletes
To decrease the fullness of; use up or empty out.

[Latin d
 aquifers The following is a partial list of aquifers around the world. A of aquifers is also available.

North America

  • Oak Ridges Moraine - North of Toronto Ontario
  • Laurentian River System
United States
  • Biscayne Aquifer
 and fisheries as well as reducing pollution and generating less waste overall.

In addition to fighting against the damage already done, AFED AFED Anarchist Federation (UK)
AFED Alliance to Fight Eating Disorders
AFED Air Force Enterprise Defense
AFED Association Française des Éleveurs, Embouteilleurs, Distributeurs de Vins et Spiritueux
 also urged governments to invest in green development, suggesting that some of the region's oil wealth should be used for this purpose.

It added that this green development should be extended to energy efficiency in construction, transportation and industrial sectors.

In a region that is using up its natural resources -- a problem the conference's report said would eventually have a major impact on economic competitiveness -- AFED suggested regional cooperation and resource management as strategies to prevent further loss.

Over 500 delegates from 48 countries participated in the two-day meeting, and Friday's proceedings included a standing ovation of congratulations to Palestinian Environment Minister Youssef Abu Safiyyeh for Palestine's new status as a non-member observer state at the U.N.

Lebanon suffers from many of the same problems as the rest of the region, which AFED's report "Surviving Options: Ecological Footprints in Arab Countries" said in general do not have enough natural resources to account for their impact on the environment.

Lebanon has high levels of pollution, unchecked landfills and there is little respect or enforcement of environmental laws. Levels of recycling are low, and it imports more food than it produces.

Environment Minister Nazem Khoury warned Wednesday that national governments are using twice the natural resources their ecosystems can provide.

In the field of agriculture, AFED called on Arab countries to improve irrigation irrigation, in agriculture, artificial watering of the land. Although used chiefly in regions with annual rainfall of less than 20 in. (51 cm), it is also used in wetter areas to grow certain crops, e.g., rice.  efficiency, promote organic farming organic farming, the practice of raising plants—especially fruits and vegetables, but ornamentals as well—without the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers.  and develop crops that have a high yield and are resistant to salt and drought.

There was also a financial aspect to this year's AFED recommendations: It called on development funds and banks to use "ecological accounting" in evaluating the grants and loans they provide. AFED itself was urged to provide assistance to various economic sectors in understanding sound ecological accounting principles, meaning a consideration of the environmental impact of business decisions.

A Friday session was dedicated to how business can help reduce a country's ecological impact. It discussed several green corporate initiatives and included a panel discussion on how to incorporate ecological footprints into national budgets.

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Publication:The Daily Star (Beirut, Lebanon)
Geographic Code:7LEBA
Date:Dec 1, 2012
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