News & Media

March 21, 2013
International Day of Forests

On Thursday March 21, 2013, during a conference organized to celebrate the International Day of Forests, the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (USEK) promoted the adoption of the forests in its Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences in order to contribute in raising awareness about forestry, building capacities and professional know-how in this important specialization.

This announcement was made by the Dean of the abovementioned Faculty Fr. Dr. Joseph Wakim during a conference, organized by the University and supported by the FAO and the UNIC – Beirut, on the importance of forests in Lebanon, as well as their economic, social and environmental benefits. The conference also shed the light on the challenges facing the sustainability of these vital resources.

In addition to Fr. Dr. Wakim, the Director of UNIC – Beirut, Mr. Bahaa El Koussy; the representative of the FAO Office in Lebanon, Mr. Elie Choueiri; the Head of the Department of Agricultural Sciences within the Faculty, Mr. Nabil Nemer, as well as a number of students, teachers, environmental associations and natural reserves representatives attended the event.

Rev. Fr. Wakim stated that protecting forests is protecting food security. The launch of an International Day of Forests that the world is celebrating for the first time, “…is a benchmark reminding people of the right to equal distribution of resources, but it also reminds the people that they have duties and responsibilities towards forests”. The Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences called for awareness campaigns to inform public and private institutions about the necessity of protecting forests and for drafting policies to promote the protection and development of forests.

The Director of the UNIC – Beirut, Mr. Bahaa El Koussy, said that this day aims to raise awareness of the sustainable management and development of forest for the sake of future generations. Moreover, Mr. El Koussy talked about the negative global transformations in the relationship between humans and forests, which requires the intensification of efforts in order to save threatened forestry all over the world. He added that despite the great challenges, there is still an encouraging sign embodied in the decrease of deforestation by 20% in the last decade.

Mr. Elie Choueiri, from the FAO Office in Lebanon, pointed out that he has asked the Organization to coordinate the capacity building process of the countries to achieve balance in the social, cultural, environmental and economic management of planted forests, and to increase its contribution in ensure livelihood and sustainable use of land. As for the reforestation in Lebanon, he stated that on December 13th, the Ministry of Agriculture launched an initiative to plant 40 million forest trees, within the “National Program of Reforestation”.

The Head of the Department of Agricultural Sciences in the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences at USEK, Mr. Nabil Nemer, presented the current situation of forest in light of climate change and global warming. He also shed the light on state of Lebanese forests, the challenges they face: urban development, climate change, wildfires, greasing, etc. He finally showed how these forests can be protected, and outlined the principles and directives to develop strong forestry policies.

At the end of the seminar, a short movie, produced by the United Nations, was shown shedding the light on the importance of forestry and calling for reforestation for a better future.

On December 21, 2012, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution announcing March 21 of each year the International Day of Forests.
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