BEIRUT: The 74th session of the UN General Assembly’s high-level week of a lively debate has ended on September 30, and so has the hectic pace of international initiatives and summitry.
Among the highly debated issues in this year’s General Assembly was climate action, in which the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies issued a report titled “The Cost of Doing Nothing.”
It's estimated in the report that about 50 million more people will need humanitarian assistance every year by 2030 if the world does nothing to mitigate climate change.
Moreover, the UN Climate Summit 2019, which occurred in parallel to the General Assembly, saw new pathways and practical actions that aim to shift global response into a higher gear.
Among the backdrop of such highly charged events, UNDP Lebanon hosted the Social Good Summit 2019 in Antwork on Thursday, with the aim to gather activists and officials and spark debate on climate change.
“We want to launch the debate around climate change all over Lebanon in order to highlight the initiatives taken to prevent the situation from deteriorating,” Lea Kai, project manager at UNDP, told Annahar.
UNDP resident representative Celine Moyroud delivered her opening remarks by noting that “the Social Good Summit is a great opportunity to discuss the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs), one of which is climate change.”
She added: “It’s a space to see what could be done, very much centered on youth and their role in mobilizing communities.”
One motivational speaker who spurred the audience to take action was UNDP regional goodwill ambassador Michael Haddad.
Haddad, who’s physically challenged, has taught himself how to climb and has climbed numerous summits in his cause for climate change. One of these summits is Lebanon’s Black Summit, the highest in the MENA region.
“Disability is a state of mind; we can do anything we believe in,” he said, highlighting the power of will and the fact that anything is possible.
The event was divided into three sessions. The first was about the future of Lebanon under climate change, in which Kai gave an animated talk in which she debunked “myths” on climate change and laid the foundations of carbon print and the related initiatives happening in Lebanon.
The second session was about youth participation in combating climate change, where two members from the UNDP Youth Leadership spoke about initiatives they are taking part in the Chouf district, where solar panels and other technologies are being installed, as well as empowering women and youth through educational packages.
The third session was about gender roles and climate change. Speaker Mary Awad emphasized the vulnerability of women in climate change.
“Women are 14 times more likely to die of natural disasters than men. They also make up 80% of refugees,” she said.
She added that, in terms of SDGs, gender equality is linked to climate change and vice versa, noting that “climate change impacts women because of preexisting inequality issues.”
The sessions were moderated by ANND executive director Ziad Abdel Samad.
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