By Hana Namrouqa

AMMAN – Teenage delegates from 17 countries have called for adopting solar energy, planting trees and promoting recycling to preserve the environment and prevent its degradation.

At the closing ceremony of the 30th International Arab Children’s Congress (IACC) on Sunday, the 150 young participants proposed developing solar energy technologies and cultivating trees to fight desertification and soil erosion.

During the event, attended by HRH Princess Iman who was deputising for Her Majesty Queen Noor, the teenagers announced their recommendations, which also called for banning the use of plastic bags that threaten the environment and public health.

They urged policy makers to ban construction on agricultural lands and increase recycling of wastewater for irrigation purposes, in addition to including environmental topics in school curricula.

In their recommendations, the young participants underscored the importance of drafting laws that oblige every individual to plant a tree in order to fight global warming and create more green spaces.

They also called for encouraging people to use public transportation instead of cars to limit air pollution, as well as promoting the construction of green buildings to cut down on energy consumption and ensure the sustainability of natural resources.

Organised by the King Hussein Foundation’s National Centre for Culture and Arts (NCCA), the event opened on July 12 under the theme, “Safeguarding the Environment”.

Following a week of interactive workshops, Arab and international participants drew paintings and created traditional handicrafts that were on display during the event, which featured Jordanian singer Samira Asali.

The IACC list of suggestions will be sent to the UN, UNICEF and the Arab League.

Queen Noor initiated the congress following the 1980 Arab summit in Amman, with the goal of giving children between the ages of 14 and 16 the opportunity to express their needs and aspirations and to be heard by decision makers in the Arab world.

In 2004, the congress began to host participants from European and Asian countries, becoming an international event that helps bridge cultures, abolishes stereotypes and raises awareness on democratic principles and human rights.

Delegations from the UAE, Tunisia, Sudan, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, the Palestinian Authority, Lebanon, Egypt, the USA, Australia, Austria, the Netherlands, the UK, Turkey, Kuwait and Morocco took part in the event this year.