Beirut, 19 November 2012

Delegates from over 48 countries have confirmed their participation in the 5th annual conference of the Arab Forum for Environment and Development (AFED), including the Ministers of Environment from Egypt, Lebanon, Tunisia, Sudan and Palestine, as well as many heads of regional and international organizations and corporate leaders. The conference will be under the patronage of His Excellency the President of Lebanon, General Michel Sleiman, who will deliver the opening address, and is set to convene at the Phoenicia Intercontinental Hotel in Beirut on 29-30 November 2012.

AFED will release during the conference its long anticipated report entitled “Survival Options and Ecological Footprint in Arab Countries.” It includes an Arab atlas of ecological footprint and biocapacity, detailing for the first time available natural resources and demand on them, to show the extent of ecological deficit. Figures analyzed so far revealed that 3 of the countries that have the highest ecological footprint per capita, as well as 3 countries that have some of the lowest figures are in the Arab region, which makes for a very interesting case of comparison.

In one of the highlights of this regional event, AFED will host the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) regional network meeting, which will be attended by IUCN Director General Julia Marton-Lefèvre accompanied by a high level delegation. Ms. Lefèvre will also give a keynote speech during the conference’s opening ceremony.

Another main feature of this year’s conference is a session dedicated to university students from all over the Arab region, under the heading “Future Leaders: Arab youth speak out about their right to natural resources.”

Organizers expect that 500 delegates will participate in the AFED annual conference. High level delegates include Mathis Wackernagel, President and founder of the renowned Global Footprint Network that was commissioned by AFED to produce the first Ecological Footprint Atlas for the region. Also present will be Dr. Ashok Khosla, President of the Club of Rome and Sus Ulbæk, Deputy Foreign Minister and Ambassador of Global Challenges in Denmark.