The Arab Forum for Environment and Development (AFED) concluded its 11th annual conference, held in Beirut on 8-9 November 2018 in Beirut, to discuss financing sustainable development in Arab Countries. The conference brought together 420 delegates and 50 speakers from 36 countries, representing government bodies, the private sector, regional and international organizations, research centers, civil society, academics and students.

AFED Secretary General Najib Saab cited draft recommendations of the conference, recognizing that the commitment to the Paris Agreement and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals entail huge investments, which in turn require innovative financing mechanisms. As governments alone cannot meet all these needs, the conference called upon aid organizations, development funds, corporations and the banking sector to contribute. Participants also stressed the need to put in place the necessary laws and legislations to attract aid and investments, and stop waste and corruption. They called for the adjustment of price support systems for the efficient management of natural resources, particularly energy and water, and the development of tax systems to enhance sources of income while ensuring fair distribution of wealth.

The conference recommended the development of feasible integrated strategies and plans, with clear and sequenced priorities for sustainable development goals at the local level, in accordance with a specific implementation schedule, supported by well-prepared feasibility studies. This must be accompanied by the adoption of an appropriate legislative and regulatory framework that will ensure donor confidence.
The conference recommendations will be disseminated to Arab governments and to regional and international agencies.

AFED conference 2nd day sessions: Corruption is both theft and corrupt management

On the second day of the AFED conference, former Prime Minister Fuad Siniora attended the session on Financing for Development by fighting corruption. He commented that “censorship is not a substitute for good governance, because corruption is not only theft, but also corrupt management.” He added that “Combating corruption is a continuous process, not a passing campaign, and the corrupt has faster methods than the controllers. So control systems should evolve with growing methods of corruption”.

Siniora emphasized that the distribution of power and funds on sectarian and partisan basis “turn the administration into protectorates, where loyalty is not to the state, but to those who brought officials to administration.” He called to “reform the corrupt system which is the basis of corruption.”

Dr. Saad Andary, Deputy Governor of Banque du Liban, presented the Bank’s programs on green economy and its cooperation with Lebanese banks in this field.

Full AFED report on Financing Sustainable Development in Arab Countries can be downloaded at www.afedonline.org