Projects to Protect Water Resources from Pollution

DAMASCUS, (ST) - Syria lies in a semi- arid area which is characterized with scarcity of water resources and lack of compatibility with the regional distribution of the population and thus these resources will be exposed to great pressures in quality and quantity and an increase in demand for water that exceeds the volume of the renewable and available resources in some places and other data are the basis upon which the integrated management of water resources as atop priority due to the importance of water in the national economy, which depends basically on irrigated farming which is considered the largest consumer of water.

The Ministry of State for Environment Affairs as a government agency is responsible for protecting the environment elements, particularly water resources. The ministry doesn’t implement investment projects on the ground such as supplying drinking water or providing sewage services.

Director of Water Safety Bureau at the Ministry of State for Environment Affairs, Eng. Reem Abed Rabbo, said that “the ministry is a body that supervises on water resources, maps out the related environmental specifications, follows up the implementation of its projects by concerned authorities which reflects positively on the environmental situation of water.” 

  Eng. Abed Rabbo confirmed that the ministry, in all its environmental reports issued since the nineties, had given special attention to the protection of water resources, pointing out that the problem of water contamination occupies apriority among the rest of the other environmental problems.

“Syria is among the countries that prepared a national strategy for sustainable development and the ministry seeks access to water bodies and clean waterways by 2025 as a strategic objective. The ministry is implementing a range of activities and projects that will enhance the work on integrated environmental management of water resources, including monitoring projects and integrated environmental management of major rivers and lakes. The idea starts from the need to develop a national plan to reduce gradually of pollutants that are usually discarded in water bodies and main courses of water to get safe and pure water by 2025,” Eng. Abed Rabbo added.

“To achieve this goal, a survey is conducted to all resources of contamination in the river basins and then projected onto digital maps, mapping out a national plan for environmental integrated monitoring of water resources and developing a national plan for environmental management of river basins that aim at gradual reduction of pollutants by 2025,” Eng. Abed Rabbo clarified.

“The work has actually begun in the basin of the North Great River since 2011 to implement the first phase of the project, where all resources of contamination and the sites of discharge on the North Great River, its branches and Lake 16 October Dam were surveyed. All data is downloaded on digital maps by using geographic information system in addition to maps that define sites of sewage contamination,” Eng. Abed Rabbo added.

“All resources of pollution and the sites of discharge at Al -Abrash River in Tarous were surveyed and the work will start in the future to implement the same project on the Southern Great River, Orontes River and Euphrates Dam. In parallel with the implementation of these projects, the ministry plans to set up environment observation networks on main rivers,” Eng. Abed Rabbo pointed out.

Eng. Roula Jabbour, from the Directorate of Water Safety, underlined that setting up environment observation networks on the Northern Great River in Lattakia later will be a first step to be circulated to the rest of rivers in later stages.

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Developing Cooperation with FAO

DAMASCUS, (ST) - Minister of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform Engineer, Ahmed Al –Qadri, recently met with the representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations( FAO) in Syria, Erico Hebei. The minister confirmed importance of developing relations of cooperation with international organizations, particularly in these difficult circumstances experienced by Syria to help farmers to continue their farming activities and alleviate their suffering.
Mr. Al -Qadri pointed out the successes achieved by the ministry in the projects carried out in cooperation with the FAO and the Ministry's role in providing all facilities and assistance to farmers such as fertilizers, seeds and. He also explained the difficulties faced by the ministry and the peasants in the recent crisis.
For her part, Hebei underlined the Organization's readiness to increase cooperation with Syria, especially in these circumstances where it will now provide additional support and emergency to the needy through increasing aid to farmers who were affected by the crisis and ensure a part of their needs to mitigate as much as possible from their suffering and work to support the production and agricultural process in the Syrian countryside, pointing out that Syria is the first choice among several countries were nominated to represent the FAO.

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Economy Minister: The State Bears 80 Percent of Citizens’ living

TARTOUS, (ST)- The Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade, Dr. Mohammad Zafer Mahbaq, underlined that the government follows a monetary policy based on the accounts and balances of the national reserves which helped to "maintain the rate of the Syrian pound in an acceptable way during the last two years."

 During a meeting with economic activities in Tartous, the minister pointed that the war on Syria aimed at undermining our brave army, destroy our national economy by manipulating the prices of the exchange of Syrian Pound, smuggling billions of Syrian pounds out of Syria and then buying dollars without concern for the loss or profit.

The minister pointed out to the importance of economic decisions issued by the ministry on proposals of businessmen through dialogues which are made through press or directly in order to serve citizens, noting to "the existence of government decisions to finance imports of basic commodities only because it is illogical financing of luxury goods in this stage."

The economy minister said that the complaints received by the Governor of the Central Bank of Syria indicate that the burdens and financing of food commodities that conducted by dollar are sold the lowest price to the consumer where the seller prices according to the black market and " the bank incurs this loss without the benefit of the consumer what requires traders to bear burdens and stay away from obsession to profit."

The Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade pointed out that the government provides many facilities for contractors, particularly the exemption from fines in addition to compensation for price differences, stressing to study the request of any contractor to take advantage of these facilities.

The minister clarified that half of the state budget is dedicated to supporting food stuff, fuel oil and education, and this means that "the State bears 80 percent of living of citizens."

Dr. Mahbaq called everyone to stop the speculation to store and monopoly materials and work to spread awareness in this field among all segments of society, pointing out that the national economy has exposed to a lot of vandalism at the hands of terrorist groups, however, " the national economy is still intact and able to meet the basic needs of citizens ".

“The aim of the meeting with the economic activities in Tartous is to see the economic realities of the governorate and assess the impacts of decisions issued by the Ministry of Economy and Foreign Trade, and the possibility of overcoming the obstacles,” the minister commented.

For his part, Governor of Tartous, Nizar Mousa, underlined the importance of the meeting between the Minister of Economy with the businessmen and members of the Chambers of Industry and Commerce in Tartous to upgrade the economic reality in the governorate, which is getting ready to receive all industrialists from other governorates who their facilities were damaged by armed terrorist groups.

 The participants showed the need to finance imports of commodities, pointing out that the potential of investment in Tartous is weak and needs to be activated through facilitating the granting of licenses, increase support for exports of olive oil and citrus, overcome the routine procedures for both economic and supplying sides to ease the growing burdens on citizens.

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Labour Minister: Supporting, Developing SMEs Important

Damascus, (ST) - Minister of Labour, Dr. Hassan Hijazi, underlined the importance of supporting and developing the small and medium enterprises by all concerned ministries and authorities, pointing out that the Ministry of Labour attaches importance to the issue of training entrepreneurs and the need for access to funding that is supposed to fit the needs of those who have the ability to set up these projects.

During a meeting included the Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade, Dr. Mohammed Zafer Mahbaq, and General Director of the Public Authority for Operation, Mujahid Abdullah, Dr. Hijazi underlined necessity of activating the bodies concerned with training, technical and vocational education, developing programs aimed at youth employment and turning it to a tangible evidence to take advantage of all available energies.

For his part, Minister of Economy pointed out that the separation of the Ministry of Social Affairs from Labor Ministry allowed to the new ministry to do more actively and provide service to the labor market, stressing that it is necessary to develop the body dealing with Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

He also called to find a compromising formula between the Ministries of Economy and  Labour and the General Authority for Operation to unify visions to take advantage of all experiences of our existing expertise which is considered a national treasure.

For his part, Director General of the General Authority for Operation stressed the need to complete the tools of the body’s work by linking the mechanisms of granting licensing, guarantee of loans and financing of non-financial services provided by the current Authority.

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SFAC: Reducing Impact of the Crisis on Future of Livestock

DAMASCUS, (ST) - Technical Advisor of the Syrian Federation of Agriculture Chambers (SFAC), eng.  Abdul Rahman Qrunfleh, called for intensify efforts to reduce the effects of the crisis, that Syria has experienced, on the future of livestock development and deterioration of productivity that threatens the future of producing herds and future generations.

In a statement to reporters, eng. Qurunfleh, underlined the importance of the contribution of  fodders’ suppliers in private sector and the General Foundation for Fodders to ensure fodders from cheap sources for the herds of livestock in addition to offering loans from the Agricultural Cooperative Bank (ACB) and helping  suppliers of fodders in public and private sectors to provide the necessary funding to secure Syria’s need of fodders and taking the necessary measures to reduce the impact of the restrictions imposed by the regulations, which restrict the work of the bank.

He noted that the crisis in Syria has been a reason to deprive sheep and goats from visiting pastoral areas and take advantage of the free natural vegetation and impeding the movement of sheep and not moving the products of breeders of dairy and wool to markets in addition to the reduction of implementing the plans, programs and projects of the Ministry of Agriculture aimed at developing livestock in general and the development of the productivity of natural pastures and sheep in particular.

He explained that the cows were affected sharply due to the ceasing of factories of fodders and factories producing cake cotton and peel cotton in Aleppo as well as the exposure of some warehouses in more than one governorate to looting, theft and vandalism.

He clarified to the decline in the implementation of preventive immunizations rates for livestock as a result of the inability of veterinary technicians to get the vaccine and not being able to reach the areas of livestock in other cases. This fact led a large number of sheep breeders to sell half of their herds to spend on feeding the other half.

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