Water Cooperation with UNICEF

DAMASCUS, (ST) - A two-day workshop to support water sector, sanitation and hygiene promotion was held here recently in cooperation between the Ministry of Water Resources, UNICEF and the presence of local partners and relevant international organizations.  The participants in the workshop agreed to launch some 15 projects targeting 10 million people at a cost of $ 68 million.

Head of the Organizations' Administration in the Foreign Ministry, Abdul Mun'im Annan, said that the projects focus to ensure the improvement of mechanisms of access to clean water, sanitation especially for children at schools and to improve the reality of shelters allocated for the displaced in places and provinces affected by the situation that prevailed in the country.

"With the emergence of the current crisis, some of the negative effects began to appear gradually in the sector of water and sanitation, these effects resulted mostly from the current crisis to prevent employees of access to their places of work, which led to halt work in this vital service centers or carry out maintenance and repair." Mr. Annan said.

What aggravated the situation of this sector is the economic sanctions imposed on Syria by some states, which led to the suspension of several purification and desalination projects of water, he added.

 These projects are aimed to ensure better access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene for children in schools and displaced people in shelters and affected provinces.

UNICEF, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and several Syrian ministries, such as Water Resources, Local Administration, Environment, Education, Health and Social Affairs as well as several international organizations and non-governmental organizations authorized to conduct business in the humanitarian field in Syria participate in the implementation of these programs.

Through our follow-up of the activity of UNICEF in the last period in the areas of water and sanitation, we noticed the presence of a determined effort by the organization which deserves praise for this action, in cooperation with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and the ministries concerned, to provide safe drinking water.

Coordinator of Humanitarian Programs of UNICEF in Syria, Marl Loseh, underlined the commitment of UNICEF to support the sector of water and sanitation and hygiene promotion in Syria. Water, he added,  is an essential element for life and health of children, women and population and that this responsibility is accepted by UNICEF in front of the world humanitarian community, and because water is essential to children's lives and the lives of everyone, we will continue to support you through facilitation and providing leadership and support as needed.

We assume our full responsibility for the implementation of the consequences to us, and also guarantee enable you and each of the actors in responding to play its role in this area, we need to continue to come together to put more effort and provide the best and work with all actors in the response, and cooperation with teams of health, shelter, nutrition and education.

Sh. Al -Khatib

Some 45 Thousand Tons of Grapes in Daraa

DARAA –( ST)-  The Directorate of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform in Daraa estimated the production of grape during this season at about 45 thousand tons compared to 60 tons in the previous seasons.

The Head of Economic Affairs Department of in the governorate Eng. Saleh al-Miqdad said yesterday that the total area planted with grapes of 2720 hectares and the number of trees planted is  2,655 million trees, explaining that the reason for decline in production compared with the previous seasons due to the current conditions and rising the costs of production, fertilizers, pesticides and fuel .

For his part, head of the Department of Agricultural guidance, Eng. Mohamed Shehadat, pointed out the need to follow modern agricultural operations in the cultivation of grapes through the commitment of pruning methods by modern agricultural specialists at appropriate times and dates.

He also clarified the importance of adopting modern irrigation methods in the vineyards to reduce consumption of diesel fuel used to run the engines of artesian wells and follow the scientific program of fertilization and the use of pesticides, according to consulting agricultural specialists.

Sh. Al Khatib

New Investments in Adra Industrial City

DAMASCUS, (ST) - Director of the Industrial City in Adra, Eng. Ziad Baddour, pointed out that the suitable investment environment in the city of Adra led to an increase in productivity during the current year in comparison with the years 2012 and 2013. Approving new laws, granting encouraging and supportive facilities, as well as the availability of local and expert labor led to revitalize the movement of marketing and disposal of production.


"The year 2013 has witnessed an increase in production due to the facilities granted to the industrialists, especially those whose facilities were damaged outside the industrial city because of the situation taking place in the country. Those industrialists were provided by land to build their industrial facilities which are equipped with full services and installments for 10 years," Eng. Baddour added.

 "Other facilities also were granted regarding the sale of the old installations in addition to 40 locations allocated to new industries in the sectors of food, textile, packaging and engineering," Eng. Baddour continued.

"The first quarter of this year achieved an increase in the movement of factories in comparison with the years 2011 and 2012. The most important reasons are the change and adjustment in the investment system and providing many facilities such as reducing the amount of the first installment of 33 percent to 15 percent for the establishment of investment, increasing the duration of installments of 5 years to 10 years and reducing the rate of increase of premiums from 5 percent to 3 percent," Eng. Baddour clarified.

"Under the new investment system, the rate of insurance has been reduced from 4 percent to 2 percent of the value of the location. The period of the license, starting the construction increased to one year instead of 6 months and the period of validity of the building permit increased to 3 years instead of two years and can be increased to 5 years," Een. Baddour stated.

He emphasized that these facilities granted to the existing and new industries in the industrial city aims to increase investments, move the domestic capital, ensure local industry depends on local resources, and ensure products for export.

He added that the most important thing is to absorb unemployment significantly, where the industrial sector is one of the real sectors of the economy, especially in crises where they attracted more labor to reach new employment opportunities in the city for more than 48 thousand jobs.

"The center of the fuel, which was established in the industrial city, began to work and to provide the factories and facilities with fuel according to monthly lists that monitor the city needs," Eng. Baddour said.

 
He pointed out that the embargo imposed on the country had had a negative impact on the work in the city. The difficulty in bringing the needed raw materials for production and the difficulty in the movement of freight and its high costs obliged the government to go to new markets. The destination was to Latin America such as Brazil and Argentina and to the markets in Asia such as India, Iran, China and Malaysia in addition to Russia. The goal is to attract raw materials for local industries; in return, more attention was given to the new markets in Africa, Latin America and Asia for marketing local products.

He added that marketing is suffering from internal difficulties because of the current situation and disrupted the movement of trains bringing the cost of marketing and disposal that had an impact on the amount of production that increases and decreases and sometimes stops temporarily due to the movement of marketing and disposal.

"Some 380 industrial facilities were operating in the city in 2012 and currently about 500 facilities are operating, explaining that this increase in productivity resulting from an increase in the productivity of certain industries such as food installations, which increased 100 percent, while 50 percent of installations of building materials are ceased working," Eng. Baddour added.

"The investment plan for the year 2013 is currently being carried out amounting to approximately 1,500 million Syrian Pounds including infrastructure projects to complete the sites for some new plants, maintenance and replacement of old projects in order to maintain full readiness of infrastructure services for the city," Eng. Baddour pointed out.

In the framework of an integrated national action to contain those affected citizens by the current situation, Eng. Baddour explained that in coordination with the Ministry of Local Administration some 1200 housing apartments in the industrial city of Adra will be constructed as a shelter free of charge to be in favor of the city after the end of the crisis.

It is worthy mentioning, that four industrial cities were created in Syria, three of them under the Legislative Decree No. 57 of 2004 including the city of Adra in the countryside of Damascus, Hesya in the governorate of Homs and Sheikh Najjar in the governorate of Aleppo as another decree issued to set up the industrial city of Deir Ezzour in 2007.

These cities include sites dedicated to various types of industrial activities. They are divided into several small, medium and large levels to accommodate the large Arab, foreign and local investments as some events have been moved from the cities and urban centers, residential areas and green areas to the cities through modern organization and studied from environmental aspect where these cities are environmentally friendly cities.

Sh. al -Khatib

Promising cereal production in 2013

(ST) - Strong growth is expected for global wheat, coarse grains and rice production in 2013, according to early forecasts published by FAO's monthly Cereals Supply and Demand Brief.

Assuming more normal weather conditions than in 2012, global wheat production in 2013 is expected to reach 695 million tones, 5.4 percent up from last year's harvest and just some 6 million tones short of the 2011 record level.

 Moreover, in 2013, coarse grains production is expected to set a new record at 1266 million tones - 9.3 percent up on the previous high of 1167 million tones registered in 2011.

 Of this total, maize is forecast to account for about 960 million tones, some 10 percent up from 2012. The bulk of the increase is expected in the United States, the world's largest producer, where maize plantings are forecast to reach their highest level since 1936. Recovery from drought in the major CIS producing countries should also contribute significantly to the record global production.

 Still tentatively, FAO foresees rice production in the forthcoming 2013 season to rise to 497.7 million tones, 16 million tones more than in 2012, with particularly large increases expected in India and Indonesia.

 

Despite the expected production increases, world cereal utilization is expected to stagnate in 2012/2013, constrained by rising grain prices and faltering ethanol demand. Global cereal utilization is now forecast to be 2332 million tones, roughly unchanged from the 2011/2012 level.

World cereal stocks by the close of seasons ending in 2013 are forecast at 505 million tons, up 1 percent (5 million tons) from the previous forecast, but some 3 percent (16 million tons) below their opening levels.

A sharp fall in world cereal trade is expected in 2012/2013, involving all major cereals. At 304.4 million tones, it would be almost 1 million tones larger than forecast last month, but still representing a decline of about 4 percent (13 million tons) from 2011/2012.

Sh. Kh.

National economy strong, balanced, Says al-Halqi

Damascus, (ST) – Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi dubbed the  national economy as  strong and balanced and could adapt  to the complications and developments of the crisis in Syria through a series of decisions and steps taken by the government in order to cope with the ongoing developments.

Addressing the People's Assembly on Wednesday, al-Halqi said that the Syrian Pound is currently under unprecedented attack launched by some Arab-linked media .

"By doing so, They (some Arab countries) are aiming at diverting  the  citizens and businessmen's destination away from the Syrian pound, "underscored al-Halqi.

"However, the government has taken several steps to boost citizens' confidence in commerce and the Syrian Pound and to unveil the nature of this media and economic war which is accompanied by spreading rumors, "added al-Halqi.

The Prime Minister made it  clear that the said  measures  strongly contributed in boosting the  citizens' confidence in the national economy and consequently foiled all attempts to undermine trust in the government's economic steps .

"the homeland and citizen's security is the government's top priority .Hence, Syria is firmly going forward as regards fighting terrorism backed by Arab, regional and international powers, "asserted al-Halqi.

He also hailed  the role of the Army and Armed Forces and security forces in combating terrorism and restoring security nationwide.

"the army and armed forces and the security forces  are the sole guarantee of the country's unity and safety, "concluded al-Halqi.

R.Sawas