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Development of Solutions to Environmental Issues

DAMASCUS, (ST) - The Ministry of State for Environmental Affairs recently signed a cooperation agreement with the Higher Institute of Applied Sciences and Technology in order to characterize the environmental situation in a scientific and accurate way to develop solutions to environmental issues in a scientific and sound manner.

Minister of State for Environmental Affairs, Dr. Nazira Sarkis, noted that the agreement aims at cooperation in the field of studies,  consultancy , projects and benefit from the national scientific and technical expertise between the two parties and cooperation in the areas of rehabilitation and training, services and media and publishing, documentation and the establishment of joint scientific activities

The  Minister clarified that the work in order to protect the environment and maintain the health of the citizens is a participatory work that needs the efforts of all parties concerned and that the ministry is seeking within this framework for coordination and cooperation with all public and private entities, research and academic centers and enhancing scientific and technical cooperation with these bodies.

For his part, Director of the Higher Institute of Applied Science and Technology, Dr. Wael Khansah,  pointed out that the agreement comes within the framework of conciliation between scientific research and service sectors through the activation of cooperation between academic institutions and service organizations, development and transfer of ideas about the environment into reality and the exchange of knowledge and experiences and learn from this experience and circulate them to the rest of the establishments  and institutions, stressing the need to deepen cooperation with the ministry in the areas of scientific research to take advantage of renewable energies of all kinds.

The agreement states  that the ministry and the Institute to cooperate and conduct studies and developmental researches and  joint ventures,  organize seminars, workshops and scientific lectures and  participate in the work of the technical committees, the rehabilitation and training of workers in the ministry as well as cooperation in the advertising and promotion of activities and events carried out in the framework of this agreement,  the organization of exhibitions, conferences, seminars, workshops and scientific lectures in the areas of common interest.

The agreement includes the formation of a follow-up joint committee to follow the implementation of the agreement and the development of executive programs for events arising from it and to identify mechanisms for it and work to overcome the difficulties that might hinder the progress of work and study project proposals and joint actions and follow up the work, consultation to address the problems that may arise them and suggest areas of new cooperation .

This agreement is valid starting from the date of signature by the two teams and apply its provisions for a period of three years starting from the entry into force.

Sh. Al -Khatib

UN: Unprecedented climate change

The latest UN Report on Climate Change, The Global Climate, 2001-2010, A Decade of Extremes, paints an alarming picture of a world faced with unprecedented climate extremes with rising temperatures smashing national records.

The Global Climate 2001-2010, A Decade of Extremes shows that in the first decade of the new millennium, more temperature records were broken across the globe than at any other time, being the warmest decade for the northern and southern hemispheres both on land and at sea since records began, in 1850.

The result of this, according to the report, is a dramatic rise in polar ice melts and a shrinking of the world's glaciers, culminated with a rising sea level. The tangible effects of this were an increase in extreme floods, flood and drought cycles, tropical storms and at least 370,000 deaths due to extreme weather conditions. Floods were experienced from Europe to Australia, from Africa to Asia - in 2010, 20,000,000 people were affected by flooding in Pakistan and 2,000 people died. Droughts were also severe and prolonged, affecting the Amazon, Australia and Africa, having lasting negative environmental impacts. Regarding storms, there were over 500 cyclone disasters which killed around 170,000 people, affected 250 million and caused some 380 billion USD-worth of damage.

The reasons

The report indicated that "Rising concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases are changing our climate, with far reaching implications for our environment and our oceans, which are absorbing both carbon dioxide and heat." Global concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere rose by 39% since the beginning of the industrial revolution (1750), while nitrous oxide concentrations increased by 20% and methane concentrations, by 300%.

The sources

Findings were taken from surveys involving 139 national meteorological and hydrological services and socio-economic data and analysis from  UN agencies and partners.

 Michel Jarraud, the Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which produced the report,  stated at the Intergovernmental Board on Climate Services, which oversees the implementation of the Global Framework for Climate Services, (Geneva July 3 to 5): "We are already seeing the effects of climate change and so we need to take action through the use of scientifically-based climate services to cushion the impact on our environment, our economies and our societies."

"Decisions on flood defences and dams, for instance, are often based on past experience and not on the likely future. But the past climate is no longer a sufficient guide to the future. We need to anticipate the climate we shall have in the next 50 to 100 years. It's a huge challenge but it's not a hopeless challenge if we all work together."

Source: Pravda.Ru


Symposium on Combating Desertification, Drought

DAMASCUS, (ST) – Minister of State for Environmental Affairs, Dr. Nazira Sarkis, confirmed that Syria continues its efforts to reduce land degradation, desertification and drought through the establishment of protected areas in the desert and expansion projects in the vegetation and projects to stabilize sand dunes, particularly in areas close to the rails and the national project to convert to modern irrigation.

On the occasion of the World Day to Combat Desertification,  an awareness symposium was opened recently entitled "we must not leave our future to drought". The minister pointed out that an early warning system for drought,  a fund to alleviate the effects of drought and natural disasters and the integrated development enterprise in the Syrian desert were established.

"The ministry has completed the National Plan to Combat Desertification and followed the implementation of a draft study on wind drifts in the desert of Deir ez-Zor in cooperation with al -Furat University to study the size of these drifts and develop appropriate solutions," the minister said.

"Cooperation is needed of all government institutions, people's organizations and local communities and to take all necessary measures to prevent desertification, pointing out that the Ministry of Environment to coordinate with all concerned bodies to develop appropriate solutions and national projects and programs to combat desertification," Dr. Sarkis clarified.

The symposium included several lectures dealt with the causes of drought, its aspects and consequences in addition to the efforts being exerted by the General Federation of Peasants to Combat Desertification and Drought.  

The seminar was attended by participants from the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture and the General Federation of Peasants and environmental NGOs.

Sh. Al Khatib

Jabboul Lake…Unique Location for Migratory Birds

(ST) - Syria has enjoyed more than a dozen sites that can be called "wetland sites". The most important site is the Jabbul marsh recognized by the International Convention for the Protection of Wetlands (RAMSAR).

The Jabbul (Lake) marsh is located in the southeast of the city of Aleppo, away from the city center about 40 kilometers, and a total area is 262200 hectares. The lake is formed from several springs located on the edges of the lake , as well as direct rainwater on its surface and the surrounding valleys, such as the valley of gold.


Since old times, the lake has formed a habitat for many forms of wildlife, as an important global site for migratory birds and a source of nutrition of the most important bird 'flamingo'. Many of the fish species and endangered wild animals live in and around the lake.

The area is distinguished by a vegetation cover including papyrus and reeds plants, in addition to local species of plants that grow in the Jabbul marsh, which make the lake a breeding ground for birds. The lake, over time, has become a station for birds to take a break and feed during their migration and evolved to be the breeding grounds for some types of birds.

The lake as a wetland site is of great importance for migratory birds by the International Convention on Wetlands " RAMSAR". Expert, Akram Issa Darwish, Vice-President of the Syrian Society for the Protection of Wildlife underlined that the lake supports 20,000 of waterfowls. 

The lake regularly supports 1% and more of the numbers of birds within the migration path. It is also an important site for migratory waterfowls breeding, Mr. Darwish added.

Sh. al -Khatib

Comprehensive, Integrated Strategy to Combat Pollution

DAMASCUS, (ST) - Minister of State for Environmental Affairs, Dr. Nazira Sarkis, underlined that the ministry works to develop a comprehensive and integrated strategy to combat pollution in all its forms and to improve the environmental situation taking into account the environmental status in addition to expanding cooperation with academic and research institutions to find solutions to environmental problems and to encourage research on environmental issues and contribute to reduce pollution.

 During a meeting recently held with the Director General of the Supreme Commission for Scientific Research, Dr. Ghassan Ass, the Minister stressed on the need to direct research and researchers to conduct research concerned with environmental issues and encourage scientific research and environment innovation through enhancing cooperation with the supreme body of scientific research to develop plans and procedures within the national policy for science, technology and innovations.

Dr. Sarkis explained that the ministry seeks to take advantage of scientific research to address some of the environmental issues and develop solutions an appropriate recommendations to preserve the environment and health development through environmental research conferences that evaluated annually, pointing out that scientific research is an urgent need in light of the circumstances in which Syria exposed to environment sabotage and destruction.
For his part, Dr. Assi reviewed  national policy for science, technology and innovation in Syria and the creation of an integrated system of science and innovation and contribute to building a knowledge-based economy and achieving sustainable development and linking research bodies with establishments of production and support innovations in establishments of production and service and enhance physical and human resources.

The meeting was attended by Deputy Minister of Environment, Eng. Suleiman Kalou, and managers involved in the ministry and the supreme body of scientific research.


Sh. al -Khatib