Whilst the international community is celebrating World Environment Day, Egypt has it done its own way blended with Ramadan flavor on 5th of June at the InterContinental CityStars Hotel, Cairo. A grand event was organized by the Ministry of Environment in partnership with CEDARE, UN Environment, & SwitchMed Programme funded by the EU. The United Nations theme of the year “Beating Plastic Pollution” was quite significant at the national level as the date was significant well as. This date marks the birth of a one-year old initiative: the “National Initiative for Reducing Plastic Bags Consumption” which was officially launched by the Minister of Environment on this very day in 2017.
The event was attended by H.E. Dr. Khaled Fahmy; H.E. Dr. Nadia Makram Ebeid; Ms. Sandra De Wale, Charge' d' Affaires and Deputy as representative of H.E. Ambassador Ivan Surkoš, Head of the European Union Delegation to Egypt; members of the Egyptian Parliament; Mr. Luc Reuters, SwitchMed National Policy Coordinator, UN Environment. Representatives from governmental organizations, private sector, environmental authorities, stakeholders and partners were present in addition to experts and top managements from CEDARE and the Ministry. A wide range of journalists joined the press conference held prior to the event.
The festivities included acknowledging key persons for their remarkable efforts and support to environmental priorities. On top of the list was Dr. Nadia Makram Ebeid, as the first lady minister of environment in Egypt, who was distinguished by Dr. Fahmy for her unceasing devotion and exceptional efforts in the environmental & sustainable development field. Other renowned names who received trophies included Mrs. Yousria Louza, Mr. Sameeh Sawiris, Dr. Ibrahim Hegazy, Mr. Hisham Ezz AlArab, Dr. Moustafa ElFekky, Dr. Talaat ElSwedy, Dr. Nawal ElDegwy among other prominent public figures. The honor list also included promising outstanding young people and active institutions with novel solutions and inspiring initiatives adding up to environmental boost.
In parallel, hypermarket chains who signed MOUs with the initiative received a certificate of appreciation as a small token of acknowledgment for their positive response to the national initiative for reducing plastic bags consumption and supporting its directives.
The program of the day involved playing various videos such as the documentary film on the plastic bags initiative illustrating different milestones and deliverables throughout the past year since the birth of the initiative. The agenda also involved other videos: one tracked the efforts of the Ministry combating different forms of pollution, another showcased success stories in overcoming industrial pollution, a video that tackled biodiversity in Egypt: “Oases of Hope” as well as the Arabic version of the UN Environment video “CleanSeas”.
Meanwhile, environment-friendly multi-use bags were distributed to the guests, being one of the recommended alternatives to single-use hazardous bags, by kids ushers symbolizing future men & women.
Celebrating World Environment Day dates back to 1974 in Egypt. The whole world sets a unified environmental cause to be focused on throughout the whole year where all efforts are mobilized and synchronized to serve this very cause. This year the main hosting country is India, who has been conducting multiple activities serving to “Beat Plastic Pollution” all through the Indian coasts, landfills, forests, & protectorates.