The Scientific Forum for Conservation of Nature in Palestine (ECOPAL Forum), in coordination with the Academy and in cooperation of Al-Quds University and the Arab Academic and Scientists Union (AASU), organized the fifth International Conference of the Arab Academics and Scientists Union entitled “Challenges of environment in the Arab region- with focus on Palestinian environment status". The conference that held on 28th, November 2020, was virtually (via Zoom) at Al-Quds University under the patronage of Prof. Imad Abu Kishk, President of Al Quds University, with sponsorship of Friedrich Naumann Foundation, Jerusalem (FNF).
The opening session was chaired by Dr. Raed Abu Zeid - Head of Conferences at AASU. The opening started by a welcoming address from Prof. Imad Abu Kishk, who thanked participants, sponsors and partners of the conference. Prof Imad expressed the importance of the conference and its themes, especially the scientific researches. He praised the role of governmental and civil institutions and universities for scientific research, awareness and environmental education to protect our Arab world from risks and Environmental challenges, especially climate change. “The environmental situation in Palestine is complicated by unfair Israeli practices, and finally wished them a fruitful conference in light of the Corona pandemic” Prof Abu Kishk said.
In his address, Dr. Mohammad Al Rabee, the Secretary General of the Economic Arab League Office, emphasized on the importance of connecting academia in the Arab region, and affirmed his support for Palestine and Al-Quds University to end the Israeli occupation and for the Palestinian people to enjoy their natural resources.
Mr. Ahmed Bakr, the Secretary General of AASU, focused on the role of Arab researchers to study the environmental challenges facing the Arab world, and praised the role of Al-Quds University in holding the conference.
In his address ,His Excellency Mr. Jamil Mtour, head of the Palestinian Environmental Quality Authority, explained the dangers and challenges of the environment in the Arab world, especially climate change, and Palestine's situation regarding the dominance of the Israeli occupation. His excellency called the Palestinian researchers and universities to benefit from the support of the Green Fund for the protection of the environment.
Dr. Samer Jarrar, the representative of His Excellency Dr. Marwan Awartani, the Minister of Education and Academy President, expressed his support and support for the conference, whose research axes coincide with the academy's interests, and that it constitutes an encouraging incubator for Scientific Societies, including the Scientific Forum for the Protection of Nature ECOPAL.
Dr. Mahmoud Fraihat, the Director General of the Land and Irrigation Directorate at the Jordanian Ministry of Agriculture, expressed the conference's compatibility with the environmental challenges in the Arab world, and focused on the need for scientific pillars to manage natural resources and address pollution.
Finally, Dr. Raed Alkowni, Chairman of the Scientific Committee, praised with the quality of the presented scientific papers, which reached up to 20 research papers covering the conference themes. The total number of speakers reaches more than 30 with diverse and important experiences in the environment.
Invited main speaker Prof. Jamal Khatib from Arab Beirut University in Lebanon, ended the opening ceremony. Prof Jamal is a specialist and researcher at an international level, who delivered a very skilled lecture on his experience of applied engineering in relation to environment. He presented a review of his research activities and talked about engineering applications in the environment using organic waste from local products and natural polymers in engineering construction.
The conference covered the topics and themes in three formal sessions, the first session entitled “the Status and challenges of the environment in the Arab region”, and was chaired by Dr. Rola Jadallah. It included presentations of papers that dealt with marine environment issues; environmental education and awareness; pollution risks; the role of women in dealing with environmental sustainability; and the importance of environmental legislation; and the role of governmental and NGOs to protect environment.
Dr. Samer Jarrar chaired the second session entitled “the impact of the Israeli occupation on the Palestinian environment”. The contributions included the impact of settlements, separation wall; the Palestinian Water Authority intervention referred to the siege and Israeli restriction on water for Palestine; and challenges and violations of the occupation of the right to water for Palestine.
The last session was chaired by Dr. Jamil Al-Najjar entitled “Studies on the Regional Environment and Success stories for protection of environment and innovation”. The covered topics were: waste treatment and recycling; use of environmental indicators in Palestine; the application of the use of agricultural technology to serve the environment; the importance of using modern technology for waste disposal; the impact of the Corona pandemic on the fragile situation in Gaza; the role of student societies for environmental protection; the importance of applying eco agriculture; and using botanic gardens for conservation of biodiversity as a model for preserving biological diversity.
Dr. Khaled Sawalha, the coordinator of the conference, presented the final concluding remarks and overall recommendations of the conference. These recommendations included: importance of social and environmental responsibility, activate environmental education and awareness, adopt legislation for protection of environment, support innovation to solve environmental problems, conservation of biodiversity, respect and support Palestine's right in the natural resources and water justice and end the Israeli occupation. The last recommendation was to organize regular conference every two years.
Abstracts of the fifth International Conference of the Arab Academics and Scientists Union entitled “Challenges of environment in the Arab region- with focus on Palestinian environment status"