President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, informed the Director-General of FAO, Graziano da Silva, during their meeting at the Baabda Palace, in the presence of Agriculture Minister, Akram Shehayeb, that Lebanon is looking forward to supporting the organization in every project to be implemented in the food, agricultural, environment and forest protection fields.
Aoun expressed his appreciation for the decision taken by FAO to open a regional office in Beirut for the sake of covering the Levant countries, stressing that “full support will be provided to facilitate the work of those in charge of the office,” and pointing out that “what has been achieved so far needs continuous attention because sustainable development of the agriculture sector is of major importance.”
Aoun pointed out that “a clear business strategy in the direction of food security will be provided in cooperation with the new government, in order to preserve fisheries, forestry and poultry.”
He also hoped Da Silva would offer assistance in the care provided by Lebanon to the displaced Syrians on its territory.
Da Silva presented the President with the various projects implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization in Lebanon, including the road map drawn up to support the fisheries and aquaculture in Lebanon, and for the development of the agricultural technical education system and the establishment of a center for the production of forest seeds, in addition to helping the farmers affected by the Syrian crisis and others.
Da Silva, Shehayeb and the accompanying delegation also visited the First Lady, Nadia Aoun, and discussed with her the launching of Lebanon’s ‘green project’ which includes campaigns of afforestation and protection of forest wealth.
Da Silva praised the attention granted by the First Laby for food and environment projects, stressing that cooperation between the FAO, the President and the Lebanese government will be in full action so as to implement these projects according to a timeline to be set for this purpose.
Mrs. Aoun, for her part, said she was ready to launch a program to support small farmers and women living in rural areas.
At the end of his talks, Da Silva underlined that the reopening of the FAO regional office in Beirut will offer additional aid to the region and to Lebanon and neighboring countries. He reiterated the organization’s priorities for the region, such as refugee support, dealing with epidemics affecting livestock and the agricultural sector, and contributing to limiting climate change by complying with laws developed in this context.
Minister Shehayeb, for his part, expressed his optimism about the FAO projects, quoting, for example, the campaign of planting 40 million trees in order to return to Lebanon its green space after the many fires which devoured its forests.
Separately, General Aoun had received former minister, Shakib Kortbaoui, followed by President of the Higher Judicial Council, Judge Jean Fahed, with whom he reviewed the situation of prisons and the judiciary.