Une raffinerie de pétrole. Source Photo: Pixabay

The European Union once again participated in the International Beirut Energy Forum 2017 for Sustainable Development (IBEF), which is being organised by the Lebanese Center for Energy Conservation (LCEC) from 18 to 20 September.

The European Union’s participation in IBEF demonstrates its continuous support to renewable energy and energy efficiency in Lebanon and the Mediterranean region. Through many initiatives, the EU plays a pivotal role in this sector. The EU is the largest contributor of climate finance to developing countries, providing more than half of global development assistance.

In her opening remarks, Ambassador Christina Lassen, Head of the Delegation of the European Union, said: « Lebanon is suffering from a chronic shortage of energy supply while demand is increasing on a daily basis. This considerable demand for energy needs to be reduced, through energy efficiency initiatives. » « The EU stands firmly alongside Lebanon and other countries in the region as they work towards the objectives set in their nationally determined contributions and is keen to keep the momentum for energy efficiency in Lebanon through strong cooperation with numerous partners, » she added.

On Tuesday 19 September, Ms Irene Mingasson, responsible for the « Regional Cooperation with the Southern Neighbourhood Region » at the European Commission, presented the energy strategy of the European Union with its neighbour partner countries in the session « Il Mare Nostrum: Fostering the Euro-Mediterranean Cooperation ». This session offered the opportunity to highlight the efficient synergies between the EU-funded projects implemented in Lebanon and those implemented at regional level.

Ms Mingasson said: « We acknowledge the huge potential for energy efficiency, an enormous quantity of untapped renewable energy sources, and a unique opportunity for improving our energy security, which would pave the way for strong economic development, job opportunities, more stability and an overall improved wellbeing. » « But for all of this, we need to be ambitious, we need to endorse our responsibilities, we need to work together, we need efficient partnerships, » she stressed.

The Forum played host for the closing event of the EU-funded project « Towards sustainable energy consumption in selected local communities in the district of Zghorta, North of Lebanon », in the presence of Ms Mingasson. The project is part of the EU-SUDEP programme (Sustainable Urban Demonstration Energy Projects) and is implemented by the Rene Moawad Foundation in the village of Ardeh and its neighbourhoods. SUDEP supports local communities in the implementation of sustainable energy actions, leading to an increase in energy efficiency, energy savings and renewable energy sources. The project funded innovative energy saving measures to help reduce energy expenditure and, as a result, boost the budget of the municipality in the area. In her intervention, Ms Mingasson said that the project « is an example of how a successful partnership between the EU, organisations such as the Rene Moawad Foundation and the local authorities of Lebanon functions. » « This project is merely about optimising energy consumption; it is also about improving the quality of life of the citizens in the local communities around Ardeh and strengthening the capacities of local authorities, » she pointed out.