Shams El -Mutwalli Dubai
Japan is helping preserve the nature and environment of Lebanon by donating a grant worth $63,402 to the Association for the Protection of Jabal Moussa (APJM), through the Grant Assistance for Grass-roots Human Security Program.
The association expressed appreciation towards the Embassy of Japan.
“There are ties that link us to the Embassy, ties of mutual respect and friendship. This started with H.E. Mr. Seiichi Otsuka in 2012, then highly strengthened with H.E. Mr. Matahiro Yamaguchi” Conservation Manager Joelle Barakat said.
The completion of the project on September 25, which the grant went towards, was commemorated with an online ceremony.
The association stressed that “the closing ceremony brought us closer together, and we feel H.E. Mr. Okubo Takeshi sympathized with our mission and work” they also “hope, and believe that, as our president stated in his speech, that the closing ceremony would not be an ending to our collaboration, but rather a beginning and a launching of a longer collaboration.
Members from both parties attended including APJM’s President Mr. Pierre Doumet, and Mr. Georges Zouein Civil Defense of the Yahchouch village along with their Japanese counterpart, Ambassador Okubo Takeshi.
During his ceremonial speech, Mr. Doumet shared that “there is a coherence in values among us. Deep respect for the conservation of nature as culture are our shared values.”
The grant was used to improve firefighting within the region by supplying the association with resources including extinguishers, water supply networks, pipes, valves as well as training to enable effective use of the aid.
The association presented their execution of the projection during the ceremony, demonstrating how the Japanese grant was utilized, including details on the training sessions and their impact, as well as the installation of the equipment.
The firefighting project is valued as it enables the continued safety of visitors, residents and the preservation of the small towns and local communities.
“While the project had several aspects, a major output was the infrastructure the grant allowed us to install in the most vulnerable area to forest fires: the dense forest between Chouwan and Eebreh. This infrastructure allowed us to be better prepared to face a fire similar to the fire that occured in the area in August 2017,” she said.
The conservation manager shared how prior to receiving the grant the team did not have firefighting training but are now able to act in case of a fire in the Reserve.
The association are grateful for Japan’s support and their continued effort to ensure the safety of Lebanon’s ecology.
“The online inauguration ceremony, we feel, was a unique opportunity to meet with H.E. Mr. Okubo Takeshi. We were very touched by his words, and we valued his genuine sentiments of fraternity” and hope to welcome him and the team of the Embassy of Japan to the Jabal Moussa Biosphere Reserve, she said.
The Japanese ambassador also extended his admiration of the APJM’s efforts, applauding them for their mission.