On Thursday January 11, the American University of Beirut hosted a roundtable discussion in collaboration with Global Compact Network Lebanon and Makhzoumi Foundation. A number of experts were convened to explore the urgent needs for Beirut 2018. Each expert touched on specific needs based on their particular vantage point and experience.  

Main Issues highlighted:

Introduction: 

Dr. Dima Jamali: Started by introducing Global Compact Network Lebanon (GCNL) and raised a significant question about what can be done in Beirut and how can we link it to the SDGs and Makhzoumi Foundation. 

Mr. Fouad Makhzoumi:

“Our people have resigned their roles as citizens”

In the past couple of years, things have not been moving in the right direction and now is a good time to change and do what is right for our city, starting with the youth.

Dr. Shadi Saleh:

“We want Lebanon to become the leader when it comes to health” 

Lebanon should be a leader in addressing global health challenges through supporting the AUB’s vision 2025.

According to Dr. Shadi Saleh, it is a necessity to solve the garbage crisis, be more health friendly and activate the health centers in Beirut. 

Ms. Zeina Kassem:

“If we can’t prevent car accidents then at least increase preparations for first Aid” 

To implement a modern traffic law, train an adequate staff to handle car accidents emergencies and raise awareness on the topic, starting from schools.

Mr. Ziad Abi Chaker:

“We should change our negative perception of garbage and instead call it a resource.” 

Link the garbage crisis to agriculture and industries, build recycling plants to produce organically certified fertilizers and achieve a Zero Waste Status.

Ms. Nada Zaarour:

“We cannot separate civil society from politics” 

Enhance the relationship between politics and civil society. 

Advance the public/private collaboration, tackle climate change challenges and work on renewable energy. 

Dr. Mohamad Zeidan:

“We can no longer say corruption in Lebanon is solely an internal problem, it is also affects Lebanon’s financial standing on an international scale” 

Tackle public sector corruption by encouraging private sector participation.

Promote transparency processes in public works bidding.

Parliament should step in and assume its role as is stipulated by existing laws.

Mr. Ameen Daouk:

“We unfortunately transformed Lebanon from a country that had a life of vibrance into a service country solely geared to providing services” 

Focus on the importance of civic education and ameliorate public schools.

Mr. Elias Gebrayel:

“We should have a proper planning and a better city approach to “experience and live the city” 

Proper urban planning independent of politics.

Mr. Saad El Zein:

“We need to revolutionize the way we teach”

Change the education system in a way to fit the advancement of the most recent educational trends and needs.

Mr. Ziad Hayek:

“We have an overdose of problems that led to people giving up and just going with the flow which is a dangerous path” 

-Focus on infrastructure because this will lead to more job opportunities.

-Focus on transparency and professionalism.

-Integrate the SDGs in local work.

Fouad Makhzoumi closed the session by emphasizing the need to work together across various sectors and in the hope to make of making a positive change starting from the capital Beirut and branching out to all of Lebanon. 

May Makhzoumi added that the Foundation works on all 17 SDGs and stressed on the importance of all companies to join Global Compact Network Lebanon.