Jaj, Saturday, December 11, 2016 –Under the auspices of His Excellency the President of the Republic General Michel AOUN, Jaj Municipality organized a voluntary planting day in partnership with Lebanon Reforestation Initiative (LRI),a program funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and implemented by the United States Forest Service (USFS), which aims at restoring Lebanon’s native forests.
100 volunteers participated in the planting day, including Jaj families and youth, neighboring communities, scouts and activists, along with civil society representatives. Together they have planted more than 300 native tree seedlings.
Engineer Gabriel Abboud, the head of Jaj Municipality said on this occasion: “Through the efforts of the State and the civil society, we tried as much as possible to conserve our precious geographical area and reserve. This would not be possible without the cooperation with the most prominent committees in which we are proud to become a member. These committees are headed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to which we express gratitude for its interest and for funding development and environmental projects. In its turn, Lebanon Reforestation Initiative (LRI) is seeking, through its assistance, to restore the natural appearance of our mountains in order to boost tourism and economy. On the other hand, we dedicate sincere recognitions to His Excellency the President of the Republic for sponsoring this event. Together we move forward to further achievements and with your support we defy difficulties.”
Mr. Karam Abi Yazbeck, Senior Manager of Governance and Social Stability at the Lebanon Reforestation Initiative (LRI), emphasized the importance of LRI’s approach to create safe biocorridors for wildlife and healthier extension of the green areas in coordination with local communities. Biocorridors create stronger relationships between neighboring communities with different backgrounds and empower them to advocate collectively and more effectively on shared environmental issues. Its noteworthy that LRI will be planting in Jaj, which falls in the North Social and Environmental Corridor 2,000 diverse native seedlings during this year’s planting season, in close collaboration with the Municipality of Jaj and the local community members through USAID’s funding. The activity contributes to the 40-million Tree program in Lebanon.
The representative of the President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, MP Abi Ramia, considered that expectations are high on the new era to build a nation that lives up to the people’s ambitions. He also praised individual efforts, the efforts of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Lebanon Reforestation Initiative (LRI) and civil associations. The President of the Republic has a special affection towards Jaj, its people and cedars that he visited and will be one of its supporters. Jaj will be one of the first environmental concerns of the President of the Republic during his term.
Since 2007, the US government has provided more than $ 1 billion for development assistance, including $ 115 million for the water sector and more than $ 4 million to support the activities of agricultural reforestation projects in Lebanon. The result of these activities was planting through Lebanon more than 600.000 native tree seedlings over the past five years.