Outgoing Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati while speaking at COP28 in Dubai on Saturday denounced Israeli aggression in southern Lebanon, which has affected the ecology in border villages through white phosphorus bombardments.
"Large areas of Lebanon are subject to a regression of environmental conditions, due to continuous Israeli attacks. These actions, including the use of prohibited white phosphorus weapons, have killed civilians and produced irreversible damage to more than 5 million square meters of forests and farmland, in addition to damaging thousands of olive trees," said Mikati.
At the end of November, outgoing Lebanese Minister of Agriculture Abbas Hajj Hassan revealed that Israeli bombardments had triggered 351 fires in 53 localities in South Lebanon and Nabatieh, between Oct. 7 and Nov. 16, burning forests, orchards and farmland. Israeli strikes also decimated more than 47,000 olive trees, some of which were centuries old, as well as pine and oak trees.
Mikati called for solutions to the "devastating consequences of conflict and military aggression on the environment ... in accordance with international law." "The COP 28 leadership has promised to strengthen the capacity of regions at war or in crisis to deal with climate change," he said.
The Prime Minister called for aid to Lebanon "to build a green and sustainable economy," as part of the creation of a $30 billion fund, announced at the conference by President of the United Arab Emirates Mohammad ben Zayed Al Nahyan to finance sustainable ecological solutions worldwide.
The COP28 International Climate Conference opened in Dubai on Thursday, attended by some 100 world leaders.
This article was originally published by L'Orient-Le Jour. Translated by Yara Malka.