NNA - The Community Support Program (CSP), funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and in partnership with the Association of Lebanese Industrialists (ALI), held a virtual launch event for the "Industrial Wastewater Treatment" project (IWT). The event was an opportunity to announce a grant of $150,000 to ALI to improve industrial wastewater treatment and mitigate pollution. ALI will provide financial and technical support to seven agro-food firms to adopt low cost and low-tech solutions to reduce wastewater generated from their pickle, tahini, and olive production facilities. ALI will contribute $20K in support of the initiative in addition to the USAID grant.
USAID previously partnered with ALI to promote water conservation and pollution mitigation among nine marble and rock cutting firms. ALI was one of the many partners USAID supported over the past 10 years under the over $100 million support to the water sector.
The event was attended by U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy C. Shea, USAID Lebanon Mission Director Ms. Mary Eileen Devitt, ALI President Dr. Fady Gemayel, ALI General Manager Mr. Talal Hijazi, and the Chief of Party of the Community Support Program in Lebanon Mr. Rhett Gurian. Other participants included USAID officials, and representatives from ALI, and the regional Chambers of Commerce, Industry, and Agriculture, and a number of industrialists and media representatives.
In his welcoming remarks, President of ALI, Dr. Gemayel thanked USAID for supporting Lebanese industries in complying with environmental standards, and stated: “We are looking to expand these benefits and include other industries in the agro-food sector, as well as other sectors within the association; we hope to draw up a master plan that is not limited to environmental projects, but also supports Lebanon in protecting its identity and the geographical location of its traditional products and promoting its exports to the United States. We also look forward to attracting American investors to a world of opportunities and joint projects with Lebanese industrialists."
In her remarks, Ambassador Shea stated, “This intervention is part of a long-standing US-Lebanese partnership that provides more than $100 million to develop and maintain reliable and sustainable access to water…. Thank you on behalf of the American people for partnering with USAID as we all do our part to preserve Lebanon’s environment and safeguard the well-being of its citizens..”
CSP Chief of Party Mr. Gurian then presented the objectives of USAID’s Community Support Program and the collaboration with ALI. General Manager of ALI Mr. Hijazi followed by listing the firms which have expressed interest in receiving USAID support through the IWT project across Lebanon. These industries are in the three agri-food subsectors of processing tahina and halawa, pickles, and olive oil.
USAID’s CSP is a seven-year, $80 million program that is carrying out a range of rapid response and community development projects. Despite the economic crisis and the outbreak of COVID-19 in Lebanon, CSP continues to support the Lebanese people through a wide range of activities that improve basic services and enhance economic opportunities for underserved communities in the North, South, and Bekaa Valley. The program also supports emergency response interventions such as support in Beirut following the August 4explosion, and Mount Lebanon following forest fires.