Lebanon News

Committees back global environmental treaties

Committees meeting at the Parliament in Beirut, Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. (The Daily Star/Lebanese Parliament, HO)

BEIRUT: Parliament’s Finance and Budget Committee Monday endorsed two laws to ratify portions of global treaties related to the environment, including the Paris Agreement and a law on protecting the ozone layer, the state-run National News Agency reported.

The first bill seeks to approve the conclusions of the 2015 Paris Agreement, which aims to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions beginning in the year 2020.

The second draft law approved by the committee would endorse amendments to the 1987 Montreal Protocol on the prevention of ozone-layer depletion. These amendments set a timetable for states to reduce their use of harmful hydrofluorocarbons that deplete the ozone shielding the earth from some of the sun’s harmful radiation.

They also include provisions to prohibit countries that have ratified the protocol from trading in controlled substances with states that haven’t and binds rich nations to help transition poor countries away from the harmful substances.

Parliament also saw its first discussion of a law to legalize cannabis production for medicinal use, by a subcommittee of the parliamentary joint committees set up for the issue.

Committee chair Yassine Jaber, a Nabatieh MP, said that, in its coming sessions, the committee will invite experts on agriculture, cannabis cultivation and medicine, as well as representatives of the global consultancy firm McKinsey.

The consultancy had recommended that Lebanon tap into cannabis as a productive economic sector in a report on restructuring the country’s economy, which is yet to be made public by Lebanese officials.

MPs also approved several articles of a law calling for the establishment of the National Commission for Combating Corruption, which caretaker Minister of State for Combating Corruption Nicholas Tueni recently told The Daily Star was vital to fighting corruption.

The Finance and Budget Committee also endorsed a law that aims to allow the government, once formed, to finalize an agreement on the mutual protection of classified information between Lebanon and Cyprus.

The NNA said the law was endorsed with a recommendation to “correct the existing imbalance,” caused by a previous agreement between Cyprus and Israel, which apparently led to some 860 square kilometers of Lebanon’s marine territory being recognized as Israeli.

The recommendation called for using “the various means available to restore and protect Lebanon’s rights,” the NNA said, and “inform Cyprus of the Lebanese state’s disagreement” with the accord between Cyprus and Israel.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on October 30, 2018, on page 2.

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