Environment and development
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Rashid & Dana The Recyclers Regional Planning Meting

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization UNESCO launched "Rashid the Recycler", an educational guideline into resources recycling, with a poster, a CD-Rom, a quiz, a photographic contest, and an environment award for young people. The activity was carried out in selected schools via Qatar's Ministry of Education, between 2003 and 2005.

The Qatar-Experience was highly successful, and it received massive attention by the local and regional newspapers. The activity was linked to a quiz, and an environment award. The prime winner, a Qatari boy, Yousif Tajir Al Sada from the Al Ahnaf Bin Ghais Preparatory School and his teacher traveled to the UNESCO Headquarters in France and they also visited a number of world heritage sites in France and Germany.

The Qatari version is completed now, and UNESCO is planning for the second version "Rashid & Dana The Recyclers". For the purpose of gender balance his younger sister Dana has joined Rashid, and jointly they aim traveling each Arab country, and exporting the Qatar experience.

Based on the Qatari experience Rashid plans to travel jointly with his sister Dana to visit Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauretania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunesia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen, in order to promote the idea of resources recycling to the youth in these countries. The activity is a contribution to the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development 2005-2014. Other UN agencies, such as unicef and UNEP will also join hands with UNESCO to support this important PanArab project. The guide will be based on the motto "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle", and it will provide statistics, relevant addresses, and country specific information.

The project aims to raise awareness and capacity-building based on education into the importance of waste management. Students will learn how to actively contribute reducing, reusing, and recycling waste products. The rationale is to contribute to better management of valuable resources, better waste management, cleaner environment, and to allow the students to learn that there is an international market, and an increasingly more important career path in the recycling and waste management industry. In Arabia the recycling industry is in its beginnings, and, for example in Qatar, only 3% versus 80% potentially recyclable waste products are being recycled.

The UNESCO Office in Doha calls on the private sector to join hands and sponsor this highly important activity, which will contribute for the generation of jobs and income, and for a cleaner environment.

Rashid received massive support from UNESCO and The Ministry of Education, and financial and inkind support from the private sector, Qatar Petroleum, Qatar Airways, QAFCO, Qatar Gas, Oxy, Dubai Aluminium (Dubal), and Exxon Mobile. The UNESCO Regional Office in the Arab States of the Gulf is now hosting the "Regional Planning Meeting on Rashid & Dana The Recyclers". The meeting takes place on the 20th of November in Doha, and visitors are expected from the UNESCO Offices for Iraq, UNESCO Offices in Beirut, Amman, Ramallah, Cairo, Rabat, as well as the UNEP Office in Bahrain, and the UNICEF Office in Muscat. The Friends of the Environment Centre in Doha, The Virginia Commonwealth University in Doha, The Emirates Heritage Club in Abu Dhabi, and the Oman Environment Society in Muscat have also been invited to assist UNESCO with this important environmental education project.

Source: By Dr Benno Böer, UNESCO Office Doha, 16 November 2005

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