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Editor in Chief - Environment And Development
Secretary General - AFED
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Najib Saab



Curriculum Vitae

An architect by training, Najib Saab is Secretary General of the Arab Forum for Environment & Development (AFED), and publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Al-Bia Wal-Tanmia (Environment & Development), the leading pan-Arab magazine on sustainable development. He started his career working for UNEP under Mostafa Kamal Tolba, and continued the relation in various capacities, most recently as member of the High Level Group (HLG) overseeing Global Environment Outlook (GEO-6). He participated as head of delegation, adviser, delegate and/or speaker in all key international conferences on environment and sustainable development. He has played a pivotal role in shaping regional positions towards climate and green economy. He is a laureate of the United Nations Environment Programme's Global 500 Award in 2003 for environmental achievements, and of the Zayed International Prize for Environment in 2011 for environmental leadership leading to change in society. He is editor of the series of annual reports published by AFED on the state of Arab environment (2008-2018), which have become a main source on sustainable development matters and have triggered major policy changes across the region.



Name: Najib W. Saab

Profession: Secretary General of international environment NGO, Publisher, Writer, Architect  

Place and Date of Birth: Beirut, Lebanon, 20 August 1953

Nationality: Lebanese/Dutch (dual)

Languages: English, Arabic (main languages), Dutch, French (working knowledge)





Eshmoun Building, Rue de Damas, Downtown Beirut

P.O.Box 113-5474

Beirut - Lebanon

Tel: Direct: (+961) 1334100, Fax: (+961) 1321900


websites: , and


The Netherlands:

Burgemeester Mazairaclaan 53

5242 AT Rosmalen


1. Education


- American University of Beirut, 1972-1978

Bachelor of Architecture (B. Arch), 1977 (Minor in Mass Communications)

Post-graduate studies, political science- 1977-78

2. Posts / Experience


2006-present Secretary General, Arab Forum for Environment & Development (AFED)


AFED is a not-for-profit membership-based organization covering 22 west Asia/MENA countries, headquartered in Beirut, Lebanon. While AFED's full membership is for non-governmental institutions, government bodies are included as observers, in a unique structure, which combines independence with inclusiveness, and positions AFED as full NGO and partial IGO. Members include corporations, universities, research centers, media networks and civil society, alongside government entities as observers. In a period of 11 years, AFED has become a major player in the global environmental arena. The flagship contribution of AFED is an annual report on the state of Arab environment, which has evolved into the major tool for environmental policy making in the region. Other AFED initiatives include a regional Corporate Environment Responsibility (CER) program, capacity building, public awareness and environmental education:


AFED enjoys consultative status with ECOSOC, and has an observer status/accreditation with UNEP, the League of Arab states, UNFCCC, IRENA and many other bodies. AFED has been granted the status of independent international organization in Lebanon, with the associated diplomatic immunities and privileges. 


AFED is governed by a Board of Trustees that elects an Executive Committee, which oversees the overall operation. Responsibility for management lies with the Secretary General, who leads the programs, assisted by a core secretariat. AFED funding comes from membership fees, contributions to AFED endowment, sponsorship by corporate partners and organizations. Further information on AFED can be found on the AFED website:, and in the AFED Brochure.


As Secretary General, Najib Saab leads AFED cooperation with regional and international organizations, including the World Bank, UNEP, FAO, ESCWA, UNFCCC, OECD, EBRD, OFID, Islamic Development Bank, UNEP/MAP, UNEP/Finance Initiative (UNEP-FI), Green Growth Knowledge Platform (GGKP), and the League of Arab States.


1996-present Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Al-Bia Wal-Tanmia (Environment & Development) magazine, Beirut, Lebanon.


Building on his own experience in journalism and environment, and his family background in publishing, Najib Saab launched in 1996 the ground-breaking Al-Bia Wal-Tanmia (Environment & Development), as a mainstream pan-Arab monthly magazine. According to UNEP (Global 500), the magazine "triggered an unprecedented public awareness campaign in the Middle East, bringing environmental concerns to the public-at-large and creating an advocacy forum (...). The influential magazine has a circulation of 38,500 in 22 countries; it is used in schools, and its articles are a main reference for environmental curricula (...) Saab has succeeded to build around the magazine a pan-Arab environmental movement which strongly helped place the environment on the agenda of both the public and the private sectors... By creating a vibrant environmental forum, he has accomplished what official bodies in the region could not successfully develop over the years."


In 2012, Najib Saab turned over the magazine to AFED, as a donation, to become its official media organ. In 2017, after 21 years of publishing monthly on paper, the magazine shifted to electronic publishing. The magazine's web portal and related social media are now the most popular source of environmental information in the Middle East, with over 1.2 million followers and more millions of visitors/users monthly.,


1995-1999 Lecturer, Faculty of Engineering & Architecture, American University of Beirut.


- 1994-present regular columnist on environment & sustainable development (including in: Alhayat, Annahar, Arab News, Daily Star, The National).


 - 1985-1996 Consultant to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Regional Office for West Asia- on various topics in the Middle East, including regional public awareness strategy and policy matters.


1983-1986 Consultant to UNICEF/MENA Assignments on appropriate technologies.


1982-2005 Managing Director, Promo Systems International, Saudi Arabia and the Netherlands- Corporate Design Consultancy.


1980-1982 Adviser to the President, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). Assisted in developing and delivering messages in the course of first replenishment of IFAD resources.


1979-2012 Founder / President Middle East Centre for the Transfer of Appropriate Technology (MEEA-MECTAT), Beirut, Lebanon. Inspired by experience at UNEP, Najib Saab founded this pioneering consultancy for environmental design and appropriate technologies that introduced innovative ideas and practices, mainly to rural areas.


1977-1979 Consultant/Regional Information Officer for West Asia, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).


1973-1977 Correspondent and feature writer on environment and development.

An-Nahar newspaper, Beirut.


3.  International & Regional Conferences


Participated as Head of Delegation, adviser to government, speaker and delegate in major international and regional conferences, including: UNEP Governing Council and UNEA (since 1998), Rio +10 in Johannesburg, Rio +20 in Rio de Janeiro, UNFCC annual summits, ESCWA Ministerial Sessions, Council of Arab Ministers Responsible for the Environment (CAMRE), GGKP, UN General Assembly as ECOSOC and as speaker in special sessions at the invitation of the President of the General Assembly.


4. Selected Awards


- Global 500, UNEP, 2003

- Best Book Award, Arab Book Fair 2003 (Nature Book)

- Ford Environment Award, 2006

- King Hassan II Environment Award, Morocco, 2007

- Sheikh Zayed International Prize for the Environment, 2011 

- Distinguished Alumni, American University of Beirut (AUB), 2014


5.  Publications

AFED annual reports

Editor of the series on the State of Arab Environment


- Financing Sustainable Development in Arab Countries, 2018

- Arab Environment in 10 Years, 2017

- Sustainable Development in a Changing Arab Climate, 2016

- Sustainable Consumption, 2015

- Food Security, 2014

- Sustainable Energy, 2013

- Ecological Footprint in Arab Countries- Survival Options, 2012

- Green Economy in a Changing Arab World, 2011

- Water: Sustainable management of a Scarce Resource, 2010

- Impact of Climate Change on Arab Countries, 2009

Arab Environment: Future Challenges, co-editor with Mostafa Kamal Tolba, 2008



Other Books


- Environment in Arab Media (Arabic), Beirut, 2008.

- Options for Lebanon (Arabic/English), co-author, Oxford/Beirut, Taurus/ Annahar 2003.

- Environmental Agenda (Arabic), Beirut, 2002.

- Nature Book (Arabic/English), Beirut, 2002.

- Arab Environmentalists, Unite! (Arabic), Beirut, 2001

- Environment: From One Catastrophe to Another (Arabic). Beirut, 1999.

- Environmental Perspectives (Arabic). Beirut, 1997. 

- In Pursuit of Agricultural Development. Beirut (English & Arabic editions), 1996.

- Appropriate Technology and Development (Arabic). Beirut, 1994.

- Appropriate Technology: Do-it-yourself series (Arabic). 12 booklets, 1985-94, Editor.






Global 500 Award
Brief Bio

Arab Environment in 10 Years
ARAB ENVIRONMENT IN 10 YEARS crowns a decade of the series of annual reports produced by the Arab Forum for Environment and Development (AFED) on the state of Arab environment. It tracks and analyzes changes focusing on policies and governance, including level of response and engagement in international environmental treaties. It also highlights developments in six selected priority areas, namely water, energy, air, food, green economy and environmental scientific research.
Environmental Agenda
Environment in Arab Media
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