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Najib Saab



Testimonials on Najib Saab


UNEP's GLOBAL 500 Award 2003- CITATION

Through Al-Bia Wal-Tanmia (Environment and Development) magazine, which he launched as a private initiative, Najib Saab has triggered an unprecedented environmental public awareness campaign in the Middle East, bringing environmental concerns to the Arab public-at-large and creating a regional environmental advocacy forum.

The influential magazine has a circulation of 38,500 in 22 countries. It is used in schools, and its articles became the main reference for environmental curricula.  Saab's editorials on sustainable development issues in the Middle East are syndicated to 10 daily newspapers.

Al-Bia Wal-Tanmia sponsors more than 360 environmental clubs in schools, and supports them with education material and training. (...)

Najib Saab has succeeded, again through his own initiative, 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. (...)



Najib Saab founded the groundbreaking and highly successful Al-Bia Wal-Tanmia (Environment and Development) magazine in 1996. The magazine built a new relationship between the policy-makers and people of the Arab world with the issues of environment and sustainability, and placed the environment high on national and regional agendas.

The magazine and Mr Saab's vision also acted as a spring board for a wider pan-Arab initiative which catalyzed the establishment of the Arab Forum for Environment and Development (AFED) in 2006.

The organization soon developed into a leading think-tank, pivotal in shaping environmental policies, mainly through its independent annual reports on the state of the Arab environment. AFED runs programmes on corporate environmental responsibility, capacity building and education, and has a unique membership structure grouping private sector, civil society, universities and media, together with government bodies as observers.

A Lebanese national who describes himself as globalist, Najib Saab has done more than most to bring environment into the day to day discourse within governments, the private sector and among the public and grassroots in the Arab world.





ANDREW STEER, President, World Resources Institute (WRI):

"I have seen many environmental organizations in my time, and I think that the combination that AFED brings is absolutely best practice. You bring a sharp pencil of analysis, together with the right mix of people: private sector, government, academic, civil society, financiers- because we need all hands on deck if we are going to solve the problem." (Excerpts from keynote speech at AFED annual conference, 2011).


KLAUS TOEPFER, Former Executive Director, UNEP:

(...) "Najib Saab has accomplished what official bodies in the region could not satisfactorily develop over the years." (From a speech at Global 500 Award Ceremony, June 2003).


MOSTAFA KAMAL TOLBA, Former Executive Director, UNEP:

An architect and writer, Najib Saab began his career with me in the media department at UNEP. He was passionate about environmental issues beyond imagination. He left UNEP at an early stage to practice architecture and environmental design, but continued to perform advisory duties for the organization. In 1996 Najib decided to leave a successful career as a consultant for major international companies, give up a settled life in Europe and return to Lebanon to publish Al-Bia Wal-Tanmia (Environment and Development), a regional magazine which became known throughout the Arab world, and became a reference (...). In his editorials, Najib tackled the challenges with honesty and integrity, which impressed many, but also angered some. I was always on Najib's side (...).

After the magazine became well established, Najib suggested to create the Arab Forum for Environment and Development (AFED) as a regional non-governmental organization. Najib struggled and traveled everywhere to secure support, and succeeded in establishing AFED. I chaired the Board of Trustees for several years. We agreed to publish an annual report on the state of the Arab environment, written in a language that addresses policy makers, as well as the average citizen (...).

Najib is the founder of the only Arab regional magazine on environment and development and Secretary General of the Arab Forum for Environment and Development, again the only Arab regional organization in its field (...)(From Mostafa Kamal Tolba memoire series, volume 1, Al-Bia Wal-Tanmia magazine, issue 188, November 2013).


AHMAD AL-ANSARI, Vice President for Environmental Affairs, General Authority for Meteorology & Environment, Saudi Arabia:

"AFED and its reports have contributed to the ambitious plans to move towards real sustainable development in Saudi Arabia." (From a statement at AFED 10th annual conference, 2-3 November 2017).



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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