The World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry, in collaboration with the Land and Human to Advocate Progress (LHAP), has founded the Arab Centre for Environmental Health, with the experienced NGO leader, Ziyad Alawneh, as its director.
The Arab Centre for Environmental Health aims to meet the emerging need of an institution to work on Environmental Health in the Arab region and facilitate the expertise to and cooperate with governments in the Arab Region to protect environment and public health.
“With the Arab world of course having one foot in Asia and one foot in Africa, this development is as important for Africa as it is for Asia. Ziyad will work closely with the African Centre for Environmental Health and Dentists Committee for a Mercury-Free Africa, as well as with the Asian Centre for Environmental Health. In North Africa, we have two full-fledged campaigns – in Egypt and Tunisia,” said Charlie Brown, President of the World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry.
With the goal of serving all Arab nations across West Asia and North Africa, the Arab Centre for Environmental Health was launched from its headquarters in Amman. The announcement was jointly made at a ceremony on July 7, 2022, by the Secretary General of the Jordan Ministry of Environment, Dr. Mohammed Khashashneh, and by the Centre’s founding director, the experienced NGO leader Ziyad Alalawneh, leader of the NGO Land and Human to Advocate Progress.
Dedicating the Arab Centre for Environmental Health, Secretary General Khashashneh, a world-renowned leader in writing and implementing environmental treaties, said: “We are honoured that the Centre is headquartered here in Amman, and we look forward to bringing together Jordan and other Arab governments, international bodies, civil society, and universities to build a toxic-free society for future generations.”
“Our immediate priority is to bring mercury-free dentistry – the end of dental amalgam – from the Maghreb to the Arabian Peninsula,” said Director Alalawneh. “From there, we hope the Arab Centre for Environmental Health can lead a range of environmental initiatives and work to better implement Multilateral Environmental Agreements.”
The Centre will:
- build an Arab network of advocates and run an awareness campaign for mercury free dentistry;
- play a role of as a “think tank” and develop ideas, policies, and strategies to eliminate environmental toxins in the Arab World;
- work as a watch dog against industrial abuse of chemicals and stop the toxic trade to developing nations;
- carry out fundamental research and academic attribute for sustainable and alternative curriculum development;
- join efforts and forces to set up national and state models in Arab nations to gain support for ratification of the Minamata Convention on Mercury and its implementation;
- encourage government programs and insurance policies that favour non-mercury dental restorative materials;
- make it an immediate priority to stop the use of mercury amalgam in the treatment of children, pregnant women, and childbearing age;
- promote alternative restoration materials and ensure their affordability and accessibility; and
- work on other chemical issues of urgency in the Arab region through studies, research, awareness raising and capacity building in addition to the issues of the four chemical conventions and SAICM.
The Arab Centre for Environmental Health is opening a pathway to work closely with environment. This is a new initiative of building a network among the countries of the Arab World in environmental issues. The Centre’s immediate priority is to bring mercury-free dentistry – the end of dental amalgam – from the Maghreb to the Arabian Peninsula,” said Director Alalawneh. “From there, we hope the Arab Centre for Environmental Health can lead a range of environmental initiatives and work to better implement Multilateral Environmental Agreements.”
The launch event included virtual participation by regional environmental leaders from around the world, and Arab NGO leaders from Asia and Africa.
Charlie Brown, president of the World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry, saluted Secretary General Khashashneh and Arab Centre director Alalawneh as “experienced leaders who have contributed mightily for the people and environment of Jordan, Asia, and the world.”
He added: “I anticipate great achievements will come from this new Arab Centre.”
Siddika Sultana, director of the Asian Centre for Environmental Health based in Bangladesh, welcomed the new Centre, noting that similar Centres exist across the globe: the African Centre for Environmental Health in Yaoundé, the Latin American Centre for Environmental Health in Montevideo, and the European Centre for Environmental Medicine in Berlin.
“We regional centres work together as an effective partnership,” she explained.