A journey that for the Lebanese endurance athlete Haddad, who has been paralyzed from the chest down since age six, started six months ago in Beirut and Rome concluded today by walking a stretch of nearly 5 kilometres from the Svalbard Museum to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault!
“Haddad’s odds-defying walk today carries an important call from our region for urgent and scaled up action to build resilience to the devastating impacts of climate change, especially on our food production systems,” said Dr Khalida Bouzar, UN Assistant Secretary General and UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director of its Regional Bureau for Arab States. “Water scarcity and temperature rising faster than the global average may thrust more Arab countries deeper into dependency on imports to meet the basic food needs of their populations, at a time when we may soon be facing a global food crisis.”
“The seeds and Pope Francis’ book that I delivered today send the same message—a message of hope. In my country and region, as we deal with a myriad of challenges, we have no option but to hold on to hope,” said Michael Haddad. “Our hope is bold, grounded in faith in our ability to do the right thing and to act collectively, in solidarity, at the pace and scale needed to arrest the fast-progressing Climate Emergency and stave off a looming food crisis.”