Beirut, 26 September 2012 (ESCWA Communications and Information Unit)-- Roula Majdalani, Chief of Sustainable Development and Productivity Division at ESCWA, said, “Working to avoid energy waste and improve its efficiency in terms of production, transport, conversion, distribution and consumption, is urgent and required in order to preserve the environment and the national economy, as well as the interests of future generations.” Majdalani was speaking at the opening session of the Regional Training Workshop on “Promoting Energy Efficiency Investments for Climate Change Mitigation and Sustainable Development.” The meeting, which kicked off Monday in Tunis, was organized in collaboration with the Tunisian National Agency for Energy Conservation (ANME). Majdalani noted that Energy efficiency was of great importance “in our countries, whereas achieving savings in the amount of fossil fuels, whether by the consumer directly or the consumer who produces electricity, is good for oil and gas production, because it allows for an increase in revenue from sales abroad, and also benefiting energy- importing countries as it contributes to improving its trade balance.” She added, “It is of no benefit to consider other matters of energy before looking into reducing waste, rationalizing consumption and improving efficiency.” The objectives of this regional training workshop were to provide capacity building material in conformity with the Development Account (DA) “regional training” topics, covering energy efficiency (EE) in all economic sectors, with special emphasis on the building sector. It focused on project development process; finance and business planning; as well as on a brief presentation from each country representative on energy situation in the country and EE efforts that are undertaken. These topics also included a mapping of current EE investment potential and challenges in the region (assessment of existing opportunities for EE financing, examination of existing barriers and how to overcome them, etc.). Participants in the Workshop will included members from the Intergovernmental Committees on Energy, and designated key persons from public and private sectors stakeholders, who are involved in EE issues in the ESCWA member countries. Back-to-back with the Workshop, an expert group meeting (EGM) on the “Best Practices in Sustainable Consumption and Production in the ESCWA Region: Energy Efficiency” was organized to focus on the “Means to Upscale Energy Efficiency Projects in the Building Sector.” The EGM was intended to initiate the reflexion about issues related to bringing about a sizable up scaling of EE projects in the building sector. Participants in the meeting contributed to preparing a concept note and a draft outline for a regional initiative that would develop specific mechanisms and institutional arrangements that can assist member countries in assessing their EE potentials in the building sector (existing and new buildings), and setting up short-to-mid term ambitious programmes to achieve identified EE potential in the sector. In the EGM, participants were members from the Intergovernmental Committees on Energy for each of the ESCWA member countries and other potential contributors including: leading experts in the field; representatives from regional and international financing institutions that have experience in the field; representatives from regional institutions, centres and programmes; and representatives from international organizations with extensive experience in the field.