Manama – Last night, as part of the opening ceremony of the Asian Youth Paralympic Games, hosted in the Bahrain 2-6 December, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Regional Goodwill Ambassador for Climate Action, Lebanese athlete Michael Haddad completed a 100-meters dash, running upright—an unprecedented achievement for people with similar spinal cord injuries, causing them to be paralyzed from the chest down. The games were opened by HH Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa, First Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Council for Youth and Sports, President of the General Sports Authority and President of Bahrain Olympic Committee, in a ceremony held in the Bahrain International Circuit

“I am very happy to complete this 100-meter dash at the opening of this important continental sports tournament, and as we celebrate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, which comes every 3rd of December, to remind us of the need to redouble efforts to fulfill the promise of Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development not to leave no one behind," stressed Haddad. “fulfilling this promise requires serious and sincere work, everywhere across the world, and especially in our Arab region, to ensure the full rights of people with disabilities to a decent life, which affords them the self-reliance and independence that preserves their dignity and enables them to actively participate in their societies.”

On the occasion of Haddad's visit to the Kingdom, UNDP in Bahrain is hosting in collaboration with local development partners two public discussion sessions in the form of round tables.

Held under the title " From Rehabilitation to Simulating Determination," UNDP is organizing the first roundtable in cooperation with the High Committee for the Affairs of Persons with Disabilities. The roundtable discusses what the scientific team following the case of Michael Haddad has learned from five years of research about the special way he devised to walk standing with the help of simple aids, despite being paralyzed from the chest down.

The roundtable is held under the patronage of HE Shaikh Mohammed bin Duaij Al Khalifa, Chairman of the Executive Office of the High Committee for the Affairs of Persons with Disabilities, who will also participate in the panel along with Dr. Tasneem Atatreh, Representative of the World Health Organization in Bahrain, and the scientific team following Michael Haddad from two prestigious Lebanese universities—the Lebanese American University and the American University in Beirut.

UNDP is organizing the second roundtable in cooperation with Bahrain’s Supreme Council for the Environment under the title: "Bahrain's commitment to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2060: How to mobilize wide societal participation." The roundtable discuss what is needed for Bahrain to achieve its commitment to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2060, and what different sectors of the Bahraini society can contribute, including the private business sector, academia, civil society, and the media, to achieving this important target.

The roundtable is held under the patronage HE Dr Mohammed bin Mubarak bin Daina, Special Envoy for Climate Affairs and CEO of the Supreme Council for Environment in Bahrain. He will open the roundtable, with these the participation of Mr. Ali Al Baqali, CEO of Aluminum Bahrain - ALBA, and Dr Hanan Mubarak Al Buflasa, Head of the Physics Department at the College of Science, University of Bahrain, who specializes in renewable energy sources.

“We are pleased to host Michael Haddad in Bahrain and we are proud of his tireless efforts, employing his important sporting achievements to shed light on the most important development issues,” said Aikan Mukanbetova, Acting Head of the United Nations Development Program Office in Bahrain. “Today, the issue of climate change is a priority in the entire world, as global warming has reached what the Secretary-General of the United Nations has called a “Code Red for Humanity,” which requires that all governmental and societal efforts are joined to accelerate and raise the level of ambition of climate action, to avoid the impending catastrophic effects of the climate crisis.”

For media enquiries, please contact

In Bahrain | Ali Salman | Programme & Communication Officer | ali.salman@undp.org

In Amman | Noeman Alsayyad | Regional Communication Advisor | noeman.alsayyad@undp.org

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