EHS Regulatory Consultant: Tamer Azar

 

Enhesa is a multi-national, multi-cultural company that helps global companies be aware of and stay in compliance with environmental, health, and safety laws. Enhesa provides its services thanks in large part to its in-house team of EHS regulatory analysts – based across our three corporate offices. In this regular feature, we focus on the people that make our services what they are.

Tamer Azar – Born in Damascus, Syria

Education and Credentials

AMERICAN UNIVERSITY WASHINGTON COLLEGE OF LAW, Washington, D.C.
Master of Laws (LL.M.), August 2013

FACULTY OF LAW, DAMASCUS UNIVERSITY, Damascus, Syria
Bachelor Degree in Law (LL.B., equivalent to U.S. Juris Doctor), March 2010

SYRIAN BAR ASSOCIATION, Damascus, Syria, March 2010

Jurisdictions Covered

Multiple Arabic speaking jurisdictions in the Middle East such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Oman

When did you join Enhesa, Tamer?

March 2014

What languages do you speak?

Arabic, English, and some French

What are your hobbies?

I enjoy all kinds of outdoor activities, especially climbing, which I often do with other Enhesa colleagues. I also enjoy traveling and trying different cuisines. For my day-to-day hobbies, I take great pride in caring for my saltwater reef aquarium and watching it thrive.

When did you know you wanted to study law?

My mother is a lawyer so I was fed the principles of law since childhood. I knew it was time to learn more about law after I graduated high school.

What EHS issues are you most passionate about?

I must say that climate change is the topic that I am passionate about the most. It is a topic that I believe impacts and will continue to impact all aspects of EHS. Climate change is slowly, but surely, changing our way of living and will change our view of EHS in the long term.

Additionally, although it is not a standard EHS topic per se, I am interested in the topic of corporate social responsibility and how businesses are starting to take their roles more seriously in society. This topic shows itself in the EHS arena in the form of the expectancy of businesses to implement high standards of health and safety practices.

What are some trends or hot issues occurring in your jurisdictional coverage at the moment?

Most of the jurisdictions I cover are taking the global warming phenomena seriously. It is interesting because the economies in these jurisdictions rely heavily on the activities that impacts the environment the most, like oil and natural gas excavation. Governments in the Middle East are starting to divert their economies towards producing and using green energy. Currently, most of my jurisdictions are adopting long term policies and starting initiatives with that goal in mind.

What do companies need to know about EHS in your jurisdictions or what would you tell companies thinking about doing business in one of your jurisdictions?

Unfortunately, the EHS regulatory framework in my jurisdictions is fragmented. EHS regulations are not always clear in the region. Like many developing countries, regulating EHS is not always seen as the priority. Therefore, businesses operating in my jurisdictions face difficulties with understanding implementation and enforcement of the EHS regulatory framework.

My advice to businesses operating or planning to operate in one of the countries I cover in the Middle East is to keep in mind that whenever there is an EHS regulatory change, it is usually a large change that could have a significant impact on these businesses. These changes are enacted mostly to cover gaps in the fragmented EHS framework in the countries I monitor.

You are very involved in the Enhesa U.S. office’s social committee – what is your favorite part of planning events and activities for your colleagues?

Yeah, it is great to organize and attend social events in our internationally diverse office! It is always fun to share ideas and learn from Enhesa’s diverse group of intellectual colleagues. There is never a dull moment at our culture-rich social events. Our office potlucks alone let me taste so many different flavor combinations inspired from cuisine from around the world! It’s great that my colleagues and I can share these aspects of where we come from.

And one more question: Do you have a memorable or amusing story working at Enhesa you would like to share?

My favorite story was during this one project I was working on while covering Yemen. For some of my countries, like Yemen. it can be difficult to locate the person who can help me clarify EHS regulations. Even finding the phone number for someone to call can be a serious chore. Anyway, I had to call the authorities there to clarify a few questions I had. This task was also difficult due to the time difference between our office here in D.C. and in Yemen. I remember waking up at 4 a.m. to try to call a phone number that I got from another phone call that I made earlier that week from a number that I got from one of the government websites in Yemen (I am very determined to ensure our clients have the correct information, as you can tell).

I remember going to a quiet room to make the call so I didn’t wake up my household. When I called that number, someone finally picked up at the other end, but he didn’t understand my request, so he just hung up on me. The funny part for me came the following day when our HR manager asked if anyone was calling Yemen at 4:00 A.M. because our phone service provider decided to block our service! Apparently, the service provider thought that someone had hacked our phone service and was making random international calls!