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Environmental Preservation

Environmental preservation is a top priority for Qatar. The government recognizes it must balance the country's industrial growth and its limited resources. It also recognizes the environmental challenges posed by the hydrocarbon industry that drives the countries economy.

Qatar has already adopted some legislation to protect its natural resources and implement sustainable development. However, the ambitious agenda for future environmental preservation, led by the Ministry of Municipality and Environment , will improve efforts both within Qatar's borders and across the region. The government also recognizes its potential as a global leader in environmental stewardship.

Ministry of Municipality and Environment

The Ministry of Municipality and Environment was established to promote environmental sustainability and to the coordinate Qatar's environmental initiatives. Ministry of Municipality and Environment works closely with officials in a number of government departments to develop responsible environmental policy and is spearheading efforts to expand official records and banks of environmental data. Ministry of Municipality and Environment 's increasing role in expanding efforts to improve preservation will include the following:

  • Recruit scientists and technical specialists to oversee monitoring systems and regulation.
  • Establish emergency preparedness committee charged with responding to environmental disasters.
  • Launch a nationwide campaign to clean up Qatar's beaches.
  • Coordinate and maintain knowledge banks on environmental data.
  • Create and manage comprehensive biodiversity database including protected areas and marine resources and environmental impact.

Industry's Role

Strategic partnerships between industry and the government of Qatar are a critical part of the environmental sustainability plans. Companies can be, on the one hand, a source of pollution and on the other, incubators of environmental innovations that can restore ecological balance. 

Corporate supervisory bodies are required to submit regular reports detailing the environmental impact of their operations. While there are strict penalties for companies that break the MOE regulations, examples of corporate citizenship should also be applauded. For example, Qatar Petroleum's sponsorship of research into sea turtles is illustrative of the role industry can take in advancing environmental sustainability. The National Development Strategy calls for at least two public-private environmental projects to be implemented by 2016.

Environmental Initiatives

The Government of Qatar has already established some facilities to lessen the amount of waste and protect the environment. These concrete initiatives include:

  • Halul Island: New facilities are in use at the heart of the major storage and export terminal for Qatar's oil and gar industries. Facilities include an incinerator to destroy waste, sophisticated air pollution monitors, and a wastewater treatment plant. These initiatives will reduce waste on the Island and protect the home to animals such as gazelles and many migratory birds. 
  • Mesaieed: One of Qatar's major industrial cities is also becoming the hub for environmental initiatives. Mesaieed is home to the integrated domestic solid waste management center that comes online in 2011 and will handle treatment of garbage and sewage. The centre will be central to Qatar's plans to dramatically increase recycling capacity. The city will also host stations to monitor air and water pollution.  

International Approaches

Addressing environmental issues is a cross-border exercise, particularly in the Middle East. The environmental challenges facing Qatar are common to many of its neighbors and, to varying degrees, country's in regions around the world. It is working with its neighbors -- through platforms such as the Gulf Green Initiative -- and is already taking a larger leadership role in the region, having established the retinal air quality monitoring programme and a regional biodiversity database.

On the international stage, Qatar has forged partnerships with organizations such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Health Organization. These partnerships allow for sharing of knowledge, human resources, and technological innovations.

The Government of Qatar is a signatory to several international environmental treaties, notably:

  • 1985 Vienna Treaty for the Protection of the Ozone Layer
  • 1987 Montreal Protocol on Ozone Depleting Substances
  • 1992 International Convention for Climate Change
  • 1994 Convention for Combating Desertification
  • 2005 Kyoto Protocol (ratified)

Qatar is committed to its international environmental responsibilities and sees an opportunity to become a global leader in the environmental sector. Initiatives being implemented in Doha such as plans to address urban water tables, creating a biodiversity database, and the air quality monitoring programme may turn the city into a global laboratory for environmental innovation.

For more information, visit the Ministry of Environment's website.