By Noimot Olayiwola/Staff Reporter
The Qatar Sustainability Expo (QSE), which is aimed at complementing the country’s broader vision of advancing its environmental sustainability efforts, was yesterday declared open at the Doha Exhibition Centre by the 18th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP18) and the 8th Congress of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol President HE Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah alongside the UNFCCC executive secretary Christiana Figueres.
A welcoming reception was also held for COP18-CMP8 delegates as part of the Qatar Sustainability Expo (QSE) opening.
Speaking after opening the expo, the Figueres commended Qatar for organising the sustainability expo, which she said is showcasing ‘green inventions that are not very well known outside of the Gulf’.
“I appreciate that you have taken the COP18 to showcase your initiatives and do continue to be vocal because stories of all these initiatives that are already underway here need to be told in a clear fashion to the rest of the world,” she said.
QSE, organised by international exhibition company IFP Qatar and being held under the patronage of HE al-Attiyah and also being overseen by the Ministry of Environment, will feature an array of environmentally sustainable programmes, initiatives, plans and products alongside COP18 until December 7.
Throughout QSE, there will also be speeches and panel discussions by government, industry and non-governmental organisations as well as workshops and lectures by Qatar Steel, the Brahma Kumaris Environment Initiative, Yale University and Conservation International and Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute.
At the QSE, many sustainable initiatives being undertaken by Qatari government departments as well as local and international organisations from within Qatar and the region are being showcased.
The expo, which is open to the public also features a range of activities for all ages, designed to stimulate sustainable thinking and highlight eco-friendly initiatives in Qatar.
One of the exhibits at the centre of attractions at the Expo is a high-tech ‘Augmented Reality’ system that conjures up images of the “unseen animals of Qatar” on the exhibition floor where children and adults will have the opportunity to have close encounter with the Arabian Oryx, falcon and sand cat.
Younger visitors can enjoy dozens of exciting activities to encourage them to learn about the importance of protecting the planet from environmental science workshops and solar powered experiments to a fully-fledged planetarium.
Highlights of the night’s event included entertainment by traditional Qatari folklore dancers in a tent situated outside of the DEC, while on the podium inside, the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra, who will perform daily throughout the Expo, played a mixture of Western and Arabic music.
A display of concept cars that deliver stunning performance using alternative fuels is also an attraction.
An outdoor food court will open in the evening featuring four tents, one of which will serve free traditional Qatari food apart from providing an area for visitors to eat and relax.
QSE is open from 11am-9pm every day.
Official shuttle buses are available to participants from their hotels to the DEC and the COP18/COP8 Conference at the Qatar National Convention Centre.