Dr Al-Hajri (right) shows some of the resources on display at the FEC’s booth to the COP18-CMP8 President HE Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah, UNFCCC executive secretary Christiana Figueres and the Minister of Energy and Industry HE Dr Mohamed bin Saleh al-Sada.
By Noimot Olayiwola/Staff Reporter
Just as talks at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP18-CMP8) continued into the fourth day today, a notable Qatari environmentalist Dr Saif Ali al-Hajri has declared that less talks more actions is required in achieving the COP’s aim of reducing emissions.
“We know that climate change issues are very complicated and emission targets are difficult to reach. However, I hope that world leaders will work together as well as implement all the plans of curbing greenhouse gases that they presently have on paper,” Dr al-Hajri, who is the Friends of the Environment Centre (FEC) chairman and Qatar Foundation vice president said.
He was speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the opening of the Qatar Sustainability Expo, which is currently underway at the Doha Exhibition Centre. FEC is the only Qatar-based non-governmental organisation participating in the expo, which is open until December 7.
The FEC’s booth at QSE offers visitors information leaflets about Qatar’s fauna and flora apart from showcasing environmentally friendly items to educate children about nature and the environment.
“We need more actions than talking and actions can be achieved if we use the resources at our disposal to solve the problems of carbon emissions. If more actions are considered, then I am sure we can cut by half the costs of organising meetings like COP18,” he said.
Dr Al-Hajri commended the increased use of new technologies and ideas, particularly for providing cleaner energy, while praising Qatar for its important role in producing liquified natural gas for the use of the rest of the world.“Technologies will help us, there is no doubt about that, but what is most important is having the right behaviour and using the technologies the right way,” he said.
“Qatar is committed to making the environment more friendly by signing any agreement related to the environment. The country is also trying to go green through a number of initiatives and by joining efforts with many institutes, research centres and non-governmental organisations,” he maintained, adding: “I hope by hosting COP18 here, leaders and negotiators will reach an agreement higher than those reached in past conferences and at the level of the challenges facing the world presently.”
“We can feel the climate change physically now. There is no need for more evidence to prove that we’re still going to face many challenges such as natural disasters, water and food shortage as the world’s population is expected to reach 9bn in 20 years’ time,” he added.
The FEC group is one of the main NGOs in Qatar that focuses on conservation.
Its mission is to encourage youngsters to be more aware of their environment and to get involved with projects, such as planting mangroves at Al Khor.
The group also works with HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, in campaigns to raise awareness about environmental issues in Qatar. These include ‘A Flower Each Spring’ scheme, which encourages residents to plant native species of flower.
The FEC is also active within the international community as its work over recent decades has given it the capacity to bring knowledge to Qatar and, more importantly, to share Qatari knowledge with the international community. It acts as an environmental ambassador of Qatar in international forums including BirdLife International and the International Union for Conservation of Nature.