By Joey Aguilar/Staff Reporter
Unesco has reiterated the importance of establishing partnerships with Qatar University (QU) and some private institutions for the success of the floating mangrove project.
A team from Unesco, Lusail Real Estate Company and Mourjan Marinas is planning to collect additional mangrove seeds, which will be planted at the jetty in Lusail City. A total of 18 planting boxes have been created.
“We have agreed to develop a new partnership agreement to continue our co-operation in the future,” said Dr Benno Boer, Unesco’s ecological sciences adviser in the Arab region. They have also invited the Qatar Shell Professorial Chair in Sustainable Development at QU, Prof Mohamed Ajmal Khan, to be part of the team.
Dr Boer had earlier talked to Prof Khan who is known globally as a scholar on ecology, physiology, production and utilisation of salt-tolerant plants.
The Unesco official hopes that QU will accept the invitation believing that it will open the doors for identifying and getting highly-qualified young Qatari and other Gulf Arab scientists for projects such as the floating mangroves, which are intended to protect and preserve the environment. “It is the most critical element for our long-term success,” he said.
To raise awareness among Arab decision-makers, landowners and coastal developers, Dr Boer plans to launch a book called The Mangroves of Qatar.
He said mangroves are declining in various parts of the world mainly due to non-sustainable coastal development practices. He believes that Unesco Biosphere Reserves could play a critical role to enhance the conservation and restoration of mangroves globally.
“There is a lot of interest in the international and Qatari scientific community to produce the book. We need to discuss and finalise it internally at Unesco,” he said. “The book will deal with ethno-botany, bio-geography, conservation needs and development prospects.”