HE the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Sheikh Dr Faleh bin Nasser bin Ahmed bin Ali al-Thani has reiterated Qatar's commitment to participating in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change conferences. He emphasized the importance of these gatherings as a significant opportunity to showcase efforts and advancements in environmental conservation and sustainability.
In an interview with the Qatari News Agency (QNA), HE Sheikh Dr Faleh said that Qatar has completed its preparations to participate in the Conference of Parties (COP28) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, scheduled to be held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, from Nov 30 to Dec 12.
The minister said that Qatar's participation in this global environmental forum will witness its accession to the international agreement concerning marine turtles. This agreement involves the exchange of expertise, visits, information, and data related to the conservation of these endangered marine species. Additionally, Qatar will sign a memorandum of understanding with the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) to announce the Regional Centre for Whale Shark Conservation, given that the state's territorial waters host the largest gatherings and longest periods of stay for this endangered marine creature worldwide.
Furthermore, he highlighted the establishment of the National Committee for Climate Change and Sustainability under the ministry's leadership, comprising various ministries, authorities, and relevant universities. Additionally, a comprehensive negotiation team consisting of representatives from all parties has been formed to coordinate and unify positions concerning climate change issues, including participation in the discussions at COP28, where international and environmental organisations are involved, providing an opportunity to showcase the country's efforts in this critical area.
He emphasized Qatar's keenness to participate in the accompanying exhibition of the conference, showcasing presentations, side events, models, films, and images that highlight the state's endeavours in environmental and climate change domains, besides presenting research papers and engaging in both main and sub-sessions throughout the conference.
He also indicated that Qatar's participation in COP28 will concentrate on various topics such as carbon footprint and the Paris Agreement, especially focusing on item number 6, which specifies each country's carbon emissions.
Qatar aims to have national companies compensate emission differences by investing in eco-friendly projects. The country has concluded the first stage of a national programme related to this item, to be announced at COP28, making it the first GCC country to achieve this stage. Additionally, the commencement of the programme's second stage at the international level will be announced, along with the signing of several agreements related to marine life conservation in the region.
Moreover, he underscored that Qatar will also focus on climate change issues and safeguard its national interests within negotiations concerning greenhouse gas emission reductions, adaptation to climate change effects, and other topics related to implementation mechanisms encompassing financing, technology development and transfer, capacity building, and other relevant issues.
The minister highlighted that Qatar was among the first countries to join the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1996 and participated from COP1 to the latest edition held in Sharm El Sheikh, Cairo, at the highest levels. He emphasised the state's eagerness to be present at the accompanying exhibition to showcase its efforts in climate change, sustainability, emission reduction, and reliance on modern technologies and techniques in front of participating countries and organisations.
Finally, he said that the ministry's participation would involve the second, third, and fourth rows of national talents and managers within the ministry to form a specialised team, maximising the benefits for the young leadership from such significant events. HE the Minister of Environment stated that Qatar pays great attention to the issue of climate change, as it hosted one of the important milestones of the climate change negotiations in 2012, which was the18th session of COP18.
Regarding Qatar contributions of the state of to reducing the effects of climate change, HE Sheikh Dr Faleh affirmed the state's commitment to a special strategy to reduce the level of carbon dioxide emissions by 25% during 2019-2030, despite the expansion in gas and oil production and various industries. A review of this strategy will be conducted next year 2024, and it is expected that the completion rate will reach more than 25%, meaning that the target will be achieved six years earlier than planned.
HE Sheikh Dr Faleh explained that to implement this strategy, each entity in the country has set a goal and seeks to achieve it by using modern technology, storing carbon dioxide and reusing it to produce other components such as bricks, cement and others, in co-operation with specialised companies and under the supervision of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change by virtue of its field of work.
He said that Qatar has networks to monitor air quality, water, soil, and radiation, in addition to mobile stations to monitor these elements around the clock, stressing that Qatar is one of the countries in the world with the lowest rate of industrial pollution, and what represents a challenge is the natural pollution that appears in the dust suspended in the air, 5% of which it comes from inside Qatar while 95% comes from outside its borders.
He stated that the solution to this problem is linked to regional co-operation between the countries of the region, and there are concrete efforts to reduce this phenomenon by creating buffers and increasing vegetation cover. Regarding his vision of practical solutions to address the phenomenon of climate change, HE Sheikh Dr Faleh said that there is great understanding and co-operation from all parties in the country, and this was clearly demonstrated during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, which was organised as a carbon-neutral tournament. It was the first edition in the world to be held with zero emissions, as electricity was available from the Al-Kharsaa solar energy station, and local resources from rubble were recycled and construction waste was reused.
He noted that the country has completed infrastructure work that has helped significantly reduce carbon emissions, as 70 of the buses are electric, and all parties were keen to achieve this goal.
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